Samson Q2U vs. Audio Technica ATR2100

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Choosing between Samson Q2U and Audio Technica ATR2100 microphones is tough. Their prices are similar, and many customer reviews place the two microphones in the same performance category.

Though the two microphones are immensely alike, there are differences in sound quality, accessories, and build quality.

This article uses the essential features of a good microphone to compare the two in detail. Reading the document will provide enough information to identify your ideal microphone for creating brilliant podcasts.

Related: Samson Q2U Vs. Shure SM58.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is the foremost important aspect of a good microphone. When recording, the microphone should clearly detect your voice and, at the same time, neglect background noise. Characteristics that represent sound quality include the following:

Clarity

When you use the Q2U and ATR2100 microphones without a pop filter, you realize that the Q2U is more vulnerable to p-pops than its counterpart, the ATR2100. This issue explains why the Q2U kit comes with a pop filter while ATR2100 does not.

So if you utilize the accessories provided in each kit, the recording clarity of the two mics is practically identical.

Thus, if you purchase the Q2U mic without the kit, the ATR2100 mic will produce a more precise recording.

Background Noise

Samson Q2U vs ATR 2100. Image Sources: Samson and Audio-Technica.

Background noises deteriorate the sound quality of a good podcast, so you need a microphone that detects only the sound directed to it.

The Q2U and ATR2100 are dynamic mics and hence sense loud sounds only. These mics are designed not to pick up much background noise in recording rooms that are not sound-treated.

But with the Q2U mic, the reduction in background noise varies with the mic’s connector. The background noise is evident when using the USB input, whereas the XLR input decreases it significantly. With the ATR2100 mic, the background noise is insignificant irrespective of the cable used.

Additionally, the Q2U mic does not lessen noise effectively when you hold it with your hand. If you record in a noisy or non-treated room, it is best to use the tripod stand to ensure maximum background noise reduction.

On the other hand, the ATR2100 reduces background noise and functions well in large audience meetings such as street congregations or similar crowds.

Directionality

Both mics use a cardioid pattern that requires you to be close to the mic and speak into the front section for your voice to be heard correctly. The cardioid pattern feature helps to reduce unwanted noise from the sides or behind the mic by picking up sounds from the front only.

Recording Volume

Dynamic mics record at a lower level than other mics, thereby presenting issues with the recorded volume.

This shortcoming is more pronounced when recording using the ATR2100. The recorded audio is too quiet, and even if you are close to the mic, you sometimes notice that the volume is still low. It makes the ATR2100 mic have an unfriendly recording experience.

To overcome the low recording volume issue, you can increase the gain, which brings about more fuzziness. However, you will need to put additional effort into editing to solve this issue.

You will not experience this problem when using the Q2U mic because it records at a standard volume resulting in minimal gain adjustment and editing. Thus the Q2U mic is superior when it comes to the recorded volume.


Accessories: The Kits

Samson Q2U Components. Image source.

The Q2U kit offers a complete podcasting package. It includes all accessories you need to begin recording:

  • The mic.
  • A mic clip.
  • An adjustable desktop stand.
  • A pop filter.
  • USB and XLR cables.

Alternatively, the ATR2100 kit has:

  • The mic
  • A stand clamp,
  • A tripod with folding legs
  • USB and XLR cables.

Cables

The Q2U and ATR2100 mic kits include both USB and XLR cables. So the two mics allow you to connect to your computer easily using the USB cable and other sound systems using the XLR cable.

Desktop Stand

Each mic’s tripod stand is uniquely designed with their strength and weakness. So, you will have to choose the one that best suits your microphone use or recording setting.

The Q2U stand is designed to be efficient for desktop use. It is flexible and allows you to adjust it to your most comfortable position.

Contrariwise, the ATR2100 mic stand is fixed, and you cannot adjust it. The stand only permits you to fold its legs for easy transportation. Also, the stand’s quality seems lower when linked to the mic’s quality.

Pop Filter

The Q2U kit provides a pop filter to reduce the troublesome plosives, improving sound quality.

The ATR2100 does not provide a pop filter. If you require one, you can purchase it separately though the mic has the inbuilt capability of reducing the plosives automatically.

Build Quality

A microphone’s build quality is essential in ensuring you get value for your money. It comprises the mic’s appearance, built-in features, and durability.

Appearance

The Q2U mic comes in various colors, such as silver or black ahandles and an accentuated grill. The switch is perfectly positioned on the mic’s body, making the overall look of the mic professional. Similarly, its tripod stand and accompanying accessories feature a refined design. Generally, the mic’s pack looks more attractive than the ATR2100.

The ATR2100 has a low-key look with a gray exterior and darkish grill. Its accessories have a subtle look. Overall, the mic is simple, but its capability compensates for its appearance.

Handiness

Flexibility

The Q2U and ATR2100 are handheld mics that you can use on a stage, on the move, or mount on a desk.

The Q2U mic is 0.7 pounds, while the ATR2100 is 1.7 pounds. Though heaviness may indicate better quality, it can be strenuous to hold the ATR2100 mic for lengthy periods. It is better to prepare a setting where you can mount it on a desk if you will be recording your podcasts for prolonged periods.

Setting Up

Connecting any of the two mics to your computer is straightforward. You use the USB cable to connect directly to your computer. Once you are connected to the internet, your computer will automatically begin to download the requisite drivers.

If you face any challenges activating the mics, you can manually download the respective drivers from the manufacturer’s website.

Compatibility

The Q2U and ATR2100 are compatible with a Windows or Mac operating system.

Then again, the XLR cable helps you improve your sound quality at no extra cost by connecting to any additional audio equipment such as a mixer.

Built-in Features

Real-Time Monitoring

The mics are equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack that you can use to listen to your audio in real-time and confirm the recording quality.

Volume

You can modify the volume in both mics. The Q2U mic uses up-down buttons, while the ATR2100 has a dial by the outputs.

On/Off Switch

The two mics have a single switch for powering the mic on or off. The switch is useful when muting the mic instead of unplugging it or clicking on the recording software.

The ATR2100 displays a blue light when the mics are on, while the Q2U is a green light.

Durability

When you turn on your computer and your Q2U mic is connected, it will not automatically pick up until you unplug and plug the USB cable afresh. As a frequent podcaster, the continuous plugging and unplugging wear out the cable and USB port.

For the ATR2100 mic, the USB port is not of the highest quality, so it requires tender care; otherwise, it will begin to malfunction. Also, try to wiggle your cables if you experience problems with your headphone jack.

Final Thoughts

It is best to examine your needs and match them with the mic’s strengths and drawbacks to select the best microphone between Q2U and ATR2100. Without a doubt, you will find a workable compromise between the two.

If you do not want to edit your recorded podcasts, then the Samson Q2U mic is preferable. Otherwise, the ATR2100 would serve you better in many aspects of your recording experience, like sound and build quality.