BlueMic Snowball USB Microphone November 29, 2006Posted by Jeff in Podcast Audio Equipment, Podcasting.
I’m always on the look out for microphones that are easy for podcasters to use. I usually run my set up through an external digital mixer before sending it to my computer, so my XLR condenser mics work great. For those of you recording your podcasts directly to your computer though, a USB microphone takes the audio interface and pre-amp worries out of the equation.
I’d seen this Snowball before, but never heard it… and I got the chance to today. One of the tech guys on campus got one and we set it up on my Mac laptop in 30 seconds by plugging it into the USB port and selecting it as the audio input in the hardware settings. I brought up GarageBand, set the audio input there as well, and recorded a few samples.
My take? Very smooth voice quality. There are different settings on it, and I thought I’d have to do a bit of tweaking on the eq to take some of the background noise out… but I didn’t. It seems to soak up your voice when you’re speaking, but when you’re not, it quiets down and won’t soak up the truck going down the highway 15 blocks away. So, if you have a suboptimal recording space where the furnace might kick on, the neighbor dog might bark, or a car with a big sub-woofer might pass the house, you’re probably going to want to try this mic.
My friend bought his for $95 locally, but a word of warning, it doesn’t come with a stand or a usb cable. Add those into the cost: $20 – $50 more depending on quality and function of cable and stand.
Another word of warning, it’s a bit of a drain on the laptop battery. I didn’t plug my laptop in while testing it out, and it seemed to dip quickly as I was using it. It does require phantom power, which it pulls from the USB port. Here’s a link to the manual for those that want more info.