Headset microphones are often overlooked because of their association with artists and performers who do away with conventional mic stands so they can focus on choreography. Admittedly, the headset option assists in retaining a consistent vocal, allows freedom of movement, and is always wireless. Even when not performing at a professional level, any speaker requiring amplification could benefit from the ease and practicality of a headset, but must always be prepared to be compared to Britney Spears or Phil Collins.
The Samson Airline99m is one such headset mic designed for speaking or instructing, for example as the leader of a workout session, during a debate, providing commentary or speaking publicly. While not a full range microphone, the Airline99m provides a balanced and even response that will carry voices of any kind to wherever you need them to go.
Set-up of the Samson Airline99m is a breeze, and I had it up and running (that is, I was running while simultaneously amplifying my speaking voice within the 300m range) in minutes. The volume knob doubles as an on/off switch, featuring a handy step that clicks over to ‘off’ at the lowest volume. The headset and receiver automatically paired, and using the XLR out to my interface I was away and dancing. The microphone is fairly sensitive, and be aware that contact with skin or facial hair may create a scratching sound when the mic is too close to your face. The microphone itself responds from 50Hz all the way up to 15kHz, most of which may be noise anyway, detracting from the clear audio passed to the receiver. However, while the headset is designed for a spoken or sung vocal, it could also come in handy when mic’ing woodwind or brass instruments in a band. Similar to a vocalist, horn sections and woodwind players may be restricted to static movement on stage when using a more conventional mic stand and microphone set-up. A wireless mic, however, provides a fairly full range sound that remains consistent because the mics move with the instrument and don’t move from where they’re aimed. The frequency response may limit your use with smaller, higher pitched horn instruments who require response beyond 15kHz.
The Samson Airline headset is designed well and with the user in mind. The headband features a stretchy rubber back and comfortable but tight stems that securely position the headset onto the ears and around the head. Even when moving around and dancing, the headset won’t fall off (believe me, I tried). The headset features a handy mute button that turns the unit on and off when held for three seconds, and you can also control the output of the microphone from the same place. The mic provides a clear and overall balanced sound for many different uses. What’s more, it’s water resistant, so amplification in less than ideal conditions such as a muggy indoor pool or hot-yoga class will see the Samson Airline99m take it all in its stride – blood, sweat and tears.
The headset microphone market is an obscure one, but these handy little units are also entirely necessary in some scenarios. If you find yourself with a need to use both hands and an amplified voice, the Samson Airline99m is absolutely your go-to. It won’t weigh you down, and there’s no risk of it coming off your head while doing whatever it is you’re doing. The response is balanced and a voice is clear, all while remaining comfortable and consistent. It’s uses don’t stop at voices, as it can be used to amplify acoustic musical instruments that may want to move around a bit more on stage such as horns, strings and woodwind. The Samson Airline99m is a great product that functions exactly as a headset microphone was designed to: it’s freeing, inconspicuous and consistent.
Hits and Misses
Solid and comfortable headset
Easy to set up
Smaller frequency range than may be required