The Samson Q9x & HighRise Combo for Streamers & Podcasters

I’m going to start this article with a slightly embarrassing confession: despite working in audio for nearly ten years, recording and editing several award-winning podcasts, I’ve never learned what the actual difference between dynamic and condenser microphones is, save for dynamic mics needing a booster and condenser mics needing phantom power.

Luckily, The Podcast Host really does have an article for every question you might have about podcasting. I found this article explaining the relationship between condenser and dynamic mics.

With that confession out of the way (along with, presumably, my professional future), today I will review the Samson Q9x, a broadcast dynamic microphone for streamers and podcasters.

(sleepy ghost friend not included)

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My experience of dynamic microphones is that they tend to produce a quieter signal than condensers, with the options either being to crank up the gain on the interface (risky) or use an amplifier or booster. Luckily for us, Samson were kind enough to send over a HighRise ‘mono active microphone booster’ (a fancy way of saying mic preamp) as a chum for the Q9x.

(dusty desk not included)

For this review, I decided to replace my usual desk microphone, a Rode NT1A I bought in a pawn shop in the Lake District (long story), with the Q9x and the HighRise to see how it fared in a few different scenarios. Specifically podcast recording, streaming and online calls.

Look & Build of the Samson Q9x & HighRise

The first thing to mention about the Q9x and the HighRise is that they are both sturdily built. The Q9x comes with a holder that attached easily onto my desk arm. It also rotates, allowing maximum control over placement, which was especially handy for me while streaming. I could adjust the mic quickly while I moved to different instruments during the session.

Both the mic and preamp have solid, weighty metal constructions with sleek colours. The Q9x has the black-and-silver-expensive-German-car-aesthetic beloved by podcasters, while the HighRise has a blue-and-white-wouldn’t-be-out-of-place-in-a-science-lab look to it, which is beloved by…nerds like me I guess.

Speaking of nerds (hi guys!), the HighRise has two switches to control the mic signal on its way to the recording desk. One switch changes the amount of signal boost between 20db and 30db, with an extra option of 20db of boost with a high frequency lift if you want a slightly brighter sound. I found this switch particularly handy during streaming and remote recordings. The other switch controls a low pass filter of 120Hz, which is a simple on-off switch. I had this on during most of my use as it meant a slightly more even recording without having to do a lot of processing later.

The Q9x also has a switch on the bottom that can also be used to shape your sound, with a choice between a flat profile (which I used in the recording below) and a mid-boost, which I didn’t use as I thought it made the sound a little bit tinny.

The Big Sound Quality Test

As you can hear, the combination of the Q9x and the HighRise sounds great. Even without processing, the sound is clear, consistent and punchy (without any processing, too!). The plosives are quite mild (especially with the low pass filter turned on). That said, it has the slight coarseness you tend to get from dynamic microphones, making it harder for me to recommend this setup for things like voice acting or audio drama.

The amount of control this setup allows you is really good. Even if you’re not that knowledgeable about recording or audio engineering, just messing around with the switches until you find a sound you like is straightforward and, in a very specific way, kind of fun!

Cost of the Samson Q9x & HighRise

At the time of writing, you can buy the Samson Q9x brand new on Amazon for less than $100, and the Samson HighRise for under $80.

The Q9x is an affordable and high-quality microphone if you want to upgrade your audio setup for podcasting or streaming.

I mentioned that the sound might be a bit too coarse for voice actors or musicians, though that’s more down to the nature of dynamic microphones than anything specifically related to the mic. It sounds great, it looks great, and also makes you feel like a badass professional podcaster when you use it, which I think we all need from time to time.

Our Rating: 4.6/5

Build Quality: 5/5

Ease of Use: 5/5

Sound Quality: 4/5

Still shopping around for mics or audio interfaces? Our dedicated roundups will help you decide. Alternatively, if you have another piece of gear in mind that you’d like to get our thoughts on, just search for it in the bar below…

Originally posted on October 12, 2023 @ 5:24 am

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