Recording good audio outside the home isn’t easy: there’s lots of surface noise that negates and defeats the power of a built-m microphone on a mobile device or laptop. That’s where Samson’s Meteorite microphone comes in — small enough to be easily carried around but powerful enough to get the job done.
The Meteorite resembles a small metal ball (hence the name) and has a connected USB cable attached. While it will stand up on its own, the spherical shape requires a base to keep it steady. Provided is such a base, also small, it’s magnetic so as to hold the microphone and allow minor tweaking of its position (just don’t think the mic’s metal, it’s not — plastic with chrome plating). The USB cable plugs into a USB socket to provide both data transfer and power — using it with a tablet like an iPad necessitates an accessory (in Apple’s case, the Camera Kit). The advantage of this is that no additional power supply has to be carried around.
Now for those who’d say that a built-in mic would suffice, I say try doing an interview in a noisy, people filled meeting room at a trade show like E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). Sure you can stick a smartphone into someone’s face, but the amount of surrounding noise will make listening later a headache-inducing chore. Instead, I relied on this condenser microphone’s 14mm diaphragm and 16 bit, 44.1/48kHz resolution and 20Hz-20kHz response to give me something less cringe-worthy to work from. Sure that meant sitting down rather than standing in a corner using a MacBook Air, but how was that a bad thing? I was able to conduct an interview with the person speaking some 1 foot or so away and capture it with excellent (mono) detail. This is a result of the pickup pattern which biases towards the front, rejecting the sides, rather than capturing audio in a omnidirectional pattern. A very tiny, almost imperceptible LED indicates when the mic has power and audio is being impacted on it — frankly I ignored this as I just made sure first thing that the recording in progress was being picked up sufficiently loud enough by the recording application.
I also tried using the Meteorite with an iPad (adapter in place) but found this less useful outside of the home — an iPad’s just too big and bulky (other than the latest) to make for on location type use. Indoors it functions well — many times better than the tablet’s built-in mic. But I wouldn’t take it on location for audio recordings, as I did the laptop.
The Meteorite records voices well and I would imagine be fine for casual singing recordings — I got it specifically for use to do audio interviews and found no fault with it. When not in use, it sits in front of my Mac Pro, since I’ve no built-in mic as found on an iMac. The Meteorites small size makes it unobtrusive between the keyboard and monitor, and I appreciate that. I also appreciate the $59.99 price since its loss on location wouldn’t cause me to go all postal.