Microphone Review: Blue Microphones Snowball USB

Blue Microphones have been working hard and turning out a lot of decent microphones in recent years. The Snowball USB microphone is yet another in their microphone range, although it’s priced for a different part of the market to either the Yeti or the Yeti Pro. This is perhaps the most obvious difference between the Snowball and the other microphones from Blue, although it’s not the only one by any means. So, with the Blue reputation to live up to, how does the Snowball measure? Let’s find out. Key Specs For The Snowball USB Microphone RRP: $75.00 Year of Release: 2011 Type of Microphone: Condenser Application: Vocals, instrumental music, podcasts, interviews Dimensions: 7.6 x 7.5 x 5 inches Weight: 2 lbs Snowball USB Microphone: The Pros Sound Quality: As expected from a Blue Microphones, the sound quality on this cute little microphone is pretty fantastic for the price. You get clean notes across the full-range, with neither end sounding tinny or boomy. This really marks the Snowball out – a relatively cheap microphone that’s capable of delivering quality in the sound department. Whatever you want to record, whether podcasts, interviews, field work or music, the Snowball can do a pretty good job. You won’t be let down unless you’re looking for something that sounds close to high-end professional recording quality. Plug and play: Another great thing about the Snowball is that it’s plug and play. You don’t need to waste any time installing software just to get this thing working. As long as you’re able to plug a cable into a computer, you’re good to go. This is a great time and stress saver. On top of that, it keeps your computer free of unwanted software that usually only serves to clog your machine up unnecessarily. Build quality: As with other Blue Microphones products, the Snowball exhibits great build quality. It feels like it’ll last a while, and has that solid weighty feel that tells you it’s been made with care. Design: This has to rate as one of the classiest looking microphones on the market. It’s compact, sleek and beautifully retro. It also comes in three equally great colors: textured white, brushed aluminum (which has the most retro charm) and gloss black. Fold-away stand: One of the unique features of this microphone is the fold-away stand. This makes it really easy to store and is a great space saver. Three pattern modes: While this microphone doesn’t have the suite of pattern modes offered by the Yeti or Yeti Pro, it still offers a good selection. There are two cardioid modes and an omnidirectional mode. Standard cardioid mode records whatever is directly in front of the microphone. This makes it great for podcast recording, voice over work, and other solo voice work including singing. The second cardioid mode has -10 dB PAD. Basically, this sets the recording baseline to -10 dB, effectively cutting 10 dB off everything that the microphone picks up. This results in better audio capture of loud sounds. Omnidirectional mode records all directions equally at the same time. This is great for ambient recording, as well as for capturing the sense of "being there" at something like a concert. Portable: Another great feature of this microphone is its portability. It’s small and the stand folds away to a very compact size. This makes it ideal for taking out and about to do recording in the field. Snowball USB Microphone: The Cons Sound quality: While there is much to be said in favor of the sound quality on this microphone, it does have several shortcomings. This isn’t unexpected on a device of this price, but is certainly worth mentioning. Firstly, the sound profile can be a bit noisy. The most obvious manifestation of this is the hiss that can often be heard on recordings. Hiss is a fairly common problem with microphones, but Blue’s reputation for great audio does make it somewhat surprising. Even so, this will be a tolerable problem for most. The other problem with sound on this microphone is that at times the response can be a bit on the flat side. For those who want to get the best audio recordings possible, this might be a sticking point and so is something to think about before making any purchases. Instruction Manual: Another slight let-down, and another surprise given that this is Blue Microphones we’re talking about, is the quality of the instruction manual. It’s not anywhere near as clear as it could be, and this might present a problem for entry-level users that make up the bulk of this microphone’s target market. Is The Snowball USB Microphone Worth Buying? Over all, this really is a great microphone. The issues that is suffers from don’t outweigh the good points – especially when you bear in mind the price that this microphone is going for. Because of this, it would make a great first step for a consumer who is interested in getting into professional audio recording but isn’t ready to part with some serious money. If you’re at all interested in this product, then don’t hesitate. It’s a great microphone that’s easily worth the asking price.


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