When you buy a USB microphone, you do so because you want something simple. Plug-and-play is the most important thing here, and a complicated setup process is going to end up putting a user off.
Content creation is something everyone is having a dabble at these days. And because the realm of video and audio is no longer limited to qualified engineers, manufacturers are coming at this from a whole different angle.
The recent flood of microphones (mainly USB) are made to be simple, stylish, and as easy to use (and set up) as possible. Podcasters and gamers alike have embraced them with open arms. Now, the market is packed with hundreds of options, no matter your price range.
Narrowing the field…
ROCCAT has been rearing its head in the electronics industry and USB mics. The gadgets these guys crank out have a distinctive look and feel. And, in the case of audio equipment, sound. Not to mention reasonable pricing options and good all-around build quality.
The ROCCAT Torch comes in at around $100 and promises all the things you’d want from a good USB microphone. Ease of use, good build quality and design, and, of course, that all-important sound quality.
So, I decided to test this kitty’s claws on the proverbial scratch pole of sound testing in my in-depth ROCCAT Torch Review.
Design and Build Quality
The Torch has a distinctive look, as is the norm with ROCCAT. There is a blend between old and new school that makes for something that is both professional and stylish.
When I opened the packaging, I was greeted by the Torch Mic, the base, a short USB-C to USB-C cable, an extended USB-C to USB-C cable, and finally, a USB-A to USB-C cable. I found that the cables are all high quality with decent insulation.
A lightweight mic…
The same can’t be said about the build quality of the microphone and the base. Both weigh in at over 250 grams for a combined total of just over 500 grams. When you hold the Torch in your hand, you don’t get that reassuring feeling in your chest that only comes from money well spent.
The grille is all metal which accounts for its near 300 grams weight. The ROCCAT logo on the front will light up when the microphone is activated. It has a thread at the bottom not only for connecting it to the base but to any microphone stand of your choice.
Unfortunately, an adapter is not included, so should your stand have a different size thread, you’ll have to purchase a separate adapter.
The base that houses the controls for the Torch has a mostly plastic frame. But, the top is a metal sheet which makes for a solid feel. Additionally, there are little rubberized feet to make it more secure on whichever surface you place it on.
When the microphone is attached to the base, you can swivel it 45 degrees forward and back. But, there is no side-to-side swivel unless you unscrew it a little from the base. However, that will create a rattle, and you don’t want that.
The Torch can be configured in many ways. The fact that it’s not confined to its control base makes it a very versatile USB microphone.
First, the traditional and most common way of setting up the mic is to screw the mic to the base. Use the short USB-C to USB-C cable to connect the base and the mic. Then, use the USB-A to USB-C cable to connect to your recording device.
Second, you can screw the microphone to a mount of your choosing. Provided you have a matching thread or the required adapter to make them fit. Use the extended USB-C to USB-C cable to connect to the control base and place it wherever you choose. It doesn’t have to be close to the mic.
ROCCAT wanted to instill into users the idea that this microphone can be used in many different situations. Considering it’s a $100 USB microphone, this makes it score high for practicality.
The base and microphone have some simple yet intuitive controls. As well as features that help add to the already significant appeal of this budget USB microphone.
There are three physical controls on the base. On the far right is a fader that controls the gain of the mic. You will notice pushing this up and down will make the RGB bars on the side of the microphone go up and down. It’s nice to have this visual reference for when the mic and base are separated.
In the middle is a volume dial. This will be the volume for your headphones or monitoring device. Also, this knob can be pressed like a button to mute the microphone. However, it is the other way of muting that brings us to one of the coolest features of the Torch.
A hand-free microphone?
On the very top of the microphone is a small sensor that looks like the ones on old TV remote controls. Simply wave your hand over this, and it will mute and unmute the mic. Once again a nice feature to have for when the two pieces are separated.
When the microphone is muted, the illuminated ROCCAT logo will turn from white to red. Also, the little display on the front of the base that says “Live” will turn into a red icon with a slash through it.
On the back of the control base, you’ll find a little three-tier switch to set the sensitivity of this sensor to low, medium, or high. Lastly, there is a button next to the sensitivity switch, which can be pressed to cycle between three levels of brightness for the RGB lighting.
Pickup Patterns & RGB
Using the left knob on the control base, you can select one of the three pickup patterns.
- Cardioid – The most common pattern. This mode captures everything directly in front of the microphone. Good for single audio source situations like solo streaming or gaming. When in this mode, the RGB bars on the sides of the microphone will be green.
- Stereo – This utilizes both left and right channels to capture audio from two directions. Good for multiple source situations like interviews or multi-speaker dialogues. When in this mode, the RGB bars will be purple.
- Whisper – This mode is exclusive to ROCCAT products. The pickup pattern remains cardioid but is much more sensitive in its response. This is great for situations where you need to be quiet, like a late-night recording or gaming session where roommates need to remain undisturbed. When in this mode, the RGB bars will be blue.
No matter the configuration or the pickup pattern I selected, I found the ROCCAT to have ample power to pick up the necessary noise and instruments. The quality overall is far above average.
Using the gain fader on the control base, I was able to set satisfactory input levels in my DAW. This included speakers who sit up close to the mic, at a normal speaking distance, and even a few feet away from the microphone on a chair.
The Torch is in no way what I’d call good enough for studio recording. But, musicians will find this a very handy all-around USB microphone for making demo recordings that are good enough to take to a professional producer without shame. The Torch will record at 24-bit/48kHz.
Recording in Stereo Mode…
I had no trouble getting two guitars to come through distinctively. This bodes well for the separation. So, when recording an interview, two speakers will be discernible as left and right when listening on headphones or stereo speakers.
There is a bit of roll on the low-end of the spectrum. But, this is to be expected since this microphone is intended to capture voices that contain mostly mids. That being said, some deeper-sounding voices will lack body on recordings. Overall it is one of the best sounding budget USB mics out there.
ROCCAT Torch Review – Pros and Cons
- Well made.
- Sounds decent.
- Great controls and functionality.
- Comes with an extended cable.
- No thread adapter.
- Slight roll off on the low-end.
In the Market for a Great Microphone?
We have you covered. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best USB Microphones, the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals, the Best Computer Microphones, the Best Microphones For YouTube, the Best Live Vocal Mics, and the Best Vintage Microphones you can buy in 2023.
Also, take a look at our detailed reviews of the Best Interview Microphones, the Best Wireless Microphones, the Best Dynamic Microphones, the Best XLR Microphones, the Best Microphones For Recording Electric Guitar, and the Best Cheap Microphone Under $50 currently on the market.
ROCCAT Torch Review – Conclusion
If you’re looking for an all-around budget microphone with decent sound and a bit of style, the ROCCAT Torch could be the one. It looks and works great with decent sound and can be configured to your scenario in an instant.
The detachable control surface makes it a great mic for recording online content or even making music demos. This is the quintessential plug-and-play workhorse USB mic. The final score is 9 out of 10.
Until next time, make yourself heard.