Samson markets the C01U as the first affordable studio-quality condenser microphone with a USB interface. The first thing you notice is the weight of the microphone. It has a heavy gauge mesh grill protecting the diaphragm and has a real meaty, solid feel. Taking a look under the hood, we find a 19mm internal shock-mounted diaphragm with a cartoid pickup pattern. What sets this apart from similar condenser microphones is it's directional pickup. It allows you to face the mic in the direction of the sound you want to hear without grabbing the noise from the rear and sides of the mic itself. I found this especially useful when using the mic for voice-chat such as Ventrilo or Teamspeak, as it allowed me to utilize my speakers without that abrasive feedback you hear so often in that situation.
- 16-bit sample resolution
- Supports 8 kHz, 11.025 kHz, 22.05 kHz, 44.1 kHz, and 48 kHz sampling rates
- USB low-power device - draws 26 mA => 130 mW. In suspend mode 0.3 mA => 1.5 mW.
- Frequency response: 40 Hz to 18 kHz
- List Price: $149.99
Trying the Samson C01U out with the bundled Cakewalk Sonar LE soundstation software, I was really impressed with the solid, even tone of the recordings. There was no 'pop' or haze in the tracks to speak of which was a pleasant surprise because I did not have a pop filter handy. This mic would really lend itself well to live acoustic/voice tracks for anyone with a laptop and a guitar. The quality of voice recording is exceptional for the price and this bundled pack would make podcasting a breeze.
Another piece of software in this bundle is the Samson SoftPre applet which is a pre-amp application to allow you to fine-tune aspects of the microphone's pickup such as Input Level Meter, Volume control, High-pass filter and Phase Switch. This would have been especially useful due to the limited microphone controls in Vista, but to my disappointment, SoftPre is only compatible with XP. Just when I needed more gain.
Overall, the Samson C01U Podcasting Pak is a great price/performance package. I don't play enough music these days to utilize the USB mic for guitar, but for sound on my how-to vids and online voice-chat when I game, I have never heard better. Aside from my gripes about missing keys to the case, and no SoftPre for Vista, I'd have to say Samson hit the nail on the head for an affordable studio-quality USB interface microphone.
OCIA.net has awarded the Samson C01U Podcasting Pak our Seal of Approval.