“Do you need one? Prob­a­bly not, but peo­ple don’t strictly need fid­get spin­ners, yet here we are.”

ASUS RoG Strix Mag­nus,

APC Australia - - Contents - Phil Iwa­niuk

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.

Ver­dict

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

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