The (new) best only inexpensive Feen(Phone) USB mic in the world


For several years, I’ve been recommending the Audio-Technica AT2005USB (Get it here on Amazon). It’s a solid mic. It has a great sound, great pickup pattern, good rejection of off-mic noise, has a headphone jack in the mic for latency-free monitoring, and all in all, is perfect for low-budget spoken audio. I’ve tested hundreds of mics, and again and again I’ve returned to recommending this mic to people who want to start sharing their voice with the world.

I recently saw another similar USB mic and decided to spend some Amazon rewards cash getting one to test. I did, and now I can fully recommend this mic: Samson Q2U Handheld Dynamic USB Microphone with Headphones and Accessories. This mic has all the features and quality of the Audio-Technica, yet sells for 25 dollars less AND comes with some headphones that will work fine for talk radio.

Michael W. Dean uses the mic for the first segment of this Freedom Feens show here, with MWD calling in over FeenPhone.

The Samson mic with headphones is currently 44 bucks. The AT2005 is 72 dollars without the headphones. The Samson headphones are OK, not great, and you do have to have them tight on your head to prevent leakage of audio into the mic. You’ll also need a mic stand, get this one (I like it better than the one I used to recommend), and some foam windscreens, get these.

I actually like a few things better about the Samson mic. For one, the volume control is on the bottom side of the mic, not on the bottom end, it’s easier to get to. And the indicator LED light actually turns red if you’re distorting (not that it’s easy to see while using the mic, especially with a windscreen on). I did not like the internal foam inside the grill, it smelled funky, like petrol, like most things shipped on a slow boat from China these days. I unscrewed the grill, pulled that foam out, threw it away, and just relied on an add-on foam windscreen.

What a time to be alive when the price of the gear for getting on worldwide radio is 44 bucks. Things sure have changed since I was a kid, and I’m digging getting to go along for the ride. And I’m glad to have helped in the from of co-developing FeenPhone. Check it out, FeenPhone is free, and is much better than Skype for connecting remote spoken media producers over the miles.


Unboxing video with setup of best budget Windows tablet – WinBook TW802.

Get it HERE (price varies from $100 to $145, depending on who’s selling it and how fast you want it):

Inexpensive kick-ass Windows 8.1 tablet. Works GREAT. Weighs less than a pound.

MAKE SURE TO READ BELOW ON REMOVING THE INSTALLED Crap Ware (installing all of that is part of how the manufacturer keeps the price low…they’re paid to add this crap by the people who make the crap):
Install Malwarebytes, free version:
Run it and let it remove everything it wants. Then go into Control panel and make sure all these are removed. (and read and uncheck things in the removal windows, they’re tricky and try to ADD more things!). Remove all these if any are still there:
Bubble Docks
Pro PC Cleaner
Coupon Alert
Selection Tools.
ESET Activation Helper
Web Bar

Do NOT allow the tablet to add the anti-virus program (Pro PC Cleaner) at start up. Delete that and instead run Windows Defender. (Included). If the tablet starts talking to you and telling you to call some phone number, Pro PC Cleaner got installed. Malwarebytes will get rid of it.

You can add Ad-Aware Web Companion to keep this computer from switching your home page on any browser to Bing, and Web Companion is light and good to have for extra protection anyway.

Then pay 5 bucks and get Start8, this little program that adds the start menu back to Windows 8 (and yeah, and it’s better than the free thing classicshell).

I added Firefox, made it my default browser. Add AdBlock Plus:

Also added a 64 Gb SD card to extend memory (25 bucks).

I got this ten-dollar case. (If you want a case with a keyboard, this one is $23).

NOT ALL STYLUS PENS WILL WORK WITH THIS TABLET. This seven-dollar one will. And this seven-dollar one that also doubles as an actual pen on the other end works even better.

The Free VoIP program I test at the end is FeenPhone, available from

Radio show played as test in this video is The Freedom Feens.

The Cheapest good USB mic in the world ($26)


cheap usbSo I was surfing Amazon (yes, I do that), and came across this: USB Microphone Cable – XLR female to USB. The price was right (15 bucks with shipping), so I grabbed it.

When I got it, I plugged it into my cheapest dynamic mic, a NADY SP-4C “Starpower” mic ($10). I added a one-dollar foam windscreen (get those HERE), and made the attached recording.

Sound is pretty damn amazing for 26 bucks. Tiny bit of background noise, but good enough for a decent podcast, for sure. And they also sent a gift with the cable, a universal SD card reader. Not a bad thing to have.

The USB cable isn’t passive, it actually has a little converter amplifier in the fat part near the USB end, that’s what does the magic.


–Michael W. Dean

20-Min Audio School

(Re-print from the FeenPhone site.)

Michael W. Dean’s 20-Minute Audio School

Guide to doing great remote spoken media with FeenPhone

(If you haven’t installed FeenPhone yet, Download it HERE, and please read the Quick-Start guide. For more advanced info, please see the Full Manual.)
A decent mic doesn’t cost much. We have done extensive on-air tests with many microphones and recommend the $50 Audio-Technica AT2005USB (Get it here on Amazon).

The Audio-Technica AT2005USB mic. It really is that cool. (FeenPhone is not associated with Audio-Technica, and there is no partnership implied between FeenPhone and Audio-Technica. FeenPhone's team just really loves this mic)

Our rendering of the Audio-Technica AT2005USB mic. It really is that cool. (FeenPhone is not associated with Audio-Technica, and there is no partnership implied between FeenPhone and Audio-Technica. The FeenPhone team just really loves this mic)

This mic is loud and clear, has a great pickup pattern for spoken audio, rejects some ambient background noise, rejects most sound behind the mic, and even has a tiny bit of built-in compression to reduce peaks and give a smoother sound. It’s also plug-and-play so it doesn’t require an external USB interface.

The first time you hook the AT2005USB into your computer via USB, you’ll have to let it automatically download and install drivers. This can take up to three or four minutes, but will only happen the first time. Make sure the drivers install or you’ll get echo/latency/bad sound/no sound. When it’s fully installed, you can click in your system tray (you may have to click “show hidden icons”), click on the Install icon, and you should see something like this:

We designed FeenPhone specifically with the AT2005USB (and similar high-quality low-price cardioid dynamic USB mics) in mind. That mic on a stand (get THIS one) near your mouth, a two-dollar foam windscreen on your mic (get those HERE), some blankets hung up to deaden audio reflections (or more-permanent sound conditioning), a pair of closed-ear headphones, and FeenPhone enable you to do ultra-high-quality live radio shows, Internet radio shows, podcasts and voiceover across the miles…Even if your co-host, producer or customer is in a different country.

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Live radio audio examples: FeenPhone vs. Skype vs. Land line vs. Cell Phone

I set it up ahead of time with Free Talk Live tonight to do the first-ever FeenPhone call into a radio show. I’ve been having my co-hosts on the Freedom Feens connect to me via FeenPhone since Christmas, but FeenPhone has not yet been used on a different radio show, until tonight.
.The file is a little over six minutes of audio culled out of that show. It is, in order:
–Me on FeenPhone. Sounds great.
–Dean on Skype. Sounds OK.
–Chris on a land line. Sounds bad.
–Mark on a cell phone. Sound horrible.
The audio quality is about average for the Skype call, the land line call and the cell phone. Each is a good example and quite indicative of how they usually sound on radio.
Keep in mind this is an MP3 made from an MP3 (GCN archive), so all the callers (Including me on FeenPhone) are slightly degraded from what went out on radio. But they are equally degraded, and this is an excellent example of a side-by-side A/B/C/D comparison of FeenPhone to other common methods of connecting with live radio.
–Michael W. Dean