Snowball iCE Microphone
Custom condenser capsule offers crystal clear audio
Easy plug 'n play directly to Mac or PC – no drivers to install
Adjustable desktop mic stand and USB cable
From desktop to laptop to iPad (with Apple's iPad Camera Connection Kit)
Adds HD audio to recordings for YouTube, SoundCloud or Myspace
Improves audio quality on Skype, Windows Live, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger
Records instruments, vocals or bands
Creates podcasts and adds narration to your home movies
PC: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, XP Home Edition or XP Professional
USB 1.0 or 2.0; 64 MB RAM (minimum)
Macintosh: Mac OSX 10.4.6 or higher
USB 1.0 or 2.0; 64 MB RAM (minimum)
At one point in time it was impossible to record at a semi professional quality without a very expensive studio, but that is in the past now thanks to smaller home equipment that has changed the way we record sound for the better. On its release this product was hailed as the first professional, budget USB microphone so what not a better reason to review this microphone that changed the game for YouTubers and other people who record at home: introducing the Blue Microphones Budget Edition Mic; The Blue Microphone’s Snowball iCE Black.
The Snowball iCE falls into the category of a “Budget Mic” but is by no means poor in sound quality or build quality, what the blue snowball ice does is take away the stuff an average user does not need and keeps the stuff they do , which allows them to reduce the price and make it affordable for most people. The people at Blue Microphones have done this in a very clever way , they have changed the polar pattern to Cardioid instead of Cardioid and Omni-directional like the blue snowball has , all this means is that the microphone picks up sound much better if you are in front of the mic rather than at an angle , for example the microphone will work amazing for youtubers who place the microphone at there desk in front of them. The Snowball iCE has also taken away the option to change settings physically by pressing a button on the mic , you know have to change the settings inside of the software you are recording from , which like i said is not a problem for most people.
The microphone comes with Custom condenser capsule that offers crystal clear audio,Easy plug ‘n play directly to Mac or PC – no drivers to install, Angle adjustable desktop mic stand(can not be increased in height, you can only change the angle of the mic itself) and a very good quality six feet USB cable.
The “The Blue Snowball iCE-Black” will cost you around £45, which is the exact same price as the blue Snowball iCE (the white version) but there’s a few added features that make it worth the getting the black version instead of the white version. I will name a few of the differences between the black and white version. The first difference is the matte finish the black version has, instead of the gloss white finish the white version has. This makes the black version look less like a toy and more like a serious piece of studio recording gear. The second difference is the stand the mic comes with,the white version comes with a plastic stand that feels a little flimsy, where as the black version comes with a metal stand which feels a lot stronger than the plastic one.
Now we have sorted out a couple of the differences between the mics,i will talk about how this mic performs and the overall build quality of the mic.
The blue snowball ice stands 12.4cm x 20cm x 25.4 cm . And weighs 1.1kg and is built how I would expect a microphone from “Blue Microphones” to be built, which is very well. The mic is heavy enough to sit on your desk without it falling over or moving about, accompanied by the very strong stand it comes with, combined with the rubber feet attached to the end of all three legs on the stand. You will not find a better built mic for the price.
The package itself includes the mic, mic stand, the USB wire to connect it to your computer and an instruction booklet. The USB wire is very good quality , it is not your standard cheap wire. That being said the mic does not come with any software to record straight away so you will need to download your own recording software , i recommend audacity it works well for recording has got lost of settings to play around with.
The only bad thing I can say about how the mic is how it is designed, you can adjust the angle of the mic, but you cannot change the height of the mic stand. You do however have the option to mount it to a standard threaded counter-weighted tripod mic stand, but this is something you would have to purchase separately. Therefore unless you invest in a separate stand, you will need to find somewhere to place it that is within close proximity to you. That being said most people who will buy this mic will be using it a desk and so for most people that should not be an issue.
When it comes to sound quality this microphone is just amazing, i have heard from other people who say that this microphone compares to their high end very expensive microphones. The microphones main purpose is to record spoken words in Full HD and does this very well due to the custom condenser capsule with a cardioid pattern. That being said you can use this microphone for pretty much anything, you can use it for YouTube, music recordings or even just to enhance your audio quality when talking on Skype or messenger. In comparison and on the other hand, the mic does pick up a lot of background noise, for example I was recording with it and listened back and realized the mic had recorded my dog barking downstairs in the background so it definitely picks up background noise.
When it comes to the specs the blue snowball ice has a sample rate of 44.1kHz. Sample rate is the number of samples of audio carried per second, measured in Hz or kHz (one kHz being 1 000 Hz). For example, 44 100 samples per second can be expressed as either 44 100 Hz, or 44.1 kHz. The polar pattern is Cardioid which means that the microphone is most sensitive to sound at the front and least sensitive at the back. Their unidirectional pickup makes for effective isolation of unwanted ambient sound and high resistance to feedback when compared to omni-directional alternatives.
Cardioid microphones are essential when considering a mic for live performance.
Microphone Set Up:
The Snowball iCE features a unique swivel mount located on the bottom center of the mic body. Be sure to mount the Snowball iCE on its included desktop stand or on a standard-thread counter-weighted tripod mic stand. For reduction of low-frequency rumble and additional positioning options, mount the Snowball iCE in the Blue Ringer, available from your authorized Blue dealer. Be sure to position the Snowball iCE over the center leg of the stand to further prevent tipping. Once mounted, you can gently pivot the Snowball iCE back and forth for optimum positioning in front of the sound source. Once safely mounted, connect the Snowball iCE to the USB port on your Macintosh or Windows computer (the Snowball iCE is USB 1.0 and 2.0 compatible). If you’re using an iPad, you’ll need Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit for USB connectivity. Make sure that the active, on-axis side of the diaphragm (the side with the Blue logo) is facing the desired source. When connected, the LED just above the Blue logo will glow red, indicating power has reached the Snowball iCE and it is ready to record. Now you’re ready to set up your Snowball iCE on either your Mac or PC.
Spoken Word (Conferencing, Podcasting, Voiceovers, Chatting)
Set your Snowball iCE on a flat surface approximately 8-12” away from you (you may need to experiment a little to find the perfect spot depending on the room you’re in). Speak directly towards the front of the mic. If possible, eliminate all room noises, cell phone ringtones, the annoying chihuahua barking next door, etc. For podcasting or voiceovers, speak clearly and try and avoid long gaps between words (you might want to write out a script or practice a few times before recording).
Music (Vocals & Instruments)
For vocals, the closer you place the mic, the bigger your sound. Experiment with positioning for your ideal sound. Tilt the microphone slightly upward for more projection or straight on for maximum brightness and intelligibility. Position the mic facing slightly down (towards your chest) for more robust lows and smoother highs.
For Acoustic Guitar, place the microphone facing the neck where it joins the body for a well-balanced, sparkling high-end sound. For lower frequencies, move the mic closer to the soundhole. On Electric Guitar, position the Snowball iCE toward the center of your guitar amp for more highs, or towards the edge of the cabinet speaker for a fuller sound with more low end. The Snowball can also be used with drums, percussion, wind instruments or strings. Try a variety of positions to find your ideal sound. Trust your ears — if it sounds good it is good!
The Blue Snowball Ice is the budget mic out of the blue microphone USB series ,but it packs a serious punch , The build quality is amazing and the sound quality I very good for a mic that costs you less than £50. My only advice is to get the black version over the white version ,as it comes with a metal stand not plastic and just looks a lot more professional.