JBL Quantum Stream Dual Pattern USB mic review: best for novice streamers

JBL Quantum Stream: One-minute review

The JBL Quantum Stream is a strong first effort from a company that may be new to the peripherals game but has been an established name in audio for a long time. In fact, the brand has been doing a great job with its initial batch of computer and gaming peripherals. The JBL Quantum 810, for instance, may not top the list but is a contender for one of the best gaming headsets. Likewise, the Quantum Stream won’t dethrone any of the best USB mics but is a worthy consideration for most people in the market for a USB mic.

If you’re on the prowl for your first one, therefore, you should take a close look at the JBL Quantum Stream. It sounds good, has plenty of features, and, most importantly, is a breeze to set up and use. That ease of use is really what sets it apart from a lot of the competition. Depending on your setup and experience (or lack thereof) though, it might be a better option than much of the competition.

JBL Quantum Stream: Price and availability

How much does it cost? $99.95 / £99.99 / AU$119When is it available? Available nowWhere can you get it? Available in the US, the UK, and Australia

JBL Quantum Stream: SPECS

Polar pattern: Cardioid, omnidirectional
Sample rate: 24-bit/96kHz
Connection Type: USB
Weight: 0.55lb

The JBL Quantum Stream goes for a very reasonable $99.95 / £99.99 / AU$119. That price tag puts this USB mic squarely in the middle of the pack whether you’re getting it in the US, UK, or Australia. You can find cheaper options such as the JLab Go Talk with its bargain basement price of $49 / £49 (about AU$70) or splurge on a mic like the Razer Seiren Elite which will set you back $200 / £200 (about AU$285). 

But, the Quantum Stream strikes a nice balance between price and functionality, making it an ideal option for those with limited funds on the hunt for a functional, versatile and solid-sounding mic.

Value: 4.5 / 5

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

JBL Quantum Stream: Design

Simple design that hides a lot of functionalityPorts are awkwardly placed

One of the things that I like most about the JBL Quantum Stream is how streamlined its design is. At first glance, it’s as simple as it gets. It comes in a matte black finish with an aluminum grille covering the mic capsule and a hard, sturdy plastic shell. 

It’s only adorned with a silver JBL logo, an articulated dial on the front, and a mic mute button on top. The stand is also deceptively simple with its hard-plastic stem and aluminum base. 

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There’s more going on here, however. There may only be one dial, but it’s a multi-function one that can be used to adjust the headphone volume, mic volume, and switch polar pattern. 

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

More surprises await underneath as well. An RGB ring fringes the mic’s bottom edge, changing in color and intensity depending on the setting you’re adjusting. For example, when muted, it’s red. When you press on the dial, it turns purple to indicate that you’re adjusting the mic volume. It also gets dimmer or brighter depending on whether you’re turning it up or down.

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The USB-C port and headphone jack are also underneath for a more minimalist look. Of course, they’re a bit hard to get to as there are only a couple of inches of clearance between them and the base of the mic. When plugging a pair of headphones in with a thick cord, I am barely able to get it to fit. It gets worse if you’re using a different stand that’s wider at the mount as that will make the USB-C port particularly inaccessible.

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

As the stand has a built-in ball joint, it can articulate in any direction by about 30 degrees. However, if you prefer to use an external boom arm, you can either unscrew the base (if you want to keep that ball joint, for instance) or remove the whole stand entirely and mount it on an external stand.

Design: 4 / 5

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

JBL Quantum Stream: Performance

Sound quality is good with plenty of low-endControls and app are easy to use

The JBL Quantum Stream delivers where it matters. Thanks to its full 20-20kHz range, my voice comes across clear and full while retaining plenty of low-end. If I get very close to it, the proximity effect is very pronounced. But, that evens out when I back off a few feet.

There’s less proximity effect with the omnidirectional mode but a lot more background noise. This is typical for omnidirectional polar patterns, especially with USB mics so you’ll want to use it in a quieter recording space. Though there’s not much in the way of background noise rejection, the omnidirectional polar pattern at least records evenly on all sides of the mic, making it foolproof for those just starting to stream or record podcasts.

The mic does tend to pick up some vibrations. It registers every tap I make on the table, its stand, or the mic body. The audio it picked up wasn’t that loud, and I’ve certainly heard far worse. However, I would still consider investing in and using a boom arm or shock mount, especially if you have a tendency to get animated while streaming.

Not only are almost all the controls easily accessible via the multi-function dial, but you can finetune all the settings through the JBL QuantumEngine app. And, while it’s only available for PC, it makes adjusting levels and fine-tuning the lighting a breeze (something you can’t do with just the dial). The app also has a 5-band EQ as well as five different presets to choose from so that I can adjust how I sound when using it live.

Performance: 4.5 / 5

Should I buy the JBL Quantum Stream?

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

Also consider

JBL Quantum Stream: Report card

First reviewed January 2022

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained – regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it’s on our radar.

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