For the longest time, investing in a USB microphone meant one of two things – going big, bold and expensive or going cheap and unimpressive. Luckily, some companies figured out that they don’t have to make their microphones into one-device studios. Instead, they could go easy on the unnecessary features and make a particular aspect of their microphone truly great. Genesis is one such company that, at least on paper, seems to have hit the definite sweet spot with their Radium 600 USB microphone.
Naturally, we decided to check it out and see how it stacks up against the more known competition and see if it’s truly a streamer’s dream or a hard pass.
I can’t, for the love of me start with the review without mentioning the packaging and the unboxing experience of Radium 600. The microphone and it’s accessories come in a nifty little briefcase reminiscent of the large cases used to haul around concert studio equipment. Inside the briefcase, on the top level, you get a neatly packaged universal mount adapter, the height-adjustable mount, the USB cable, the windscreen foam, and the microphone itself. Underneath that, you get a fairly large pop filter, underneath which is the stand on top of which you assemble the entire thing.
While the sound quality is obviously the most important aspect of a microphone, this thematically appropriate presentation immediately leaves a great impression and serves as a nice introduction of the things to come. The assembly itself is very easy the and all the pieces combined make for a very professional looking piece of audio gear. Almost all the pieces, from the grille and body of the microphone to the mount and the pop filter arm are made out of aluminum and are highly resistant to all types of damage. The stand on top of which everything rests is even made out of a solid piece of heavy-duty metal, weighing an astonishing 800 grams.
Thanks to this, however, you can be sure that the Radium 600 will remain exactly where you put it and small bumps to the surface you place it on won’t faze it at all. While it’s not exactly portable without being disassembled, it’s at least reasonably sized so that you can be sure it will find its place even on smaller sized desks with no issues. Its height adjusting, rotating and tilting mechanisms make it completely adaptable so you can be sure you’ll have it in the most optimal position no matter where you decide to ultimately place it.
Every screw on the mount is easy to handle and reliable so you don’t need to worry about the microphone moving once adjusted to your liking. The pop filter attaches to the mount and is large and flexible enough to easily be adjusted no matter how you position or rotate the microphone. The right-hand side of the microphone contains the clicky mute button, the knobs used to control the gain level and the headphone volume, under which is the 3,5 mm headphone jack. The name of the company and the device itself are tastefully written on the front side of the microphone, just below the cardioid symbol that designates the side of the microphone from which it picks up the sounds.
All in all, while the microphone itself falls in line with the design of many other USB microphones, combining it with all the accessories substantially elevates the visual attractiveness of the package. Couple that with the aforementioned sturdy build quality and its definitely evident Genesis didn’t slack on the design aspect of the device one bit. Sure, the pop filter and the windscreen foam are part of the package because the device foregoes internal capsule protection, but that’s easy to look past when the device looks and sounds this good.
Speaking of sound, the Radium 600 is advertised as a microphone for both amateur and professional streamers, and truly, using it for that purpose is where it excels. While you don’t get multiple recording patterns or musical instrument inputs, you can just plop it on your desk, plug it in and start talking knowing that you’ll get consistently good sound quality.
While its sampling frequency of 48 kHz at 16-bits and a 30 Hz to 18 kHz range place it in line with many other USB condenser microphones, the actual sound quality often sounds better than the specs would imply. As mentioned, the microphone can only do a frontal, cardioid pattern but luckily, its gain setting can be boosted to a degree where it significantly increases its range and widens the cone at which it is able to record sounds. Both the low and high gain level feature a bare minimum of self-noise, meaning that the microphone will, in most cases, capture a clean recording and allow for some leeway in regards to its placement.
We did a healthy amount of testing the microphone and recorded sounds through different software for the purposes of the review and we used it in jut general multiplayer gaming and streaming. Most of it was done with the microphone being equipped with all the accessories and a 40% gain level which was adjusted depending on the distance from the device. What’s great is that the Radium 600 requires absolutely no additional mixing or other software to work properly. This also means you’ll just as easily be able to use it with other USB devices or consoles like the PlayStation 4 with no issues.
When it comes to actual sound quality, in all our tests we noticed how even with all the accessories, the microphone would do an excellent job of picking up clear and crisp vocals – even with a very low gain level. As mentioned, even if you have a setup where the microphone is placed at some distance away from you, the simple gain increase will do all the work for you and you’ll still be perfectly audible to the other side. Just be mindful of the fact that the increased gain can mean that the microphone will also pick up the sounds coming from outside of its recording pattern more frequently. Despite that, the microphone is still ideal only for a single speaker so you won’t be able to do a high-quality multiple people podcast or a two-person interview no matter how much you crank up the gain.
While vocals or keystrokes are clearly its weak point at higher gain levels, the microphone handles sound cancellation of sounds coming from the artificial sources like the speakers outside of its recording pattern really well. Our testing had us playing Rocket League and Destiny which were blasting on the speakers situated behind the microphone that barely picked anything up, while our vocals coming from the front remained audible and clear. Despite that, if you are going to use the microphone for gaming, it’s still best to use a pair of headphones to ensure minimal interference of various sounds with your vocals.
In short, what more can you want from a USB condenser microphone? The Radium 600 is a simple, yet highly professional microphone that definitely doesn’t disappoint. While it lacks versatility in the recording option department, it does provide an easy to use, plug-and-play experience, good sound quality and all the accessories you’d ever want for your audio recording setup. Suffice it to say, that if you are in the market for your very first companion for all your Youtube, Twitch or gaming needs, Radium 600 is definitely a great and affordable choice.