The Apogee HypeMic sets itself apart from the other USB microphone competition by offering analog compression. This, it says, gets you studio-quality recording but at a more reasonable price and the ease of USB connectivity.
Connection: USB, Lightning
Ports: USB, 3.5mm aux out
Directional patterns: Cardioid
Size: 4.8 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches
Weight: 0.45 lbs
You are going to be paying more than the average USB microphone for this model. But then it's a lot cheaper than a studio microphone. Despite that, you get 24-bit and 96kHz audio recording – something most other models can't offer.
So if you're a professional or even someone new to recording, perhaps podcasting, vlogging, or even music – this could be a great option.
But is this the mic for you? Read on for the full Apogee HypeMic review to find out.
Apogee HypeMic: Design and build
The Apogee HypeMic is a cardioid condenser toting mic which makes it ideal for single-point audio recording. But it's the USB connectivity that makes this product great and super mobile, allowing you to plug into your laptop or iOS device (Lightning adapter included) to get recording right away.
A lot of kit is included; you have a tripod, a pop filter and a decent quality carry case to make sure you're good to go wherever you are. This is aimed at musicians primarily and can be useful if you frequently record from different locations.
The audio compression is a big feature but it's the physical controls that also show the studio-quality focus of the mic. There is a gain knob that also doubles as a mute control, ideal for Zoom or podcasting pauses. A status LED helpfully shows input levels, something that's rare in the USB microphone world. Also, a blue LED shows when the mic is connected which turns green when the DAW is connected.
On the underside is a 3.5mm audio out for headphones, allowing you to monitor your input with no latency. You can also select the blend option which allows you to mix source audio with a signal from your DAW, ideal for overlaying audio on tracks.
Apogee HypeMic: Features and performance
The Apogee HypeMic uses analog signaling to offer three levels of compression which you can control with the gain switch. Hype mode is the standard-setting. Press the gain once for a single LED showing you're in low compression Shape mode, ideal for vocals and instruments. Press twice for two LEDs meaning you're in a higher compression Squeeze mode, perfect for podcasting and interviews. Go for all three lights and use Smash mode for maximum compression to get a big broadcast sound.
Of course, you can use some of the best audio editing software to add compression afterward, but to be able to do this from the mic is really useful. It's a feature you don't realize you need if you jump between recording types, but you'll struggle to live without it once you've used it.
This mic is optimized for GarageBand, Logic and Core Audio apps on Mac via iOS and macOS, but also works with Windows 10 devices. Since there's no configuration needed, it is very easy to use right out of the box.
The 24-bit/96kHz recording is superb and when used with the included pop-filter it can produce studio-quality audio quite easily. The fact it's super light and portable too is a nice bonus.
Apogee HypeMic: Price
The Apogee HypeMic is priced at $249 which puts it above most USB microphones, which come in at sub-$200 prices. But with all the included accessories, the analog compression and the quality of the recording, the price difference actually seems very little. This jumps you far closer to studio-quality kit without the price jumping that high.
Should I buy the Apogee HypeMic?
The Apogee HypeMic is ideal for those musicians or podcasters that want the ease of a USB mic without sacrificing all the quality of a studio microphone. The price jump to get analog compression is going to be well worth it if you demand higher quality audio.
For those that simply want decent quality audio, perhaps for a vlog or video chat, there are lots of USB microphones that still offer quality only without the steeper price tag. Audio-Technica and Blue Yeti are some great examples of brands doing this right now.
The Apogee HypeMic is one of the best USB microphones you can buy thanks to that rare analog compression, host of control buttons, wide range of included accessories and ease of use all rolled into one package.
Despite the price being more than other USB mics, this is still relatively affordable when you consider how close to studio-quality you get without studio equipment pricing.