For a while, I neglected to include this mic in any “best of” because it just looked dinky. It’s about the size of a light bulb, but don’t be fooled by its less than intimidating appearance. It’s a fantastic little microphone when it works, but that’s the crux of the issue here, unfortunately.
It’s got a solid build and a nice stand, and people marvel at its beauty. It really does look like a mini spaceship or something. The audio quality is great, and it has a headphone jack for voice monitoring (with no latency), which is pretty neat as well. The good reviews call it a workhorse capable of great things.
Workhorse mic, very versatile.
Good carrying case and solid box.
Works with Mac, Logic, Garage band, iPad, iChat, etc.
Monitors with no latency, no background noise
Solid build and a good stand. Works after multiple drops according to one. One lad even said you could use it as a hammer, and he was being serious. Lol. The point is that it’s built Ford tough baby.
Red/Amber light of death. Known to quit after anywhere from a few days, to a few weeks, to 6 months, to a year/year and a half.
Your PC may suddenly stop recognizing it, which is also a drag. It may also suddenly die.
There have been some reports of soldering issues with the mini USB connector and port, to where the unit essentially comes apart in this area.
No gain adjustment on the mic.
Some driver issues may become apparent on Windows OS.
Vocals. Because it just picks up way too much, and singing into it will prove much too loud.
What you will need?
It’s plug and play yo! But some people had more success with a separate mic stand and pop filter. More on that in Stu’s notepad.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
Some were saying it’s a bit odd because even though the mic is super small, they had trouble finding desktop space because of the way the legs protruded outwards.
While the vocal quality for the most part was reported as good, some complained of a hollow, tinny sound. As if you were recording inside a tin can.
You may have to bend down to get in position to speak in the mic. The users who had the most success were the ones who bought a mic stand and pop filter. For the extra money, you may as well go with the Blue Yeti, which I will review shortly.
A good rule of thumb for this mic is not to turn up the gain past 60%.
An affordable entry-level piece that has a solid build and good audio quality, when it’s functioning properly. The majority of people love it, but just be aware that the red light issue may be a problem for you, depending on if you get a bad apple or not. In many cases, simply returning it for a new unit does the trick.
To start off, there are a few different versions of this microphone, and I’ll be discerning the differences for you real quick:
Samson C01UCW. This was the first installment of the mic. It can still be purchased and comes with Sonar’s Cake Walk software, hence the “CW” in the name. This is the mic I will be reviewing today, as it has the most reviews on amazon. I also happen to have read them all!
Samson CO1U Pro. This is an updated version of the mic and improves on a lot of the shortcomings of the CO1UCW as mentioned above.
There is also the CO1U bundle which comes with a shock-mount, pop filter, boom stand, the original stand, and software. The mic itself is not the CO1U Pro, however. If you ended up going this route, you would face all of the shortcomings of the original version.
Lastly, the CO1 XLR version. I own this and have had it since 2007. It’s rock-solid like the CO1U but requires an interface or mixer (48v Phantom power) to operate. Check out my Samson C01 Review!
Some improvements with the C01U Pro:
headphone output for real-time zero latency
improved signal to noise ratio
compatible with iPads and iPhones
The CO1U has overall very good reviews on Amazon, and there are plenty of good qualities about the mic. There are also some flaws however that you should be made aware of. Right off the bat, the stand that it comes with has gotten a lot of complaints and doesn’t really do this heavy mic justice. The mic itself is 1.1 pounds, but the stand is flimsy and weak. What was Samson thinking here? A good desktop stand or boom stand is a must. 2 good options are:
Other than the stand issue, this version also has a latency problem that is resolved with the pro model. A lot of people were saying that it’s really sensitive, but they had a hard time using EQ to positive effect. The distinct humming, distortion, and noise when the volume is turned up present problems as well, and it’s said to not have headroom. Headroom basically enables you to record without distortion, noise, hissing, and clipping, as well as a compressed or lifeless sound. You may have to record with this mic at slightly lower levels.
That said, one reviewer commented that Audacity’s noise reduction feature helps. It also helps to place the CO1U at about 5-6″ from your face while recording. This is the sweet spot according to some reviewers.
Finally, it has some compatibility issues as well, and the Cakewalk software isn’t very intuitive. Most everyone said just use Audacity. One reviewer said it best, there is the Windows camp that loves this mic, and the Mac users who hate it. In a nutshell:
Does not work with Windows Vista. No one uses Vista anymore, so this won’t be a problem for 99% of people.
Works best with Windows XP. This may present a problem for most, because again.. no one uses XP.
Works well with Windows 7, with the mic levels around 80.
Doesn’t work with Windows 8, and the sound output on 8.1 is too low. It tends to pick up a lot of noise at high levels.
Solid and heavy. Build quality is fantastic, and it can take quite a bit of abuse.
Best in voice-over type applications: pod-casting, you-tube videos, spoken word, video tutorials, and live commentary.
Spider Shock-mount is nice.
Great with Audacity and Adobe Audition
Clear, crisp vocals.
A lot of people said it’s good for rapping and singing. Not its primary use though.
Good for demos, kick drums, and someone even said they recorded a band with it
Plug and play. Works out of the box with minimal hassle.
Good for small starter home studios.
Full, rich sound.
Only records in mono.
Provided stand is weak and too light for this mic.
The carrying case leaves dye stains on the mic.
Doesn’t work well with Mac.
Provided software (Cake Walk Sonar) is not intuitive at all.
Doesn’t do well with loud recording. It produces unwanted noise as well as white noise.
Increasing the gain on this mic makes the humming problem very apparent.
No backup drivers; Instruction manual outdated.
No switches, controls, or features on the mic itself.
Cakewalk doesn’t work with Windows 7 100% of the time.
Recording with an HP laptop may cause static.
Check out the video review!
Who this mic benefits?
People who need a good voice-over solution
People who want a rock-solid and durable mic
What you will need?
A better mic stand for sure
A good pop filter, I use the Samson PS01
A good shock-mount, the Samson SP01
It’s really hard to sum up this mic. The reviews are somewhat polarized. Some people swear by it, others can’t get over its flaws. It is rock solid and durable and does extremely well with voice-over. Standout flaws include a poor stand, latency issues (remedied with the pro version), humming/buzzing sounds, bad included software, hard to EQ, and the protective case issue.
Similarities & Differences
Both USB mics.
Both good build quality.
The Meteor is a little more versatile, while the C01U excels best in voice-over-type situations.
Both the C01U Pro and Meteor have headphone outputs for zero-latency live monitoring.
Size. The Meteor is about the size of a lightbulb while the CO1U is a bit skinnier but longer.
Stand. The Meteor has its own stand, the CO1U comes with a separate one. It’s been said that the Co1U’s stand is a bit flimsy and of a low quality.
The Meteor was designed to be portable, while the C01U is more comfortable in a studio environment. However, you can use the Meteor with a mic stand, or just keep it on your desk as is. A bit more versatile in this regard as well.
Meteor mic is louder, gives you the option to record in stereo (as opposed to only mono for the C01). The guy from the comparison video liked the quality of the C01U better though. You be the judge!
The Meteor has volume control and a mute button while the CO1U does not.
Both mics are decent, but if I was even remotely serious about recording, I wouldn’t go with either of these. There are too many flaws and shortcomings to speak of, and I’m not comfortable recommending them based on a lot of reviews that left a bad taste in my mouth.
Instead, I’m going to recommend the Blue Yeti today. It’s the best USB mic on the market, it’s really convenient, and comes with a ton of cool features. It is a little bit more expensive than these two, but not by much. The increase in price just means an increase in quality. Don’t get me wrong, the mics reviewed today aren’t awful, it’s just that they are a short-term solution. You want something that’s going to last. You want the all-in-one solution. Interested in learning more about the Blue Yeti? Check out my in-depth and informative:
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.