Sunday, February 8, 2015

Samson Meteor Mic USB Microphone Review

Greetings!

There is nothing like waiting until the last minute to make hasty decisions about an electronics purchase, and that is how I ended up buying the Samson Meteor Mic for a work project. Samson is not exactly the leading name in anything they sell, but this USB microphone worked out ok.

There is no arguing that most laptops come with terrible onboard microphones, so if you are going to do any sound work, such as Skype, VOIP webinars, or voiceovers, you will need to step up your equipment if you want better sound. There are tons of USB microphones available that do not require converters, and the Meteor falls somewhere between the other crap they sell at Best Buy and professional quality recording microphones.

When you open the box you will get the microphone, a USB to Mini-B cable (a fairly short one, too), an honest-to-god printed instruction manual and a velvet carry bag. This factory-sealed unit had no bag, which actually disappointed me a little. The box works well enough for storing it, though.

The microphone is one of the coolest-looking things you have ever seen, with an old-school Shure 55 look that has been heavily dipped in chrome (like Mix-a-Lot’s Desert Eagle). It is made of some sort of metal, so it has a heavy feel (about 10 ounces), and it has folding legs with little rubber pads. The legs can adjust to different angles and seem to hold their position well. There is a standard 5/8” microphone stand socket on the bottom, should you choose to mount it, though you will need to fold the legs down so you are not blocking the capsule and the USB port. Folded up, it measures about 2-inches by 4-inches.

The Meteor has a 1-inch condenser capsule, and it needs 5 volts to operate, which is provided through the USB port. There is not much in the way of external features, with a mute switch, an LED (blue = on, amber = muted, flashing red = clipping), a 1/8-inch 16-ohm headphone jack, and a volume control for the headphones. There is no external gain control, which is a stone-cold bummer for me, as all adjustments need to be done through the computer.

Spec-wise, it has a cardioid (uni-directional) pattern and a fairly flat frequency response of 20 Hz to 20kHz. It is a 16-bit rate microphone with 44.1/48kHz resolution.

Samson advertised the Meteor Mic as being plug and play with no drivers needed, and it actually works out that way. I tried it out on Windows 7, Windows 8, and OSX laptops, and it set-up automatically with all of them with no problems. You can also buy Samson Sound Deck noise cancellation software, but I have not tried it.

The sound quality is clear, though it definitely tends towards the tinny end of things. It is really best to be less than a foot away from this thing, but it works well enough if it is on its stand on the desk near you. As it has a cardioid pattern, there will be drastic differences in volume and quality if it placed in the middle of a meeting room, and only the folks directly in front of it will sound good.

But, on the plus side, it is portable, not terribly expensive, and easy to set up and use. For sure it will be an improvement over whatever microphone they put in your computer at the factory. I do not know how durable it is, but time will tell. If it craps out or falls apart I will update this review…

So, I would recommend the Samson Meteor Mic for podcasts, voiceover work, and webinars if everybody that is going to be speaking can be in front of the microphone. Keep looking if you are looking for something to record music with. It is not cheap, and not expensive either, with a street price of around $70, which includes a one-year limited warranty.

Mahalo!

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