The Apogee HypeMiC is a compact, premium quality, USB-powered cardioid condenser mic designed for use with iOS, Mac, and PC. It records up to 24-bit/96 kHz, plus it is 100% plug and play. The design features three multi-color LEDs for input level, analog compression, headphone output, and a Blend monitoring mode. The built-in compressor is a very cool feature and includes three compression types – plus a bypass. A headphone output Blend button is provided, plus a multifunction control wheel for setting the input gain of the built-in preamp, or selecting the compression mode. Connections include a 3.5 mm headphone jack and mini USB jack.

The HypeMiC ships with a very sturdy and collapsible tripod with swivel mount that can also be used on a mic stand, plus a compact metal pop screen. A compact carrying case and all the necessary adapter cables (USB-A, Lightning, and USB-C) are also included – everything you need to record on the go.

I'm not one to read instructions, but I will say that it would definitely be helpful when learning how to use this mic. But after stumbling around for a bit, I was able to quickly master the controls. The monitoring Blend button allows you to select between five different monitor blends, ranging from 100% input to playback only. The middle setting is a good balance point for low-latency source with input monitoring.

The rotary knob/button adjusts the input gain, but when pressed allows you to also select one of three flavors of analog compression: Shape it (light), Squeeze it (medium), or Smash it (high). This is truly a cool feature, and makes the HypeMiC an almost complete mic, preamp, and channel strip in one device. The only thing missing here is a high-pass filter to reduce rumble, and I did have a situation where the mic was picking up vibrations from a hard drive spinning on a desk. Tip: Placing a rubber mouse pad under the tripod immediately alleviated the issue!

The initial sound of the HypeMiC was impressive. It has a rich frequency response for voice and acoustic guitar. This would seriously up anyone's game who is live-streaming performances, an increasingly popular performance outlet at the time of this writing.

The HypeMiC was uber versatile, as I was bouncing from device to device (iPad/iMac/iPhone/laptop) while doing Zoom meetings, podcast sessions, and online jam sessions during our COVID-19 shelter in place order here in California. The clarity of the mic, its plug and play ease, and the versatile Blend control of the monitoring section makes it my go-to mic during these times. I've even used it as a DAC for mixing on an iMac while away from my studio, figuring it had better conversion than the computer's built-in output. This is another fine feature – you could take the monitor line out of the HypeMiC and run it into a mixer or other interface to combine with other audio sources.

Going forward, I definitely want a HypeMiC in my tool kit for more virtual audio sessions, remote recording, and sketching out song demos on iOS devices. For the semi-pro recordist, the inclusion of analog compression is well worth the upgrade from the HypeMiC's sibling MiC PLUS.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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