It has been a number of years since I first road tested the Meteor by Samson, and since then they have developed their products for a range of uses, including expanding their home recording options for all budgets. So, it was with a familiar feeling when I unboxed the new Samson Meteorite USB microphone this month in order to give it a run. Given the similar name, I assumed it would just be a smaller version of the old model, but there were a few more differences than that.
So, it didn’t take me long to work out that the Meteorite is a really different concept in USB microphone design. Sure, the basic concept is there, this is a USB powered condenser microphone that requires no additional preamp or A/D converter. You simply plug it in and once it is ready to go with your computer, it acts as a recording input. But, this one has a number of differences to many other USB microphones available on the market, not discounting its bigger brother, the Meteor. So, the Meteorite microphone is just that; a microphone. You don’t get a built in audio interface of any sort, so there is no monitoring available through the device. There are no gain controls; you simply control it from your software input level. There isn’t anything really going on externally except for a small chrome ball that rests in a rather neat little cradle. That said, the plastic case and thin USB cable that terminates from within the housing are not that rugged. It almost felt like a bit of a toy, with the build quality on an otherwise funky design. But overall what it offers is a bargain.
A Ball Of Fun
So, at about the size of a golf ball, with a compact concaved magnetic cradle to rest in, this microphone really does change the way in which you will look at USB audio recording. It will happily sit on any desk and can be angled and positioned to face any direction for your desired sound source. You can even pick it up and cup it in the palm of your hands like one would with a harmonica microphone, but you need to be careful of both handling noise and inception of feedback when doing this. Sitting in its cradle, it allows you to use it for vocal and instrument work as a somewhat rudimentary device for improving your audio capture when songwriting or recording podcasts. It’s stupidly easy to set up and even easier to integrate into even the most compact of workspaces. As a microphone for travelling with when space and weight limits are important, this is going to be a great option, so long as it is cared for in transit.
Hits and Misses
Compact and lightweight
Easy to install and operate
Funky design that will change your thoughts on USB microphones
Clever cradle concept for almost limitless angles of recording
Basic build quality
Complete lack of physical controls
Type: 14mm diaphragm condenser microphone
Pick up Pattern: Cardio
Resolution: 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz
Power source: USB powered