With the constantly growing number of gamers interested in streaming their gameplay or making YouTube videos, it was only a matter of time before a company like Asus would decide to make a streaming microphone. They already offer various gaming peripherals; they have an in-house audio division and are strongly pushing their ROG brand, so adding the ROG Strix Magnus to the mix strikes me as a natural progression of their portfolio.
What is a streaming microphone anyway? Basically, it's a phrase we use to describe a high quality microphone - at least compared to the one that's attached to your headset - that's meant to be used for Twitch and YouTube live streaming, recording voiceovers, and everything else where you and your audience require that your voice sounds as good as possible. Even though some gaming headsets come equipped with microphones that are just fine for such demanding scenarios, oftentimes "good enough" isn't really, well, good enough. When you're competing for viewers with thousands of other players, you'll want to sound better than them simply because that will directly increase your chances of getting subscribers over somebody else.
Could you use a streaming microphone such as the ROG Strix Magnus just to communicate with your teammates over Discord, TeamSpeak or Skype? Sure, why not, but if you're buying it only for that, you're seriously overpaying as any half-decent gaming headset will do that job successfully.
Depending on the size of their channels, relevance, and available budget, Twitchers and YouTubers nowadays mostly pick between the Blue Snowball and the Yeti, the Rode NT-USB and Audio Technica AT2020USB+. The latter two are in fact aimed at musicians, radio speakers, and other professionals. Their popularity among the gaming community is a direct result of a combination of high audio quality and the fact that they're equipped with a USB interface, which means you can simply plug them into your motherboard and you're ready to go. Blue's microphones also communicate with the PC via USB and include a couple extra features, such as a mute button and the ability to change the voice pickup pattern.
If we look at the price, currently listed at $150, the Asus ROG Strix Magnus goes up against all of them, and it's packing some serious heat. As Asus puts it, it's a condenser gaming microphone with Aura RGB lighting. It's equipped with three 14-milimeter studio-grade condenser capsules that are safely hidden behind a sturdy metal mesh.
The ROG Strix Magnus features three different recording modes - Cardioid, Stereo, and ENC (Environmental Noise Cancelling) - and a plethora of useful extras, such as a mute button, a headphone port with direct monitoring, an auxiliary port for your music instruments and mobile devices, two volume knobs (one for the headphones and another for the microphone itself), a built-in single-port USB 2.0 hub, a standard camera mount, and an adapter that enables you to mount it to a microphone arm. Oh, and let's not forget the RGB lighting. You can't have a serious gaming peripheral without a bit of RGB bling, can you?
It also boasts compact dimensions - it's about half the size of its competitors. Since the general idea is to place it in front of the keyboard, a smaller form factor means that you won't get distracted by it while you're trying to impress your audience with your m4d sK1LLz.
Three 14-mm studio-grade condenser capsules
Three pickup patterns (unidirectional, bidirectional, omnidirectional)
20-20,000 Hz frequency response (specified by the manufacturer)
-35±3 dB sensitivity
Aura RGB lighting
USB 2.0 hub (1 port)
1x 3.5-mm AUX in, 1x 3.5-mm headphone out (direct monitoring)
1.5 m braided cable
13x9.5x5 cm, 270 grams
Hard-shell carrying case
The box the ROG Strix Magnus comes in is compact, extremely sturdy, and beautiful. By glancing at its front, you'll quickly get a sense that the microphone looks like it came straight out of the Transformers - and it really does.
The rear of the box goes over the microphone's main features - everything I've outlined in the introduction - and also explains the function of every single button, dial, and port located on its body.
The unboxing experience is really nice as well. First, you'll be greeted by a beautifully printed manual, translated into over 40 languages, which once again explains all of the features and functions of the microphone.
After you remove the manual, you'll see a sturdy, visually appealing, hard-shell carrying case that contains everything you need to get going - the ROG Strix Magnus microphone and a thick, braided USB 3.0 cable you'll use to connect it to your PC. If you intend to move the microphone between several PCs, you'll utilize the supplied carrying case for that, in order to get the microphone to its destination without any dents and scratches. The cable struck me as fairly short at first, and it later turned out that my initial impression was right - it's only 1.5 meters long, and there was practically no way for me to move the microphone around freely on my table until I purchased a simple USB 3.0 extension cable. More on that later.
Here's everything you get in the box - the manual, warranty card, hard-shell carrying case, ROG Strix Magnus microphone, and the cable and adapter for standard microphone mounts.