Provides: USB mic and Headphones
Minimum Requirements: USB port
Whether you’re an aspiring podcaster or musician, or you’re just obsessed with the sound of your own voice, Samson’s Q2U USB recording kit might be the perfect fit for you, your voice, and your budget.
The kit has all of the essentials you’ll need to start recording audio. It comes standard with a set of DJ style headphones, a very special microphone, a desktop tripod, a USB cable and an XLR to 1/4 inch cable.
With a Mac, you also already have most of the software you are likely to use with the mic package. Garageband will support the Q2U as soon as you plug it in. Just go to Garageband’s preferences (or System Preferences) and change the input (and perhaps the output) to the Samson mic. This is actually what makes the mic fairly unique. While on the outside it looks like a standard XLR cardiod microphone with an on and off switch, it’s actually hiding a USB input and output. This means you can plug the mic directly into to your Mac with a USB cable and even plug in a pair of headphones into the mic. Good thing it comes with headphones. There are even volume up and down controls on the mic that work exactly like the buttons on your Mac’s keyboard. These guys, they think of everything…
If you’re a podcaster, you might want to give the desktop tripod a go, but don’t expect much. It, like the headphones, is good, but not great. It will hold your mic on your desktop, but not with a ton of confidence. The headphones will work just fine, but I’m pretty sure you’ll eventually want to upgrade.
In testing, the mic works pretty well. Just plug in the cable and away you go. I tested it out in Garageband. It doesn’t give sounds, like your voice, that extra something that pricier mics do, but it does a very decent job for the price. You have to remember this is a starter kit, and as such, it functions quite well. It won’t give you mind blowing audio, but it’s definitely a huge step up from any built in mic.
You can find some audio samples on Samson’s page. The samples don’t list any sort of audio enhancement, but it sounds like there’s at least an EQ at work somewhere down the chain between the mic and the resulting audio. I wasn’t able to get this kind of audio straight out of the mic. I do think you can get some very good sounding audio, though, and there are no worries here about popping, humming or any other kind of unwanted noise bleeding into your audio.
While I still don’t think this is the most spectacular mic ever, it’s a great kit for beginners or musicians on a budget. Not only will it allow you to record your voice (or other sound) using your computer, it will do double duty as a regular XLR mic into a standard mixer. Plus it comes with headphones and some basic accessories. This will all save you money, maybe not in the long run, but for now. As a beginner’s (and maybe even some not-so-beginner’s) kit for recording vocals of any kind, but especially musicians, this kit delivers great value in terms of functionality. And you have to love how multipurpose it is.
Buy the Samson Q2U recording kit