Samson C03U USB Microphone

Professional quality recording doesnit require professional-sized price tags any more, and microphones like Samsonis CO3U let anyone turn their Mac into a high-end recording studio. There are no hidden surprises with this microphone - meaning it works right out of the box, no hidden costs.

The C03U is a multi-pattern studio condenser microphone. If you arenit familiar with microphone technology, that means this mic can be focused to pick up sound thatis directly in front of it, or from all around. In this case, the mic includes a switch that lets you set switch between omni (all directions), cardiod (in front of the mic), and figure 8 (in front and behind the mic only).

It connects to your Mac via USB and does not require phantom power, no audio breakout boxes required. Just plug it in and go. The C03U also includes a USB cable and carrying pouch, which makes this a great package for traveling.

The C03U includes everything you need to start recording.

Setup really is that simple: plug the mic into an open USB port, and select it as your input source in what ever recording application you use. Since the C03U is self-powered, you should connect it to a powered USB hub, or directly to an open port on your Mac. Unpowered USB ports, like the ones on your keyboard, arenit going to provide enough juice to keep this mic working.

Audio quality from this mic is great. It recorded my voice more accurately than many other mics during my podcast recording sessions for TMOis Apple Weekly Report. The only issue I had was that the audio input level was automatically changing itself based on how loud I was speaking. Of course, the only Mac I had this issue on is the one I typically use for podcasting.

And that brings us to my only complaint: When I contacted Samsonis tech support to see if they might know why I was getting the self-changing input issue on one Mac, I never got a response.

But back to the mic. Holding a microphone when recording is okay, but at some point, youill want to get a mic stand. The C03U includes a mic stand adapter with both US and European threads so you can use pretty much any mic stand you can get your hands on.

And something about microphone prices. Iim not sure how companies come up with their mic prices, but thatis not what youill ever have to actually pay. For example, the list price for the C03U is a little under US$400, but actual street prices are about $130.

If you want to hear the C03U in action, I first used it for the October 21st edition of Apple Weekly Report (at that time called Weekly Roundup).

The Bottom Line
If you are looking for an affordable mic for podcasting, recording your own acoustic music, or singing, the C03U will do the trick. Itis versatile, portable and faithfully reproduces what it hears.

Product: C03U USB Microphone

Company: Samson Audio

List Price: $389.99

Vendor Price: $129


Pros: Great audio recording quality, includes USB cable, mic stand adapter, and carrying pouch. Affordable pro-quality mic.
Cons: Tech support not responsive.