“Do you need one? Probably not, but people don’t strictly need fidget spinners, yet here we are.”
ASUS RoG Strix Magnus,
So ASUS is trying to sell you Optimus Prime’s beard trimmer. Like streamers didn’t already have enough to answer for, the Magnus is the latest manifestation of their influence, a USB-powered, desktop mic, designed for in-game chat and casting.
But there’s a definite gap in the market for a product like this. Streamers have migrated away from the scratchy world of headset microphones in favour of quasi-studio mics. The benefits are obvious: vastly improved sound and more control over it. But can this offer something over the cheaper competition?
It depends on how much value you place on RGB lighting. Admittedly, it’s an easy setup job: pull the mic out of its carry-case, attach the meaty braided USB cable to the mic input and an available USB 3.0 port, and you’re done. You can use a USB 2.0 port in a pinch, with limited functionality, but it’s preferable to just give it the juice it needs. You can use ASUS’s Aura software to customise the lighting, but surprisingly, there are no options for the audio itself. That absence is keenly felt when it comes to the ‘ENC’ noise cancelation mode. In testing, we found it too aggressive, clipping consonant sounds and producing a really low overall sound quality. ENC is one of three mic pattern modes available here, with unidirectional (cardioid) and stereo (bidirectional).
The Magnus certainly isn’t at the level of studio mics, such as AudioTechnica’s AT4050. It’s hard to recommend this one — unless you’re a Transformer with a bit of unwanted stubble around the jawline, that is.
Do you need one? Probably not, but people don’t strictly need fidget spinners either, yet here we are.
USB MICROPHONE $300 | WWW.ASUS.COM/AU