Type: USB Condenser Microphone
Item: The Samson C01U
Price: US $89.00 – $99.00, UK £59.00 – £69.00
At a Glance: If you have a very limited budget and want to record your music at home, Samson’s C01U microphone offers one of the simplest solutions available. Based on their entry-level C01 condenser microphone, the C01U is designed to connect straight into your computer via USB, giving you the ability to record your voice or other instruments without the need for an external interface.
High Notes: The USB interface means that no phantom power or external pre-amp is required—laptop users wishing to record in different locations will find this a plus. In use, the microphone is capable of producing reasonable results on a wide range of sources with resolutions up to 16-bit 48kHz. It is also good if you are after a simple setup for podcasting, or combining with a webcam to make YouTube videos of your songs.
Off Pitch: Although connecting a microphone to a computer could not get much simpler, you will still need some form of software on your computer for multi-track recording, which could put the overall cost up a bit for people looking for their first home-recording setup. One downside to the USB interface is that there is a slightly higher latency than on a dedicated soundcard and there is also a slightly louder than average background hiss from the preamp.
A VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: If you are looking for an entry-level setup to record your music at home or on the road, the C01U combines perfectly reasonable and fairly neutral sound quality with a very simple interface. For under $100 it represents fantastic value for money and is capable of producing pretty decent results for demos and podcasts – far better than most microphones that plug straight into a computer. Since its release, several other competing USB microphones have also been brought out such as Behringer’s C1U and MXL’s 990-USB. For a little more money, there is Audio Technica’s AT2020 USB and Samson’s own C03U microphone. Also, for bigger budgets, the SE Electronics USB2200A is capable of producing far better results, albeit at around four times the price.
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