My Blue Snowball USB Microphone
The USB Microphone that Fits Right at Home
My experience with the Snowball started when I attended a Music Theory course at Full Sail University. I met an ukulelist named Will Davenport who gifted me his SnowBall microphone. I've mentioned before that this microphone is great for beginners who cannot afford a microphone that needs an XLR cable and an pre-amp. This microphone comes with a 2.0 type A to type B USB cable, which is similar to printer cables. If you ever needed to have your cable replaced, you could buy a USB printer as a cheaper alternative. When my friend gifted me his Snowball, he gave me a printer cable and it worked perfectly.
The microphone was easy to use and it did not require a CD installation. All I had to do was plug it up and my laptop recognized the external device. DAWs like Logic Pro X and Garageband recognized the microphone. The best part about that is that I didn't have to go through the system settings to set up my microphone in order for it to record.
This made recording easier, and I've had many uses for them.
Before the Blue Snowball
Before I was gifted a Blue Snowball, I recorded audio from the built-in microphone on my Macbook Pro. At that time, I only used a pair of earbuds and recorded my vocals straight on my laptop. It felt awkward at first since I was literally facing my laptop as if I was FaceTiming somebody.
Using my laptop to record, the built-in microphone picked up sounds from the laptop.
Using my laptop to record, the built-in microphone picked up sounds from the laptop. The annoying sounds included this fine list of inconvenience.
- internal fan
- hard drive noise
- ambient noises
- sounds bleeding from the headphones
It was hard work to edit out the noise. The noise reduction plugins in my DAW (digital audio workstation) didn't take care of the job. In some cases, using my EQs and my noise reduction plugins ruined my vocal tracks completely.
My vocals had more definition from the recording. The problems I had with recording, before, went away. I was able to have more control with how I wanted to record. This was before I now have the ability of mic placement.
For a USB microphone, the Snowball produces a keen sound. There is a difference between the sound quality in terms of USB and XLR, but listeners wouldn't be able to tell the difference unless they're experts on microphones. This is great for beginners who want to work on improving their sound quality while on a small budget. Mic placement is the first step to recording that perfect sound you were going for, and with the adjustable stand, you can find the right spot you were going for. I even plugged the cable into a USB extension cable to place the microphone at that "sweet spot" to record.
And when it is ready to mix, the job became a whole let easier.
This microphone has 3 polarity switches for the convenience of the user. Each switch has its own unique functions to allow the person to record how they want to record.
- Cardioid: This mode focuses on the sound source that is in front of the microphone. This is great for singing, podcasting, Youtube commentary, and any and all vocal work. I have used this to mode to record my acoustic strumming and other acoustic sessions. I have also used this mode to record backup vocals.
- Cardioid with -10db Pad: This mode allows for a more amplified recording. This is great for when you want to capture more definition from the sound source. Maybe the first mode couldn't capture the sound the way you had hoped for. I used this mode to record my main vocals. This is also useful when recording rap vocals. I switch between the two modes and experiment on which one I like more, as far as main vocals go. When I use to record vlogs, I used this mode more.
- Omnidirectional: Omnidirectional mode records sounds from all directions This mode is great for live performances or group vocals. This is also great for when you want to record an ensemble of instruments.
Because the microphone does a great job for recording sounds, mixing and editing is easier to do since you don't need to fix any noise issues. You can go right into added effects like delays or reverbs. In my case, I rarely needed to reduce the noise since I've gotten better at mic placement. Mixing just because all about figuring out what I wanted to do with the audio. The only time I would only rerecord is when I didn't like the recording itself. It wasn't because a noise was picked up by the microphone nor because the sound coming from my headphones bled* into the microphone. In most cases, I was allowed to listen back to my audio and judge my performance. To me, that's the best part about this microphone.
*side note: bleeding is described when the music or sound coming from your headphones is picked up by your microphone. It tends to happen and sometimes you can prevent it from happening by playing with the polarity switch or by turning down the sound on your headphones a few decibels. If that doesn't work, experimenting with the EQ does the trick.
If you're looking for a cheap microphone that records audio in a way that the listener isn't to tell that you used a cheap microphone than Blue Snowball is for you. Hands down, this is a great USB microphone for anyone who cannot afford a "regular microphone".
Blue is known for manufacturing great microphones, so expect more Blue reviews from me. I really enjoyed working with this microphone. The important thing about any equipment or "toys" is having fun with them. It could be the most expensive, best microphone in the world, but if you cannot have fun with that microphone then you are wasting your time.
If this sounds like a microphone you would want to add to you collection, I say go for it. Have all the fun in the world.
© 2017 Nathaniel Brown