Samson C01U Pro USB Microphone review

Samson CO1U Pro mic 01

So you want to record your next podcast, voiceover demo, or narrate a video?  Ready to step up from your laptop or tablet’s built in mic but don’t want to destroy your bank account?  Let’s see what the Samson CO1U Pro USB Microphone has to offer.

(All photos can be clicked for a full size image)

  • USB studio condenser microphone
  • Large, 19mm diaphragm ensures pristine studio-quality audio
  • Headphone output for zero-latency monitoring
  • Ideal for recording music, ADR work, Sound Foley, voiceovers, audio for YouTube videos
  • Vastly improves Skype, FaceTime, VoIP applications and speech-to-text dictation software
  • Supercardiod pickup pattern
  • Smooth, flat frequency response of 20Hz–20kHz
  • 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz resolution
  • Solid die-cast metal construction
  • Shock-mounted mic element
  • Peak LED indicator
  • Plug-and-play, no driver installation required
  • Compatible with most recording software and apps
  • USB bus powered via Mac, PC or iPad
  • Includes tripod stand, swivel mount and USB cable

Samson CO1U Pro mic 02

Samson CO1U Pro mic 03

Samson’s original USB condenser microphone, the CO1U, was introduced in 2005.  The CO1U Pro comes with a threaded microphone stand with tripod screw adapter, small tripod, and USB cable.

Samson CO1U Pro mic 04

The microphone is a pretty good size.  Not dainty.  Note the headphone jack towards the bottom.  This can be used for monitoring.

Samson CO1U Pro mic 05

Closeup of the grille.

Samson CO1U Pro mic 06

The microphone weighs in at just under 16 1/2 ounces.

Samson CO1U Pro mic 09

The little fold up tripod (included) is quite handy for desktop use.

Samson CO1U Pro mic 07

Here’s the microphone stand mount.  The brass-colored threads attach to a standard mic stand.  The threaded insert is for a tripod mount.  Note the USB connector on the end of the microphone itself.

Samson CO1U Pro mic 08

The mic mount attaches via threaded ring.  Here it is, taken apart.

Samson CO1U Pro mic 10

Connecting the Samson CO1U Pro is pretty straightforward, but if you want to connect it to your iPad, you’ll need this Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter ($29).  It will NOT work on the iPhone 5S, however.

Update from SamsonThe CO1U Pro actually does work with the iPhone 5 and 5s with the lightning adapter as long as they are running IOS7 and will even work with the iPhone 4s if it is running IOS7 and has the 30 pin to USB camera connector. 

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I set the Samson CO1U Pro alongside my Neumann TLM 103 condenser microphone in my recording “booth” (yes, it’s just a closet that’s been acoustically treated with 4″ wedge foam and other things).  I can hear some of you shouting already… how can the Samson CO1U Pro stack up against a microphone costing roughly 10x as much?

Both microphones were mounted behind a largest-diameter pop filter in my arsenal- which happens to be my cheapest, the Monoprice Dual-Screen Pop-Filter.

Samson CO1U Pro mic 12

First up, the Samson C01U Pro.  The Samson CO1U Pro has a supercardioid pattern.  I connected the microphone with the Apple USB adapter to my iPad Air and recorded on Twisted Wave for iOS.  No post processing or equalization has been added.

Now, the Neumann.

Samson CO1U Pro mic 13

The Neumann TLM 103 has a cardioid pattern.  The TLM 103 was connected to an Apogee One for iPad and Mac and with Twisted Wave for iOS on my iPhone 5S.  (This clip was recored at the same time as the Samson CO1U clip.)  Again, no post processing or equalization has been added.

I will leave you to decide what sounds better.  Keep in mind that your source material (voice, instrument) may work better with some microphones, but not others.  But for the money, the Samson C01U Pro works quite well as a plug and play, no nonsense USB device or an ultraportable iPad studio on-the-go.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Samson. Please visit their site for more info.

 

Product Information

Price:$129.99 MSRP
Manufacturer:Samson
Requirements:
  • For iPad: The Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter ($29)
Pros:
  • Connect directly to your computer via USB or iPad (needs adapter cable)
  • Good sound for a very reasonable price
  • Great for a travel kit or simple home setup
  • Comes with a neat little tabletop tripod
Cons:
  • Adjustability limited to whatever your software can do
  • No controls on the mic itself
  • Supercardioid pattern only (not adjustable)
  • Apple iOS recording with Apple cable sold separately
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear, Music Gear, Reviews

7 comments… add one

  • Sandee Cohen August 8, 2014, 10:34 am

    My problem with any microphone is I record tutorials as I work in front of my monitor.

    I’ve been told that creates a hollow sound.

    I’m getting a lavalier mic that I hope will help.

    1
  • Andy Chen August 8, 2014, 10:45 am

    Moving the mic closer to the person talking helps, as does the type of microphone pickup pattern (cardioid, omni, etc) plus your recording environment.

    If you’ve been told your recordings sound “hollow” I’m *guessing* your room acoustics may be a factor, where noise and reflections are getting picked up.

    Try positioning the microphone closer, record in a different room if you can, etc.

    There are times when I can’t do much. During a FaceTime video chat, I can’t just drag a desktop computer in the recording booth. So instead of relying on my USB video camera’s built-in microphone- which works OKAY- I wear a headset with boom microphone. It gives me some privacy (I hear the other side in my ear) and my outgoing speech is picked up from the microphone at the tip of the boom, which sounds less “hollow” or “dude are you on a speakerphone?”

    (Note: One of my pet peeves? Being on a phone call where the other party is on “speaker”. Knock it off, world!)

    2
  • Jaaki August 8, 2014, 1:37 pm

    Andy, can you tell me whether you can listen to a backing track (coming from the ipad or computer) through the headphone output while recoding?

    3
  • Andy Chen August 8, 2014, 1:41 pm

    From what I can tell, this particular device can be set up on your computer as a “playback device”. That is, when you choose where your sounds come out of, you can pick the Samson. Then, of course, your software can play whatever you wish. If your SOFTWARE can play back during recording, then yes.

    4
  • Gwen November 15, 2014, 2:54 pm

    hey Andy your review was pretty good :) but I just wanted to know which mic is better, the Samson C01u or the Samson C01u pro..I’m really confused which one to buy .

    5
  • Andy Chen November 15, 2014, 6:32 pm

    According to Samson’s website, the Pro adds “a headphone output for zero-latency monitoring and an improved signal-to-noise ratio.”

    6
  • Jaaki November 16, 2014, 3:14 am

    Hi Gwen, I got the Pro after reading this review and I’m very happy with it and the headphone output is great. You can either directly monitor the mic, or let it play through from a DAW. I use mine for music.

    7

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