Samson C03U Recording/Podcasting Pak

Samson C03U Recording/Podcasting Pak

The Podcasting Pak includes a good-looking USB-powered microphone, a mini mic stand, and a foam-lined industrial-strength case to carry it all.


Every podcast recording begins with a microphone. The only reason that most Mac users haven't worried too much about the mic is because the built-in mics on iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros have worked just fine for most off-board uses. If you tried to record on a Mac notebook, however, you've no doubt noticed a few irksome issues: fan noise, primarily (unless you're recording MIDI, in which case no harm, no foul). While it's fully possible to make this flaw seem like a feature by packaging your podcast as some sort of staged neoindustrial set piece complete with whirring machinery in the background, in actual fact, fan noise is not a desirable trait. Moreover, if what you're doing involves live music, instruments, or any other nuanced acoustic audio source, using the built-in mic is less than ideal.


So what then? It could be that Samson just bandwagoned its C03U mic onto the whole podcasting craziness, but it's still a compelling sub-$250 offering. Plug the C03U into your Mac's USB port, go to System Preferences, and pick Sound, where you'll see the mic listed for sound input. While the CO3U comes with Sonar LE software, it's for Windows only. Our decidedly down-market software of choice for podcasting is a bit of freeware called Audacity. In this case, the podcast in question was a weekly sports talk show that mixes music, live interviews, chatter, and more chatter.


The mic was thusly charged with catching midfrequency voices amid an environment of consistent but low-grade background noise. We set the Hi-pass switch to the 12dB per octave low cut (at 100Hz) roll-off position since we wanted to eliminate all of the noninterview voice noise, and then began 'casting away. We didn't use the stand because we wanted to use the mic as sort of a nonverbal visual cue that, since we had asked a question, it should probably be answered. Even with the mic moving back and forth, the reproduction was honest and true, and it maintained a certain clarity that we didn't get with the built-in mic (and in all fairness, there's only so much you can expect from a built-in mic).


And what of the fan noise? Less present than before, but still more present than we would've liked. Perhaps this is a limitation of the form and always going to be part and parcel of recording on a notebook (in this instance, a PowerBook G4). It was a nonissue on our iMac G5, where the dulcet tones of us screaming about multibracket sporting events can be heard as brightly and as clearly as if we were standing at the arena right next to you. Drunk.


The bottom line. Samson's CO3U is a fine addition to any mic locker and specifically for podcasting. The cheapskate in us balks a bit about the price, but it's competitive, so on that score you should feel free to pay us no mind.


PRICE: $229
Gives a good pro audio gloss to quick and dirty recordings. Can be used with GarageBand, Audacity, or any other audio-recording app.
Bundled software isn't Mac compatible.





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