Samson Q9U Review: A Hotly Anticipated XLR/USB Mic

article featured image

An XLR/USB mic from Samson with a Q and U in its name. Sound familiar?

Look up any mic-related article on this site and a mention for the Samson Q2U won't be far away. It's a mic that works in XLR and USB form, is made by Samson, and has a Q and a U in its name. To confuse matters, it looks like there's a new mic on the market from Samson that works as a USB and an XLR, and has a Q and U in its name. Here is our review of the Samson Q9U.

Samson Q9U Vs Samson Q2U

First and foremost, it doesn't look like the Q9U is designed to be a replacement for the Q2U. They both retain their independence, despite the similarities. Whilst we're on the subject, one more of those similarities is that the Q9U is a Dynamic microphone. This essentially refers to how the mic is built, and how it functions.

They also both have cardioid polar patterns, meaning they're optimised to record one single person speaking into it at one time.

The two most striking differences between the Q9U and the Q2U, without even having used the former yet, is that the Q9U is more expensive, and couldn't be used as a handheld.

There's also some buttons on the Q9U that enable you to control various aspects of your audio.

But I can't write a full review of the Samson Q9U without using it first. Fortunately, I'll have done so by the time we get to the next paragraph…

Samson Q9U Review

Samson Q9U Review: The Lowdown

Now that I've had a good old play with the Samson Q9U, I can bring the sizzling hot takes you've landed here for – all in a fraction of the time it'd take to watch one of those quirky YouTube reviews. You don't even have to “smash” any bells.

Who's it For?

Or, what's it for? Samson answer this question themselves with “Recording, Audio for Video, Journalism, Multimedia, Gaming, Podcasting, Streaming”. So not much you couldn't use it for. Live music… possibly. But for podcasters, it's ideal.

Need Help Launching Your Podcast?

We'll show you the exact steps, give you a launch schedule & help you along the way.

Check out the Course

Need Help Launching Your Podcast?

We'll show you the exact steps, give you a launch schedule & help you along the way.

Check out the Course

What Else Will I Need?

There's no stand included with the Samson Q9U, and it definitely isn't a handheld mic. A boom arm would be ideal to mount the mic on. You could also use a desk stand, but they're far from optimal.

Using the mic in its USB form to record remote calls? Be sure to plug in a set of headphones.

If you want to use it in its XLR form, you'll need an XLR cable and something to run the mic into. That might be a USB Audio Interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, or a podcast recorder like the Zoom PodTrak P4.

How Much Does it Cost?

At time of writing, you'll get a brand new Samson Q9U on Amazon for under $200. On Amazon UK, it's available for £176. A heads up that our link here is an affiliate, which means we'll earn untold billions, should you choose to buy through it. Or so I've heard, anyway. We might have enough for a fish supper.

Base of the Samson Q9U

Look & Build

The mic weighs 800 grams, which is twice the size of something that weighs 400 grams, and a whopping 4 times the size of something that weighs 200 grams. See, hot takes… I told you.

Build-wise, it's described as a “solid, die-cast construction with integrated yoke mount.” Egg-cellent!

There's a mute button on the back, and a couple of buttons on the base. One is a low-cut filter (AKA a high-pass filter), which helps protect against plosives and low-frequency sounds in your source recording. The other button, whose name is “mid”, will give your voice a nice little EQ boost. You can hear all this for yourself in the sound samples, below.

Oh, and you get a foam windshield in the box, along with a USB-C cable.

Samson Q9U Review: The Sound Samples

Let's get to the meat of our Samson Q9U review: how does it actually sound?

There were a few different things to try out here, using the mic in its XLR and USB forms, with the low-cut and mid buttons toggled, as well as testing out the mute button.

Q9U as an XLR

Q9U as a USB

The XLR sample was recorded via a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 into Adobe Audition. The USB sample was recorded directly into Audition. No post-processing, cleaning, EQ etc has been applied to either sound sample. They are both as-recorded.

Samson Q9U Review: Summary

So, this is a really good microphone overall. Of course, there are loads of good microphones on the market these days, including USB mics, headset mics, wireless mics, and budget mics. I can never decide if too much choice is a good thing or a bad thing.

The Q9U is definitely one of the better sounding mics I've heard, though. You'll find cheaper out there, but I don't think $200 is at all unreasonable for what you get. It costs less than the Shure MV7 , a mic that seems to be aimed at the same market.

You can almost use it right out the box as a USB mic. Ideally, you'll still want something to mount it on, as it's definitely not a handheld device.

You can upgrade to using it as an XLR mic further down the line if you want. You'd just need an audio interface, mixer, or recorder to run it in to.

Does it sound better than the much-loved Samson Q2U? Without a doubt. But if budget is tight and every penny counts, the Q2U will be more than good enough for your needs.

However, the Samson Q9U is worth the wee bit extra if you can afford it. It's definitely a welcome addition to the XLR/USB mics pantheon.

Let Alitu Take Care of Your Podcast Editing

Alitu is a tool that takes your recording, polishes it up, adds your music, and publishes the episode, all automatically.

Learn more about Alitu

Your source material can sound on-point with the Q9U, but why not add an extra layer of polish to your episodes with Alitu, too? Our ‘podcast maker' app will make recording, editing, and production easier than you'd ever thought possible.