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Samson C03

Samson C03

3.75 3.75 out of 5, based on 1 Review

Large diaphragm condenser that shines for acoustic guitars and drums but will work for just about anything.

28th December 2011

Samson C03 by tmfcovers

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Samson C03

The Samson C03 is a large diaphragm condenser with a built in highpass filter, -10 dB pad, and three polar patterns: cardioid, bidirectional, and omnidirectional. I've had mine for almost three and a half years. I use it primarily on acoustic guitar and as a room mic on drums; it also sees occasional use for lead or backing vocals, classical guitar, electric guitar, accordion, mandolin, bass guitar, and other percussion instruments (I used it on a conga today with good success). So basically, it's been everywhere. And I've gotten it to work on everything.

However, as I mentioned previously, I use it primarily on acoustic guitar and drums because that's where it really shines; it's very "clear" and "bright" sounding, and it really brings my cymbals to life and captures the air and crispness of an acoustic guitar. Both situations usually fit into mixes very well. If I'm going for some extra "body" in my acoustic guitar sound, I'll pair it with a Samson C02, which is a small condenser, or occasionally I'll record it with just the small condenser. As a room mic on drums, it really adds some "presence" and "depth" to my drum sound, and if I compress it heavily, it makes the drums sound much more "powerful", which I really like for most rock mixes.

On vocals, I usually find this mic to sound a little too "thin" for my liking, so it doesn't see much use there. However, when I want a really bright sound for pop songs and such, it works very well for my voice. Now of course, every vocalist will experience differing levels of success with every microphone, so you may or may not find it works for your voice.

I occasionally use it on electric guitar, sometimes alone and sometimes in conjunction with a dynamic. My electric guitar rig consists of either a Mexican Strat or a cheap but fantastic Laguna LE200 through a BOSS SD-1 Overdrive into a very very cheap Crate solid state amp. So I don't have even remotely the nicest rig. But with my Strat miked up with the Samson alone, I get a sound that I imagine would work very well for country; it usually fits well into my rock mixes. When paired with a dynamic, it adds some "brightness" to my guitar sound, which may or may not be good for mixes; I don't do it often, as I don't usually need the additional top end for electrics.

Unfortunately, I've had some build quality issues with the shockmount. Within a year of my acquisition of the mic, the threads in the shockmount where it connects to the stand had nearly completely stripped. I sent an email to Samson customer support, but I never received a reply. I've just dealt with a sketchy shockmount for the past two and a half years. I wouldn't consider this a dealbreaker, but it is something to think about.

All in all, I'd consider the Samson C03 to be well worth the $120 that most retailers demand for it. It'll work on pretty much anything with passable results if you know how to work it right. I would definitely recommend it.

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