The Roccat Torch puts all controls at your fingertips with its mixer-style audio base, and with its intelligent and functional use of RGB lighting, it also ensures that your settings are always discernible at a glance. There’s also no need to install Roccat’s sadly unfinished NEON software to get the full experience. It’s a shame this software is incomplete, but it’s great to use the mic right out of the box, and the features that work do so well.
Conversely, the gesture-based, contactless mute function is useful when it decides to work, but often makes mistakes. Fortunately, like the software, this gimmick can be safely ignored without compromising the overall functionality of the Torch. Roccat has created a solidly priced microphone with good audio and a delightful convenience that makes it easy to love, despite some shortcomings in overall performance.
Specifications Roccat Torch
|Frequency range:||20 – 20000 Hz|
|Preview / Bit rate||48 kHz / 24-bit|
|Polar Patterns||Cardioid, Stereo, Whisper (owned by ROCCAT)|
|Headphone Amplifier Impedance||†Not on the list|
|Dimensions (extended in foot, LxWxH)||138mm×95mm×208mm/5.43307 x 3.74016 x 8.18898inch|
|Weight||Microphone and Stand – 0.63934lbs (290g) Microphone only, 1.10231lbs (500g) with stand|
|Additionally||2 × microphone-to-base connection cable (15cm/200cm)|
|Software: Roccat Neon (BTA)|
The Roccat Torch is a slim and tall microphone that mounts to its own supplied mixer style stand and can also be easily mounted to a boom arm using standard threads. The front of the mic features an RGB-backlit Roccat logo, and the rear features the more understated, non-RGB logo alongside a single USB-C port connecting the mic to the base. Roccat also comes with a short cable for when the capsule is mounted on the stand and a long cable for use with a boom arm.
On top of the microphone is one of the Torch’s more interesting features: a non-contact, gesture-activated microphone mute sensor. It’s really cool to mute or activate your microphone without touching the device, but in practice motion detection and sensitivity are a bit of a mixed bag. I often found myself waving my hand at the sensor, hoping that something would happen in vain. Out of a mixture of frustration and embarrassment, I often chose to use the physical mute button instead. The location of the sensor can also present problems when adjusting the position of the microphone, as it often reads the proximity of your hand as a gesture and mutes the microphone against your wishes. This can be especially problematic when the microphone is mounted on a boom arm.
The base of the Torch features a pickup pattern selector, a notched monitor volume knob with a push-button mute function, and a gain slider. The back of the base features two USB-C ports (one for connecting the microphone to the base and the other for connecting the base to your PC), a 3.5mm headphone jack for latency-free monitoring, a brightness level knob and a three-position slider that allows you to adjust the proximity range for the non-contact mute sensor or turn it off altogether.
The microphone itself feels solid, with a metal housing and grille. However, the base is hard plastic and feels cheap compared to the microphone. While the rubber feet on the base keep it from wobbling and sliding on your desk, the mic holder itself wobbles at the slightest movement. Unfortunately you can’t fix this as there is a certain point above which it can’t be tightened unless you want the mic to face backwards.
The Torch offers good sound quality for its price range, with a wide frequency response, clear audio reproduction and a built-in pop filter that helps eliminate those annoying spikes when creating consonants. While the sound of your own voice through the Torch won’t surprise you with its fidelity level, it’s certainly in line with what you’d expect from a $99 microphone.
What sets the Torch apart from comparably priced microphones is the variety of pick-up options available. Via a conveniently placed rotary knob on the front-mounted mixer panel on the base of the Torch, you can switch between Cardioid, Stereo and Roccat’s proprietary “Whisper” pickup pattern. If you’re streaming solo, Cardioid is what you’ll be using most because of its narrow focus, eliminating ambient noise. Stereo is a good option for podcasting with a friend or any situation where you’re trying to record more than one source at a time, but it should be avoided if you’re doing it alone as it picks up way too much room noise. Both options should be familiar to most streamers or podcasters.
Where things get interesting is the addition of Roccat’s “Whisper” fetch pattern. Appropriately named, Whisper significantly increases the sensitivity of the microphone, allowing it to pick up your voice clearly at very low volumes. This setting is ideal for streamers with roommates or family who do not want to disturb them while they are active, or for those with naturally quiet speech voices. Whispering is certainly not ideal for every situation, as its extreme sensitivity can easily distort speech at normal volume. Still, it’s nice to have such an option available at the touch of a button.
The Torch also scores highly for making its lighting more than just a gimmick. Rather than being there purely for aesthetic appeal, the RGB lighting used by the Torch provides helpful visual cues. For example, your gain settings are indicated by how high the lighting goes on either side of the mic – turn it all the way up and the side lighting reaches the top of the capsule. These lamps also change color to indicate which shooting pattern you have selected. The microphone also glows red to indicate when it is muted. This is an extremely convenient way to read your settings at a glance and a thoughtful application of RGB lighting that I’d love to see more of from competitors.
Features and software
The vast majority of features present in the Roccat Torch can be experienced without any additional software. The Torch does not work with Roccat’s SWARM software, but is compatible with Roccat NEON, which is currently in beta. So what do you get with Neon? Well, practically nothing, to be honest. As it stands, NEON only serves as a way to toggle AIMO dynamic RGB lighting on and off and to send Roccat a support ticket — both actions you can take without ever taking the time to install the software.
Roccat’s first foray into the world of streaming mics is both a little more and less than you might expect – it’s a well-built mic with a sturdy metal frame and grille attached to a plastic base, and it’s generally more useful than attractive. The audio reproduction is solid and in line with what is generally acceptable for a microphone in this price range – what takes the Torch a step further are the three selectable polar patterns, including the very useful “Whisper” mode. However, the most notable feature of the Torch is RGB lighting, which is very useful. Rather than just looking pretty (which it certainly does), the Torch’s lighting lets you see what your settings are at a glance. Since RGB lighting isn’t going anywhere, let’s hope we see more creative and thoughtful uses of the effect like what the Torch has to offer.
Where the Torch doesn’t shine so brightly is in the software package, some design flaws and half-baked features. At least at the time of writing, Roccat Neon is pretty much useless – offering nothing but the ability to turn the lights on and off and send an email to Roccat. Sorry friends, but both things can be accomplished without installing more drivers that I don’t really need. The Torch’s mixer-style dock is useful from a control perspective too, but the plastic construction feels underwhelming compared to the mic itself. The microphone also never seems to screw firmly into the dock — it wobbles at the slightest touch. In my case, he can’t even sit still when I type next to it. It’s also odd that the Torch has to be plugged into its base via USB-C whether docked or not – the short connector cable included for use when the mic is docked can be a pain to get into position. wrestle.
The Torch’s biggest sin is its gesture-controlled mute function. In theory, turning your mic on and off with a Jedi-esque hand motion is great. In practice, however, it can be quite annoying as the sensor can be finicky and arbitrary at times when it comes to what gestures it will recognize and at what range. It’s a nice idea that ends up being more troublesome than helpful, often triggered when not wanted or refusing to cooperate when needed. Fortunately, you have the option to disable this feature completely. Use it and thank me later.
Where’s the torch? It’s certainly not perfect, but at this price it doesn’t have to be – it should provide a solid user experience and outperform in its weight class in terms of features and audio quality. Despite its shortcomings, the Torch does and offers a little extra too, making it worth checking out.