EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone Review: Studio Quality Microphone for Gamers and Creators

EPOS B20

8.75 / 10
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EPOS continues to make waves in the world of gaming hardware, and the B20 continues the Danish manufacturer’s strong 2021.

Specifications

Brand: EPOS
Type: Condenser
Pattern: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
Power: Via USB
Audio Sensitivity: -37 dBV/PA
Connector: USB-C, 3.5mm

Pros

Excellent quality with multiple pickup options
Stylish design
Easy to configure, multiple EQ options
Premium build quality

Cons

Odd configuration with Windows 10 audio settings
Slightly pricey

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I’m often skeptical of audio hardware marketed towards gamers, as the additional features that come with these products invariably include additional RGB lighting to spice up an otherwise ordinary product.

So, it’s a pleasure to see EPOS eschewing that approach to the gaming market, reasoning that what gamers, streamers, and content creators really need is solid hardware that can deliver better production value.

The EPOS B20 is a top-quality streaming microphone that doesn’t compromise on any area, combining style and substance to deliver a quality microphone that will suit anyone, gamer or not.

EPOS B20: Stylish USB-C Broadcast Microphone

The first thing you notice when unboxing the $199 EPOS B20 is its style. Microphones come in fairly standardized shape, yet the B20’s smooth, metallic exterior looks and feels exceptional, urging you to take it from its tomb and start playing straight away.

Once extracted from the case and screwed into the circular base, you can sit back and marvel at the EPOS B20. Although it isn’t a mind-blowing design, EPOS has made sure that the B20 is a streaming microphone you’ll be happy to be seen with on stream, broadcasting live.

The B20 has four on mic controls: gain, volume, mute, and pickup pattern switch. The first three are self-explanatory, while the pickup pattern dial allows you to switch between the B20’s four broadcast modes—but more on these in a moment. The buttons themselves are well integrated and easy to use, allowing you to make changes on the fly.

Especially handy is the on-mic gain adjustment, which any gamer or streamer will confirm is a huge plus point for stopping those Darth Vadar microphone moments.

At the bottom of the B20, you’ll find the USB-C input along with a 3.5mm jack input for connecting your headphones. The B20 allows audio passthrough, meaning you can plug your headphones into the microphone and continue your audio experience without interruption.

It’s impressive. The EPOS B20 is definitely one of the best-looking broadcast quality microphones around, and its premium build quality shines through.

EPOS B20: Built for Streaming, Great for Everything

The EPOS B20 streaming microphone looks good, but how does it perform its main role?

EPOS’ sound philosophy strives towards a well-balanced sound, be that sound coming through their gaming headphones or earbuds or in a product broadcasting audio to the world.

In that, the B20 comes with four different audio pickup modes, each differing in quality depending on the scenario.

Cardioid: Best suited to solo recording

Stereo: Solo recording with a larger audio pickup field and range

Omnidirectional: Designed for collaborative streaming or recording

Bidirectional: For recording audio with one other person

As you can see, EPOS has gone to town on audio recording modes, giving you four audio pickup options to suit any situation.

How the EPOS B20 copes with each option is interesting and reveals the B20’s strengths and weaknesses.

The B20 is strongest when solo streaming. The cardioid and stereo options provide a single voice the best opportunity to broadcast with clarity, and the microphone will pick up your voice from a decent range, depending on your settings.

EPOS recommends talking directly to the B20 from around 15-20cm, as you would expect for any streaming microphone. However, I also found that the B20 continued to pick up my voice with decent clarity when situated in various places around my desk. Now, for reference, my desk is fairly large as desks go, measuring around 1.7 x 1.2 meters, which allows a fair amount of travel for a broadcast microphone.

While there was some understandable drop-off, friends and family could still hear me well with the B20 situated at the extremities of the desk, which is quite impressive when you think about it.

However, the EPOS B20 omnidirectional recording feature was a bit more hit and miss. When testing with several people talking (sometimes simultaneously, sometimes in turn), the B20 did at times muddy our voices. I should add that we were still audible on replay, but if you’re considering the B20 for a group stream, be aware that your output might not be as crisp as you’re hoping.

Another thing to note is that while the headphone’s passthrough audio is a great feature and allows greater audio monitoring, the passthrough can affect audio output to the headphones. Again, it isn’t a huge downside, and when you’re gaming and streaming, you likely won’t notice, but if you fire up your favorite music after a gaming session, there are definitely some deficiencies between a direct connect and the microphone connection.

In fairness, it is to be expected. You’re passing the audio through a secondary device, which isn’t ideal. That said, having some additional control on the microphone for your audio is somewhat handy, and another small plus is that the audio dial is actually recognized by Windows 10—no more messing around with two or three different audio dials!

But, by and large, I’m impressed with the EPOS B20 microphone quality. You certainly won’t be found wanting while streaming games or recording content, and it’ll up your voice quality in any work-from-home meetings, too. The B20 delivers the broadcast quality of a proper XLR microphone, with the customization and functionality of a USB-C mic—what’s not to love?

EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone Full Spec List

Style: Condenser microphone with three condenser capsules

Pickup: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo

Frequency response: 50-20,000Hz

Sensitivity: -37 dBV/PA

Capture rate: 24bit—48kHz

Connectivity: USB-C, integrated 3.5mm jack

The EPOS B20 stands around 20cm high when connected to its stand and positioned vertically, while the microphone unit alone is roughly 16cm tall and 5cm wide.

One of the standout specs on that list is the 24-bit, 48kHz capture rate, equivalent to studio broadcast quality. It does make a difference to the overall quality of voice capture, especially compared to other microphone options.

Use the EPOS Gaming Suite With the EPOS B20

To really get the best out of the EPOS B20 streaming microphone and extract all of its broadcast quality technology, I recommend using the EPOS Gaming Suite, which the Danish audio hardware manufacturer releases regular updates for. This does come with some caveats, though.

While the EPOS B20 works fine without the EPOS Gaming Suite, you can use the desktop app to enable additional features, such as sidetone and noise gate, along with the creation of unique microphone EQ settings to suit your recording or streaming setup.

Once you download and update the EPOS Gaming Suite, it recognizes the B20 microphone instantly. However (and this is the caveat), it required me to set the B20 as the default audio output device to begin using the customization tools. While I’m sure EPOS will rectify this issue (as said, they release regular updates), right now, it does make for a somewhat irritating experience.

However, the EPOS Gaming Suite options do make it worth persisting with. For example, you can use the B20 to add sidetone to any 3.5mm headphones you connect to the microphone, which can be handy. Furthermore, inbuilt microphone EQs are easy to use and can make a subtle difference to your voice output while gaming.

So again, while this isn’t a deal-breaker, it is definitely something EPOS needs to rectify, as many people won’t want to use their microphone and headset in this configuration.

Is the EPOS B20 a Good Gaming Microphone?

We arrive at the crucial question—is the EPOS B20 good for game streaming and content creation?

Like everything EPOS does, the B20 comes with trademark style, a handsomely crafted premium streaming microphone that won’t look out of place on any stream, or in any studio for that matter. The EPOS B20 is well built, too, and keep you talking for decades.

In that, the EPOS B20 is a top-tier game streaming microphone. Its overall voice capture is really good, especially for solo streamers, broadcasters, and podcasters. Your voice will always come through, loud and clear, and as mentioned, the integrated gain dial really is a nice yet important touch. The easy ability to switch between pickup patterns is another handy feature, although it might be overkill for those just wanting to chat to friends, family, and play some casual games.

EPOS isn’t afraid of launching new gaming hardware into congested marketplaces, either, a testament to the strong visual and audio design principles in place at the company. However, my feeling is that at $199, the EPOS B20 may be priced slightly too high in a competitive marketplace, already featuring several entries from Blue, HyperX, and other major players.

It wouldn’t make me shy away from the EPOS B20, as it is clearly an outstanding piece of broadcast and streaming hardware that will suit any gamer, creator, or otherwise. Once EPOS rectifies the B20 audio passthrough and primary audio source selection issue within Windows 10, EPOS will have another standout product on its hands.

Source: https://www.makeuseof.com/epos-b20-microphone-review/

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