Almost two years into the work-from-home life, it’s about time some of us invest in our video call set up, don’t you think? We’re stuck all day staring at people’s’ grainy webcam videos and listening to tinny feedback-prone mics. We can do the people we’re talking to a favor by improving a couple of things, like getting a couple of lights to improve your video quality, or to get a headset with a good mic to reduce reliance on your work laptop’s (bad) mic. An external mic, even if it was just a headset mic, would make a huge improvement on your audio quality. Or you can be extra like me and get a Samson Q2U.
What is the Samson Q2U?
When you first look at it, the Samson Q2U looks like one of those karaoke mics that every single Filipino household had back in the day. Those cheap handheld dynamic mics were everywhere, broke easily, and would reach a point where they would just stop working until you angled the cable just about right. Try singing while holding it that way.
While the Samson Q2U takes its design cues from the Shure SM58 and all of the similar handhelds that followed, this one is unique in that it incorporates both USB and XLR outputs so you have the choice to plug it straight into your computer, or if you’re feeling fancy, use an audio interface for better sound quality.
Why would you even get a Samson Q2U?
I got the Samson Q2U primarily so I can have better audio for my Twitch streams. While the ModMic Uni is a lovely mic that did the job and mostly stayed out of the way as it was attached to my headphones, I had trouble EQ-ing it so I can get the sound that I want.
It was time for an upgrade.
What’s in the box?
Aside from the mic itself, the Samson Q2U also came with a very flimsy mic stand that I don’t recommend that you use, a foam windscreen, SUB and XLR cables, and a mic holder. If you plan on using the Q2U as a podcasting/streaming/video conferencing mic, I highly suggest that you invest in a mic arm that can clamp to your desk to reduce the amount of noise that it picks up when you fiddle around on your desk.
How does it fit in my streaming set up?
So I used to have a ModMic uni connected to my computer via a cheap-ass Ammoon AGM04 mixer, but I was never really satisfied with that set-up. The mixer’s preamp was too noisy if I go beyond noon on the gain knob. And while the ModMic provided clear audio that worked fine for video calls and other chat-related things, I felt that I could use a better mic for streaming-related things.
I don’t want to bother plugging the Samson Q2U to my flimsy-ass mixer, so I decided to bypass that and instead went all USB until I can afford to get me a Go XLR Mini or a Wave XLR. I’ll deal with analog audio connections by then, but for now I’ll stick with USB, audio snobs be damned.
And I’m pretty happy with how it sounds! I won’t claim to be an audio expert and I’m still learning how to use compression, EQ, and other effects, but I think I did a good job here. It’s also a little sensitive to plosives and sibilance, but nothing a good pop filter, microphone technique, and de-esser can’t fix.
Should you get it?
Again, if you want to be kind to the people on the other end of your voice call, you really need to use something other than your laptop/webcam’s built-in mic and/or the earbuds that came with your phone. Those things aren’t going to cut it and are going to be annoying by the time you hit the 30-minute mark of your meeting. Get a headset with a decent mic. If you really want to stand out in your Zoom calls, go get a USB mic. Aside from the Samson Q2U, there are a ton of affordable USB mics that sound amazing from brands such as Fifine, Maono, Razer, HyperX and more. If you want something similar to the Samson Q2U, Audio Technica also makes mics that function the same way as Samson’s – you just need to pick the one that you want.
You owe it to everyone who’s stuck listening to your presentation for the next hour or so.