Electric Factory | | Expect to pay: $179

Microphone cables have a lot going for them, especially if you don’t know what to do with your hands. That said, sometimes the damn things get in the way. This is equally true of the stage and the project studio. In each instance you want to minimise the number of things that can go wrong, and clutter is a big one. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve gone to lay down a song idea but got so tangled in cables during setup that I simply gave up and barked it into my iPhone instead. It’s enough to make you throw your hands up and groan ‘there has to be a better way’, like an infomercial. Well ladies and gentlemen, Samson to the rescue.

The Stage XPD1 Handheld USB Digital Wireless System is designed to give you high definition audio for creating videos on laptops, tablets or smartphones. It has a USB-powered receiver that plugs right into your computer, and a handheld microphone transmitter powered by AA batteries. It offers super-easy one-touch setup and is reliable at up to 100 feet. Unlike traditional wireless systems that require complex setup processes such as matching component frequencies, the Stage XPD1 system automatically pairs the receiver to the transmitter, so it’s much neater than a traditional mic/receiver system that requires its own cables and power. It’s compatible with iPads and iPhones using Apple's Lightning to USB Camera Adapter or Camera Connection Kit, and it also works with Samson’s Expedition Series Portable PAs with USB Wireless ports. You can even use two of them at once with these PAs.


The microphone itself is good quality - maybe not the kind of thing you would throw into a road case at full-strength or slam onto the floor in the ultimate mic drop, but certainly strong enough for general in-the-field use. That’s more than fine though, because while it’s clear that this is a handy tool for home recording, it’s utterly ideal for podcasters and videographers. If you like to make YouTube gear demos, this thing is perfect. Or if your band likes to do the odd live Q&A or video for fans, it’s ridiculously easy to use.


This is a really simple, reliable, great-sounding mic for general-purpose situations. I probably wouldn’t use an array of them to mic up a whole band, but for field recording, tangle-free home recording and easy setup for vocalists, it’s a no-brainer.


Hits and Misses


Convenient for home/mobile use

Great quality of sound


Not very sturdy/road-worthy