XSTRM: two minute review

Known for their other peripherals like the XM1 gaming mouse, Endgame Gear entered the USB microphone market with the XSTRM USB microphone, and we have to say we're impressed, especially as it's a first try. But can it compete with the best USB microphones?

Design is highly subjective, but this mic can be particularly divisive thanks to its RGB lighting and triangular shape. While it could be a love or hate choice, you have to give XSTRM credit for having the audacity to enter a new market with such an eye-catching coin, and we were reassured to find that it was not. The mic also packs a punch in terms of audio quality, with a 192kHz sample rate and 24-bit depth.

One of the strengths of the XSTRM is that it is truly plug-and-play. The microphone comes fully assembled on its base and shock mount, and with the magnetic pop filter attached. This is the definition of plug and play; simply grab the included USB-A to USB-C cable, place it on the surface of your choice, plug it in, and you're ready to go. There's no software to download, no drivers, and in our day and age, there's no problem with creative applications.

In addition to RGB, the premium you pay here is likely to take into account AI noise cancellation, which isn't all that it's supposed to be, as well as the design element splitter slightly. However, if you're a fan of design and lighting and want something out of the box, that price is more than worth it, apart from the questionable AI.

(Image credit: future)

XSTRM: price and availability

  • Price: € 119 / € 149
  • Availability: Straight from Endgame Gear (UK & US), Overclockers (UK)

The XSTRM USB Microphone is a mid-range microphone on a mission, and for the level of sound quality it offers, coupled with its unique looks, it's a fairly affordable model at €119 / €149, albeit more expensive than some of the top. USB microphones we have seen.

The mic is ready to go, already plugged in with its removable magnetic pop filter, stand and mount, and there's also a USB-A to USB-C cable and a small amount of acoustic foam. As an added touch, the foam is nice, but functionally it's so small you'll have a hard time getting out of it.

The XSTRM is available in the US and UK direct from Endgame Gear, as well as Overclockers in the UK.

Micro USB XSTRM slightly turned to the side on its foot

(Image credit: future)

XSTRM: Design

  • Potentially divisive RGB lighting
  • Futuristic and unique body design.
  • Simple and effective accessories.

Design is the highlight of the XSTRM USB Microphone, thanks to its unique shape combined with brilliant RGB lighting. The XSTRM has an all-metal triangular body available in black or white, and features a faded circular pattern with holes running through RGB lighting under the body shell.

XSTRM Key Specifications

Here are the specifications of the XSTRM USB microphone sent to TechRadar for review

Connection: USB Type-C
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Sampling frequency: 192kHz
Bit depth: 24 bits
Weight (with stand): 28,9 oz / 820 g
Weight (without stand): 16,7 oz / 475 g
Dimensions (with stand): 6,8 x 6,7 x 11,4 inches / 173 x 170 x 290 mm

Let's face it, it's a bit strange, in fact, when we showed some pictures to friends, they said it looked like a small heater, and we can't say we disagree. Still, on a personal level, we like the aesthetic elements of the XSTRM. Isolated they may be weird, but when put together they are a great piece of kit, in our books.

As we mentioned earlier, the microphone comes ready to use, attached to its mount, shock mount and pop filter upon delivery. These accessories are simple and elegant; the focus is meant to be entirely on the gorgeous RGB mic itself.

The stand is fully adjustable and offers great setup flexibility, but it can also be easily removed if you prefer to use another stand or microphone arm.

XSTRM

(Image credit: future)

On top of the microphone is a touchpad that you can tap to mute. Beneath the top half of the RGB-lit microphone, you'll find the gain meter and control knob, which also doubles as a button that toggles between RGB color presets. The gain meter will also display levels in the color you choose for the microphone head.

The XSTRM also knows your orientation thanks to its gravity sensor, so if you prefer to use it on a boom, the gain meter will toggle so you can always easily see levels.

Finally, on the back of the microphone is the 3,5mm headphone jack, the USB-C port, and the switch for AI noise cancellation. This switch is probably the only poorly designed element of the mic, aesthetic preferences aside: it's in an awkward position, especially if the mic is on the stand, and it's also quite stiff to switch.

XSTRM USB mic off cradle, showing gain meter and button

(Image credit: future)

XSTRM: Features

  • 12 RGB lighting settings
  • No app or add-on software for RGB
  • AI noise cancellation does little

RGB is the main feature of the XSTRM, with 12 RGB settings to choose from. These can be toggled by pressing the gain control button, or you can turn it off completely by pressing and holding the button; great if you want to be more subtle, but not great if you still want to see the gain meter gain, which also comes out with the RGB mic head.

Frustratingly, there's also no software or app you can download to fully customize and control RGB, which seems like such a wasted opportunity when you compare it to other RGB peripheral options from industry giants like Corsair, Razer, and HyperX.

The mute button is the perfect sensitivity level; not so much that a light touch while playing nearby can activate it, and not so little that you have to press hard to quickly silence any noise. However, if you've tilted the mic back, it's still a bit of a pain to reach out depending on your setup. The mic and gain meter turn red when the XSTRM is muted, so it's pretty easy to spot.

If you want latency-free playback, you also have the option of connecting your headphones directly to the XSTRM using the 3,5mm headphone jack on the back so you can control your levels.

The XSTRM out of its mount, lying on its side with the magnetic pop filter attached

(Image credit: future)

XSTRM—Performance

  • cardioid polar pattern only
  • Feedback options without latency
  • AI noise cancellation sucks a bit

In testing, the XSTRM performed well, with just a few caveats for an overwhelmingly positive experience. Audio recording quality was brilliant with impressive audio fidelity, matching some of the slightly more professional microphones on the market thanks to its 20mm gold-plated microphone capsule and 24-bit/192kHz sample rate.

In a larger room with little to no soundproofing, voices still sounded clear and warm, and detection range was excellent. Thanks to the magnetic pop filter, the mic plosive was low, and the shock absorbs the brunt of bumps and shocks well.

The XSTRM is a cardioid pattern microphone, which means it will pick up minimal noise behind the microphone. When testing the noise level of speech behind the microphone, the recording recorded it faintly but noticeably, which is what we expected from this type of microphone. This is very subjective to your setup and configuration, and we generally found the mic to be effective for single-person speaking situations such as video voiceovers, streaming, and podcasting.

The rear of the XSTRM when it is on its mount

(Image credit: future)

Endgame Gear claims that XSTRM is plug and play, and in testing with OBS, Discord, and a handful of other apps, we found that to be true. We didn't need any drivers to support the use of the microphone, which is always a good thing.

A big selling point of the XSTRM outside of RGB is the AI ​​noise cancellation, which just wasn't worth it. We tested it with our cacophonous mechanical keyboard and it still picked up faint rattling sounds. We also found that having it on while typing at a moderate volume can end up having a negative impact on voice quality, making it sound underwater and hollow.

When used on a tonearm slightly further away from a keyboard, we did notice a slight improvement in AI noise cancellation, but that kind of defeats the purpose if you buy the XSTRM as a plug-and-play mic. However, even without this feature, background noise detection is pretty minimal, so we wonder why they bothered to include it.

It's worth noting that if you were only using this feature for podcasting and trying to reduce more subtle background noise, it works relatively well.

Where is the XSTRM in the market?

The closest comparisons we can make in terms of RGB mic quality are the HyperX QuadCast S and the ill-fated Razer Seiren Emote, so market rarity alone is an intriguing proposition on the XSTRM.

When looking at non-RGB mics, you find yourself in a position where the XSTRM looks much more expensive than some competitors, like the industry favorite Blue Yeti. In fact, RGB drives up the price significantly, which will be the deciding factor for most potential buyers, along with the rather useless AI noise cancellation. It's certainly not bad value for money, but structuring the price around a feature some don't care about is a game-ending risk.

Should I buy an XSTRM?

Buy it if ...

Don't buy if...

Also consider

XSTRM: report card

ValueFor a good sounding mic with a cool design, we're pleased to see the XSTRM being relatively affordable.4/5DesignIt's a personal choice, but we love the stylish RGB triangle mic. The only item we didn't like is one that we don't think you'll be using much.5/5FeaturesIf there was only one RGB customization app, we'd give it full marks.4.5/5PerformanceAt a basic level, the microphone audio quality is excellent , but when the included features don't work or aren't developed, it's always a shame.4/5TotalIt's really pretty close to…

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