Blue Snowball Mic Test - Recording HandPan

Having been considering purchase of a microphone to plug into the netbook for a while now, to do a little HandPan recording with - I did a little looking around online for options, and the one that peaked my interest most, was the ‘Blue Snowball’ mic, a ‘budget’ USB condenser microphone, with a seemingly great reputation.

Repeatedly recommended within the HandPan community to those looking for a decent microphone without having to break the bank, spoken of highly by Harmonic Hearts man, ‘Danny Sorensen’, and known to have been used by Pantheon Steel to record the original Genesis Halo sound samples. In addition to generally receiving glowing reviews outside of the HandPan community for everything from podcasting, to recording live performances. I decided to give the Snowball from Blue a shot.

The Look

While arguably the looks of a gadget like this are superfluous to its function. If you like your gadgets to look hot - this thing is proper sexy!  Larger than you might think from the pictures online, the Blue Snowball USB Condenser mic is solid, and is uber stylish in design, comes available in a choice of colors, and sat upon its tripod, strangely reminds me of some kind of behemoth-like planet destroying robot from outer space (but maybe that’s just me). Either ways, the Blue Snowball is a very nice looking piece of kit.
Setting up

The reviews for the Snowball Blue on Amazon would have you believe that setting this mic up is a doddle. And they weren’t lying. Plug and Play, the Snowball installed its drivers in seconds, and Audacity (free recording software), recognised the mic straight away. I hit the record button and I was off. It just couldn’t have been easier.


Mine cost me about $80 - which puts it within the ‘budget’ price range for a ‘semi-professional’ microphone of this type. Though many reviews claim that the Snowball by Blue is not simply just among the best of its range, but that also, it outperforms microphones far more expensive too.
Is it any good?

I’m impressed. Not blown away, but definitely impressed. With bonus points given for the fact that it is notoriously difficult to capture all the intricacies of any given HandPans voice, using recording equipment. So that while, to my ear, the quality of the recordings would not be suitable for radio play (at least without some tweaking), the quality beats the crap out of that I was previously reaching using my digital camcorders in-built mic. And i’m sure that with a little playing around, in terms of mic position, room acoustics, and perhaps even twiddling with a few dials using Audacity (or your audio editing software of choice), it’s only going to sound even better.

I like it. The Blue Snowball is reasonably priced, super-solid in build, and catches some nice audio. Sometimes gadgets like these can be a huge let-down, and when they are, I’m more then happy to send them back for a refund. But I get the feeling, the Blue Snowball, is gonna be sat on my desk looking all sexy in black (white, and chrome are also available), for some time to come...
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