SteelSeries Alias Mic review

Gadget Review: SteelSeries Alias

Sounding good has never been this easy before.

6 mins read

I’m a fan of SteelSeries generally. I default to the company’s keyboards and mice when I’m at my desk (and even play Snek! from time to time – one of the best built-in minigames ever!), and the headset offers some of the best audio quality for gaming situations. So I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that SteelSeries produces a mean microphone, too. The SteelSeries Alias is something you should be very happy to see under the Christmas tree.

By far the best thing about this microphone is that it is truly plug-and-play. It’s a USB mic that you don’t need to route through an interface or deal with the mess of XLR connections. You pull this thing out of the box, plug it in, and you’re instantly away and running.

Of course, the Alias is not the first microphone to offer that kind of functionality. It is, however, one of the first I’ve encountered where you’ll struggle to see the benefits of upgrading to that Rode-and-XLR setup unless you’re ready to go really professional and need a full-on studio.

Case-in-point: This month’s Digitally Uploaded podcast, versus previous months, where I had a Rode microphone hooked in via an interface. The recording space was the same, so you can do a direct comparison, and while the XLR interface-and-mic option is better (or, at least, I believe so), it’s only marginally so, and that’s after having spent a lot of time fine-tuning the interface to arrive at the settings I’m happy with and using the thing to record, month after month. The podcast recording where I used the Alias, meanwhile, happened on quite literally the day I pulled the mic out of the box, and sounds incredible compared to every other mic that I’ve ever tried to record on from sitting on my desk. A little more echo-y, yes (and that was something noted by my podcast co-hosts), but I think my voice comes across clearly enough.

Volume levels are easy to monitor from the LED lights that sit directly on the mic’s body, and there’s a simple and responsive tap-to-mute option, which is perfect for when there’s a sneeze coming on.

A picture of the SteelSeries Alias Microphone

Once you want to delve into the features, SteelSeries has its Sonar software, which is efficient and elegant, with a drag-and-drop interface and a suite of features that are easy to understand and manipulate, even for people who (like me) are not about to move into a sound production career. With that said, though it is definitely plug-and-play, there’s a depth to the feature set that is pitched perfectly at the prosumer space and if you do want to get into sound production, then SteelSeries and Sonar offer the ideal introduction AND mid-level stages on your learning journey.

And then for those ready to make the next step up, there is a XRL version of the Alias, the Alias Pro. However, I would argue that going that far is probably not necessary for 99% of the people that might be interested in the Alias. This is a microphone for gaming, as the many settings within the Sonar software make clear. For that specific application, the specialised nature of the microphone really comes through. As far as specs go, SteelSeries boast mostly loudly that the Alias has a condenser capsule that is “3x larger” than… well, one assumes some other no-brand microphone. However, while the substantiation might be lacking in that claim, what it means is that the Alias is good at picking up a range of frequencies, meaning that in the heat of a stream or conference or other such session, you can set-and-forget, knowing that the optimal range for picking your voice up is broad.

The mic is also omnidirectional, meaning that it’s naturally good at blocking out ambient noises to focus on your voice (and whatever might be directly behind you). The mic comes with a suspension stand which is not as great as a boom for blocking out physical rattling noises (such as touching a desk), but it’s more than sufficient, again, for gaming applications.

Essentially, with this mic, you’ll be able to get all the way from total beginner through to having a large enough audience on Twitch or YouTube that you’ll attract a manager. That manager will tell you to invest in an even better mic, perhaps, but the fact that the SteelSeries Alias will get you from zero subscribers to the first million is a pretty good summation of its quality. It’s a not-inexpensive investment, but I can’t think of anything out there that’s better for someone that needs a microphone, but doesn’t want to mess around with learning how to be a sound engineer.

Buy this mic on Amazon (Please note that this is an Affiliate link. By buying from using this link you support DDNet with a small commission on the sale).

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Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

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