A new experience
Although I have been gaming for years, I have never had a standalone microphone for gaming before, or for any other purpose for that matter. I didn’t really think I had the need, as most of my headsets have had decent microphones. Well, at least that is what I thought until I plugged in the EPOS B20 Desktop Microphone. Compared to the crisp, clean sounds picked up by the B20, the boom or swivel microphones of my high-quality headsets sound like I have been talking through a COVID- style mask the whole time.
The EPOS B20 is a cylindrical microphone around 18cm in height (without the stand) and a diameter of around 5.5cm which gives it some presence when it sits on a desk. The top half of the B20 contains a sturdy mesh which houses the microphone, whilst the bottom half features a grey matt finish aluminium housing. The solid design gives the sense that the device is capable of a few knocks and bumps. The microphone is fitted with a swivel bar that enables the gadget to be positioned however you prefer. The circular-bottomed desk stand which comes with the B20, does not take up too much desktop acreage with its 11cm diameter. When screwed into the stand, the microphone has a sturdy feel. A small gap on one side of the base allows for the USB cable to fit underneath comfortably. To complete the functionality, the bottom of the main device houses the inputs, with the USB cable and the 3.5mm headphone jack both positioned out of the way.
When sitting on the stand and fully erect, the B20 sits at a height of around 24cm, which for me and my desk sits at around the optimal location. But the microphone also has the ability to be connected to a boom system for those that want a more professional setup. Getting the microphone ready for use is a simple process, with the plug and play process allowing gamers to begin recording within minutes.
On opposite sides of the B20 are the inbuilt function controls. On the side facing the user, are the volume control dial and the mute button, whilst the reverse side houses the Gain dial and a control dial for the four default microphone recording settings. The four default pick up patterns each have different purposes – Cardioid, Stereo, Bidirectional and Omnidirectional – and will enable most users to be able to record immediately.
But for experienced streamers, the downloadable EPOS Gaming Suite Software allows user to further customise their recording sound. Streamers can add reverb, adjust noise cancellation, increase or decrease side tone and even toggle between 7.1 surround sound and 2.0 Stereo. Playing around with each of the settings will enable streamers (and even those in calls with colleagues from the office) to get just the sound they need. But no matter the sound required, it will be heaps better than sounding like Batman villain, Bane as you converse with your colleagues, squad, or viewers. Once satisfied, users can then save their favourite presets for use later.
Unlike your typical headset microphone, the EPOS B20 does not need to be position right next to your mouth in order to pick up sounds. I had the device situated about thirty centimetres (about a foot for those using empirical measurements) and it was able to pick up my voice clearly. From the response of those I was chatting with, it was like I was standing right next to them, rather than being connected via cyberspace. The compact base and the swivel stand allow the microphone to be placed anywhere on your desk – within reason - and still be effective. The added bonus of the B20 Microphone is that you can use your favourite headset (one with a 3.5mm audio jack), because you won’t be reliant on it needing to have an inbuilt (or detachable) mic.
Whether you’re a gamer who wants their squad to hear their commands clearly or working from home and in need to be in constant contact via Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls, then the EPOS B20 Desktop Microphone should not be overlooked. It is a stylish device that provides clear voice recording in any situation. The somewhat compact nature of the microphone and stand (of course not as compact as a headset microphone) mean that it doesn’t take up too much valuable desktop space. The plug-and-play nature allows for newcomers to stream immediately, whilst experienced users will be able to fine tune to their hearts desire with the multitude of configurations that come with the microphone and accompanying software.
Inside the box:
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