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CardioidSamson C01U

Cardioid Condenser Microphone

The C01U was the first USB-powered condenser microphone. It can be connected to any computer with a USB port; no external phantom power supply or mic preamp is necessary.

Although the mic should work on OS X and Windows machines with no additional software, Sampson’s bundled “SoftPre” driver provides input gain control, a phase switch, a high-pass filter, and a VU meter for level monitoring.

Whether you can use two C01U mics at once to record in stereo depends on your audio application; some do not support multiple simultaneous USB audio sources.

The built-in ADC supports 16-bit resolution at 8 kHz, 11.025 kHz, 22.05 kHz, 44.1 kHz, and 48 kHz sampling rates.


The C01U easily met our high expectations, despite its remarkably low price. As its specifications suggested, we found recorded sound to be accurate and uncolored across the whole audio spectrum from thumping bass drums to sizzling cymbals and in between. Recorded voices and acoustic instruments sounded like they did in real life…

Sound On Sound

Like the original C01, this mic does produce a low background hiss from its integral circuitry, although not enough to worry about when close-miking loud instruments or strong vocals. The noise is more evident on quieter instruments or voiceover work, but for typical studio applications the C01U can give good, clean results. Far more worrying, however, was a significant level of digital background clutter riding above the hiss when I tested the mic on a dual-processor Mac G5. I asked Samson’s UK distributors, Sound Technology, about this and they found they could replicate the problem on some (but not all) tower G5s, whereas all other Macs seemed quite happy. Switching to my G4 iBook confirmed that the digital noise was gone.

RadioWorld, 2009

So, how does it sound? Better than a $100 dollar mic has any right to sound. I really like its sound. It is quite flat, has a nice crisp high end and isn’t muddy or mushy. Will you like it as a voice mic? It has a somewhat lower propensity to pop, but it may be too thin on the bottom for some tastes. It won’t turn a shrimp into a gorilla. And it won’t create a lot of midrange air. But you’ll experience good voice articulation and smoothness not normally heard in this price range.

Permalink: Samson C01U

The mic was released in 2005.


Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Cardioid (22 mV/Pa; 40 - 18,000 Hz)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
Diaphragm diameter: 19mm
n/a Max SPL: 136 dB
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
480g (16.93oz) 180mm (7.09'') 54mm (2.13'')
  • USB (1)
Power Specifications

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