The Thronmax Pulse looks stylish, and has the quality to match
- Manufacturer: Thronmax
- Model: M8 Pulse
- Type: USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Platforms: Windows PC, Mac OS, Linux, PS4/5
- Reviewed on: Windows PC
- Supplied by: Thronmax
Thronmax Pulse Review
The Thronmax Pulse is a compact, lightweight and ultra-portable microphone. It has exceptional sound quality and looks far more expensive than it is, especially considering its budget price point. Although it doesn’t have quite as many features as the Mdrill One Pro, they’ve concentrated all of their effort and budget into making sure the most important part, the sound quality, exceeds expectations.
Our review is based upon the 2021 revision, so if you decide to pull the trigger and pick up the Thronmax Pulse, double check to make sure you are getting the updated version that we have. The new version has been refined and supports 96kHz/24bit sound recording as opposed to 48kHz/16bit like the original.
Somewhat confusingly, it’s listed as the M8 Pulse on the Thronmax website, however, on the packaging it’s just called Pulse.
Design and build
What’s in the box?
- Thronmax Pulse Microphone
- Adjustable mic mount, with universal 5/8“ thread
- Tripod stand
- USB-A to USB-C cable
- Connection guide/warranty
- Thronmax stickers
Thronmax has hit it out of the park with the Pulse. The design looks unlike almost any other mic on the market, with its two-tone colourway lending it an air of professionalism.
The outer shell is constructed mostly from high-grade plastic, with a matte coating that makes it look almost metallic at a glance. Even though it is very light, it feels solid in the hand, and has a reassuringly solid heft to it.
The included tripod weighs a bit more than the mic itself, but this helps keep it firmly planted on your desk and is resistant to minor bumps and knocks. By adjusting how far you open the tripod’s legs, you can easily raise or lower the mic and help put it in the optimal position. There’s a good level of resistance in the hinges that prevents any unwanted movement, too.
To attach the microphone to the tripod, an adjustable mount connects via a universal ⅝” threaded connector. I tested the Pulse out with both the tripod and our Thronmax Castor S2 boom stand; the ball-jointed mount makes it a cinch to position the microphone right where you need it.
Connectivity and setup
Thronmax has designed the Pulse to be very simple to use. Simply connect the USB-C end of the cable to your microphone and the USB-A end to a USB 3.0 or above port on your computer (or PS4/PS5). There are no software or driver updates needed, just plug-and-play simplicity. As part of a mobile workspace, this convenience is very desirable, as it means less time adjusting your setup and more time creating content.
All of the connections and controls are located on the back of the microphone. There is a USB-C connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, mode select/mute switch and a volume wheel to control the audio output volume from your PC (the wheel controls your computer’s master output level, rather than just the mic monitoring).
Surrounding the base of the microphone is a translucent ring backlit with LEDs. There’s no way to turn the LEDs off, but they aren’t distracting (I actually really like it) and they provide an at-a-glance indication of the current mode and mute setting: In cardioid mode, the LED lighting at the back of the microphone glows blue; quick-pressing the centre button switches on active noise cancellation, which pulses the lighting; Finally, to mute the microphone you long-press the centre button, which makes the LEDs glow red.
There is no integrated gain control, which I thought was going to be problematic at first, but right out of the box the Thronmax Pulse provided great quality vocal pickup. If you find the recorded audio too loud, making a quick adjustment in your OS’s sound settings should easily remedy this, but I had no problems using the mic with default settings.
Like the rest of the Thronmax family of devices, it’s initially detected for recording at 48kHz/16bit, so you’ll need to go into the sound settings and change this to 96kHz/24bit to get the highest quality. This is a one-time adjustment, and will usually be remembered by your PC.
When you first connect your microphone, it routes your computer’s audio through the microphone’s headphone output, so if you would rather use desktop speakers or another audio output, you’ll need to select your preferred device in the settings. Again, this is usually a one-time adjustment, as your PC should remember your preferences.
The Thronmax Pulse is a cardioid microphone that utilises a dual condenser array, supporting up to 96kHz/24bit recording with a 20Hz-20kHz frequency range.
Whenever I get a new microphone to test, I always join a group chat and wait to see if anyone notices, for better or worse, the quality of my mic. I have recently been using the Thronmax Mdrill One Pro, which is exceptionally good, so I was prepared for the far cheaper microphone to be immediately noticed. This wasn’t the case, though, and the feedback was that my voice sounded loud, clear and very natural. That I had to point out this wasn’t my usual microphone speaks volumes (pun intended) for the quality of the Pulse.
Unlike the rest of the Thronmax range we have tested, the Pulse only has two recording modes. There’s the traditional unfiltered cardioid arrangement, or you can switch on active noise cancellation if you are in a louder environment.
Although cardioid mics work best when you are speaking directly into them, the Pulse performs very well even when positioned off-axis. This is very handy if you have limited space in your setup or just want to game without the microphone obstructing your movements. It’s capable of picking up your voice loud and clear, even if it’s placed relatively far away from you, and I found that between one and three feet away there was very little variance in the recorded volume, which is excellent.
There was the slightest hint of echo picked up when I was further away, but this is likely due to the acoustics of the room I was in rather than a limitation of the microphone. The microphone is very sensitive, however, and because of the wide frequency response, it will pick up anything and everything happening in your room. The Pulse does have an integrated feature to help, though – active noise cancellation.
The active noise cancellation works very well, doing a fantastic job of eliminating background noise. With the microphone placed in front of my keyboard, it all but silenced the noise of the mechanical keys. The only downside is that it can make your voice sound a little distorted and loses the natural timbre you get in the cardioid mode. It’s ideal if you are just using the Pulse for in-game comms or chatting on Discord. However, if you want to make a more professional-sounding recording for a podcast or streaming then I’d recommend using cardioid mode and improving your local acoustics, as well as mounting the Pulse on a stand or positioning it well out of the way of the noise source.
Pricing and availability
With an MSRP of just £49.90, the Thronmax Pulse is a great microphone for the price. Thronmax are relative newcomers on the market, though, so you are a bit limited in places to pick them up. In the UK they were stocked in Game for a while, but it seems that they are only available online now.
In this Amazon listing they have it for £68.65, but if you check other sellers you can get it directly from Amazon for £49.99.
Hopefully, it will be easier to find these excellent microphones once the brand gains more recognition, but for now, the minor amount of effort needed is well worth it.
The Thronmax Pulse is an ultra-portable high-performance microphone that is ideal for anyone on a budget or looking for an additional mic for their portable setup. Immensely stylish, with plug-and-play simplicity and excellent native audio quality, the Pulse will make a great addition to any setup.
It may lack some of the features and sound processing effects of more expensive microphones, but for under £50, it’s hard to go wrong with the Pulse.