Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
The ROCCAT Torch may look like your standard microphone from a gaming peripheral company, but there are a few notable differences. For one, many of these standalone units are often cylindrical in shape, like those from HyperX, Logitech, or Razer. On the other hand, the ROCCAT Torch is a very flattened oval prism, which makes it easy to identify the two sides. A large ROCCAT logo can be found near the bottom frontside. This translucent area will illuminate based on the operating status or sync with ROCCAT's AIMO lighting system. Otherwise, you can see the front side is all grille with a small honeycomb pattern. Taking a closer look, you can see a thin membrane underneath the grille that acts as a pop filter. Around the grille is a thicker metal frame that gives the whole ROCCAT Torch a frame and makes it more structurally sound. Otherwise, the Torch is made out of metal with some plastic detailing. It sits on a plastic base with a standard 3/8" screw attachment. The base holds all of the inputs and outputs for connecting to your computer and changing inputs. Overall, I think this product looks clean, but also a bit generic. Considering this is their first attempt, the unplugged ROCCAT Torch looks nice.
Taking a closer look at the base of the ROCCAT Torch, you can see a brushed metal top that sits on the rest of the plastic base. There are two adjustment knobs and one slider with the descriptor name on the top. The left knob lets you pick between different pickup patterns. These are also known as polar patterns. They classify how the microphone picks up sound in its directionality as well as how sensitive it is to sound based on its orientation. The three patterns ROCCAT has to select from include Stereo, Cardioid, and Whisper. Stereo allows for more left-right differentiation, which can be good when recording different instruments or multiple sound sources. According to ROCCAT, it can also be good for ASMR content, though I do not have much experience in that area, haha. The Cardioid selection is more typical for the ROCCAT Torch as a condenser microphone, as it picks up noise from all over. The Whisper mode is more of a modified cardioid mode for late night gaming sessions where you want to chat but also do not want to disturb others in the house or even your neighbors. As such, its polar pattern is very similar to the other cardioid pattern except with increased sensitivity. Finally, there is an on/off logo to turn off the unit altogether.
The middle knob is a volume knob that lets you adjust the volume coming out from the ROCCAT Torch. As you will see later on, there is a direct headphone jack for live monitoring. This volume synchronizes with Windows settings, but will always only adjust the output from the ROCCAT Torch. If you press down on this volume knob, you can also mute the microphone. Finally, the last slider is marked Gain to adjust the amplitude of the microphone signal. Below this adjustment area, we have a black glossy bar. This area houses a few more indicators. In the middle, the word "Live" will be illuminated when the Torch is on and actively being used by an application. A microphone mute logo glows on the right side of this area when the Torch is muted. Overall, I appreciate the quick adjustments available to the user here as well as the extra display for quick notification. One interesting thing here to note is the different font on these three adjustment inputs, at least when compared to the press release photos. I can only think this is an anomaly with early batches of this unit.
Flipping to the back of the base, you can see there are more inputs and outputs on the ROCCAT Torch. Starting from the left side of the photo, there is a 3.5mm audio jack for direct audio output. This enables live monitoring of your voice, if you so desire. Next, we have a USB Type-C connection to connect to the PC. As mentioned on the first page, we have a USB Type-C to Type-A cable to connect to your computer. Next, we have another USB Type-C input. This is intended to connect the microphone to the base. ROCCAT provides two lengths of USB Type-C to Type-C cables depending if you mount the microphone on an external boom arm or directly onto the base as photographed above. Next, we have a three-position switch to let users select the sensitivity of the hands-free mute. While we have mentioned muting the ROCCAT Torch via a button on the knob, you can also mute the mic with a wave of the hand, as you will see shortly. Finally, the last button here is a brightness button, which lets you toggle between four different LED brightness levels. You can also turn off the lights altogether if you so desire.
The other thing to take note of here is the mounting mechanism that connects the Torch to its base. As we have mentioned, this uses a standard 3/8" mount that screws into the base and metal frame. This connection is quite sturdy. When situated on the base, the Torch can be positioned directly up or more leaned back. This lets users put the unit closer to their body while aiming the microphone at the user's mouth.
Underneath the ROCCAT Torch is an uninteresting place with four circle rubber pads to keep the ROCCAT Torch standing in its desired location. For the most part, this does a good job in keeping the unit in place, although this is also affected by the weight and dimensions of the ROCCAT Torch. Speaking of which, this weighs 290g on its own, while the base adds an extra 210g for an even 500g of weight. When fully assembled, the microphone is 208mm tall, 95mm wide, and 138mm deep. Otherwise, a middle label is placed in the middle to show different certifications this microphone has as well as the product name. The serial number can be found on the right side. As with most consumer electronics, the ROCCAT Torch is made in the People's Republic of China.
From the picture above, you can see the ROCCAT and how it looks when it is attached to a stand. The universal 3/8" mount makes it compatible with most boom arms, whether they are desk mounted or floor standing. When it is plugged in and powered on, the logo does indeed glow fancy RGB colors, but there are two more LED zones. These exist on the side of the microphone, as seen in the photo. This gives users a live view of the gain levels corresponding with the base slider. They also glow a different color, depending on the pickup pattern selected. It glows purple for Stereo, green for Cardioid, and blue for Whisper. At the top of the microphone is a thin area that almost looks like an IR blaster on a remote control. This is a motion sensitive area that mutes the microphone when movement is detected. The ROCCAT logo will also turn red as a result of this mute. I actually really like this feature because it means you do not need to physically touch the Torch to mute it. It also works well and with the different levels of sensitivity. You can also turn it off altogether if you so desire.
Internally, the ROCCAT Torch records 24-bit audio at a 48kHz sample rate. This is a bit on the lower side, but should be fine for typical streaming. There are two condenser capsules inside measuring 14mm each. The microphone does feature a full 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response, which is great for capture anything audible. On the other hand, the Torch has a maximum 110dB of SPL, or sound pressure level. This specification generally refers to the maximum volume of sound the microphone can take before it starts to distort. This is a bit of a lower number compared to its competition, which means some louder instruments may cause distortion, but we will explore this later in our review.
As you saw in our review of the ROCCAT Syn Pro Air, ROCCAT finally has given us an updated utility in the form of Neon. From what I can understand, Neon will be used for the future ROCCAT products, but I do hope they plan to backport their current products to Neon too. The utility is available from ROCCAT’s support page and it is a 64MB download. It is still a beta product as not too many of their hardware are supported with Neon, although they are consistently updating it for bug fixes and based on feedback. Unfortunately, there really is no real reason to use Neon with the ROCCAT Torch, as there is only one thing to adjust here. This is the AIMO integration with the Torch, which affects the color of the center logo. As Neon and its older software, ROCCAT Swarm, do not talk to each other, the AIMO effects will not be synchronized with older ROCCAT products. I would have liked to see a few more adjustment features provided here in Neon, including some custom sound floors to prevent background noise or even just changing some lighting effects. Even so, the ROCCAT Torch is a plug-and-play unit and you can completely ignore Neon for this product if you so desire.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Recording Performance Tests