Samson USB Condenser Microphone
Good sound. Lower noise. Plug & Play simplicity. Good build quality. Affordable.
Occasional USB connection weirdness.
The Bottom Line:
I would recommend this mic to people on a budget who want better than average quality. Don't expect amazing sound and you won't be disappointed.
I was looking for a better mic since all my recordings had previously been done on a 10 dollar Sony dynamic and a built-in pinhole mic on my eMac.
If you were to go for a Shure SM57 (which is a great mic, so I'm told), you'd need a preamp or mixer with their added cost and cables. That said, the Behringer tube preamp is pretty tempting to 'warm up digital recordings' but I digress.
At almost 150 dollars here in Malaysia ( 80 at Amazon ), the Samson CO1U is not your average karaoke mic. You can't use it for irritating the neighbours as it only plugs into a computer's USB port.
I've been using it for a few days and despite being a condenser ( read very sensitive ) it picks up less ambient noise than I expected. EDIT: some musicians I've sent recordings to tell me they hear quite a bit of hissing. I had the gain turned up high. Sound On Sound reports some digital noise as does MacInTouch. Follow the link below to hear a recording I made of the piano in my living room.
You'll need a pop screen to stop your P's and Ch's from blasting air onto the diaphragm. Google and DIY your own unless you don't mind spending $20.
Being a USB device, it does sometimes require re-plugging. On my Mac, it shares a bus with a Harman Kardon iSub subwoofer and every so often I have to reset their connections. Mildly annoying.
Sound quality is good. But having subsisted on a slew of cheaps I'm not the best person to ask. I do get good volume from my softer voice and better detail compared to my Sony dynamic.
Overall, the construction is solid. It looks and feels substantial with a handsome matte silver finish. A screw on stand mount and 10 foot cable are included. You can use a coin to remove the smaller adapter if your stand's threads are wider.