Blue Snowball USB Computer Microphone
Is the Blue Snowball Really the Must-Have Microphone that Everyone Says It Is?
Up until very recently I was using a wireless USB headset/microphone combo for everything I did - recording audio, listen to presentations, working on my transcription service projects, listening to music, literally everything. The headset/mic combo started to act up on me and I realized that I had to replace not just the headphones but also the microphone. Since I had been having some audio recording difficulties with my podcast, I decided to purchase separate headphones and a standalone microphone.
The featured photo here on the left is my Blue Snowball microphone set up on my desk while I write this review page - I'll be recording a screencast video for a project I'm working on at Va Helper Blog and Podcast
The is one of the most often recommended mics online. You'll hear podcasters and coaches recommending it ad nauseum. I quickly realized there's a reason so many people recommend it - it's easy to use and it works fantastically without any technical ability required. While I like to think that I'm a pretty tech-savvy gal, my teenagers frequently prove to me that I'm really not. Snowball USB microphone from Blue
The set up for this microphone is ridiculously easy. You open the box, twist the mic onto the folding tripod stand, plug the cord into the mic, plug the USB end into your computer, watch the plug-and-play technology do its thing, and you're done.
If you have an on-board microphone in your computer you may need to double check your Sound settings and change the default recording device to the Blue Snowball - but other than that there are no major settings or buttons to play around with for the first time use. I had everything set up and ready to record a test audio in less than three minutes.
You can choose from White, Black, or Brushed Aluminum designs - I personally chose the brushed aluminum (pictured here) for no other reason than it was shiny and looked great next to my touchscreen desktop :)
Plug-and-play easy peasy set up makes this USB microphone goof-proof. Just plug it into any USB port on your computer, check your sound settings, and you're ready to record.
My Initial Review After Spending the Day with the Shiny Big Blue Snowball
Aside from being easy to set up, the Snowball is also really easy to use. There's no additional software required so you can use this microphone for all your audio tasks, whether it's for chatting with your family on Skype, joining conference calls, or starting your own podcast.
The sound quality is really as good as everyone says it is - so no surprises there. The only thing you might want to add is a to clean up those pops, tops, and hisses that can happen while recording. Though after a few test recordings today I found that if I kept a comfortable distance from the microphone I really didn't need a pop filter like I did with my headset mic. I'll still keep one on hand because it's good to have if you want a quality recording for podcasts, but for general use like Skype calls I don't think the filter is necessary at all. pop filter
There are three settings for the microphone; two cardioid modes and an omnidirectional mode. To change the settings you just slide the switch on the back of the ball 1 - 2 - 3. For most uses you can just leave it on the #1 setting, that's going to be your best bet for solo recording voice overs, podcasts, Skype chats, video gaming, etc...
The second cardoid mode (#2 setting) is for when the audio you're recording is really loud and you don't want the audio output to be overwhelming. The #3 setting is the omnidirectional mode for when you're recording an interview or out, as it records from all directions whereas the cardoid modes record just what's directly in front of the microphone. That's a lot of technical detail for me, so I'm thankful that I just need the #1 setting and I don't have to worry about that other stuff.
While I am grateful for the simplicity and easy set up, the user manual is lacking a bit. It's small - I mean really small. Small as in the whole thing is smaller than my cellphone in size and thickness. The set up is really easy, but I would have liked to have more information about the different settings and their uses listed in there, because I might actually need those modes someday.
The Blue Snowball Microphone is Handy To Use For;
- Skype chats
- Online video games
- Video presentations
- Voice over work
- Solo music recording
- Interviews and conversations
- and lots more!
Meet Some Other Members of the Blue Microphone Family....
The Blue Yeti microphone is sort of the big brother to the Snowball microphone, the price tag is a little higher but the sound quality can be even better and the Yeti is recommended for multi-speaker interviews.
The younger brother to the Snowball is the Snowflake, it's equal in audio quality but smaller in size and much more portable. Great for Skype chats and single speaker audio at your desk.
Recording on the go? Mikey attaches to your iPod or iPhone for on the spot quality recording anywhere you happen to be.
Spark does it all - record from your desktop, laptop, or your favorite Apple device (iPod, iPad, iPhone, or even iPad mini) with excellent quality sound and Blue's Cloud Production Bundle included.
The Yeti's sexy fraternal twin - Yeti Pro - this microphone does the work of multiple devices in one easy to use device.