Electric Factory | Expect to pay: $349
Samson Technologies operate out of Hicksville, New York and produce accessible and reliable products that fulfil a variety of uses for professionals and amateurs alike.
The Q9U bridges a gap in being a large diaphragm dynamic microphone that can be used via USB and XLR alike. It features some on board sound sculpting options and an internal shock mount to insulate the capsule and prevent audible bumps that may ruin an otherwise exciting and engaging podcast.
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Podcasts and broadcasting such as gaming and social media are seemingly where the Q9U was designed to be used, but as a full-range, dynamic mic, it can really do a lot more.
Low pass filters are great for the spoken word, but they can also be great for recording a majority of sources, and the mid bump can help you commit to present, articulate sounds while recording. The Samson Q9U is a robust, professional microphone designed to make easy work of recording, sculpting and monitoring your sound source, whatever that may be.
So what’s in the box? The Samson Q9U arrives in a well-packed and double wrapped cardboard box that protects the foam insert which grips the microphone. Included is a second windshield, keeping in mind that the metal grille enclosing the capsule is designed to prevent wind, breath and plosives, while the secondary foam windshield will ensure that nothing else gets through.
The microphone itself is secured to a short clip with a thread to screw it onto a mic stand. The stand itself is robust and malleable, but solid enough to support the weight of the Q9U, even at the obtuse angles sometimes required to capture the best sound. The Q9U also includes a USB 2.0 to USB-C cable, as well as a cable with USB-C at both ends.
In use, the Samson Q9U is weighty and solid, much like many Samson products. It feels well-built and like it can handle the consistent use of a variety of professional needs. While using the mic digitally via the USB output, you can record at 24bit/96kHz and monitor latency free via the 3.5mm headphone output on the mic itself.
These kinds of additions make the Q9U a no-brainer for those dipping their toes into recording, as there’s no need to worry about headphone mixes or latency, as your sources can hear themselves crystal clear. The Q9U also has a handy ‘Mute’ button on the body of the mic which is especially handy for streaming where other sound sources need to move into the spotlight.
The microphone is very directional and records very clear signal, thanks to the cardioid pattern and humbucking coil within the mic to eliminate or ‘buck’ hum. It can capture sound from 50Hz right up to 20kHz, so the Q9U is a really good choice for someone who may only have a need for one microphone.
This is because the USB capabilities make it very portable and easy to use, but the addition of the XLR output means that as your skills grow, and you may decide to bring in some external processing like compressors or EQs, it can grow with you, your gear and your skills. The XLR output also makes it a great choice for recording music, as the response is fairly flat and you can toggle the little mid-bump or low-cut switches to taste.
The Q9U weighs just under a kilogram and is constructed from zinc alloy and steel. The grille on the mic is metal, and will handle most plosives or explosive sounds, but the foam windshield include will handle everything else, though admittedly darkening the sound a little overall.
The capsule offers a low-cut and mid boost, more specifically a cut of 3dB below 200Hz, so be weary when recording music incase you filter out too much of the good stuff. For spoken word, however, this is ideal. To my ears, the mid bump also offers a boost of about the same at around 1kHz, so again this is ideal for cleaning up a voice or muddy instrument.
The mic sounds very true to the source, and offers a little proximity effect when your source is super close, which can be handy for capturing music or alternatively the excitement of an enthralling story or anecdote in an interview.
Ultimately, the Q9U really is a great tool to have in your arsenal, and Samson have once again demonstrated their understanding of the needs of musicians, artists and creators. While USB microphones are increasingly popular due to the ease of which they can be used, XLR microphones are a cut above that offer the user many more options to ensure a sound is captured clearly and concisely.
The Q9U is both of these, offering beginners a mic that they can learn and build with, and for more advanced users, it’s a super portable mic that offers a bunch of different options for capturing a great sound fast.
Everything you need is either in the box or featured on the mic, so thanks to Samson, there’s really no excuse not to start that podcast, streaming channel, song, interview, video or voice-over.