B.L.U.E. Microphone Snowball

“What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” A Snowball? Come on BLUE, when are you going to run out of cute color/name combos for your spherical mics? What’s next: The Meatball? The Melonball? The Eyeball? Whatever. The mics are pretty cool.

The Snowball is white (surprise, surprise). It’s also the first USB-powered spherical microphone in existence. The mic is pretty new on the scene and hasn’t generated a lot of press. The BLUE website doesn’t have any specs listed, and the review mic came in a little Styrofoam box with a USB cable and no literature. So I will wing it.

I don’t use any software where I would need, or could even use, a USB microphone. The only thing I could try was GarageBand. I’d never really used GarageBand except that one time where I was on tour in Japan and we had to do a demo of GarageBand at the Apple store in Tokyo and none of us knew how to use it and we learned it in the cab on the way to the demo. The demo kind of sucked in a surreal way. But here was my chance to redeem myself. I spent the next three hours getting totally into the freakiness of the software until I had the perfect track to try and record some creepy vocals into. I hooked the Snowball into the USB port on my keyboard, set the audio input preference (the driver automatically loaded) to BLUE USB thingy, and armed a new track for record and presto: there was a nice fat signal.

The Snowball is a dual-capsule microphone. One is for vocals and VO and one is for instruments. There is a three-way switch where you can choose either capsule or both at the same time. The one that is for voice is sort of low-mid enhanced to give your voice a little bit of ball (sic), and the instrument capsule delivers a more high-passed open sound. Both capsules simultaneously sound sort of extra fat and chunky. I can’t sing to save my life but I know when a mic sounds good. Especially for the price and the type of market that it’ll be satisfying.

I DO have a couple of problems with it though: I think the mic is just too big and bulky for the laptop/backpack brigade. Also the demo model I got had no mount — just a 5/8-inch screw hole on the bottom to attach to a straight stand. What it needs is a way to mount the mic on a little collapsible desk-mount stand you can stick by your keyboard or mouse and get to work. Or maybe they can come up with a flexible swivel mount so you can get it into position with a normal boom stand. This mic will have a very specific audience and they need to cater to that group. The sound is pretty cool, and flexible, and the price is right so maybe this Snowball has a chance in hell. (MSRP $139)