In the past few years, I’ve really enjoyed listening to various podcasts. It’s been enlightening to hear people have intelligent conversations about topics I enjoy hearing about. I’ve often wondered what it would take to create a podcast with multiple people involved and how you could monitor something like that. After some research, I found that having a headphone amplifier to assist with something like a podcast can be quite beneficial. That’s when I found the QH4 from Samson.
The Samson QH4 is a headphone amplifier with 4 independent channels for audio monitoring. Each of the four channels delivers high-quality audio a set of headphones operating between 16–600Ω. The device features two balanced 1/4” inputs that connect with your mixer or recording interface and a 1/8” aux input port that ideal for connecting to smartphones or computers. In addition to the input ports, there is also a 1/8” output port on the rear of the unit that will allow you to daisy-chain multiple QH4s together. The amp was designed to handle a high dynamic range. The QH4 was built with a master volume control, mute switch, and Mono button (so you can check your phase) for easy control of your audio interface.
- Inputs: 2 x 1/4″ balanced, stereo 1/8″ unbalanced TRS
- Outputs: 4 x stereo 1/4″ unbalanced, stereo 1/8″ unbalanced TRS
- Controls: Master volume, master Mute, master Mono, 4 x Channel volume
- Noise Floor: -114dBu, 22k BW unweighted
- Maximum Output: 8.3 dBu, 1% THD+N, loaded 16R
- Output Power: 282mW per side / 564mW per channel, loaded 32Ω
- Dynamic Range: 22dB, 22k BW
- Frequency Response: 17Hz–47kHz (-3dB)
- Power: 15VDC adapter
The QH4 comes in a very nicely branded box. There are clear graphics on the outside that make sure you know are aware of what the product is on the inside. There are a few limited details included on the box about the product. When you open the box, you will find the amplifier, it’s power cable (with international plug and US plug included) and user manual. To be completely honest, the user manual can be used as a backup for troubleshooting should you run into any issues with set-up because it’s pretty much a plug and play situation.
When I got the amp out of the box, I was surprised at its size. It’s very compact and can easily be stored on a desktop without cluttering it up. I have a riser for my monitor and it fits very nicely beneath it, which made it, even more, easier to enjoy. Since the amp is meant to use with a computer interface, I plugged in an aux cable into the stereo mini input port. The other end plugged into my computer’s headphone jack. I then, plugged in the power cable and finally, my headphones to the front. I happen to have an awesome set of Marshall Monitor wired headphones that I specifically use for monitoring audio. They came with a 3.5mm socket so that you can use it with professional audio gear just like the QH4. I plugged the headphones into channel 4 (easiest port to use without tangling cables up) and started listening to some music.
I love that there are two different volume controls on this unit. The first is a master volume control which I pushed up to about 50%. I find that is a suitable master volume for most types of audio. The second volume control is the individual control for the channel. I turned up Channel 4 to about 25%. This was a perfect volume for me as I could hear the music perfectly clear and most of the ambient noise around me was filtered out. As an experiment, I decided to turn Channel 3 to 50% and Channel 2 to about 10%. I did this so that I could listen to the same piece of music on different channels at different volumes to test out independent volume control feature of the amp. I unplugged my headphones from Channel 4 and switched between Channels 2 & 3. Sure enough — each of the channels carried their own volume well and the quality of the sound did not falter.
One issue I did have was some pretty horrendous humming in the line from the input cable. I don’t believe this was the fault of the device at all. I believe that the cable I was using for input was just old and so the contacts weren’t as good as they used to be. I was able to remedy the situation by rotating the cable and wiggling it back and forth so that the contact was solid. Again, not an issue with the QH4 equipment, but I wanted to mention it in case someone else out there has this issue. It’s not uncommon — cables do get old — and if you experience this, you might want to invest in a newer cable.
The QH4 is a beautiful device. It makes it very easy for multiple people to monitor audio recordings, live broadcasts, or even just sharing music. I love how easy it is to set-up and use. It’s beneficial to me even as a listening device. While I enjoy wireless devices, I also love wired inputs because of how good the signal is and for audio recording in particular, I just like the solid connection that a set of wired headphones can provide. The QH4 amplifier makes it so easy to control the volume for an individual channel and I love that even as one person, I can enjoy listening to music through it. I can recommend this for both professionals and amateurs alike. It’s a great piece of audio equipment that can enhance your experience across the board.