Bizarrely, I can find no review of this interesting unit in the main section of SOS, so thought that I would make some notes for other potential buyers.
So, what is it? Well, it's a novel idea - combine a small 2in, 2out interface over USB with a typical cheap (presumably Chinese) mic and also allow another input which is switchable between mono hi-impedance (for guitars) and stereo line level, as well as having a headphone output. All in all a neat little mic which is a one-stop in/out shop for your laptop. It's a class compliant device so on my MacBookPro, just plugging it in is enough to spark it into life and let you change your audio settings to use it. Simples.
Physically, it is quite a bulky bit of kit - a little stubby looking, but very heavy and quite sturdy - I can see this surviving the odd knock which is reassuring if nothing else. The body is bigger than a usual budget condenser to allow for the extra connections / controls. In place of an XLR socket, there is a USB connector. Under the 'rim' in the middle, to the left is the second input connection and to the left is the headphone socket - both of these are on 3.5mm stereo jacks. Although, saying that, Samson supply a few different adapter cables including a nice long 1/4" mono jack to 3.5mm cable for plugging guitar in. Cheers Samson - very handy.
A quick note on the headphone level. It's not a million miles out from the standard level you'd expect from a laptop, but I'm sure that it is a couple of db quieter than my MacBookPro supplies. Using AKG K702s, I get a good healthy signal, but don't get it loud enough to fatigue my ears which, on the one hand, is great, but does mean that you need a relatively quiet room for working. (or loud headphones)
The microphone itself is a standard condenser - nothing spectacular, and nothing terrible. Being used on table tops,etc there is a tendency to get to close and it is not great at handling plosives, but a little thought and technique solves that. It's gain is controlled by one of the three recess-able knobs on the front with the other two being for line/secondary input level gain and the other the volume control. The ability to push these in to stop them being knocked / moved is a nice touch. Additionally, we have a switch for deciding whether to run this as a mic + inst, or as a stereo line level device, plus another switch for deciding how to handle the direct monitoring - either in mono, stereo or via the host (called cpu). Direct monitoring? Very handy - thanks again Samson.
A stand is also included in the package which is a base, then a small (4" or so) pole leading to a sturdy connector. But it's heavy...
In fact, that's one of the things that strikes you about the whole package - On the one hand you can call it 'sturdy', but in truth, it's just plain 'heavy'. I'm still wondering about the best way to transport it place to place without taking the whole box which is just too bulky.
But in use, the whole package works splendidly - it's now permanently stationed to the side of my Mac with a guitar plugged in ready and headphones all set so that I can now work on any ideas remotely from my main home studio. For all it's weight, it can be packed away into a backpack (in a bag though I'd recommend)
The G-Track was one of the first 'all in one USB mics' (originally targeted at podcasters iirc) and has been around yonks, Street prices vary from about 85 to 120 pounds which is low enough to make it a quick impulse buy and have as a handy thing to keep around. Which it is - it's a good one-stop shop and that's just what I need.
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