It’s time to revisit our Samson Q2U review in 2021. Can this popular entry-level mic still mix it with the modern era heavyweights? Let’s find out…
Ask any podcasting group or community for microphone recommendations and you’ll often hear the Samson Q2U being touted.
That’s no surprise, either. There are a number of good reasons why you might want one. In fact, that’s why the Q2U appears in our Best Podcast Microphones article. It’s also one of our top recommended best value for money mics.
In this Samson Q2U review, we’ll take a look at these reasons, and see whether they’re relevant to you and your own podcasting setup.
Editor’s Note: The Samson Q2U in 2021?
We first reviewed the Samson Q2U back in 2016. With all the fancy new mics that have been released since then, you’d think that the Q2U might’ve been long since forgotten about. That definitely isn’t the case!
Samson Q2U Review: Who Would Use It?
A quick heads up that we use affiliate links to products and services we think you’ll find useful or interesting. We may earn a small commission should you choose to buy through them, though never at any extra cost to yourself!
The flexibility of the Samson Q2U throws the doors right open here. Whether you’re a podcaster or the lead singer in a band, this is a durable, affordable, and handy microphone to have around.
Our Rating: 4.6/5
It’s also a mic that you’ll find in the recording setups of podcasting veterans and novices alike. It can be part of the simplest setup, running directly into a computer, or a heavily customised one involving mixers and digital recorders.
What Makes the Q2U Great?
Being a dynamic microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern it’s ideally suited to picking up vocals, whilst rejecting much of the sounds around and behind it. And the Q2U actually does a better job than most other dynamic-cardioid mics on this front.
It also performs well with handling noise. It’s always preferable to mount your mics in a boom arm or stand, but if you’re doing some on-location interviews it might be easier to walk around holding the mic. The only mic I’ve come across that ‘handles’ better than the Q2U is the Shure SM58.
Where Would You Use It?
Regardless of what microphone you’re using, it’s always good to record your podcasts in a quiet, sound-dampened room – unless you’re going for a field-recorded “in the moment” effect. Nevertheless, the Samson Q2U is pretty forgiving of less than ideal recording conditions.
To rephrase the question a bit, there’s actually not many places where you couldn’t use it. Just be sure to monitor your recordings at all times by plugging some earbuds into the Q2U’s headphone jack. That way, you can pick up on environmental audio issues the second they happen, as opposed to when you get home and load your audio into your computer.
What Kind Of Recording Setup Suits the Samson Q2U?
This is where the microphone really shines. Whilst almost every other microphone has a USB cable to plug into your computer, OR an XLR cable to plug into your mixer or recorder, the Q2U has both. This gives you all sorts of flexibility when recording your podcast.
If you intend on using an interface to podcast, and something breaks, you can switch to USB and record directly into your computer. Likewise, if you are on the road and have your microphone with you, there’s more chance of finding a setup to accommodate it if you want to do some recording on the fly.
This is one of the reasons it’s a great beginner microphone. You can get started with the minimum setup, recording via USB. But as you grow, perhaps getting a digital recorder or mixer, this mic will grow with you. Stick this into a high-level audio interface with top-quality preamps and you’ll find the audio quality ramps up as a result.
Having both a USB and XLR connection means you can even record through both simultaneously. If you’re doing an important interview on location and are scared of something breaking, this is a comforting safety net to have in place. You can also use this dual functionality to assist you when doing a mix-minus remote interview.
The Q2U is a real swiss-army knife of podcasting, fitting just about any context you can throw at it.
What Does It Come With?
That depends on whether you get the mic on its own or as part of a bundle. You can buy the Q2U as part of a ‘Podcast Pack’ and get
- A desktop/table mic stand and boom arm
- A set of stereo headphones
- XLR and USB cables
- A pop filter and foam whindshield
- A cleaning kit for the mic and its accessories
How Much Does It Cost?
Samson Q2U Review: How Does It Sound?
Here are a couple of sound samples I’ve recorded for you. They were originally recorded for our Best Budget Mics roundup, and feature segments of a reading from Beatrix Potter’s dark horror classic Peter Rabbit.
Samson Q2U as USB
Samson Q2U as XLR
The XLR version was recorded into a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface. I’ve applied no post-processing, normalisation, noise-reduction etc to the files.
Samson Q2U Review: The Summary
Available for as little as $69.99 this mic lets you record via either USB or XLR. On top of that, it has as good a sound quality as any in its range. These factors make it hard to look past the Samson Q2U when it comes to buying your first podcasting mic.
If you’re starting a podcast, don’t yet have a microphone, and have a limited budget, then this is an excellent option for you.
Its simplicity, versatility, and accessories make for amazing value. It’s definitely the mic we end up recommending to people the most here at The Podcast Host, and we use them a lot too.
There are a few similar options on the market too though, from the ATR2100 to the Maono AU-HD300T.
On top of that, you can also check our current list of the best podcast microphones on the market if you’re still looking to shop around a bit!