VERY nice mic
I've been using this Mic a little over a month and am very impressed with it. What I want to do is add some value to the many reviews that have already been posted. But first, let's get past the obvious good points:
This thing looks way cool. It's a nice techno-retro mix that I really like. It sounds great (with one caveat mentioned below. The price is very reasonable. The build quality is solid. They evey provide a heavy duty USB cable. If you need a mic and are looking for tremendous value this will fit the bill.
The audio issue I had, and I'm not alone, is that while the quality is outstanding the output level is a tad low. I contacted blue support and learned that a fix will be released soon. Until then it's a matter of speaking up a bit or turning up the gain on whatever audio processing software you're using.
Now, to address some issues raised by other reviewers... My mic was new stock, serial number 092xxx. I plugged it into my Windows 7 (64 bit) system and it "played" right away. The stand is fine. (If you want to replace it then the On Stage DS7200B Adjustable Desk Microphone Stand, Black seems like a nice option. However, I like being able to keep a pad of post-its on my desk below the stand :)
Finally, some suggestions. I've been using audacity, a free, feature rich audio editor. Windows recorder is fine and I can't see any reason not to use audacity instead. Also, while a replacement stand is a possible add-on to consider, you should first look into a pop filter. I use the Nady MPF-6 6-Inch Clamp On Microphone Pop Filter If you check out my audio/video review which accompanies the product listing (it's somewhere near the top) you can hear a comparison of the Snowball with and without the filter. You even get a chance to guess which is which before I tell you.
Another small issue besides the slightly attenuated output is the selector switch. There's a three position switch that allows you to select cardioid (directional), -10db cardioid, or omni-directional. Unfortunately it's labeled 1, 2, and 3. I wish the manufacture had done a better job of labeling that switch.
One final comment is it would have been nice to have an analog output available. I'm no engineer (actually, I am but not that kind) and don't know if it's possible. However, if it was it would be nice to have.
Those minor issues and my hallucination about the analog output aside, this is one fine mic and you would have to spend lots more to get something even approaching this level of quality.
UPDATE: I've been using this mic for several months and continue to be impressed. One "enhancement" I've used and suggest you consider is to replace the really nice looking stand with one that I've found works a bit better: On Stage DS7200B Adjustable Desk Microphone Stand, Black. It allows the mic to be raised a bit higher and also locks in place much more firmly.
UPDATE 2: I've also started using a Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone. My review for it, a few down from the top, provides a comparison between the Snowball and the more-expensive Yeti.
BTW, I feel that honest, effective reviews can take the place of first-hand experiences that are lacking in online shopping. I've always appreciated the help I've received from other reviewers and work hard to return the favor as best as I can. I hope you found this review helpful and if there was anything you thought was lacking or unclear leave a comment and I'll do what I can to fix it.
Always hold it close to your mouth to eliminate echo and get that deep, rich satin voice you're looking for!
Blue Snowball USB Microphone Review
Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone Bundle
This video demonstrates how the Blue Snowball microphone sounds and its different modes.
I have read some reviews that stated that the microphone had problems working with Vista. I did this review on a Vista PC. There is a product FAQ for this mic on [...] that states that after a certain serial number (starting in 2007) the mic was updated and now supports Vista. I can attest to that as I had no problems setting it up. I just plugged it in and it worked.
Impressive, clean cardiod sound, mac core audio, warm omni mode
Okay, I own a lot of microphones. I am very picky when it comes to sound and I would gladly waste $40 in gas to return a microphone that just didn't have the sound I expect. I was delighted to hear the quality of this USB mic! It has a great clarity to it, without being "tinny" or "crispy", and without sacrificing on the lows either. No "boomy" or "hollow" sound, just a nice clean and full-range quality that I expect from my $500-range microphones (but thankfully, without having to fool with an audio interface or goofy proprietary driver software!) What a great find... plug it in and it is ready to record!!
If you are looking for an intelligent, clean, affordable microphone for voice-over projects, podcasts, quick-and-easy live recording (with your laptop, of course), or open-mic music composition before dragging all the gear out to record a full-blown multitrack, this is the best money can buy in this category. Not to mention, it looks great sitting on your desk! BLUE has definitely convinced me to buy again, solid construction and solid sound (and no stupid drivers like Samson's USB garbage). Maybe next I'll get a Bluebird or Baby Bottle, this company is worth a closer look now that I've heard the very smooth sound of their entry level -- BLUE has got my attention!!
outstanding USB microphone
I am a pianist. Recording piano is one of the hardest assignments you could ask of a recording engineer. Snowball, by Blue, does just that. The dynamics, spaciousness, nuances, and warmth of the piano are all there. And to top it all, this microphone can be directly plugged into a laptop. In principle, you should have your audio interface outside your computer, to avoid interferences from disk writing being recorded as noise. But these solutions are more expensive. They typically triple the initial expense. For musicians on a budget, like me, look no further.
The microphone has three recording modes: cardioid, omnidirectional, and -10db for really loud sound. I recommend the cardioid configuration, with the mic on the right side, slightly toward the bass end of the piano. Coupled with an impulse response reverb, you basically have a steinway in your bedroom.
PS: I use this microphone several times a day. You plug it, it's ready to use. I'm very impressed.
Great Bargain for High Quality Recording
I started a podcast series based on Shakespeare's works and on major works of English literature (SHAKESPodosphEARE) for my students in Cincinnati earlier this year, and I started with a cheap mic/headset. It did the trick for the early episodes; I was just exploring whether or not my students would find full-text readings and recorded lectures useful, and they did. As a result, I wanted to find a higher quality way to record both readings of his plays and my lectures, and the Snowball was the perfect solution. It's easy to use (plugs in to your USB port), can be transported from one locale to another easily, and is an economical way to get high quality audio recordings. I've used it mainly for voice, but I've since incorporated some music into the podcast, and it's done a nice job of picking up my acoustic guitar and students' vocals.
NB: I use Audacity (which is a free download), and an HP Tablet PC, and for some reason I needed to do a firmware upgrade because at first the Snowball wasn't picking up sound at a high enough volume. It is a pretty simple process if you're tech savvy. Go to Blue's website for details.
If you're interested in listening to the differences between a cheap headset and the Snowball, check out my podcast at [...] . Listen to one of the early episodes (early Sept. of 2006) on which I used the basic mic (what comes with most Desktops), and then listen to a later episode (in which I use the Snowball). I'd recommend listening to an early Othello episode (1.1) and then a later Julius Caesar episode. My shows on The Tempest (also recorded with the Snowball) include sound effects, which may make it hard to hear the difference.
I've liked the Snowball so much that the school itself purchased one to encourage our students to start creating their own podcasts.
Be sure to get the package with the USB cord and the tripod. When using the tripod, be sure to push the legs all the way down, or the mic will fall over a lot.
If there were six stars, I would give it
I'm not a professional.
Up to now, I've been using a cheap $20 non-usb mic to record podcasts. I was having all sorts of problems with background noise. My biggest problem, though was that you could hear each and every sound my mouth made when I was talking. Also sounded tinny, shallow, and overall not good, which made it difficult to edit in Audacity as well.
In comparison, the Snowball is a freakin' miracle mic. It's not even from the same planet of mics that my other one was. Completely amazing. My voice sounds deep and rich, and there are no more annoying squishy mouth noises messing everything up.
I've never recorded in a studio, never been in a sound-proof room, and never recorded with a real studio mic. So I don't know how it compares. But for normal people wanting a great sound from a relatively inexpensive mic, this will blow you away. Hats off to Blue Mic for putting this together!
Great Stuff for Personal Recording
I have a radio talk program that I recorded regularly. When I started 4 years ago, I have to go to the station to do voice recording. About 2 years ago I bought a profesional mixer with microphone and do all the recording at home with my PC. 6 months ago I read some review and bought Samson C01 and the Blue Ball. I connect to my IBM Thinkpad X60 and the result is very good. I prefer the Blue compare to Samson. I used it for radio talk show and record it at home, or during my extensive seminar traveling.
I believe that the quality is 95% similar to my -profesional- recording that I used to have. I love technology! ;-)
One thing that I don't really like is the size of the ball, haha it is a litle bit too bulky for my traveling need. I need a smaller microphone with similar quality.... But it is a small price to pay. And some people will also argue that The Blue LOOKS COOL !!! I agree...
If you need to do some sort or recording, this is a great stuff to use. And i saw that the price goes down too... good value.
I live in Indonesia, a bit problem to try some new stuffs that i see emerging. I will try some other microphone next time I travel to USA and buy them. I need smaller size, good quality microphone. and The Blue is a dream microphone for this time.
Great Mic for recording and podcasting
I've had this mic for a few months and love it. I'm amazed by it's versatility, I've used it to record my band, both live and in studio. I've also used it for podcasts as well...everything sounds so clear through this mic...In addition, it's so easy to use and doesn't require an audio interface, which are expensive, because it plugs directly to your computer via USB. Finally, It looks really cool and fits right on your desk.
Blue Snowball Microphone
The Blue microphones are deliberately somewhat "retro funky" in appearance, but that is the only thing funky about the product. The "Snowball" bypasses the weak link in most computers, the sound card. It is designed to plug directly into a USB port and provide a clean digital signal . Out of the box, the recording level was a bit low to my taste, but a quick visit to the manufacturer's website produced a software patch that increased the gain without introducing distortion or noise. (It should be noted that they also have a patch that reduces the gain for those who have the opposite problem.)
The "bundle" consists of the microphone, a heavyduty shielded USB cable, and a small tripod stand. If I have any complaint at all it is that the stand could be a bit taller, but the purchase of a $5.00 "gooseneck" accessory solved that problem.
The products works exactly as advertised, and no one can ask for more than that.