If you’ve read the blog or have listened to my podcast Clipped, you know that I’m a huge proponent of dynamic microphones. Currently, I’m hyped on the Samson Q2U. So much so, that I decided to review it and hit you guys with an article outlining its features. If you’ve been tempted to take a seat behind the mic to share your wisdom with the world, the Samson Q2U could be the microphone for you. It produces really good sound quality, which might be a shock to some, because of how inexpensive it is.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
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Top Samson Q2U Features
There are several features of the Samson Q2U that make podcasters loyal to this microphone. From the clever design to the various routing options, here’s why content creators love this mic.
The Samson Q2U has a cardioid pickup pattern. This simply means it prioritizes sound at the front of your mic (where you’ll speak into). In doing so, it minimizes ambient room noise. This results in clean, crisp audio quality.
The Samson Q2U’s little brother, the Q1U, was infamous for an annoying hiss sound. Hiss, static, and hum are really common amongst microphones at this price point. Thankfully, the Q2U doesn’t have this problem. Samson did a great job at improving this mic.
Oh, and just a quick note about sound quality and microphone placement. To really make this microphone shine, you need to get it pretty close to your mouth. Start at 4-5 inches away, and make adjustments as needed. If the mic is too far away it’ll mostly pick up room tone and just a bit of your voice. If the mic is too close it may induce some clipping/distortion.
As a rule of thumb, microphones designed for podcasting/speech should be placed close to your mouth when recording.
The Q2U has 2 Inputs; USB, and XLR. Having dual inputs is game-changing because it gives the podcaster flexibility. Using the microphone via USB is super convenient, easy to set up, and requires less equipment. Just plug it into your computer and BOOM, you’re good to go. This is a great option for new podcasters because of how easy the setup is. It can also be great for more experienced podcasters who record in different locations and want to travel light.
Connecting the microphone via XLR requires an audio interface. This is a great option if you’re looking for slightly better audio quality than what the USB connection can provide. But don’t worry, this microphone still sounds killer when connected via USB.
The Samson Q2U comes with a headphone output built directly into the microphone. Plug your headphones into this jack for zero-latency monitoring. Hear yourself as you record with no delays in audio playing back at you. If you prefer to plug your headphones directly into your computer, or audio interface, that’s completely fine. Just make sure you listen for latency.
The construction of the Samson Q2U makes it a very durable mic. It’s pretty shock resistant if you happen to knock it off your desk, which means it won’t break easily. This makes it ideal for podcast novices who aren’t used to handling or transporting a microphone.
Inside The Box
With your new microphone, you’ll receive various items to help you make the most of the Samson Q2U.
Included inside is a foam cover, otherwise known as a windscreen. This is to help reduce excess noise caused by breathing too loudly, or pushing too much air into the microphone capsule when you speak. Essentially, it helps you maintain cleaner audio. Definitely put this on the mic.
You’ll also get a tripod stand to put your microphone on. However, I’m not a big fan of the tripod that comes with this microphone. You certainly want to be hands-free when podcasting, but this is a shitty tripod. It’s funny, a lot of microphone manufacturers throw in cheap mic stands with their microphones. It’s a strategy they use to bundle their sales. Do yourself a favor and get a good mic stand or boom arm. I love my Rode PSA 1 . It’s a boom arm that extends across a desk and swivels around 360 degrees. It’s easy to attach and detach if you need to move it around, or switch positions.
Inside the box is also a microphone clip, a USB cable, and an XLR cable. The XLR cable is going to be crappy and MAY induce some electrical noise into your recordings. I recommend grabbing a good one from Amazon.
When Should I Use This Mic?
This mic was specifically designed for recording voice. Thus, it’s great for podcasting, YouTube, and streaming. You wouldn’t record music with it. If you’re reading this it’s probably because you’re a podcaster or aspiring podcaster. So, uh, that’s what you would use it for.
Whether you’re a beginner on your first podcast journey or an experienced podcaster who knows exactly what they’re doing, there is a place for the Samson Q2U in your life. If not as your primary microphone then definitely as a travel mic, or backup microphone.
How To Record With The Samson Q2U
Being that Q2U is USB and XLR compatible, you can record using an audio interface, handheld recorder, or record straight into an online platform like Riverside.fm. You can also pair the Q2U with a DAW.
Are There Any Disadvantages to This Mic?
No microphone is completely perfect. There is a bit of a con to the Samson Q2U, however, compared to other mics of a similar price, it’s not a major issue.
The Samson Q2U picks up plosive sounds easily. In fact, a little too well. Your “b’s” and “p’s” might sound blown out when using this mic.
Thankfully, plosive sounds are common in the podcasting world which means there’s a myriad of ways to fix this issue. The most well-known solution is a pop filter. It reduces the “pop” sound that is often heightened on words that start with b and p. Pop filters come in a range of sizes and prices. It’s worth investing in one if you’re just getting started in podcast creation and haven’t mastered your speech pattern and prononciation.
Don’t want to deal with a pop filter? Try this…Place the mic slightly off axis from your mouth when you speak into it. Placing the mic at a little bit of an angle will greatly help reduce plosives.
How Much Does It Cost?
The Samson Q2U costs $59.99 on Amazon, which is an absolute steal.
Is the Price Fair Compared to Other Mics?
For $60, you won’t find anything better than the Samson Q2U. There are many other mics on the market that cost a lot more and simply aren’t as good as the Q2U for podcasting. There’s also a lot of microphones on the market at similar price points that are complete garbage.
Of course, you could spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end microphone. This is fine if you know what you’re doing. However, if you want to keep things simple without compromising on quality, the Samson Q2U won’t let you down.
Is It Right For a First-Time Podcaster?
Yes, the Samson Q2U is perfect for a new podcaster. One of the main reasons it’s perfect for a beginner is that it’s so easy to use. It’s also a great mic to hone in on the nuances of your voice, and learn how to make adjustments.
When starting, you want to avoid spending too much money on complicated equipment that might be difficult to use. In my years of coaching podcasters, I’ve found that overthinking equipment keeps people from starting because they get overwhelmed with information.
For those less familiar with microphone technology, deciding upon your first podcast microphone can seem daunting. That’s why the Samson Q2U is such a great choice. It features everything you need to record high-quality audio without overcomplicating things.
The Wrap Up
The Samson Q2U makes recording high-quality podcast audio sound very easy. Ultimately, using this mic will heighten your podcast creation experience because you’ll be able to focus on content and not get wrapped up with a complicated setup.
Also, since the Samson Q2U is so cheap you won’t feel bad if you’re quick to give up on your podcast dreams. Trust me, I’ve seen people spend a lot of money on all of the podcasting bells and whistles only to call it quits early on and be stuck with thousands of dollars in gear that they’ll never use.
If you decide to get the Samson Q2U, you won’t regret it.
Tech Specs For The Samson Q2U
- Element Type: Dynamic
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid (unidirectional)
- Frequency Response: 50HZ-15 KHZ
- Bit Depth: up to 16 bits
- Sample Rate: 44.1khz/48kHz
- Digital Output: mini-USB
- Max. SPL: 148dB SPL
- Product Dimensions: 7.5″ by 2.2″ diameter
- Sensitivity: -54dBV/Pa
- Analog Output: XLR
- Microphone switch: on/off (USB and XLR)
- Product weight: 0.7lb (0.32kg)
- Headphone jack: 3.5 mm
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