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Samson C01U USB Studio Condenser Microphone

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Samson C01U USB Studio Condenser microphone I had the first chance to use my new Samson C01U USB Studio Condenser microphone in anger for the first time the other day when recording piano and voice for a short film proposal.

Appearances matter, and the rigid shrink wrap style of blister packaging the Samson C01U had arrived in didn’t do it justice. It’s usually only cheap audio/video leads masquerading as expensive ones and factory made cheeses that find themselves in clear, bubble packages, not studio quality condenser microphones.

Once unwrapped however, the weight (nearly half a kilo), size and obvious quality of design and manufacture combined to negate this first appearance. It is a lovely looking, feel-good bit of kit.

There is a mic stand mount included, which is fairly sturdy looking and well designed but worryingly I’m pretty sure it’s made of plastic. This means taking it off the stand for safety before slinging the stand in the back of your car.

The only other useful item included in the bubble was a middling long usb cable which I have just measured at 2.9mts.
This is a little bit on the stingy side when supplying just 5mts would have given the maximum reach for a single high speed usb cable and I immediately found myself having to move my MacBook closer to the mic stand. The usb cable length can be seen in a slightly more reasonable light bearing in mind the very prominent sticker on the front of the C01U which reads ‘Ideal for PODCASTING’ (their capitals) and of course the name of the mic – Studio. I was on location and recording a piano.

Samson C01U USB Studio Condenser microphone It is entirely possible to use the C01U as it is with your Mac straight out of the box, I checked and it does work. But this would mean missing out on the added versatility of Samson’s SoftPre applet software which needs downloading for free from their site. SoftPre adds the possibility of an Input Level Meter, Volume control, High-pass filter and Phase Switch to the functionality of the C01U.

I struggled with getting this to work for a little while as it means reading the notes…but the order of service goes like this: connect usb cable to mic, plug in to any free usb port on your Mac, fire up Garageband (with Logic you need to alter settings in the system Audio/Midi but full instructions are available from Samson’s site), go to Preferences, Audio/Midi, Audio Input & choose the Samson. When prompted to change drivers click yes. The SoftPre gui can be made to float on top of everything else which helps when switching back and forth between it and Garageband.

I loved the quality of the recordings achieved with the C01U straight away. I’m no professional at this but their clarity and quality was instantly noticeable. The speed and ease of set-up was fantastic. It worked exactly as it should have and none of the other musicians present so much as commented on the presence of a usb cable or lack of an audio interface box. Recording with the Samson C01U was one of those computer experiences which stand-out by being almost completely transparent.

This is a very capable, easy to use, all round microphone which gives great results simply and easily and sits really comfortably next to your Mac in almost any situation. If you are into podcasting or need to record a piano, the Samson C01U will work for you.

13 Responses to “Samson C01U USB Studio Condenser Microphone”

  1. pcunite

    I really like the Samson C01U. At first I had major trouble getting a clean recording on my Quad Core computer. Using the Asus P5K-E usb motherboard ports I kept getting pops and lots of static. I then tried plugging the MIC into my usb hub located in my Dell 2005FPW monitor. Now all is well.

    The MIC is fine, but if you have static change USB sources.

  2. Confused

    I bought the mic…but I am having problems hearing myself at all. only when Input: Echo is on. I just want to record vocals as they are played to the music. And Yes I am using the Sonar 6 LE. I also have Acid Pro 6.0 (preferably). Help Please…

  3. (on May 5th, 2009)

    Hey Jakartaguy:

    I followed your directions for my setup (MacBook Pro 17″ Unibody) and I haven’t noticed any difference. The level is still extremely low. Although I’m using Soundtrack Pro instead of GarageBand, but it shouldn’t matter should it?

    I’ve had mixed results with the SoftPre applet.. It seems that the slider has little to no effect for the entire lower 3/4 of the scale.

    The top 1/4 seems to make it 100% with no variance at all.. and of course it clips severely.

    I feel like I’m missing something here! Is this mic supposed to be this quiet? I mean, I’m no audio engineer, but I just expected a reasonable level, with a good dynamic range for podcasts and screencasts.

    Also, if I hold the mic about 1″ from my mouth, it seems to be a pretty good volume, but that’s not quite practical either, given the size and weight of this thing.

    So, do you think you can help me “enjoy and be stress free..”. :)

  4. Jakartaguy

    Is this you?? ‘My Samson C0IU sucks with leopard?’ ‘Samson C0IU is a piece of garbage with Mac”, etc, etc, etc, etc …

    Well that was then, this is now!

    Friends!!! It is now April 2, 2009 and I have finally finally finally found the SOLUTION!!! I want to share this because I am so relieved I found it! I found it on the internet and wish I could credit the guy who wrote it out but I have forgotten the website….

    Okay, here it goes!!

    Step 1. Go to Utilities, Audio/Midi Setup
    Step 2. Go to Audio -> Open Aggregate Device Editor
    Step 3. In the dialogue, click the + (this will create a new Aggregate Device)
    Step 3A. Click the Aggregate Device just so it is highlighted
    Step 4. In the USE column check mark Samson COIU and Built-In Output
    Step 5. In the Clock column check mark the Built-in Output option
    Step 6. Click Done
    Step 7. For your Default Input and your Default Output, CHOOSE AGGREGATE DEVICE
    Step 8. In properties for choose SAMSON COIU
    step 9. Format = 44.100
    Step 10. Value = 0.86



    Jakartaguy in Jakarta Indonesia

  5. Jakartaguy

    JKW: I have same problem (i from jakarta) …. this is great advice from apple discussion forum:

    I recently ran into exactly the same problem when moving a Samson mic to a new system. Go into “Audio MIDI Setup” and select the Samson mic next to “Properties For:.” Increase the volume for Channel 2 (we keep it at 0.87, as an example) and it will increase the volume that channel 1 shows up at in GarageBand. We always record using channel 1 in GarageBand, and for some reason the level for channel 2 is effecting it.

    I was about ready to pull my hair out until I stumbled across this one difference between the old and new machines.


    MacBook Pro Mac OS X (10.5.2)