Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone
Gearank High Notes
The Go Mic first appeared on our recommended list for USB Microphones Under $50 when we published our first edition in February 2018 and it remained on that list until being out-ranked in December 2022.
It was also on our USB Microphones list from June 2020 until March 2021 when it was replaced by mics with higher ratings.
As the name suggests Samson's 'Go' Mic is a pocket sized USB condenser mic that's particularly easy to carry around with you. Released all the way back in 2009, it's been a longstanding best seller and the fact that it's still going strong today says something. One reason for this enduring appeal is the unique foldaway design where the small mic stand/clamp is connected to the mic via a swivel allowing it to cover a wide range of angles and also pack up compactly with the mic protected for travel. It's also a pretty good sounding and mic for the price with a number useful mic patterns available.
This mic is ideal for recording performances and rehearsals as well as being a viable option for home studio recordings. Apart from musical applications it's also popular as a general computer mic for teleconferencing, gaming and video making. I bought mine mostly for the portability but it's certainly been handy for capturing guitar and even vocal tracks for Garageband recordings at home.
The Body / Mounting Options
The first thing you notice about the Go Mic unit is just how tiny and solid it is. When folded away you've got a neat rectangular shape that's a bit bigger than a matchbox and would easily fit into your pocket. The mic unit is attached to the solid metal stand via a ball joint and when folded out it can rotate through a wide variety of angles. Coupled with the rather strong clamp this also allows it to be attached to different objects in a lot of configurations like a laptop screen or your phone. There's an option to mount this to a standard mic stand with a '3/8”-19 mic stand adapter' but that's not included in the package or you can just find a way to clamp it to the mic stand as I've done in the past.
Overall the mounting options do work pretty well. The ball joint is fairly solid but sometimes the weight of the USB cable and/or the headphone connection can cause the mic to tilt somewhat it if you're not careful. Also the clamp only opens to a bit more than 1/2 an inch though so you might find some potential mounting points are just too wide. There's really nice carry case that the unit fits snuggly into, however this doesn't also fit the supplied USB cable which adds a bit inconvenience for the portability. It's an old USB Mini-B sized connection that's relatively rare these days so you won't want to lose track of it either.
The Go Mic provide three mic different settings via the switch on the left hand side on unit. There's the typical Cardoid pattern for recording from in front of mic as well as an Omnidirectional pattern to capture sounds from all around the room which would be useful for placing in the middle of a larger group session. The other option is Cardoid with a 10 decibel pad which allows you to recorded somewhat louder sound sources without overloading the mic. This would be handy for loud concerts and also for some offers an alternative to adjusting the gain levels via USB on the computer/phone/tablet. The manual lists the Maximum SPL as 121db which is about the level of a really loud concert and it's not clear whether they mean with the 10db pad selected or not. I've not had problems with maxing out the volume but you won't want to to be close mic'ing drums or guitar amps with this unit like you can with a lot of higher level mics.
You can plug your headphones directly via a 1/8" TRS connection to the unit for 'zero'latency' monitoring but I wouldn't advise it with with the Go Mic as it's directly connected to mic housing so any bumps on the headphone lead come through to the mic introducing unwanted` sounds and and possibly even tipping it over. In general I find this mic a bit more prone to picking up bumps from surfaces it's connected to than larger mics. There's also a quite handy gain indicator light on the front of the unit that switches from green to red when you are clipping.
- Type: Large Diaphragm Condenser
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid or Omnidirectional
- Frequency Response: 40 Hz to18 kHz
- Sampling Rate: 44.1/48 kHz
- Bit Depth: 16 bit
- Applications: Voice recording, instrument and vocal recording, podcasting, conference calls, streaming.
- USB Class Compliant
- Windows: Windows 7/8.1/10 with USB 1.1/2.0/3.0
- Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.10 or higher with USB 1.1/2.0/3.0
Portability and great sound quality is a hard combination to achieve, but the Samson Go Mic goes a step further and adds affordability to the equation. You can see it on our recommended list for The Best Cheap Microphones Under $50.