The console era of gaming has taken quite the hit because of gamers investing in their PC gaming rigs. Hand-in-hand with this comes increased interest in streaming and a world where RGB lighting aesthetic is a must. While there’s plenty of great mics on the market, like the Blue Yeti, few appeal to gamers. This is what Roccat set out to fix with the Torch USB microphone for streaming and gaming. Roccat sent one over for me to test drive and here’s what I think of it.
Unboxing And Design
Sometimes when I get gadgets in to review, I start developing preconceived notions in my head. It might be as soon as I’m told a gadget is on the way or from the first time I see the box. The Roccat Torch did this to me as I thought it was going to be a wireless studio-grade mic. That’s not the case, as unboxing the mic revealed loads of cables. One to connect the microphone to the base and another to connect the base to your computer.
My first impressions of the mic itself are that it’s incredibly well built, passing the “weight as a sign of quality” test with flying colours. The mic has high quality metal grill and is finished with high-quality plastic. The mic is screwed into the control base where you’ll find three primary switches to control pattern, volume and gain; more on all of this later.
The standout features at first glance are the simplistic controls and useful interfaces. Atop the mic I can see a sensor for handsfree muting and front and centre of the base is a “Live” light to indicate mics are “hot”. I love this design and the features that give this a real “studio” vibe.
To add to that studio vibe, the Torch can be setup on a boom arm. I invested in such a boom during lockdown and I love it. Included in the box is a super long USB-C cable that lets you connect the mic to the boom arm and keep the mixer table sepearately on your desk.
The two knobs display great build quality but the gain slider on the right does feel flimsey. The real appeal of the Roccat Torch is the, still somewhat subtle, RGB lighting. If you’ve got some other RGB products from Roccat that support AIMO, this slots right into the mix. For streaming, your mic is often visible and the balance Roccat struck here was creating a great looking and feeling mic that offers the RGB light without distracting too much.
Overall, the feeling here is relatively premium. I’d be happy to recommend the mic as a gift idea for the gamers or streamers in your life. But it does offer lots more to make it appeal to wider audiences.
Roccat Torch Setup
Setting up the Roccat Torch was interesting. First of all, prepare to get irrate as I am testing this mic on Mac. It works perfectly fine, but you do have to connect the base to your computer using the USB-A cable. For some reason, USB-C to USB-C just wouldn’t work.
Sticking with some of the odd frustrations with the USB-C cables, the ports and cable ends have little notches on them. This means you can ony plug everything in a certain way and you need the cables that come with the mic. Lose or break one and you’ll have to come back to Roccat. Instead of functionality, this feels more like an attempt to shoehorn a proprietary cable into the mix. Rather annoying that if I’m honest.
After all this was said and done, I’ll still admit the setup is rather easy. There’s no drivers to install on my Mac either. It’s just plug and play.
Roccat Torch Functionality
Once again, the gamers reading this will die a little as I tell you how I tested the mic; using Microsoft Teams. I’m so rock and roll, but to be honest it’s a great way to test things out. Compatibility wise, it worked immediately and the “Live” light kicked in to indicate my mic was on.
Swiping your hand over the top of the mic puts it into mute mode while another swipe brings it back. You can change the sensitivity of this on the rear of the mixing table.
As someone who’s in a lot of Teams calls I like the idea of taking the microphone control away from my Teams interfact and having it on a phyisal mixing board on my desk instead. Also, having a clear indicator of your mics “Live” status means no awkward moments giving out about Jim in accounts.
Sound Quality And Pickup Patterns
The first control on the left of the mixing board is for pickup patterns. This literally means which directions the mic is going to pick up sound from. The first setting is front and back audio, switching the mic’s RBG colours to purple. One notch counter clockwise changes the mic to front only, displaying a orange colour. Twist once more and you get a blue colour with additional front-only boost before one more twist turns the input off completely.
The volume knob does what you’d expect and is fully compatible with the volume on my Mac acting as a midi controller. As I mentioned, the gain switch is a bit flimsey but one cool feature is that the lights in the mic reflect the gain.
In terms of quality, I have to say I’m impressed. I usually use a proper studio-grade Prosonus MIDI setup and this is right up there. Some of the tone is sacrificed for clarity, but we’re not recording music here, we’re gaming, streaming or joining work calls. If you’re looking for the Blindboy-style podcast hug level of audio, you’ll need to stick to more complex media style setups like the Presonus AudioBox iOne.
Low-latency audio playback is made easy too with a 3.5mm jack right on the back of the mixing table. One thing worth noting is that live monitoring isn’t easily done, so bare that in mind.
Roccat Torch: The Verdict
The Roccat Torch isn’t going to be the mic of choice for streamers who just want impeccable audio. It is, however, the obvious choice for gamers who want a great mic that matches a gaming or streaming aesthetic. It offers enough to sit in the mix and has enough unique features to set it aside for some, while being ruled out for others. By know, you should know which side of the fence you sit on.