Our ears definitely perk up every time we hear the phrase ‘new USB microphone’, and when we were able to check out the Samson G-Track Pro USB at NAMM, we were extremely excited to get our hands busy. There are countless USB microphones in the market right now and that’s only going to increase with time, considering they’re growing in not only popularity but overall quality to help give us versatility in the plug-and-play microphone game. As we can see at first glance, this here G-Track Pro looks suspiciously like a very popular USB mic I’m sure you’re all aware of (the Yeti, if you weren’t). However, there hasn’t really been a direct competitor with not only size but functions, capabilities and of course, price-point. So let’s jump in.
Features of the Samson G-Track Pro
- All-in-one USB mic and interface
- Dual 1″ condenser capsules (25mm)
- Three selectable polar patterns: Cardioid, bidirectional and omnidirectional
- Compatible with Mac and PC
- 3-color LED for power, clip and mute
- 1/4″ instrument in, 1/8″ stereo headphone out
- Integrated desktop base (removable)
- 120dB SPL
- Frequency Response: 50Hz–20kHz
- Resolution: 16 or 24-bit up to 96kHz
- Weight: 3.5 lbs (1.6kg)
Quality of the Samson G-Track Pro
Our number one concern with any microphone ever is this — how does it sound? USB mics aren’t going to be the ‘warmest’, ‘clearest’ or even ‘best’ of course — we aren’t talking a professional studio microphone here. However, for those concerned with uses that don’t involve professional music, such as streaming, vlogging, podcasts, skype calls, business meetings or really, in a home studio, a solution such as this can be perfect. It isn’t fuzzy or bad at all, in fact it comes at a higher than average sample rate and resolution at 24-bit, 96 kHz (most we’ve seen out there, such as with the Yeti that we’ll do a comparison on down further, come in at 16-bit, 48 kHz). The frequency range could’ve gone a bit lower (we’re always fans of the standard 20 Hz as opposed to 50, but beggars can’t be choosers and for those in home studios or other non-musical related adventures, this isn’t a concern unless you’re recording a literal bass guitar.
The build of the G-Track Pro is great, and it felt like a tank when we got to hold and inspect it. The construction is actually made of die-cast zinc so no cheap plastic here. What we also love is that little desktop stand that makes it perfect for setting it right into our existing setups, or if you’d like, you can remove the stand and mount it to a microphone stand (any time, whether it’s a traditional stand or even arm). The buttons and ins\outs aren’t cheap and definitely won’t break on you if you take care of this. It’s going to be a long-term investment and will last you years.
Next, let’s talk latency. With the 1/8″ stereo headphone out and the level control on the unit itself, you can monitor your sound without any disruptions. While recording, there isn’t going to be any noticeable lag in between the playback and recording feedback, or even in post-production when it comes to syncing any audio. You’re fine here.
Using the G-Track Pro USB microphone
As with many USB mics in the game, getting this going right out of the box is extremely easy. No driver installation required — just plug it in to your computer or laptop (yes, PC or Mac — unfortunately, no smart device use here) and it’ll be recognized within 10 seconds. Just get some of your music software going and voila, you have instant audio recording.
Another huge plus of a USB mic in this price-point is the selectable polar patterns. For most uses a USB mic calls for, especially if you’re recording a podcast or some type of vocals on your desk or in a studio, the cardioid pattern will be your main go-to. However, the bidirectional (picks up from two sides — the front and rear) gives us flexibility for recording and performing, such as those with a guitar who sing at the same time. The omnidirectional pattern (picks it up equally from all directions) may be of use to some if you want to pick up an entire band or some type of quartet in the studio. The last two patterns may not be used quite frequently (especially for those recording professionally, we’d say stick to a traditional studio XLR connected condenser), but it at least give us some flexibility just in case.
The gain control on the microphone unit itself is a big plus as well. Simple turn the knob by hand if you want to tweak the volume of your recordings as you wish. The other knobs below can also control the instrument in volume as well as your headphone level. Also to keep in mind, if you are going to be using the G-Track Pro traditionally with its desktop stand while you’re sitting, do not point the mic right at your face. Instead, keep it face up so the front side faces your mouth and it can capture your audio that way. It’s a side-address mic.
Additional standouts of the Samson G-Track Pro
For those who aren’t just concerned with vocals or recording any type of talking, the G-Track Pro will also work very well with instruments. You have a 1/4″ input for guitars or other types of gear\instruments that are compatible with this connection. This give us the ‘audio interface’ name, and although of course you can record instruments straight through your traditional interface (or perhaps use acoustic instruments with the G-Track Pro’s traditional mic use), it won’t hurt, especially if you don’t want to invest in a standard audio interface that cost a few hundred more bucks in your budget.
Keep in mind you can record both the microphone as well as 1/4″ instrument input at the same time as well. This is done by using the Mono / 2-Track switch which will make it literally record each source separate into two tracks for easy post-production editing. When doing so however, you’ll want to set up your studio in a way that the others don’t blend with each other, such as the guitarists strumming being picked up by the mic capsule, etc.
In conclusion of the G-Track Pro USB review
We don’t want to do too many ‘comparisons’ with the Yeti. Standing by itself, the G-Track Pro is an excellent USB microphone solution, and is starting to show us when technological advancements in the USB mic game while keeping the price relatively steady.
There are a few factors to pick apart when it comes to looking at competitors, however. If you were wondering, yes, the Blue Yeti actually goes down to 20 Hz in the frequency response area. However, keep in mind the Yeti’s capsules are only 14 mm large, so you’re getting a bigger capsule for a little bit more audio quality and clarity with the G-Track Pro’s 20 mm. Also, the Yeti only goes up to 16-bit while the G-Track Pro is 24-bit, while the Yeti and Yeti Studio are only 48 kHz and the G-Track Pro is 96 kHz. If you’re concerned with audio quality and price, the G-Track Pro wins.
If you want to go higher in the audio resolution area (which is a make or break to us), you’ll have to grab Blue’s Yeti Pro which goes all the way up to $250 retail, about $100 more than the G-Track Pro. It does go up to 192 kHz as well, so that may be a determining factor if you have the cash, otherwise the ‘price-to-quality balance’ verdict still goes to the G-Track Pro. Not to mention that price is higher because they include ‘software’ in the bundle. Now don’t get us wrong, if you need software as well (keep in mind there are a lot of free solutions out there), the package may be worth it, but that still makes G-Track Pro the winner when it comes to capsule size, audio quality and of course, affordability if you can get past that small frequency response difference.
We think Blue needs to up their game since we have a new sheriff in town, so look out for some ‘improvements’, ‘tweaks’ or ‘new versions of the Yeti’ in the coming years. This may even call for Samson to continue creating models in the G-Track series as well — we’re always open for battles since it will only help us consumers. For now however and until further notice, the Samson G-Track Pro is in our opinion the best USB microphone in the game for under $200.