Samson Meteor Mic
Electric Factory, www.elfa.com.au
Inexpensive; amazing audio and build quality for the price
One of the iPad’s great strengths is its ability to be used as a recording device – but it’s not just for musicians who use it for instruments and vocals. Among its many other uses are recording podcasts, presentations, interviews and voice memos, and chatting via FaceTime and Skype.
But to record properly you need to move beyond the iPad’s built-in microphone to an external one. While most USB microphones need a powered hub to draw enough power to work with the iPad, the Meteor Mic from Samson can plug straight in via Apple’s $35 Camera Connection Kit.
The iPad audio apps recognise it immediately. Using Garage Band’s Audio Recorder, for example, the words ‘Tap the record button above to start recording using the iPad microphone’ immediately change to ‘… using an external USB audio interface.’
It can also be used with a Mac, though you need to go into System Preferences > Sound > Input and select the Samson before you can start using it. The quality of the audio is simply excellent. Voices come through clear and strong, with no trace of the sibilance that you expect from inferior mics, such as the one built into the iPad.
I’m no musician, but the mic is also great for recording acoustic instruments. They sound real and completely natural.
The Meteor itself is a thing of beauty. Well-made from polished silver metal and about the size of your palm, it has an R2D2-esque shape and cutouts that give it a pleasing, ’30s-style retro look.
It has three leaves that fold down into a tripod for desk use, and it can also be screwed onto a mic molder or boom via a 5/8in thread on the base. A Mute button on the front is surrounded by a headphone volume dial. Above it is a three-colour LED status light.
On the back is a USB port and a 3.5mm jack for connecting headphones or studio monitors – you’ll need one of these options to monitor playback if you don’t want to keep the mic plugged in.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
The Meteor Mic is beautifully made and works a treat – for the surprisingly low price of $159