Covid has certainly changed the world we live in more ways than we realize. Many people have had to adapt to working from home. Endless video conferences and emails. While productivity has shifted to online, so has many social aspects. Gamers have naturally been at the forefront of this for quite some time. But with more people being at home and stuck there, gaming and watching other people play games have become increasingly popular. Thanks to high-speed internet becoming nearly effortless to obtain in recent years, every second gamer has decided to jump on to one of the popular streaming services with the hopes of being the next big streamer…
As easy as all the YouTube videos make it out to be, it does require some investment and attention to the products that you use. Unless you are using a high-end headset with a very high-quality microphone, your audience will have to listen to EVERY single noise, hum, and squeak that might emanate from you, your house, or even your PC. In the past, the go-to stand-alone microphone was the famous Yeti. Then came the very capable Razer Seiren series which was an option for the more RGB-conscious gamers, but it is still on the pricier side. Thanks to Cougar Gaming there is now a new microphone on the block. The Cougar Screamer – X takes what made the Yeti the quintessential microphone and made it affordable. We got to test it… Let’s go!
- Power Consumption: 5V /130mA
- Sample/Bit Rate: 96kHz/24bit
- Drivers: Three COUGAR exclusive 16mm Condensers
- Patterns: Cardioid, Shotgun, Bi-directional, Omni-directional
- Freq. Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Sensitivity: -45+/-3dB (at 1kHz)
- Max SPL: 120db
- Dimensions: 100x75x193mm (134x136x257mm w/ stand)
- Weight: 310g (799g w/ stand)
- Connection: USB-C to USB-A
- Cable Length: 3m
RGB Stand/USB 3.0 Hub
- Power Consumption: 5V / 280mA at RGB Lighting
- USB Transfer Type: High Speed USB 3.0
- Connection: USB-C to USB-A Cable
- Dimension: 134x136x146mm
- Weight: 489g
- Cable Length: 1.2m
- Connection: 3.5mm Output
- Impedance: 32Ohms
- Freq. Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Power Output: 120mW
- SNR: 96dB
Design and aesthetics
The Cougar Screamer – X is very easy on the eye, even compared to many of the other brands that aim to look different the Cougar Screamer – X gives off a sense of quiet confidence. It does not need to look different to be good. Its quiet and reserved look appeals to me. Starting off at the base, which is rather hefty. The round foot piece, which is embellished with soft yet vibrant RGB along the edge is thick and sturdy and is made from hard plastics while having an aluminum arm and top piece, all of which is matte black. The center, which is the brushed metal, has a large COUGAR name in the middle. This space is such a nice spot to keep small items that you might be afraid to lose. If COUGAR was able to make this a wireless charging pad that would have completely have blown my mind, but that’s just me wishing! The base has one USB 3.0 port which is basically a USB extender which is so nifty considering some headsets have shorter cables, now you can simply plug it into the base of your new Cougar Screamer – X microphone. The base of the Cougar Screamer – X is powered via a USB-C cable that will use one USB-A port on your motherboard.
Moving on to the microphone itself, it has a rounded-triangular shape which easily, yet firmly, fits into the arm that is attached to the foot piece. The holder allows the Cougar Screamer – X microphone to tilt up and down. The microphone itself is made from hard plastic and once again feels solid and has enough weight to give you confidence that it won’t fall to pieces if you hold it too tightly or bump it by accident. The rear of the Cougar Screamer – X allows you to screw a boom arm to the microphone if you would prefer to use it compared to the desk stand holder. The microphone is powered via an adequately long USB-C cable that plugs into the bottom of the microphone and into your PC via USB 3.0. There is also a 3.5mm jack for your headset so you can plug in directly under the microphone, once again bringing all your connections closer which is very nifty if you have short cables. The other very nice feature is the switch that is also situated on the bottom of the Cougar Screamer – X microphone which allows you to simply turn- noise reduction -on and -off at the flick of a switch.
The front of the microphone greets you with three knobs. The first knob from the bottom is the headphone volume. Great that you do not need to jump around between programs or amps to change the volume of your headset, it is nicely located on the Cougar Screamer – X, if you plug your headset into the bottom-mounted 3.5mm jack, that is. Next up is the pickup selector. The Cougar Screamer – X has four pickup settings, namely, Cardioid which makes the microphone pick up predominantly from the front, which means it is great for streaming, podcasts teams meetings, etc. Shotgun gives the Cougar Screamer – X a very direct pickup which is wonderful when you are doing voiceovers, solo podcasts, or game streaming, Cougar recommends that you keep noise reduction on when using this setting. Bi-directional is great if you are planning to use a single microphone to do interviews or instrumental recordings as it will pick up from the front and the rear. Omni-directional is the last option and it allows for pickups from all directions and is perfect when you want to do multi-person podcasts or conferencing.
The Cougar Screamer – X features a big and great-looking pop filter that has a nice cougar name on it while being big enough for single users it does not overshadow the rest of the microphone and can easily be placed on a desk without being in the way like many other large pop filters can be. The Cougar Screamer – X features three large 16mm drivers that sit inside the microphone and is protected by a very nice looking vertically slatted cover. Lastly the top of the Cougar Screamer – X microphone has a big, flat mute button that doubles as the top cover of the microphone. If you need to mute for whatever reason a quick dap on the top of the microphone will mute it and give you a red indicator on the top to show that you are currently muted.
As we don’t have a stand microphone to compare the Cougar Screamer – X to, we, fortunately, do have a high-end headset that features a Blue Voice microphone. Not quite apples with apples but it’s as good as we have. The way we tested, which is not remotely close to science is we would sit in a chat with friends and change between settings and microphones and see what the friends would hear or would they even notice the change. I have used lower-end stand microphones before and I was literally told to stop speaking and switch back to my headset, so I have some harsh critics.
The main issue with condenser microphones is generally the fact that pick up every snap crackle and pop in both your voice and the surroundings. I jumped straight into it by having my fan run in the background using the Cougar Screamer – X with Cardioid setting and switching noise reduction on and off, and seeing what my “listeners” hear. Moving the position from close, medium, and next to my monitor while speaking and turning Noise Reduction on and off I was met with some interesting conclusions. The general consensus was that NR off actually created a more authentic-sounding voice and more accurate to real life. No one even noticed the fan in the background whether I had NR on or off so that speaks volumes for the pop filter as well as the way the Cougar Screamer – X handles background noise. Although NR did work great for lounder bangs such as putting a cup down or bumping the desk it did take away quite a lot from the loudness of my voice as well as how clear and crisp it sounds.
the quick and unprofessional verdict, therefore, is that NR is nice if you are planning to use it in a noisy environment but if you can, the Cougar Screamer – X truly shines when NR is turned off!
Cougar has created a professional-looking microphone while retaining enough of its gaming heritage to be attractive to both gamers and gamers who have to do adult stuff like conferences at times. From the packaging to the looks to the build quality, the Cougar Screamer – X is the complete package that allows for easy plug and plays setup while cramming it full of technology that gives even the untrained the ability to create and produce clear, true to life, voice reproduction all while sidestepping the dreaded “over-sensitivity” that plagues many of the condenser mics on the market. If you don’t use their noise reduction feature, which isn’t perfect but a step in the right direction, the Cougar Screamer – X is one of the better-sounding microphones that I have used or heard, to date.
where to buy: Kloppers PE: R 2 699.00
special thanks to Cougar Gaming South Africa for the review content