Samson C01U Review

USB Microphone

Samson CO1U Microphone

The Samson C01U was one of the first affordable studio condenser microphones with a USB interface. It boasts a 16-Bit resolution with a 44.1-48kHz sampling cardioid pickup pattern. The diaphragm is large at 19mm and it comes with a heavy gauge mesh grill. The USB cable which comes with the microphone is around 3M long. This allows you to move your microphone away from your computer so that it doesn’t pickup the sounds of your computer fans.

I purchased mine several years ago to start recording voice overs for my tutorial videos. Being a USB microphone you should be able to just plug it in and use it. If you’re using either a Windows or Apple computer then this is probably the case. I use the GNU/Linux operating system and initially all my recordings came out too quite. So quite in fact, that when I tried to boost the volume in post production it just introduced a lot of hissing.

So initially I was unhappy with the purchase. Then I discovered how to boost the microphones gain level using the alsamixer command and now I’m totally happy with the microphones sound quality. I’ve outlined below the steps you need to take on a Linux machine to increase the recording volume of this microphone.

The microphone costs around £60 and I’d rate the product 4/5. The build quality is excellent. I’d also recommend getting a pop filter to go in front of the microphone to reduce the plosive sounds like p in the word popping.

You can pick one up from Amazon UK ✶✶✶✶

What is the sound quality like?

This wouldn’t be a very good review if there wasn’t a sample recording for you to listen too. This is short video presentation I created where my voice was recorded using the Samson C01U.

Fixing the microphone gain on Linux

Start by dropping into a command line terminal session and typing the command alsamixer

alsamixer - selecting sound card

Once the screen loads you need to press the F6 key to select the correct sound card. Use the up and down arrow keys to select the Samson C01U option from the list and press the Enter key.

You then need to press the F4 key to switch from the playback settings to the capture settings screen shown below.

alsamixer - changing the microphone gain

Using your up and down arrow keys to adjust the amount gain. I’ve found a value between 80-84 to be sufficient, any higher and you start to introduce background hissing. Pressing the ESC key will exit you from the alsamixer command. You’re now ready to start recording your voice in something like Audacity.