EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone Review
Quite by accident, I’ve turned into a video editor here at COGconnected. Microphones, headsets, software- you name it, I’ve spent many hours messing around with it. Given this meager horde of experience, I couldn’t imagine being baffled by a piece of gear. The EPOS B20 streaming microphone put the letter to that lie in a real hurry. Turns out, I’m still a total amateur when it comes to making microphones work. The B20 is a sleek, gorgeous piece of equipment that is also slightly beyond my skills.
For example, the pickup with the B20 is bananas. Just leagues beyond anything else I’ve used up to this point. I’ve adapted a portable recording booth for all my voiceovers, a box that sits on my desk. For other mics, this is an essential tool for dampening the echo from the room. For the B20, you can hear my voice bouncing off the four tiny, foam-lined walls. Just unreal. Another issue is the gain, which defaults ( for some reason!) to max. Even after you’ve plugged in and set up, the mic is pulled towards this deafening default with every tiny touch of the knob. On the other hand, this incredible sensitivity means your voice comes through clear as a bell – assuming you can get your settings right.
So Clear It Hurts A Little
If you install the gaming suite software, you gain access to a whole host of settings and presets. Even without the software, you’ve got a lot of variables to experiment with. If you’ve got the time, you can make every recording sound exactly as you intend it to. For users who are taking their first steps into streaming or recording, this can be a little daunting. Anyone with actual training in audio engineering will find this entire review pretty lacking in substantial comparative data. As an amateur and/or blossoming hobbyist, I can only really speak to people at this same place in their audio recording journey. To that end, the B20 was a real humbling experience for me.
It turns out that most USB mics are saddled with a nested series of defaults and automatic settings. While this is great for someone who just wants to plug it in and go, sometimes you need recording equipment with a bit more finesse. Using any kind of usb mic comes with certain limitations, but the B20 is a big step beyond the usual plug and play gear on the market. A mic like this gets you thinking about stands, about insulation, pop filters, and the size of your recording space. You start considering new methods of noise reduction, recording quality, and software options going forward. A mic this good starts giving you ideas of a professional nature, in other words.
A Real Learning Experience
One of the many settings I’m in the middle of mastering is the B20’s preferred vocal style. Here’s where my amateur background gets thrown into sharp relief. My usual microphone for recording voiceovers is the Yeti Blue. It’s pretty sensitive in terms of pickup, though nothing like the B20. With a little practice, I’ve figured out which vocal style best suits that mic. Now, it feels like I have to learn that all over again. Things like pitch, octave, and other things I barely understand. If I sound like a fool, it’s because I feel like one in the face of this microphone. Be prepared to figure several things out from scratch in a real hurry.
While I was impressed by the mic’s professional construction, myriad features, and robust recording clarity, there are some serious caveats in play. Okay so there’s one caveat, and it’s that I do not feel skilled enough to properly use this microphone. Which isn’t to say I won’t get there! Even in composing this review, I’ve absorbed a ton of new knowledge on USB mics and their operation. If you’re looking for an upgrade for your own work, know that this is a properly high-quality mic. There’s a bit more fiddling and fine-tuning to do, but the EPOS B20 will absolutely get you there.
***A retail version of the product was provided by the manufacturer***
- Sleek construction and design
- Sound comes in crystal clear
- Official software is robust
- Gain knob likes to wander
- Settings can get very fiddly
- Lot of work to get it where you want