As well as having this instant digitised music stream for you to use with whatever music software you prefer, you can also plug headphones directly into the mic for real time monitoring. You can control the volume of your headphones via the volume dial that sits around the power/mute button - the mic's powered from the USB connection. You can't, however, control the recording volume level from the device but must instead use software to do this. Meanwhile there's a small LED above this that indicates the device is powered, and also flashes red when the mic is peaking, giving you a quick indication of when you're pushing volume levels too high.
You can also use the Meteor Mic with iPads by plugging it into the dock connector via a USB adapter. Many USB mics won't work on the iPad as they require too much power, making the Meteor Mic a particularly desirable product.
So that's what the Meteor Mic does, but for any serious recording artists the key question is how does it perform, and the answer is very well indeed. We put it through its paces recording acoustic guitar, clean male singing vocals and shouty heavy metal vocals, electronic piano, electric guitar, some bongos and a pretend podcast, and it did a cracking job with them all.
Clearly specialist mics are still going to be your best bet for certain applications – certainly doing proper drum takes is going to be beyond the capabilities of a single mic like this, though you can of course overhead mic for a basic take – but particularly for recording solo work, it's excellent. Group recording is also going to be limited by the lack of stereo imaging – given this is a mono microphone – but you can easily use two or more simultaneously to open up many more options in this regard.
The 16-bit/44KHz sampling rate is technically below that provided by some really high end equipment – for instance the Blue Yeti Pro that I'll be looking at shortly has 24bit/192KHz sampling – but it's still more than sufficient for casual and even quite professional work. It is, after all, the same sampling rate used on CDs.
Where the Meteor Mic does fall down, then, is in its versatility. If you want a mic that can double as being part of your home recording setup, where you may have a proper microphone preamp, then the lack of an XLR (or any form of direct) output is a bit of a shame. Likewise, the lack of onboard gain control may feel limiting in some scenarios. Overall, though, for £99.95 we think it offers enough to make for a good deal.
The Samson Meteor Mic is one of the most charming products we've reviewed in a long time. Its superb styling, high build quality, ease of use and great sound quality combine to make for a hugely desirable addition to any home recording artist's arsenal. If you want an easy, portable microphone for recording while travelling or just when at home, we can think of few better options.