With the rise of bedroom podcasters and radio DJs, easy-to-use microphones are popping up everywhere.
Take the Samson Meteor Mic: it’s a USB condenser microphone that has its own on-board A/D and D/A converters. It’s compatible with both Mac and PC and promises “extended frequency and fast transient response.”
The Meteor Mic fits a classic microphone look into in an easy-to-use and compact case. In fact, the device is extremely portable, with small legs folding down from the microphone for desk use in the case of things like podcasts. While these legs are certainly useful for the desk use, the way they fold down makes them a little difficult to navigate when the user wants to mount the microphone to a larger microphone stand.
Because of its compact size, some controls that are found on the larger Blue Microphone Yeti microphone have been reduced to software control. While there is a gain control knob on the Yeti to change the gain of the microphone, users have to head to the settings of the mic on their computer to change the gain. It’s not a huge deal, but I would have preferred to gain control of the mic rather than headphone volume control, especially considering the fact that many users are still going to be using the headphone jack from their computer rather than the in-built one on the microphone.
The headphone control knob is located on the front of the device, with a mute button for the mic in the middle of that knob and an LED light right above. The light basically lets users know the status of the microphone. It lights up blue when it has power, amber when muted and flashes red when the signal is clipping, meaning that the user should head to settings and lower the gain of the microphone.
On the back of the microphone is a simple mini-USB jack and a 1/8-inch headphone jack.
In the box, users get the microphone, USB cable, carrying case and instructions.
This microphone is not a studio-quality instrument microphone. While theoretically, users could use the Meteor Mic to record anything, the sound of the microphone doesn’t really lend itself to acoustic guitar, piano, electric guitar or drums, as detailed in the microphone instruction manual. I probably wouldn’t use this microphone for a sung vocal, either. There’s a bit of a drop-off in the lows, which will make instruments sound slightly tinny, something that is further amplified by a pretty hefty increase in highs between around 6 kHz and 20 kHz.
It’s important to mention that the Meteor Mic is a cardioid microphone, meaning that it is unidirectional. This is pretty natural for a condenser microphone, but considering the fact that the microphone is aimed at being ultra-portable, it would have been nice to see the ability to toggle directionality.
Having said that, where this microphone does excel is as a radio/podcasting microphone. There is a nice amount of low-mids on it that helps voices sound strong — perfect for a radio voice, but something that would probably end up sounding muddy on most instruments and would over-complicate a mix. In fact, when I used this microphone for my voice, I even ended up ducking the low-mids a little.
To my taste, while the lows on the microphone are very nice-sounding for a podcast voice, the microphone could use a little more clarity in the high-end. This is obviously something that can be fixed with a little EQ, but something to note nonetheless.
The Meteor Mic is ultra-portable and very well-designed. It’s perfect for the podcaster or radio DJ. While it certainly isn’t a studio quality instrument microphone and won’t help much in a roundtable interview considering its directionality, it has a nice sound at a pretty good price, coming in at only $69.99.