After much deliberation on which USB Microphone to buy, I finally settled on the Samson Meteor over it’s bigger and more expensive rival, the Blue Yeti. Both are high-end consumer mics, offering the best in their price range for sound quality. The Blue Yeti is stereo and offers different multiple pickup patterns, so may interest those looking to create a soundscape, or record live bands or conferences, for example.
Samson Meteor Studio Cardioid USB Microphone Review
The range of frequencies captured by the Meteor is pretty incredible
With a rich, full overall sound. Listening to the Meteor’s output in comparison to recordings I’d made using a (pretty expensive) PC headset mic, the difference is obvious, especially in the clarity and bass response.
But for pure sound quality, the Samson Meteor delivers and actually has a larger condenser diaphragm (25mm) than most, including the Blue Yeti. Which one you should buy ultimately depends on your needs, but if you’re looking to record your voice or an instrument at close quarters, then I can assure you the Meteor is worth it.
You’ll probably find that when recording with this mic, sound capture is best when sitting about 20cm away, but naturally, you can adjust the mic’s audio levels on your computer.
Sensitivity-wise, if set high enough the Meteor will pick up aero planes flying overhead, cars passing outside, TV from the neighboring apartment – spookily, mine has even picked up noises I didn’t hear myself.
Most people won’t need this level of sensitivity and it’s simply a case of adjusting the mic’s level to suit you.
Compare to competitor
A blue light on the front of the Meteor will helpfully turn red if you’re too loud, indicating sound distortion, allowing you to work out the best position and volume. The headphone jack is at the Meteor’s rear, above the USB input. One cool feature is the entertaining ability to listen to yourself “live” as you record, via headphones with an almost non-existent delay. Headphone volume can be controlled by a dial on the mic’s front, around a circular button that acts as the mic’s Mute.
Another big plus for the Meteor is its’ striking chrome finish and stylish grills. Its’ reflective, retro appearance and rounded edges suggest that Samson invested a great deal of effort into making the Meteor an attractive little gadget. Whilst appearance is typically low on the list of an audiophile’s important tech considerations, it’s something too often overlooked.
Samson have easily scored a point here in a USB mic market currently dominated by the plain and ugly.
Its’ fold-out legs are a neat feature; sturdy in supporting the mic when extended, and folding neatly to the Meteor’s sides when packing it away (on that note, a handy draw-string pouch is included for carrying). I’ve noticed some people complaining about the legs’ rubber grips coming away. All I can say is, this hasn’t happened to me, but it’d be an easy fix if it did.
So, you’re thinking this review is an endless list of positives, right?
So why not 5 stars? Well, for all its’ virtues, my Samson Meteor inexplicably went on strike after a week, its’ healthy blue light turning deathly orange, as my Windows 7 laptop insisted “USB Device Not Recognized” as described by a previous reviewer.
The issue identified itself as a Code 43 error – a driver problem, yet Samson’s literature on the Meteor explicitly states that it’s driverless. Research online revealed it’s a known glitch not just with some Meteors, but seemingly USB mics in general, but I found no known fix and the error occurred on any computer I connected it to, until a week later the Meteor made a miraculous recovery and has functioned perfectly ever since.
Personally I’m not the type to detract stars from a product based on an ‘exception to the rule’ issue which doesn’t reflect most people’s experiences, but Samson’s website and User Manual offer no acknowledgement or information pertaining to this glitch, which is hardly the top-quality support this mic deserves so it loses a star for that. Fortunately, the vast majority of Samson Meteor mics never encounter this issue, as highlighted by the overwhelmingly positive customer reviews here on Amazon.
So, overall I believe the Meteor definitely represents the best value for money of any USB mic out there at the moment. Its’ sturdily built, produces fantastic audio, and looks cool. For anyone undecided, there are plenty of Youtube videos demonstrating the sound quality of this mic (and others) for easy comparison, that I recommend you check out. For anyone simply wanting high quality audio for podcasts, Skype, or recordings of themselves speaking, singing, or playing an instrument, the Meteor’s a top choice.
We ave the Samson Meteor Studio Cardioid USB Microphone