October 1, 2008 – 12:47 pm
This is an exceptionally good product. When i ordered it i wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, as i’d never heard of Samson before (despite a lot of broadcast radio technical experience). And i wasn’t sure how good a USB mic would be.
However, this mic certainly exceeds my expectations. The sound quality is very good and it worked immediately on my Linux system. It’s very well made and nice and heavy and solid feeling. It feels like a professional piece of equipment. I was very impressed. The included desk stand is a useless piece of junk though!
I had a bit of difficulty working out how to orient the mic to eliminate “P-pops”, as the usual technique of speaking over the top of it didn’t work. But i eventually worked out that holding it by the side of my mouth and speaking past it in that way works fine and i don’t have any problems with popping ‘p’s.
One rather strange thing about this mic is that it’s been built with a stereo preamp internally, but the signal is first fed to the right channel and then the right channel output is fed into the left channel input – this gives more amplification. I use it for spoken word and the signal from the right channel is rather low, but the signal from the left channel is fine. I’d imagine that for high sound levels – e.g., mic’ing up a drum kit, the right channel output would be best.
This probably won’t be of interest to windows users, as i believe the software provided with the mic makes it transparent. But for Linux users it’s important to understand it, as Samson doesn’t provide Linux software.
For Linux users, this means that for best results the levels for the two channels should be adjusted independently – and treated as a two-stage preamp. It also means only one channel can be used (the left and right channels are 180° out of phase because the left channel has been amplified twice) – don’t forget it’s a mono mic.
For recording, that means one of the channels must be eliminated. How you do this will vary depending on what editor you use – for example, Mhwaveedit allows you to map the left channel to both left and right, which gives you a sort of stereo-mono sound. With Audacity, you can split the stereo tracks and then delete the right channel (or left channel, for high level signals, i guess).
This isn’t a particularly cheap mic – nor a particularly expensive one – but it’s a better mic than i would have expected for the price.