Podcasting is much improved by the addition of proper equipment, but you don't need to go mad; Samson's Meteor USB Microphone is a decent replacement for any laptop mic or headset, and it's cheaper than a full-scale SLR mic setup.

Its sensitive cardioid pattern can make a real difference in quality, and the chrome styling is pretty attractive too, particularly if you have velvet lapels on your suit jacket and an upcoming gig at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.

There's a problem though; the angle of attack is quite limited, and its tiny chrome feet don't lift it far from the desk. It's adjustable, to an extent, but the limited range of its pattern means you'll need to be in the right spot.

To get the absolute best signal out of the Meteor you'll need to hunch close to the capsule, prop it up on a box, or screw it onto a mic stand, which puts a damper on its portability somewhat.

And then there's the Yeti to consider: Blue's excellent USB mic is only £10 more and is much more flexible, both in its size and in its full quotient of operating modes.

Okay, the Meteor is a quality mic at its size, but it's that same diminutive size that lets it down in the end.

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