Review on EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone
- Plug and Play: With a USB 2.0 data port, the TC-777 is plug and play, no any additional driver is required. Ideal for conference, distance learning, streaming, chatting, podcasting, recording, Zoom, Skype, YouTube video, etc.
|Price history for USB Microphone, TONOR Computer Condenser PC Gaming Mic with Tripod Stand & Pop Filter for Streaming, Podcasting, Vocal Recording, Compatible with Laptop Desktop Windows Computer, TC-777|
This review is about Review on EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone. So read this review Review on EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone with full details and specs.
The Review on EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone
Content creators are always looking for ways to simplify their workflow while maximizing their overall quality. For some, this may mean the desire for more plug-and-play hardware with software support. As far as audio is concerned, this has led many to abandon the XLR mic and its bulky mixers in favor of a simple, single-cord USB mic. Many have been released, but only a handful have found real success in the streaming market due to overall lower quality and lack of control. Enter EPOS, with their B20 Streaming Microphone. Their claims of a broadcast-quality, plug-and-play mic with the versatility to fit into any use case for the modern streamer caught my eye and made this device worth checking out.
The unboxing experience was interesting. Although at first glance it looked like a thick, heavy studio kit, like the Rode Podmic for example – which you could use as a weapon if an interviewee didn’t like your questions – the feel of the mic was much lighter, making it feel more vulnerable than I expected. This is the result of an aluminum case that, while a lot lighter, was still a sturdy device when I took it all the way out of the box. The windshield is sturdy and has a long arm that runs parallel to the microphone for mounting on its stand or a boom arm. The stand itself, hidden under another piece of foam in the box, is little more than a circle with a small notch on one side for the wires, which connect to the bottom of the microphone, to slide through while the stand can remain flat. sit the surface. Overall, EPOS has lived up to its promise to deliver a microphone that looks good in your stream.
Just a side note for content creators, as nice as some microphones sit on their stands on your desk, invest in a boom arm that clings to your desk. They don’t have to be expensive and you have the advantage of bringing the mic closer to your mouth and saving desk space, while also saving you the risk of hitting the mic during an intense game.
The microphone itself features a headphone jack for no-latency monitoring: monitoring this through your computer gives you enough latency that it feels like you’re using that old speech-jammer app. This applies to virtually all USB microphones, as well as four controls directly on the microphone. The side that should be facing you has the mute button and volume knob for your headphones. This side also has the microphone on LED indicator, which turns red when muted. The other side contains the gain and the polar pattern (or fetch pattern, if you prefer), of which you have four choices:
Cardioid – Choices up sound directly in front of the microphone, a little to the side and very little behind. (Picture a heart shape, hence the name cardioid)
Stereo – Gives you a wider sound field, with the choice up to the sides and less directly to the front.
Bidirectional – Choices up sound on the front and back of the microphone. Ideal for an interview at a desk
Omnidirectional – Choices up sound from every direction. Good in a room with speakers.
However, the plug-and-play aspect of this microphone is what I have a problem with. The installation process, which was little more than downloading the software and plugging in the microphone, was so frustrating that it caused major delays in my testing. At first everything seemed fine. The microphone was plugged in and lit up, but the software did not recognize it. While I was troubleshooting, the microphone suddenly disconnected from the computer and just as suddenly reconnected. This happened a few more times before unplugging and plugging the device back in. Although the cord felt firmly plugged in the first time, I no longer had this problem. Unfortunately, that delay cost me the time I had that evening to test, so I had to put things aside until the next day. Epos B20 streaming microphone
On day two I went to open the EPOS Gaming Suite app to start testing and, wouldn’t you know, it wouldn’t open. While there are few things more annoying than a computer ignoring your commands, the hallmark of a good content creator is persistence in the face of frustration. A little research into the issue revealed that there have been such issues with the Gaming Suite app dating back to a time when it only supported their gaming headsets. It turned out that the app was still running in the process section of Task Manager and when I cleared it, the app opened up. When it opened up, but it couldn’t find my microphone. I did this dance with the app for an hour and twenty minutes with reboots, application repair, and reinstall until it just worked. I participate! to the point
The microphone is set up as recommended by EPOS, 15-20cm away with 50% gain to judge as fair as possible. The polar pattern was set to cardioid and I double checked to make sure the right side was facing me. The first thing I noticed was the amount of noise the mic was picking plukken up. No, I wasn’t in a perfect recording studio, and I shouldn’t have been. This microphone is intended for a streamer and will not work from sound studios. Most have computers whose graphics card screams loudly to run Valorant in 1440p on Ultra and walls decorated with knick knacks—which I, as a man who never lived alone, was quite jealous of—instead of foam panels. I played with the polar patterns to make sure I wasn’t in between patterns or just on the wrong one. It was not. Epos B20 streaming microphone
One of EPOS’s pride and joy with the microphone is its ability to choose up frequencies from 50 Hz to 20 KHz to capture the depth of the streamer’s voice. What it also captures at those low frequencies is the ambient sounds in your room that you’ve become so accustomed to and never notice unless it’s amplified and fed to you through speakers. Compared to my other mics, the Elgato Wave 3 and the Rode Podmic (powered through a Rodecaster Pro), the amount of noise picked is up the B20 was 25-40dB louder than the other two, but to its credit there was very little (if any) of the computer sitting two feet below the mics. The PC sound that the other two microphones were using up was almost absent from the EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone. The polar pattern did indeed work. I just got sound that the other mics weren’t picking up. This led me to the microphone controls in the Gaming Suite app. “The PC sound that the other two microphones picked up up was almost absent from the EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone.”
When the app finally worked, installation was easy enough. You could see the sound on the EQ screen, but the meters aren’t as smooth as you’d find on OBS or in editing software, making them hard to measure and trust. Below you’ll find your EQ controls, including some presets that give you a warmer voice (boost low and high frequencies), a clearer voice (reduce the low frequencies and boost the mids), or custom controls so you can manually set each frequency’s level . It comes with a test recorder in the app so you can record your voice with the settings and play it back. While it’s an interesting tool, I’d rather hear how adjusting each frequency affects the sound of my voice so I can get it just right. Equalization (EQ) is very personal, so each content creator should make the adjustments that best suit their own voice. Personally, I go for a version of the “Smile” curve, raising the bass to choose up the bass in my voice (which usually disappears when kids beat me in Fortnite), lower the mids to remove the muddyness in my voice, and raise the highs to balance out the depth. Epos B20 streaming microphone
This proves problematic when the low end is where all that annoying noise is hiding, so boosting those frequencies just creates more noise. This is where the other features of the app come in handy. There is a high pass filter to filter out higher frequency noise which is great but doesn’t solve my problem then there is the noise gate but even the best noise gates out there are tricky. You need to set the threshold to a point where you stop talking, the microphone just stops picking up audio until you speak again, but with the high noise levels there is a thin threshold between turning off the sound and the mic you don’t choose up because you don’t talk loud enough. The noise canceling option seemed like my best bet, setting the reduction to 50% helped, it cut the noise by 20dB. However, increasing the noise reduction to 100% did not provide any additional improvement. Frankly, I finally gave up, up on the app and did all the work using Reaper plugins and I quickly made a big improvement. With more time, I probably could have gotten it almost perfect.
Another problem with the app is what it doesn’t do that other microphones have started doing. That is to create a software mixer to control your stream. Elgato started getting the ball rolling with their wavelink software, while they don’t have EQ control (I’d say EPOS neither, really), you can control nine separate sources, from chat to music, to your browser and so on, to create a single output to your streaming software of choice and full control over the volume of any source going to the stream and to your headphones. Rode then came up with the Rode Connect software, which accommodates up up to four Rode NT USB Minis and two additional sources of your choice. They’ve even added the recording functionality, essentially giving you a lite version of the Rodecaster Pro for USB microphones. Any company trying to keep up or potentially have to leapfrog their competition to bring something like that to their software. Even a simple version of the wavelink with the added functionality of EQ controls could sell many streamers for that reason alone. Epos B20 streaming microphone
However, there is good news. Most of the problems I mentioned are fixable. Developers at EPOS can improve overall app reliability and EQ customization, maybe add a low-pass filter that could have solved my problem during testing, and even, over time, add their own mixer to the app. Since the app also supports its headsets, the ability to create submixes like the wavelink would be a much easier task as it already has sound input and output in mind. I created the patch solution for this with the reaper plugins and if I wanted I could add the B20 to my wavelink software. But if you want to sell your mic as great right out of the box, I don’t have to come up with so many ready-made solutions on my own.
As for the price ($259 CAD), it puts it at the top of the price range for most of the established USB microphones (Red NT USB Min, Razer Seiren, Blue Yeti, HyperX Quadcast and Elgato Wave 3) that seem cheaper than just the Shure MV7. I would recommend waiting with this until substantial improvements are made to the EPOS Gaming Suite software and the microphone controls. Even then, I’d be hard-pressed to recommend the B20 streaming mic over some of those listed above at that price.
Final Thoughts The EPOS B20 streaming microphone has great potential, but little what it delivers out of the box. If you have the skills with third-party software, you can turn it into a usable device. But if the point of a USB microphone is to be convenience, I suggest using your skills better than tech support.
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