Custom PC

NZXT Capsule Review

By Edward Chester. Posted

The NZXT Capsule’s (£95 inc VAT) biggest claim to fame is a particularly high sampling rate of up to 96kHz, with a bit-depth of 24-bit. In comparison, most competing USB streaming mics max out at 48kHz, potentially making the Capsule better for those dealing with particularly demanding recording applications.

Unfortunately, there was a problem with the higher sampling rate when the mic launched, with recordings sounded tinny compared with 48kHz recordings. It took a few months, but NZXT has finally sent out a firmware that now resolves this problem, and sure enough this mic does sound very good.

It outclasses the likes of the Elgato Wave 1, Roccat Torch and Razer Seiren Mini, for instance, producing clearer more open-sounding recordings. Any of those mics will do for streaming, but for backup recordings or use in a home studio, the Capsule is a small step up.

That said, we couldn’t actually hear the difference between 48kHz and 96kHz in our recordings – the Capsule sounds good because it’s a quality microphone in other regards. Likewise, the fantastic-sounding Shure MV7 only uses a 16-bit/48kHz sampling rate, showing that these headline numbers are only a small part of the equation.

So, the Capsule sounds good, but that’s not all it has going for it. For a start, it looks and feels fantastic. Available in black or white, its cylindrical shape is clean and smart whichever colour you choose. Its main body is also built from machined aluminium, with a very tough painted finish.

As standard, it comes with an equally smart and solid metal stand that provides a degree of tilt for the mic, but no height adjustment or vibration damping. The address position of the mic sits at just 22cm, so you’ll need to angle the mic up towards you, raise the whole stand by putting it on some books or mount the mic on an arm to get it in line with your mouth.

NZXT makes its own boom arm called the checks notes Boom Arm. For £85, this provides a cable-tension balanced adjustable arm with three articulated joints, plus a desk clamp in which the arm swivels. Once the tension is adjusted it works okay, but it has a plasticky build and the movement isn’t all that smooth, although its internal cable management keeps that side of the equation tidy. If you don’t mind exposed cables, though, the Rode PSA1 is a much more robustly built and cheaper option.

The Capsule uses a single condenser capsule to produce its single cardioid pickup, so it doesn’t offer the versatility of the likes of the Blue Yeti or EPOS B20, but for most desktop, home recording and streaming applications, it’s the only pattern you’ll need. Sadly, there’s no XLR output though.

It has a USB Type-C connection on its underside, along with a 3.5mm jack for real-time monitoring and PC audio output. On the front are two controls: one for microphone volume and one for monitoring volume.

They’re odd controls, in that they spin continuously as you’d expect from a digital control, but don’t offer digital interaction with your PC – turning the volume wheel doesn't adjust Windows’ volume controls. They’re easy enough to use though.

Conclusion

In general, the NZXT Capsule delivers excellent sound quality, fantastic build quality and an easy-to-use feature set. It isn’t cheap compared with the highly versatile Blue Yeti, but its features and performance are competitive with most of its peers.

Verdict
An excellent quality USB microphone, even if its headline 96kHz sampling rate isn’t that significant in real-world use.

Scores
Design 18/20 | Features 14/20 | Performance 32/40 | Value 12/20 | Overall 76%

The red pill
+Stylish and well built
+Excellent sound quality
+Basic but easy to use features

The blue pill
-Single pickup pattern
-Lacks XLR output
-A touch expensive

Spec
Dimensions (mm) 115 x 131 x 253 (W x D x H)
Weight 883g total, 314g without stand
Sample rate 96kHz
Bit rate 24-bit
Capsules 1 x condenser capsule
Pickup patterns Cardioid
Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity Not stated
Max SPL 120dB
Interface USB Type-C
Extras Headphone amp with 3.5mm output, headphone volume and mic mute control

From Custom PC store

Subscribe