Dec 21, 2015

Short Review: Samson GTrack Microphone for Netcasts



So it happens that I got my finger on a new microphone for recording netcasts (some call them podcasts).
The Samson GTrack Microphone is a studio quality super-cardoid microphone, that was build for singing and recording of other sounds.
It has a built-in mixer for intrument or line-in input, and a headphone jack 3,5mm for monitoring with zero latency. Very useful.

The package features all cables required for connecting instruments, line-in sources and the long enough USB-Cable, as well as a heavy (!) desktop stand and all you need to begin with. There is also "Cakewalk", a recording software, included, which I didn't touch here.

I run this with Kubuntu Linux 15.10. It's simply plug and play. After you connect the microphone, it appears in your software, in my case Audacity, as a sound input, as well as sound output (yup, remember, there's a headphone jack). Selecting the audio source gives you a 48000 Hz / 16 Bit input, which is better than CD-Quality. The frequency response is 20-16.000 Hz.
Wait a second, you'll say, that's worse than my cheap headset micro. Nope. The frequency response advertised is somewhat a theoretically range. It does not reflect how sensible your mic is at what frequency. Companies that don't want to ruin their name only state the reasonable frequency range, in which recording make sense.


So the technical side is great. How about real-life quality?
It isn't going to revolutionize the music business. But the mic is, and that is all I tested it for, absolutely great for recording netcasts. With the optional spide shock mount and a p-popfilter, you're good to go for professional netcasting. The voice, because of the good and quite balanced frequency response, sound natural with the deeps covered and the heights strong. The forced front facing record, makes it easier to phase out disturbing noises from behind the mic, giving your voice more presence.

If you're not used to such a super-cardoid microphone, you will be amazed how much better your voice sounds. The downturn though is, you need to get on the mic. I mean you should go near it. 6-10 cm is the best (from the mic, not the popfilter).
It works great under GNU+Linux with Audacity and you can record at full quality.


The price will be an argument for some. Yes, you can use this mic for casual recording, too. Not only for professional work. That's because the price ranges at around $120. A p-popfilter is a bargain in most shops and the optional spider shock mount comes in with about $30. It depends on your place if you need one.

So the Samson might not be the very best, nor the cheapest, but it's a great mic that makes it perfect for netcasting or other voice records. The integrated sound mixer is a nice way to have a small, portable sound interface on every computer you plug this is without any setup on the software side.
Let the recording begin.