Meteor Mic's small size a mixed blessing
Samson’s $99 Meteor Mic couldn’t be much cuter. This retro, shiny, capsule-shaped USB microphone easily fits into a large pocket, bag, or purse. It records 16-bit 44.1/48kHz audio, includes a 3mm headphone port on the back, a volume dial for that headphone port on the front, a convenient Mute button, an LED that indicates gain peaks, power, and mute; a tripod mount on the bottom; and three rubber-tipped legs that fold out from the side. More? Okay, it requires no driver to work with a Mac and it operates flawlessly when jacked into an iPad via Apple’s $29 iPad Camera Connection Kit USB adapter ( ) (for both input and output).
The Meteor Mic would be a bit of welcome audio convenience except for this one thing: Its diminutive stature. Place it on a desk or table, sit in a chair in front of that desk or table, and you’re going to tower over it enough that when it comes time to record, you’ll either pick up a lot of room noise because you’re so far away from the mic or you’ll have to hunker over the thing so you can get decent sound from it. You could, of course, attach it to a microphone stand, but it’s even too short for most desktop microphone stands. Placing it atop a pile of books would certainly do the trick, but doing so is a little inelegant.
If I must take another swing at this mic I’ll also say that while I love having a Mute button—a feature I’d like to see on more USB microphones—whenever you press it, you can very definitely hear it. I’m a habitual throat-clearer and I need a button like this when recording podcasts. But in its current implementation it would do nothing to help when later editing my recorded audio. The difference is that I’d have to edit out the button clicks rather than my throat clearing. This sound is more acceptable when you're using the microphone for something like Skype and iChat conversations.
Macworld’s buying advice
The Meteor Mic sounds fine, however its size cuts both ways. It’s small enough that you can easily take it with you, but once you’ve taken it where you want it, it’s difficult to place it in a good location unless you also bring along a mic stand.