Review: Samson Q9U delivers great sound in a versatile USB/XLR package [Video]

If you spend some time looking around at what microphones your favorite creators are using, chances are you’ll see a large dynamic microphone like the Sure SM7B a few times. While it sounds incredible for spoken voice, the $400 price tag can come with a bit of sticker shock compared to other viable options for dynamic microphones. At $199, the new Samson Q9U is looking to capture some of that market. With both USB and XLR outputs, mic monitoring, and internal shock mount, how does it perform? Be sure to check out the video below to hear for yourself. 

Out of the Box

Samson keeps it pretty simple for packaging, which I’m sure can help with the affordable price point. Inside the box, we find a USB-A to USB-C cable, USB-C to USB-C cable, the microphone, a pop filter, and the user manual. 

At 2lbs, the microphone feels solid and well built. There is a large metal mesh grill that protects the dynamic capsule. On the back, the Q9U features a USB-C port, XLR out, headphone out, a low cut filter, and a mid-boost switch. We’ll get into how those affect the sound further in the review. 

Also on the side of the microphone is a mute button. I wish there was a light that turned on when the mic was muted or a red ring around the button, but the only visual is that the button is pressed in when it is muted. I’m sure because the Q9U also has an XLR output this would be hard to do, but that is something that I enjoy about USB condenser mics like the QuadCast line-up. 

Mounting the Samson Q9U

Out of the box, there isn’t a way to mount the Samson Q9U. There is a great rotating yoke on the mic, but to get it set up, you’ll need some more hardware. Of course, Samson sells their own mounting accessories so it is easy to get the right mount for your setup. Samson sent along an MD2 lightweight desktop mic stand to use with the microphone, but it also mounts easily to the super cheap Amazon boom arm that I’ve been using for almost two years. 

Samson Q9U: Video

I was a little worried that the boom arm wouldn’t support the robust build of the Q9U, but thankfully, it works just fine. The combination of the rotating yoke and pivoting base make it easy to get the Q9U in the perfect position for my setup.

How does it sound?

Spec-wise, the Samson Q9U is using a dynamic humbucking element with a frequency response of 50Hz to 20,000Hz. A non-adjustable cardioid polar pattern means that the Q9U will focus on what is in front of the microphone. Many other USB mics that we’ve tested, like the QuadCast lineup, have adjustable polar patterns, but the Q9U is focused solely on a single source.

The Samson Q9U sounds great for spoken word, in my experience. I ended up turning on the mid-boost and leaving the low-cut turned off for more of my recording. Those are the settings that I had for the entire video linked above.

The mid-boost helps to add a little more presence to spoken word, while the low-cut does help to take out obnoxious bass frequencies if they are causing issues.

While most of the audio in the video is free of effects, I did play around a little bit by adding some light compression, EQ, and a DeEsser within Premiere Pro. I think it handles some light effects very nicely, and I really didn’t need to add many effects at all.

It might just be because of the close-proximity nature of large dynamic microphones like the Q9U, but it also doesn’t pick up nearly as much room noise as the Razer Seiren Emote that I typically use for these videos. It might be because with a Dynamic microphone you are supposed to get closer to the mic, but when I went back and compared it to the sound of the last video I recorded, there isn’t nearly as much room noise with the Q9U as there was with the Razer Seiren Emote. 

9to5Toys’ Take

With the combination of physical controls, the convenience of analog and digital outputs, and impressive sound quality, the Samson Q9U is a great choice for content creators, streamers, and podcasters. The robust, hefty build quality is confidence-inspiring, and the simple design looks great in a studio setup as well. The Samson Q9U will be remaining on my boom arm at my desk for the foreseeable future.

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