Bottom line: With clear sound quality, four pickup patterns, and plenty of dials for adjusting sound settings, the EPOS B20 is an excellent choice for any streamer.
Ultra-clear sound-quality with angle adjustment
Easy access buttons
Customizable sound settings with EPOS software
3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C port
Pickup pattern symbols might be unclear to some
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EPOS is an audio company previously branded as Sennheiser Gaming that up until recently mainly focused on headphones for the majority of its lifespan. Just recently, the company expanded upon its product line by releasing the B20 Streaming Microphone, specifically with gamers in mind.
It seems like just about everyone is streaming video games these days and it makes sense given that so many of the best microphones and best webcams no longer cost you a fortune to acquire. The EPOS B20 is a bit on the premium side, but it also offers easy settings controls and clear sound quality making it perfect for any streamers.
EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone: Price and availability
The EPOS B20 was announced on June 1, 2021, and released on the same day at $200 MSRP. It's currently available at a variety of retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, and more. There is only one color option at present, which is a gorgeous black and gray that comes with a desk stand.
Since it's so new to the market, it likely won't see a price dip for a while. Though it's very likely a number of retailers including Amazon and Best Buy will have sales for it as time goes on.
EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone: What's good
|Mac, PC, PS4
|Recording sample/bit rate
|24bit - 48kHz
|Playback sample/bit rate
|24bit - 96kHz
|Speaker frequency response
|20 - 20,000Hz
|Microphone frequency response
|50 -20,000 Hz
|Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
|Microphone, desk stand, USB cable, quick start guide
When I first opened the packaging, a slip of paper informed me that I needed to download the EPOS Gaming Suite in order for the microphone to function properly. So of course, I disregarded that to see if it would work simply by plugging it into my computer. No setup was necessary as it immediately allowed me to talk with others whether on Zoom calls, during multiplayer video game sessions, and while I was streaming.
I do recommend downloading the EPOS Gaming Suite, though, as it does let me adjust settings like Gain, Side Tones, Noise Gate, and Noise Cancellation, as well as run mic tests. However, the software was a little spotty for me and didn't always start up when I clicked on the program.
The EPOS B20 was specifically designed with gamers and streaming in mind and thus works for Mac, PC, and PS4. In my case, since I've previously setup my Nintendo Switch for streaming with the help of a capture card, I was also able to use the B20 while playing Breath of the Wild on Twitch.
I absolutely love the professional look of this microphone unhindered by flashing RBG lights or even a garish power light. A slim white light comes on the front to indicate there's power and turns red if the mute button is active.
In addition to muting, there are three additional dials that allow me to easily control the mic's volume, gain, and choose between the mic's four pickup patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, and Stereo. These manual switches let me get the perfect sound quality for my different recording endeavors without having to open any sound settings. Plus, the Cardiod setting really helps me focus in on my voice while ignoring background sounds like my cat howling for more food even though he's already been fed.
In case you're wondering about these pickup patterns:
- Cardioid: Captures anything in front of it and blocks background noises. Perfect for focusing on one, unmoving source.
- Omnidirectional: Picks up sounds from all directions around the microphone with equal gain.
- Bi-Directional: Focuses on picking up sound from the front and back of the microphone while blocking side sounds.
- Stereo: Picks up sounds in such a way that creates the illusion of left and right perspective. It's more akin to what we experience with our own ears.
I was also very pleased to discover that it has a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C port on the underside. The base even has an opening through which you can thread these cables unobtrusively so they don't get in the way of the microphone. The headphone jack also lets you get real-time feedback to adjust any unbalanced settings.
As far as the sound quality goes, I was very impressed with how clearly my voice came through both during conference calls and while recording myself for review. Not to mention it did a great job of blocking extra noises and focusing in on my voice. Since the desk stand allows the microphone to rotate far enough to be parallel with your table going forward or backward, I easily was able to get it in the position I needed whether at my computer desk or while at the kitchen table with my laptop.
If you prefer scissor arm stands to simple desk stands, the EPOS B20 does feature a 3/8-inch thread to mount it to a boom arm. You'll just need to purchase that special stand separately.
EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone: What's not good
On the backside of the mic, there's a dial for Gain and another for selecting one of the four pickup patterns. However, the pickup pattern dial only uses symbols instead of words. This will be confusing for anyone that's not familiar with these patterns. Fortunately, you can easily search "pickup patterns" on Google to figure them out in no time. It just would have been more convenient for some users if this explanation was included in the box.
As you were probably quick to notice, the EPOS B20 is more expensive than some other microphones out there, but definitely isn't the most costly one we've seen. It does provide a lot of conveniences and excellent sound quality to make this price understandable, but it can still be a bit much for some budget-conscious folks out there.
EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone: Competition
There are plenty of streaming microphones on the market. In fact, you should check out the Best USB microphones if you want some additional suggestions.
The Blue Yeti and its smaller sibling the Yeti Nano are popular choices for anyone on a budget. They both come with desk stands and have threading for attaching them to boom arm stands. The sound quality isn't perfect on either one, but it's plenty good for the price.
If you plan on doing any singing during your streams, you should look into the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+. It can handle a really good range of sounds making it perfect for vocals and instruments.
If you're looking for crystal sound on a budget, the Rode NT-USB-Mini might do it for you. It has a small, modest design and doesn't have as many fancy features as some others, but it does an excellent job of isolating sound for clear recordings.
EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You're looking for a mic with clear sound quality
- You want to manually adjust gain, volume, mic angle, and pickup patterns
- You want to stream audio from your Mac, PC, or PS4
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You're looking for a more budget option
- You want something flashy with RGB lights
- You don't think you'll use multiple pickup patterns
I've been very impressed with the EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good mic. It does an excellent job of blocking out background sounds and features four different pickup patterns for a variety of streaming endeavors, so it really is a great product for its price. It's kind of crazy to think this is EPOS' first microphone, but considering they've been in the headphone game for so long, I'm not surprised by its quality.
There are several other options on the market that don't cost as much as the B20. Granted, this mic offers plenty of conveniences you don't typically find in cheaper devices, so I still recommend it unless you're shopping on a strict budget.
Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.