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Samson vs Blue Snowball: USB Microphones for Recording Podcasts

Podcasting EquipmentI recently bought a Samson USB microphone for podcasting and very satisfied with the sound quality as well as the plug-n-play features of the mic..

As the name suggests, the CO1U mic plugs directly into the USB port of your computer instead of the regular Audio-In port of the sound card so the quality of sound is much better when you compare it with the traditional stereo headset microphones.

Today, Macworld has a detailed comparison of Samson Microphone with Blue Snowball which is another popular USB mic for computer based sound recording. In brief, Samson gets 4 while Snoball get 3.5 points.

Samson C01U

Pros: Easy USB connection; fully powered by USB; very good sound quality for the price; output customizable via software.

Cons: Bulky for portable use; cable length limited by USB; doesn’t include stand; software not currently Intel-compatible; no stereo support.

Blue Snowball

Pros: Easy USB connection; fully powered by USB; dual-capsule design; good sound quality; sturdy, well-designed stand.

Cons: Bulky for portable use; cable length limited by USB; low output; omni-directional mode still somewhat directional; no software controls; no stereo support.

Update: Oreilly has some tips for using microphones to get the best recording:

1. Position the microphone as close as possible to the source, up to about three or four inches away. This helps reduce any unwanted background noise.

2. Position the microphone at a 10-40 degree angle from the sound source. This works really well, since the worst p-popping occurs from wind blasts that hit the microphone capsule straight on.

Update: The Samson C01U microphone may have some trouble with Adobe Audition 2 since that requires ASIO sound drivers. However, it should work fine with Audacity or your screencasting apps like Camtasia Studio. There's absolutely no issues if you are planning to use Windows Sound recorder.

For running Samson mics with Audition, you can download the free ASIO4ALL drivers , set Samons as the default device in the ASIO control panel and finally choose Samson in the recording device settings. This workaround may not be required in Adobe Audition 1.5 or Cool Edit pro.

Alternatively, download and install the free Samson softpre applet which is ASIO compliant. The applet lets you monitor the recording levels as well as amplify the recording in real time. [Quick Tip: Keep the green bar around -12db for best recording and never let it turn orange which is too high a volume]

You can attach multiple USB mics to your laptop computer depending upon the number of free USB ports and your audio recording software. Not all software would have support for more than one microphone.