Wed, 10 Feb 2010 Blue Microphones Snowball review
Produce studio-quality recordings with novel Snowball condenser microphone
- Manufacturer: Blue Microphones
- Distributor: Apple
- Pros: Rich and detailed CD quality recordings, versatile choice of three recording modes, no software install or external power supply, stylish retro looks, adjustable tripod and swivel mount for directional recording, lengthy premium USB cable supplied, good instructive manual, Mac and PC compatible.
- Cons: Relatively large footprint for small desktops or home studios, not ideally portable, record quality can't be user defined, will be overkill for some occasional users, no Pop Filter as standard, cheaper options available.
- Min specs: Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher. Transducer Type: Condenser, pressure gradient with USB digital output. Polar Pattern: Cardioid (position 1); Cardioid with-10dB10dB pad (position 2); Omnidirectional (position 3). Sample/Word: 44.1 kHz/16 bit.
- Price: £89.95 including VAT.
- Star rating:
Blue Microphones offer a range of award-winning well received recording devices aimed at the pro, semi-pro and enthusiast markets, which are now thankfully becoming more widely available in the UK. The USB powered Snowball condenser microphone is plug and play and produces excellent recordings. Users simply need to go into System Preferences on your Mac and select the Snowball and Sound to adjust Volume settings and you are away. With no additional software to install, it works with a vast variety of creative software including Apple's own GarageBand supplied free with every Mac.
The Snowball looks suitably space age yet retro, a choice of white, silver or black grapefruit sized ball perched on a tripod stand, it should at the very least get people asking "what's that." Round the back of the Snowball are three settings, which determine the type of sound you can record. Cardioid mode records sound sources that are directly in front of the microphone, ideal for podcasts, sung vocals, and other voice work.
Cardioid mode with-10 dB PAD helps you capture louder sounds with higher fidelity, while omnidirectional mode aims to pick up sound equally from all directions, a 360 degree sphere surrounding the mic. According to Blue Microphones, this third setting is best used in situations when you want to capture the ambience of "being there" such as a live recording of a band's performance.
The Snowball isn't cheap but you generally get what you pay for and the investment will reap dividends if you are serious about recording and want to produce studio-quality recordings. Users might also want to invest in a Pop Filter, which serves to reduce or eliminate 'popping' sounds caused by the mechanical impact of fast moving air on the microphone. One minor niggle is recordings are fixed at fixed at 16bit 44Khz, what's described as CD quality, without the option to vary this setting. In the UK, The Blue Microphones Snowball is available from Apple and Apple Premium Reseller Solutions Inc.