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Samson Q2U Review | Is This (Still) the Best Microphone for Podcasters?

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The Podcast Host: Top Pick

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.

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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!

Samson Q2U Review - The Best Mic for New Podcasters

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
Samson Q2U review: the mic is also available as part of a podcast pack

How Much Does It Cost?

You can buy the Samson Q2U on its own for less than $70, or get it as part of a Podcasting Pack for $129.99.

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

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!

What Our Readers Think About Samson Q2U Review | Is This (Still) the Best Microphone for Podcasters?

Sorry, comments are closed.

  1. Shawn Rockenbach says:

    I will be the first to admit that I am not the most tech savvy person, which is crazy for someone starting a podcast.

    I recently purchased 2 samson q2u usb/xlr mics with headphones to do an interview based podcast. I am using the xlr cables to connect to a Zoom H4N recorder (using batteries) and when I have the headphone jack plugged into the mic I am not getting any audio in the headphones. I plugged in a headphone splitter directly into the recorder and was able to get audio through the headphones but it was only the left for line 1 and right for line 2 making it weird for myself and the guest to only hear our input on one side. I have been searching for hours trying to figure out why the headphones plugged into the mic did not produce any audio, any thoughts on how to resolve this would be great. Thank you

    • Hi Shawn. For headphone ports on mics to work they need to be set as the ‘output’ option on whatever you’re recording through. If you’re using a computer, this is easy, but it often isn’t an option when you’re using a digital recorder. So you’re right, that listening through the recorder itself is the best option. On the H5 you can plug 2 pairs of headphones in, one in the actual headphone port, and one into the Line Out port. I don’t have an H4 to hand but I don’t believe that has a Line Out port. If I were you I’d just monitor the recording yourself and don’t worry that the guest can’t hear themselves. If they’re unfamiliar with audio recording just spend a minute or two going over some basic mic etiquette with them beforehand to make sure they’re not repeatedly popping, or wildly changing their distance from the mic whilst talking.

  2. This is a shot in the dark since I don’t own one of these mics yet. (I plan on buying one after reading this review and others) The headphone output would need some sort of amplification in order to hear it. This would require power. The only power input that I see based on the photo of the inputs would be 5 volts input from the USB port. Try plugging the USB into a power source or computer and you might be able to hear both channels from the headphone jack. BTW check out some of my podcast at I currently use a PYLE PDMIC 58 but will be getting the Samson mic to use as primary.

  3. Brian says:

    This is the microphone that I bought a few weeks ago for my podcast, and boy, do I love it! I was thinking about getting the Audio Technica ATR 2100, but upon hearing both in a side by side test on a YouTube video, my ears liked this one better, and I must say that I am not at all disappointed.

    • Great to hear Brian, cheers!

  4. Marc David Miller says:

    I am creating a podcast on international trade and finance (thus business/policy oriented), and it will be mostly an interview format. Am waiting on delivery of the Q2U (and focusing too much on gear!). One question: I would be using the Q2U with a Zoom H6 recorder, connecting with XLR. Do I lose much because the mic does NOT use phantom power?

  5. John M says:

    If you’re doing an interview podcast and so have two people, you’d need a second microphone? Whereas the Blue Yeti you can use with two people, and costs about twice as much?

  6. Gerald says:

    Would anyone know if I would be able to connect the Samson Q2U directly to my Android smartphone via USB-C for recording? Also, the article mentions the “in-the-moment” effect ie capturing ambient sounds (festivals, jungles) and candid reactions, am I better off using something like a Zoom H4n for that instead? Or would I need both the mic and the portable recorder if I wanted to do interviews while I’m out in the field? Would something like an iRig connected to my phone be able to replace both the mic and the portable recorder?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Matthew Boudreau says:

      It depends on the android phone, but typically the answer is yes. You need an inexpensive adapter called an OTG (On the go) cable. I highly recommend getting one with the power charging capability, as your phone will be powering the microphone and therefore would drain a little faster. I use these here and they work a treat:

      In general, I prefer the H4N or another field recorder than using a cellphone. However, as long your cellphone records in an uncompressed format, which is largely a matter of the app you choose, you can get great results identical to if you were recording on a laptop or any other computer.

      I have and use an iRig from time to time. The limitation of the iRig are that if your phone doesn’t use high-quality audio input components, your results may not be as good. Whereas the OTG/USB solution bypasses the on-phone inputs and uses the digital inputs of the Q2U.

  7. Gerald says:

    Thank you so much! This site has been an amazing resource for me. Love it’s too the point style. I think I’m convinced that I should get a field recorder instead. Any advice for one I should invest in? I’m just starting out and the H4N might be a little out of my budget.

    Which do you think would work better for my purpose? The H2N or the DR-22WL?

    Btw I hope the Alitu software gets an app version for Android soon!

  8. Susan Stortini says:

    Hello, thank you so much in advance for your help. I recently purchased the Q2U Mic, and I cannot seem to get it to record on my mac book pro running Catalina, has anyone else had this issue? I have not been able to find the THRU column in Audio/MIDI setup

    • Lindsay Harris Friel says:

      What software are you using? Catalina and some audio software aren’t playing nicely with each other. The tech support/knowledge base for the software should be able to answer your question about Catalina.

  9. x Hades Stamps says:

    This is one of three microphones I always recommend for beginners, no matter what field. The Audio Technica ATR2100USB, Audio Technica AT2005USB, and of course, the Samson Q2U, although I don’t use it myself. I’ve heard very good things about them. Sadly, there are very few USB dynamic microphones out there (these, Røde Podcaster the one everyone seems to hate), CAD U-1 (which, last I checked, only got good results out of Windows), and Sennheiser Handmic Digital (way too expensive) are the only ones I know.