By Kevin Anderson
After experimenting with the Adobe Voice iPad application to create animated videos, I could find only one problem. It sounded rubbish.
I was using the internal microphone on my iPad Air to record my narration but it just wasn’t good enough. I did what I always do in such circumstances and turned to those that know better. I’m fortunate that I have a number of sound engineers and musicians that I could call on for some honest advice. One of them pointed me towards the Samson C01U Pro. After an obligatory check of the online reviews, I was comforted enough to part with my £60.
The box bills it as a “Professional USB Studio Condenser Microphone”. The USB element was important as I wanted a microphone that could connect to my iPad via the Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter. I already owned the adapter after an ill-judged foray into the World of Digital music, which still haunts me to this day.
Out of the Box
The Samson C01U Pro comes with the condenser microphone, a tripod stand, swivel mount, a USB cable and a 12 page Owner’s Manual. It's also possible to get the C01U with a shock mount, which gives you a lot more flexibility in where you place the mic. With that add-on you can use a floor stand or a boom arm and reduce the chances of desk noise by a huge amount.
Getting the microphone set-up with my iPad Air was really straightforward. It was that rarest of treats – a bit of tech kit that was genuinely ‘plug and play’. My initial tests were very promising and the sound quality improved as I changed the positioning of the microphone.
One of the first tasks was to re-record the audio on one of my own animated videos. The before and after differences were of the ‘night and day’ variety. The video was totally transformed by having a high quality voice over. Buoyed by the experience I trialled various Podcasting apps on my iPad, before giving my new bit of kit a go on my MacBook Air.
The initial MacBook Air set-up was just as straightforward as with the iPad. I fired up Audacity and experimented by recording some random musings. Maybe it was my ego, or perhaps the mere presence of a mic compelled me – but before I knew it I was recording the opening to my very own podcast.
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An Audio Sample
Of course, I thought it would be useful to offer a sample of the audio. You'll find it below.
If you're interested, here's the Samson PS01 Pop Filter that I mention in the audio file too.
Enhancing the Experience
One of my good friends who recommended the mic in the first place was suitably impressed with my early efforts. He did, however, pick-up on something that I hadn’t noticed. Apparently I had a ‘pop’ issue. I reviewed the audio again, and not for the first time in my life, my arrogance had blinded me. There was indeed distinct popping and occasional hissing on the audio. He explained how to make my own pop filter; tights were involved, an elastic band was mentioned – it was all too much. Frankly it all sounded a bit too ‘MacGyver’ for me. So instead I solved the problem by purchasing the Samson PS01 Pop filter.
The Samson C01U Pro microphone is ideal for anyone starting out with vocal audio recording. Whether you’re Podcasting or providing voice over narration for animated videos; it is a simple, yet powerful USB mic.
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