By Matthew Boudreau
The podcast revolution is here! More and more folks are starting podcasts to get their messages and voices into the ears of the world. Every podcast has a unique format, and every podcaster has a unique style and challenges, especially in terms of equipment they use.
On the front of many podcasters’ minds are affordability, reliability, durability and flexibility. In the ten years I have been podcasting, Samson has always provided excellent solutions for professional home studio recording. And Samson’s latest line of audio gear is every bit as exciting and impressive as my first Go Mic purchased seven years ago.
The Portable Anywhere Condenser: The Samson Go Mic
The Go Mic is super affordable, coming in at just under $50. It’s lightweight, portable and — let’s face it — adorable. It offers omnidirectional and cardioid polar patterns so you can capture a room of folks or just yourself as well as a -10dB pad for when things get extra loud. It has an ultra-compact design that includes a clip that attaches to your laptop, tablet or phone. I carry mine with me everywhere and it operates just as well today as when I bought it in 2013. It’s been mailed to actors and interview guests and traveled on the road with me and has always come back in one piece.
Connects to your Phone You Say?
Yes! Since 2013, more and more Android and iOS phones can power and use USB devices. With a simple on-the-go cable (Android) or Lightning to USB Camera Adapter (iOS) and a good recording app for your phone or tablet, you can connect your Samson Go Mic and record wherever you happen to be. Powered cables are can be used with Android devices to reduce power drain on the battery.
The All-in-One Dynamic: The Samson Q2U
We, at the Podcast Host, have raved about the Q2U before. Up until recently, I hadn’t personally used dynamic mics for much, preferring the rich, open sound of a condenser mic. Moving out into the field more for recording, I decided to upgrade my Samson R21 to the flexible Q2U.
The Q2U, which features both XLR and USB jacks was a noticeable upgrade in sound quality. It has a flatter response allowing more details in the higher frequencies and its bass response handles my low, baritone voice very well.
XLR and USB
The XLR and USB flexibility is what drew me to the Q2U in the first place. I plugged this mic into every piece of gear that I had and it consistently performed well. As with the Go Mic, you’ll need an OTG cable (Android) or Lightning to USB Camera Adapter (iOS) to connect this to your phone, and a powered OTG cable is necessary on Android if you want to monitor what you are recording. That said, the Q2U records well without external power. This opens up a lot of possibilities for spontaneous interviews, boots-on-the-ground reporting and live podcasting.
The Record Anywhere Wireless: The Samson Go Mic Mobile
The Go Mic Mobile is a huge leap in the evolution of on-the-go podcasting. This wireless microphone system can use two wireless microphones simultaneously. It comes with your choice of either a handheld dynamic microphone or an LM8 Lavalier Mic and a transmitter pack that supports mini-XLR(P3) connection, so you can swap out the included omnidirectional lav microphone with a range of Samson headset and lav devices to fit your recording needs.
Wireless as they Come
Wires are a constant source of frustration for a podcaster in the field. Even the most compact handheld setups feature a tangle of XLR cables, headphone cables, USB cables and miscellaneous wires aplenty. The Go Mic Mobile reduces your need for wires significantly.
The compact receiver connects to your iOS or Android device via a single cable (included). There’s no need for an OTG cable or Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, and the Receiver is self-powered by an internal rechargeable battery, so the receiver does the heavy lifting, reducing the battery drain on your phone or tablet. This means recording can go wherever your phone can go. Bring your podcast audience with you rock climbing, hiking, conventions, road trips and everywhere you want to go.
The Studio Condenser: The Samson Satellite
Enjoy the rich warmth of a studio-quality condenser while away from the studio with the Satellite broadcast-quality USB/iOS microphone. It features three polar patterns: the typical omni and cardioid patterns, as well as a bidirectional (figure-8) pattern that uses the microphone’s two condenser capsules to isolate voices in the front and back of the mic, while still having significant offside rejection. Bidirectional patterns are perfect for recording an interview with a single mic, while significantly reducing pickup of noise and reverb off-mic.
The Satellite produces a crisp, accurate sound, capturing deep, resonant vocal tones and higher-frequency articulation very well. It features built-in collapsible legs that retract into the body of the microphone and the bottom of the mic has a US-standard ⅝-inch microphone stand thread mount eliminating the need for a separate clip.
The Satellite is designed to work with an iPhone or other iOS device right out of the box. It comes standard with a Lightning cable and a standard Type-A USB cable. While a cable specifically for Android devices is not included, I was able to connect the phone without an OTG cable using a micro USB cable that was included with the Go Mic Mobile. The microphone powered up and functioned flawlessly with full monitoring and the same clean sound.
Listening in: The Zi100 Professional Reference Earphones
No recording package is complete without being able to monitor what you record. Over-the-ear studio headphones are clunky and take up a lot of valuable space. Samson Zi100 professional reference earphones are a fantastic alternative to over the ear headphones for on-the-go recording. The Zi100 features a small carrying case that fits in a pocket and comes with both standard and noise isolating tips (ear pieces). They are comfortable to wear long-term without causing irritation to the ears and the audio response is accurate and quiet. They are well built, with reinforcement near the earphones and a durable twisted-wire cable that will stand up in the field and those too-often moments when my headphone cable gets snagged on a piece of equipment or tree branch.
Let Your Voice be Heard
Your voice is important. Let it be heard with a great line-up of podcasting gear from Samson. Whether you record in a studio, a hotel room, on the streets, or in the field, Samson has recording solutions that travel with you.
And now that you’ve got the kit nailed down, check out our free guide on How to Start a Podcast over at ThePodcastHost.com. From planning and content, to publishing and promotion, it’ll walk you through the entire process, every single step of the way!
About the Author
Matthew Boudreau is a field recordist, podcast producer, consultant and editor, and sound designer living in Buffalo, NY. He has been working in podcasting since 2008 and has over 20 years of experience as an audio professional. He is an owner of UberDuo Post-Production Audio and a founder of the 11th Hour Audio Challenge and was the dialogue editor for the Audible productions, Locke and Key and X-Files: Cold Cases. He writes articles on the technical aspects of podcasting for The Podcast Host and has spoken at CONvergence in Bloomington, Minnesota, and SXSW in Austin Texas on topics including voice acting, sound design, and making the jump from film to podcast fiction. His audio fiction pieces 1918, Intensive Care and A Prophets Guide have won Mark Time and Ogle Awards. His current podcast projects include sound design for The Once and Future Nerd and editing for The Activist Files for the Center for Constitutional Rights.