I don’t often use tech that I feel is probably too good for me, but every so often, I get to review something that feels as though I need to upgrade everything else I’m doing to match it. The EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone is so intensely powerful that I’m convinced it would pick up my heartbeat if I was having a particularly stressful day.
Before I get into the actual quality of it, let’s talk about the look of it. There’s no excess in the design of the B20. It’s sleek, all-black, and with minimalist buttons and knobs for your to control things like gain and to mute the device. It even comes with its own minimalist and sleek stand, although I found its performance to be better on a separate mic arm.
Don’t scratch that itch
Now then, the sound quality of the B20 is impressive. My only real issue with it, and the reason I’m now frustrated with my current set up, is simply that it picks up on too many sounds. I could literally hear rubbing my fingers together to summon one of my cats, and frankly, that’s too much for any one microphone to do unless you’re as ASMR streamer.
Of course, you can manage a lot of this using the EPOS Gaming Suite that you have to download to be able to properly control the device’s settings. This basically allows you to listen to what you’re saying as you’re saying it, and then adjust things using a customisable noise gate, a noise suppression function, and a few other bits and bobs as well. It’s not a hard bit of software to use, but it did wind up being quite frustrating.
You see, you can only use the software if both your input and your output are running through the mic, at least for the time being. This is fine if you used a wired headset, because the mic has a passthrough port for that, but if you’re like me and use a wireless headset, then you’re in for a bad time. When I say you can only use the software when the B20 is set as both functions, I mean it is literally unusable otherwise. This made much of my experience with the microphone a matter of switching my output to and from the microphone constantly while I made adjustments, which is far from ideal. As it stands, I don’t believe there’s a way to change that at all, and that’s not good.
Keep it wired
Thankfully, I have wired headsets lying around so I could properly test out the mic by using its very specific circumstances, but not everyone has a bunch of options just sitting around in their homes. Once in the software proper, the act of altering everything was easy enough, and it’s all fairly well explained.
However, if you’ve got a PC that’s marginally too noisy under load or have poor acoustics in your work space, you’re going to have to really mess around with the settings to get the B20 to sound good. It’s possible, for sure, but it’s a lot of work that’s not always needed with other microphones.
That said, the sound quality the B20 picks up is clearer than anything I’ve ever used. It’s also a touch too sensitive a lot of the time, and even after I’d messed around with the noise gate I had to use OBS filters to get it to work as a streaming mic, otherwise, everyone watching me stream was going to have to listen to my mechanical keyboard strutting its clicky stuff.
Am I the noise?
I also had some real issues upon initially setting up the mic where it was picking up a lot of electrical noise. I don’t know where this noise was coming from, and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get it to be silent until I moved it away from my desk and back again. This fixed it, though I’ve no idea why. As with all microphones you’re going to have to consider what’s going on in your personal setup in cases of interference, and hopefully your fix is as simple as mine.