Today we’re taking a look at the FIFINE Ampligame A8 USB microphone, which was provided to us by the manufacturer for this review. Currently, the world of gaming peripherals can feel like an over-saturated market with a lot of over-hyped, under-developed products available. Does the Ampligame A8 fall into this morray of mediocrity, or does it distinguish itself as a worthy purchase? Let’s find out.
The Ampligame A8 came in packaging that was simple but effective. The foam surrounding the microphone inside the box gave me confidence that it could survive some pretty abusive delivery drivers. Yes, I’m looking at you, Amazon delivery guy. Inside the box, we get the microphone, a user guide, a desk stand, a pop filter, a 2-meter USB-A to USB-C cable, and an adapter for mounting the microphone on a boom arm.
I normally wouldn’t mention instruction/quick-start books in any detail, but the included User Guide that comes with the Ampligame A8 is honestly one of the best I’ve seen. It includes clear, concise, step-by-step instructions on setup and use of the microphone, with pictures that are actually helpful. It provides a full walkthrough of all the microphone’s features, which were helpful multiple times. The setup instructions do need to be updated for Windows 11, but I can’t fault them too much for that. Overall, fifine did an incredible job with the User Guide. Other manufacturers should be taking notes.
The construction of the included parts is very good for its price point. I couldn’t find build materials anywhere on the manufacturer’s website; however, it feels like most of the microphone is made of a hard, durable plastic, with metal parts only where needed. The overall effect does not look or feel cheap; in fact, I’m a fan of both the material design and the aesthetic design of the microphone. The entire piece is a subdued matte black finish, which will look sleek and professional in just about any setup.
The RGB lighting on the microphone surprised me with its elegance. I never thought I would use “RBG” and “elegant” in the same sentence, but here we are, in the year 2023. The RBG effects are not over-done or flashy, but are instead a nice touch that only adds to the overall visual effect of the device. The lights are soft and diffused, and act as an accent rather than a centerpiece. There are seven solid colors and two dynamic gradient effects available with the touch of a button on the back of the microphone. The Ampligame A8 gets major props for offering two lighting options that I personally enjoy but always find lacking in most RGB devices: a solid white option, and an option to turn the lights off completely. My current keyboard has solid white backlighting, and finally being able to match my microphone to it is a beautiful thing.
There’s not really much to mention about the included desk stand. It’s perfectly fine and it works well. My one small gripe with the stand is that, as a tall person, I wish it had even a small amount of height adjustment. That gripe gets removed when do as I did and use the included boom arm mount, which works as advertised and gave me no issues. It looks great on the boom arm I bought from Amazon years ago.
The construction and aesthetics of the Ampligame A8 really don’t leave anything to be desired. It’s a solidly-built device that would look nice in just about any setting. My one issue with the device physically is that the included shock mount is an integral part of the device. You cannot remove the microphone from the shock mount. Trust me, I tried. Is this issue a deal-breaker? Not at all. The vast majority of customers using this device will benefit way more from the mere fact of having a shock mount than they would from being able to separate the pieces.
The Ampligame A8 looks great, but how does it perform, and what is the experience using the device?
Initial setup of the microphone is as simple as plugging the included USB-A to USB-C cable into the microphone and into the device you want to use. It’s actually that simple. As surprising as that is, what truly surprised me was the fact that this thing worked on literally everything I threw it on. My Windows desktop? Worked right away with zero configuration required, and same with my Windows laptop. My iPad? Garage Band picked it right up and set it as the default input. It was even plug-and-play on my Steam Deck, which shocked me. The software and firmware designers at FIFINE did their job well, and I am impressed. This device would be a dream for someone who isn’t very technically savvy but wants a good microphone.
The largest feature that I was looking forward to on this microphone is the included headphone jack on the device that lets you monitor the microphone with no extra equipment required, other than a standard set of earbuds. This is a massive feature for people looking to use this device to record audio or video or do some live-streaming. Overall, I had mixed thoughts on the implementation of the feature. It works as advertised, with good clarity, but the balance of the monitoring channel is not what I would expect. The volume that comes through the monitoring channel is actually louder than what the microphone outputs. This could cause very real issues in a myriad of ways, but the most obvious one is that your friends in Discord are going to make fun of you because your mic is always too quiet.
However, having a quiet mic is easy to fix on the Ampligame A8, because it has a physical volume/gain knob on the device, making on-the-fly adjustments extremely fast and simple. It’s a great inclusion; I just wish the knob weren’t on the back of the device out of sight. I spent over an hour getting ready to roast this device in this review because it was super quiet and I couldn’t get any real volume out of it, no matter what I did in Windows or in Audacity. I felt really dumb when the User Guide reminded me that there’s a gain knob, which was barely past the half-way point. After that, my experience with the microphone improved greatly. FeelsBadMan.
So, how does it sound? Before I answer that question, I want to say that I’m going to review it from the perspective of the target customer: a normal person who wants to use it for voice chat and maybe some simple YouTube videos or podcast recordings. I could review it from a professional sound recording perspective, but that’s not what it’s intended for, and most of our readers would fall asleep during a review like that.
For its intended purposes, the Ampligame A8 works wonderfully. It has a clear, neutral sound that seems to have a very flat EQ curve, meaning that it’s not changing anything in the sound of your voice. What you’re saying is exactly what your friends in voice chat will hear, even if it’s implications about their matronly relations.
The microphone has a great sound that you could use for a variety of uses beyond voice chat as well, like recording a podcast or doing voice-overs. It’s aimed at gamers who want to voice chat, but the device is pretty versatile, especially with its Mac and iPad compatibility.
If you’d like to hear what the microphone sounds like yourself, here is me reading the previous three paragraphs, recorded on the Ampligame A8 using Audacity. Enjoy my terrible voice-over abilities.
My one criticism of the Ampligame A8’s sound performance is that the microphone is not very sensitive. As long as you have the microphone within a foot of your mouth, it sounds great and you’ll have no issues, but if you want to have the microphone more than three feet from your face, you’ll start to sound quiet to your Discord homies no matter what you do.
The FIFINE Ampligame A8 can be had for under $50 before taxes and shipping, and for that price, it is a fantastic device that I can easily recommend. It performs well, it looks great, and it has a lot of useful features that some expensive microphones don’t. Fifine has a $70 kit that includes the microphone and a boom arm, and I would highly recommend this kit if you can afford the extra money. Even a cheap boom arm will make your microphone setup much more clean, much more useful, and much more user-friendly.
When I received this product, I was skeptical, and I was ready to write the device off as manufactured e-waste designed to make money off a fad. What I found after giving it a serious shot is a microphone that I liked enough to start recommending to people. It turns out that some manufacturers really do care, and they do want to make a good product. Well done, FIFINE.