Samson USB Microphone

Samson C01UI ordered a Samson CO1U USB “podcasting” microphone to use for my upcoming podcasting workshop. Brian has one, and it’s a beauty. Nice and heavy, and seems to have really nice and rich audio quality. Better than my little USB headset, Powerbook built-in mic, or iSight camera offer, anyway. It was cheap, too – under $80.

After I opened the package, I plugged the USB cord into my G5. It was recognized right off the bat, and iChat and Garageband were able to use it with no additional installation. Then, I went ahead and installed the Samson “applet” to get additional tweakery and bitfiddlery.

Don’t install the applet. It also drops a kernel extension into your system, and requires a reboot. Sure, it gives you a cool-looking levels controller, but it also makes the microphone invisible to audio apps. I’d rather have a stock mic that works, thanks.

So, I uninstalled the .kext and rebooted to clear it out. The mic is visible again. But not to Audacity, for some reason. I’ll debug that tomorrow.

First reaction is: the mic (when it is recognized) sounds really nice. Is the flakeyness worth it? I’ll know more in a couple of days of playing…

22 thoughts on “Samson USB Microphone”

  1. have you tried recording anything more than just speech with it? an instrument or multiple instruments? I am intrigued by the USB output, but leary about how responsive it might be for stuff other than just straight speech podcasts.

  2. Jon – didn’t get the Samson shock mount, but a regular old desk stand is on order.

    Brian – I think my troubles appear to be more Audacity related than Samson related. I can record fine using Garageband, Quicktime Player, etc… but Audacity barfs on me. Tried both 1.2.4b and 1.3.0b. I’ll keep tinkering…

    Sami – this one came from http://www.proaudiosolutions.com

    Scott – I’ve only tried speech. I don’t keep my tambourine at the office. I’ll have to dig out my slide whistle… I haven’t noticed latency yet, but again I’m just doing interesting things like recording ambient room noise and saying “check check test test one two three” like Homer the Roadie…

    d – don’t know if the body is brass. It’s nickle-like in finish, but that could be sprayed on top… I’ll try keying it to see what’s under the finish :-)

  3. I have one of those mics as well … It is a very nice mic … I have to say you seem to really need to get into it for decent levels. I have gotten that applet to work once or twice and when has worked, it really did improve the sound. I talked about it and even did a podcast with it … I recently tried with GB and it was good as well. Again it was a little quiet unless I really spoke right into it. Keep us updated on how it performs.

  4. Thank heaven I’m too lazy to install applets.

    But now that you mention it, there have been Audacity issues for me too. I assumed it was some other setting. Please post an update if figure it all out.

  5. Great minds think alike. I also got the Samson mic. and love it. Did you get the shock mount? I got the shock mount as well. Lots of students come into my office and ask what in the heck it is. Then they ask about the PowerMate which monitors my system load and pulses. There are many interesting distractions in my office for students.

    Sweetwater was the place where I got my gear and they had it for $79.

    I also noticed flaky behavior with the applet. I am uninstalling it tomorrow.

  6. I think you can’t go wrong with the Samson USB Microphone. Duncan McHugh in the Learning Centre has had some great results with this baby. The only thing is that it is supposed to be a little fragile. I picked up a couple of SM58s and feel very comfortable throwing these into my carry-on.

  7. Sami – it was delivered less than a week after the order was placed. Still waiting for the desk stand that was ordered from a different company! :-)

    I’m having absolutely no luck getting the microphone to play nicely with Audacity (neither 1.2.3, 1.2.4, nor 1.3.0b will use it). After selecting the Samson mic as input source, Audacity completely locks up. I have to force quit and nuke preferences to even get Audacity to launch again. Tried on both my desktop and powerbook, MacOSX 10.4.6. I’ll try on my old 10.4.5 desktop tomorrow to see if it’s a MacOS system version thing…

    Works fine in Garageband, Quicktime Player, etc… though.

  8. Now that you mention it, I remember seeing Brian’s mic at Northern Voice.

    I saw that he used a folded-up towel as a muffle on a table to make recordings of group discussions–might be a good workaround until the stand arrives ;)

    It seemed to pick up speakers from around the room quite well, as I recall.

    I use a Logitech AK5370, which is “desk model” USB mic with a built-in stand. I’ve been pleased with it, although I too have had “issues” with software applications.

    Have you experimented with Skype and the Samson?

  9. rare? i dunno. with audio, i’ve always had great success on my windows machine, but the bulk of my audio production is done on my mac. two-thirds of the heavy duty stuff i’ve chosen to do on the pc however–audio editing with SoundForge, and sampling with GigaStudio. can’t say i’ve ever had a problem with either one, and GS uses funky drivers and a special audio card.

  10. OK. This is really annoying. The mic works perfectly on a WinXP system with Audacity 1.3b and no Samson drivers. I had to open the Sound control panel and crank up the gain on the mic, but other than that, it Just Worksâ„¢. Frustrating (and extremely rare) when things work better on Windows that Mac…

  11. in responce to the question of musical instruments …

     

    i have recorded acoustic guitar with the mic and found it to be fair in its sound reproduction

    at the end of the day i prossesed the mess out of it … but i think the best thing about the mic is that it was so clean…

     

    for what it is it is amazing! the only thing that was a bit disapointing is that t ddnt suport 24bit 48000 :-( and with usb 2-0 i would think that would be a standard… it was however sujgested to me that the reason 24 bit wass not made available was because of a latenc yproblem that would acur on inferior systems… but like i said … for what it is … it is awsome

    bottom line if you are looking for a good travel/do anything/all porpose mic then this is for yo… however if you are looking for a replasment for your Nuwman u87gold mic lol then i would have to say … "WHAT ARE YOU DOING BUYING SAMSON MICS!!!" lol *joke*

  12. d – that’s awesome! couldn’t find pricing or north american availability, but that looks like a sweet recording gizmo! I’ll have to do more poking around to see if anyone can get them into Canada… Thanks for the tip!

  13. It seems pretty sensitive. I’ve used it to record a meeting, and from the middle of a very large table it was able to pick up everything without struggling. It’s possible to pass any microphone through the powerbook speaker. I don’t do that because I don’t want to record that evil feedback loop noise…

  14. I just saw this at a music store today. Looks pretty cool. I’ll do a little more research to see how it works with Vista. Like you, I’d like to be able to use it with Audacity.

  15. I just bought the Samson C01U USB mike at Amazon.com and wondered if anyone has tried using it with SoundForge? I think mine is SoundForge 8. It’s a couple of years old.

    Thanks for the info about not installing their software. I’ve seen that mentioned in several places online. Sounds like it’s bad news.

    Carla

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