Most modern PC microphones, like the Blue Yeti or HyperX QuadCast, are large, heavy and too bulky to carry out in the field. The new Satellite microphone from Samson promises studio-grade quality in a compact package.
This is important for those who find themselves on the move often, but need to set up a studio environment quickly with a barebones equipment list — a microphone and laptop alone. This is where the Samson Satellite truly shines.
See at SamsonBottom line: An excellent, capable USB microphone perfectly matched for portable use with a laptop or compatible smartphone.
- High-quality build
- Great audio recording
- Zero latency headphone output
- Aluminum design
- Don't require drivers
- No USB Type-C
- Slightly less versatile
You'll love how portable the Samson Satellite is
Microphones, even USB recorders built for PC, are often bulky and not designed for portable use. You likely wouldn't take it on a work trip or out in the field. This is where the new Samson Satellite comes into play. It's not the lightest microphone on the market, but packs in a great many features into a compact package that makes it much easier to take along with you.
The design is a highlight, which doesn't come as much of a surprise as Samson makes some great-looking hardware with quality materials for a solid overall build. The Satellite is a prime example of this. Strong enough to withstand some bumps on the road, but light and compact enough to keep it portable. The outer shell itself is a mashup of aluminum and other metals. It feels premium.
What really makes this a rather special microphone is the inclusion of an integrated stand. Three arms can fold out of the main body to prop the Satellite up closer to what's to be recorded. A monitor switch is present on the front, alongside a knob to control the volume, mute button and polar pattern selector.
Speaking of patterns, this microphone supports Biderectional, Omnidirectional, and Cardioid. These patterns allow you to control just how the dual-condenser setup records sound. Whether you want the Satellite to record from all directions, front and back, or just the front, this is entirely possible.
Two other ports are located on the rear of this microphone, one for zero-latency headphone output and another for USB, which hooks up to your laptop or compatible smartphone. There's nothing to it when you want to unpack the Satellite and start using the microphone. Simply plug and play — this mic doesn't require additional drivers.
Hooking up the microphone to a desktop PC and laptop resulted in similar experiences. There are no drivers to install, which allows you to plug and start recording, and the audio quality is good. It's not as good as more pricey, larger microphones available for streamers and podcasting, but for the size, the quality here is more than good enough.
Where the Samson Satellite falls a little short
It's almost 2020 and we're still using micro-USB on some microphones. Blue is guilty of this and it seems Samson also doesn't see the need to move to the more user-friendly USB Type-C connection. It's not a deal-breaker by any means, but does require you to bring with you different USB cabling, depending on other hardware you pack.
The other drawback to the Satellite is a minor hit in versatility due to the size and restriction in technology Samson could cram inside the metal outer shell. Compared to similar, larger, and less portable USB microphones, the slight difference in audio quality is noticeable.
Should you buy Samson Satellite?
It's becoming increasingly difficult to choose a good microphone for streaming and podcasting since there are more viable options now from varying vendors than ever before. This microphone has its place, however. You should consider the Samson Satellite if you frequently travel and need a companion microphone that actually sounds good.
You don't require drivers on PCs or compatible smartphones, nor do you need a stand packed alongside the microphone, thanks to the integrated leg design. It sounds superb for the price and size, has support for three polar patterns, allows you to listen to the recording with zero latency, and works through USB.
It's just a shame the cable isn't USB Type-C, requiring you to pack different cables if other devices you use are not micro-USB. The Samson Satellite will be available this fall for $99.
A mic for your travels
This is a microphone you should consider if you frequently travel and need a companion recorder that actually sounds good.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.