Blue Nessie Adaptive USB Mic Review / Test

Today I'm reviewing a mic that I've been trying to get my hands on for about a 4 months. The mic being featured is the Blue Nessie Adaptive USB Condenser Microphone

This is a USB microphone that is listed as compatible with Windows & Mac OS X. It offers multiple DSP modes which are marketed as a way to make recording easy, and it offers a built in pop filter & shock mount to ensure you do not suffer from any plosives or vibrations.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $100 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. 5-foot USB Cable
  3. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Max SPL: 110dB
  4. Bit Depth: 16-bit
  5. Sampling Rate: 48kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic seems pretty decent for the price. The base of the microphone is metal and has some substantial weight to it. The entire base acts as a dial to control the headphone volume as well. underneath the dial there is an LED light that glows when the microphone is plugged in and receiving power, and blinks when the microphone is muted.

Speaking of mute, on the front of the microphones neck, you have a single red button to mute/unmute the mic. On the back of the neck you will find a USB plug, a 3-way switch to change between the 3 modes (flat, voice, music), and directly above that you will find a 3.5mm headphone port which provides latency free monitoring.

When we get to the microphone capsule, the grills on both sides of the mic are metal, while the center blue piece is made of plastic. Within the casing there is a pop filter to eliminate plosives as well as a shock mount to ensure you don't suffer from vibrations or table bumps. You are also able to tilt the microphone about 90-degrees to make sure you get the best placement possible.

The frequency response ranges from 20Hz in the low end all the way to 20kHz in the high end. While playing guitar/singing on this mic, I think the performance was only decent on all the settings. When me moved to the acoustic guitar test, I thought that the only usable setting was the flat mode. On the voice mode, the guitar was overly boomy with very little presence, and while set to music mode, the high frequencies seemed overly shrill and piercing.

The cardioid polar pattern was the correct choice for this microphone as it sits directly on the desk. It did pick up a decent amount of keyboard noise, which is to be expected of any desktop microphone, and it picked up my voice fairly well even at 4-feet away. 

Pros

  • Built in pop filter
  • Decent audio quality
  • Latency free monitoring

Cons

  • Cannot remove mic from desktop stand
  • Picked up vibrations from computer & bumps of desk quite prominently

Conclusion

I was not impressed with this microphone. The audio quality is decent on the flat mode, but I found the two other DSP modes to be subpar. On top of that, you will be stuck using this as a desktop microphone, as you cannot remove the microphone from the stand and put it on a boom arm. This led to some issues during the test. I found the microphone picked up vibrations from my computer as well as bumps of the desk. Moreover, when you're forced to keep the microphone placed directly on your desk, it is difficult to get decent microphone placement to record instruments or your voice.

Although this microphone has plenty of features that are listed as selling points, I feel that it falls short and leaves a lot to be desired. If you are looking for audio quality for anything other than demos, I would suggest looking elsewhere.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2gQMT3M
UK: http://amzn.to/2hqa59W

 

Blue Snowflake USB Mic Review / Test

Today I am reviewing the Blue Snowflake. This is a little USB Mic that you can place directly on your desk, or mount it to your laptop and use it to improve audio for meetings.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $45 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. USB Cable
  3. Documentation
  4. 2-Year Warranty

Performance / Features

The build quality of the microphone is not too consistent. The metal base is nice and sturdy and has a few soft pads to ensure you don't damage your laptop when placing it over the edge of the screen. The microphone capsule has a metal grill on the front, but the back feels like cheap plastic. Also, the connection point between the mic capsule and the stand is very thin and I would be worried about this breaking off if you open and close the mic too frequently.

The frequency response is listed as 35Hz - 20kHz, and it sounds perfectly fine to me. When speaking it did sound somewhat compressed and lacking a little in the low end, but for a $45 microphone designed for Skype / Conference calls, it performs well in this area.

The polar pattern is cardioid and it performs like a cardioid mic should perform. HOWEVER, the design of this mic requires you to almost always place the mic behind your keyboard (on laptop screen, on desktop screen, below desktop monitor), ultimately placing the keyboard in between you and the mic. This means that it picks up a LOT of keyboard noise. So if you plan on typing during a call, you may want to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Decent sound
  • Decent build quality
  • Plug & Play
  • Portable

Con

  • Noisy interface
  • Limited placement options

Conclusion

Overall, I think the mic sounds pretty nice for voice, but that's about it. I can only recommend this if you are going to be using it to improve your audio quality for skype phone calls, or if you don't mind a bit of keyboard noise in the background while gaming. Luckily, that's exactly what this mic was designed for. Skype & Conference Calls.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Blue Snowflake:
US: http://amzn.to/1NFPXfT
UK: http://amzn.to/1sMy5GU

Blue Spark Condenser Microphone Review / Test

Today I am testing out a mic that I have been dying to try out. The Blue Spark.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $199 on Amazon.

WARNING: This microphone will require phantom power to function. So if you plan on purchasing this, make sure to purchase a phantom power supply, or make sure your audio interface is capable of providing sufficient voltage.

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Metal Pop Filter
  3. XLR to XLR Cable (certain packages)
  4. Shock Mount (5/8" to 3/8" Stand Adapter NOT Included)
  5. Documentation

note: I do not believe that all Blue Spark microphones come with an XLR cable. 

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is awesome. It has an all metal body and a nice metal grill. The shock mount is a nice sturdy metal and performs it's job without any problems. The windscreen has a very fine mesh to help eliminate plosives as well. The XLR cable is a very nice and high quality cable and the box is a nice wooden box which will provide sufficient protection while storing the microphone.

The frequency response of this mic is 20Hz - 20kHz, and you can hear every bit of this in the microphone. The sound is incredibly full without having any excess boominess in the low low end. The acoustic guitar, voice, and electric guitar all sounded great on this mic.

There is a button on the back that activates a FOCUS MODE, which slightly alters the EQ of the microphone and provides slightly improved clarity through boosting mid & high frequencies, and gently rolling off frequencies around 100Hz.

The Spark provides a Cardioid polar pattern which performs very well for voice & guitar. It picked up very minimal background noise while providing the freedom to move around the microphone a bit. As I got farther away from the microphone, you could hear a decrease in volume, and the largest drop in velocity seemed to appear between the 1-2 foot mark.

Lastly, this requires FULL +48v PHANTOM POWER! 

Pros

  • Full frequency response
  • Great vocal/guitar sound
  • Does not pick up excess background noise
  • Nice shock mount
  • Nice wind screen
  • Focus button to add Clarity

Cons

  • None?

Conclusion

I have to say. This is my favorite XLR mic that I have tested out to date. I couldn't find anything that I didn't like about it at the price that I paid. I do want to recommend that you shop around. I found this for $70 less than the normal price tag.

This microphone will not be for everyone. It will be for people who are more serious about recording music, voice overs, etc. It will require additional investment in an audio interface that provides +48v phantom power, and some people may not like that. If you want a plug and play microphone, there are plenty of other options for you to choose from. If you are in the $200 price range, and you're looking for a good XLR condenser microphone, I would highly recommend this one. 

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1YWlPz1

 

Blue Snowball USB Mic Review

Today, due to popular request, I tested out the Blue Snowball Usb Microphone. Earlier this year, I tested out the Blue Snowball iCE, and still, the requests kept rolling in for the regular snowball. 

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $50 on Amazon.

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. USB Cable
  3. Table Top Stand
  4. Documentation

This microphone also comes with a 2-year warranty.

Performance / Features

The build quality is decent. It's a plastic body, and it feels relatively cheap. The grill is actually metal which adds a nice touch, but it still feels like a sub par product. The actual microphone stand on the other hand feels much nicer than most table top mic stands that I have encountered. The problem that I have with table top microphone stands is they offer no shock absorption, so it will pick up noise every time you bump the table.

On the back of the microphone there are three settings as follows:

  1. Cardioid Polar Pattern
  2. Cardioid Polar Pattern with 10db Pad
  3. Omnidirectional Polar Pattern

The specs sheet (user manual) does not provide any listed frequency response, but a website I found SoundOnSound.com listed the frequency response as 40Hz to 18kHz. When listening to the examples you can tell that the frequency response differs depending on the microphone capsules you are utilizing.

When using the Cardioid microphone capsule, you seem to have a relatively full frequency response. Once you switch to the omni directional setting, the low end gets cut out and the audio becomes very tinny and unnatural sounding. 

Pros

  • Relatively cheap
  • Decent sound on Cardioid setting
  • Simple to use

Cons

  • Desktop Microphone Stand
  • USB Microphone
  • Omnidirectional Capsule unusable for professional audio

Conclusion

This is a decent microphone. It is relatively cheap, sitting around $50, and it honestly sounds like a $50 microphone. The cardioid setting is useful, but once you move to the omnidirectional setting, the audio becomes unusable if you plan on releasing the audio.

I don't think that I can recommend this rendition of the microphone to anyone, unless you are dead set on using the omni directional pattern. If you're not planning on using the omni pattern, just stick with the blue snowball ice. Also, I would only recommend this microphone if you are looking for a simple and easy to use solo podcasting microphone. If you're planning on recording multiple people, or game (with lots of noise in the background), I do not think this microphone is right for you.

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Blue Snowball: http://amzn.to/21kQ71X
Blue Snowball iCE: http://amzn.to/1QARj6c

Blue Icicle XLR to USB Mic Converter/Mic Preamp Review / Test

Today I am testing out another "cheap" microphone interface. This time it is a device by Blue Microphones that is designed for a single microphone; The Blue Icicle.

What's In the Box 

  1. Blue Icicle
  2. 6-Foot USB Cable

Performance / Features

The build quality is not that great. It is a plastic enclosure, and it feels very light. The volume knob is plastic as well, and it is wobbly. 

The design is incredibly simple, on one end is the XLR connector to plug your microphones XLR cable into. The other end has a USB port to connect the device to your computer. On the body is a single knob that controls your microphones input volume, and lastly the word ICICLE lights up when it is connected to the USB port.

The Icicle is listed as providing +48v of phantom power and when measured, I showed +44.4v of power making it through the XLR Cable. This power should be sufficient to power most, if not all, condenser microphones. 

Pros

  • Cheap Interface
  • Good sound
  • Low amount of noise
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Cheap build quality
  • No Latency Free Monitoring

Conclusion

This device is pretty cool. It powers condenser microphones and it has a very low amount of noise. The NW-1500 sounded great through it. I don't think you need this if you are just going to be using a dynamic microphone though, I think you would be fine with just a simple XLR to USB Cable. Other than that, this is a nice option for a single XLR Condenser microphone user who wants to record to their computer.

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Blue Icicle: http://amzn.to/1SoI6o7
Behringer UM2: http://amzn.to/1WYlPMI  
XLR to USB Cable: http://amzn.to/1QCXZU8

Blue Yeti Review / Test

This is hands down the most requested microphone I have tested to date. I probably have over 100 requests to test this mic out. So without further ado, I am testing out the Blue Yeti Microphone.

What really sets this microphone apart from other microphones is the fact that it has three microphone capsules that allow it to provide 4 different polar patterns to choose from. This really helps fine tune the mic to fit the exact situation you are recording in. If you are interested in this mic it will cost you about $100 depending on when you buy it and what color you get.

What's In the Box 

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Stand
  3. USB Cable
  4. Documentation

Performance / Features

The build quality on this microphone is superb. It is an all metal body, and a nice metal microphone stand that has some good weight to it. The mute button and polar pattern select knob are both sturdy and work well. The Headphone Volume & Microphone Gain knob do feel a little wobbly and loose, so I would recommend being careful with these knobs. 

On this bottom of this microphone you will find a 5/8" microphone stand mount, the USB plug, and a 3.5mm Headphone Output. On the front of the microphone you have a microphone mute button, and a headphone volume knob. On the back of the mic you have the microphone gain control and lastly the polar pattern selector.

The frequency response that this microphone is capable of is 20Hz to 20kHz, but the response is different for each polar pattern used. I will list the 4 polar patterns as well as the frequency responses from recordinghacks.com

  1. Omnidirectional: 180 - 20,000 Hz
  2. Cardioid: 150 - 15,000 Hz
  3. Bidirectional: 100 - 15,000 Hz
  4. Stereo: 80 - 15,000 Hz

Each polar pattern functions exactly as you expect.

Pros

  • Great Sound Quality
  • Sturdy Build
  • Versatile (Can fit almost any need you have)
  • Gain Knob on Microphone!!!
  • Plug & Play

Cons

  • Gain & Volume Knobs are Loose
  • USB Microphone

Conclusion

I have been speaking out against USB microphones since I started making these reviews. I started to get turned around when I tested a samson microphone. Now I think I have come completely around, and realized that there are some really good USB microphones out there.

I would HIGHLY recommend this microphone to any starters. It sounds great, it is plug and play, it is easy to use, and you can make it fit any scenario that you are in. You can record interviews, music, voiceovers, orchestras. Anything! It's awesome, and if you have a $100 budget and don't plan on using outboard gear with an XLR microphone, this may be one of your best options.

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SjZxo7
Pop Filter: http://amzn.to/1OQQqWm

E-Blue Cobra Gaming Headset Review

Today I tested out the E-Blue Professional Gaming Headset which was requested by one of our viewers Mac Cat.

What's in the Box

There was absolutely nothing in this box. It comes with the headphones, and a single 3x4-inch sheet of paper. Half of the paper is the 12-month warranty, the other half of the sheet is the User Guide, which consists of directions like "Plug the headset into your computer". I would be lying if I did not point out how much I love how simple their directions were. However, if you are not technically inclined, and do not know much about computers or computer jacks, this could be a point of contention. On top of this, there was no spec sheet in the box.

Performance / Features

The headphones boast 40mm drivers that reproduce sound from 30Hz - 19KHz (this was determined using frequency sweeps and it is not 100% accurate). The microphone on this is the stand out feature. It sounds great, especially considering that this headset costs only $16. I did notice that at points, there were some pops, but that can be remedied by repositioning the microphone. 

Pros

  • The price tag on certain colors of this headset for $15-$16. 
  • The microphones good audio quality
  • The microphone can articulate, making it easier to get good audio)
  • Compatible with Windows & Macs

Cons

  • Does not provide full frequency reproduction in the headphones.
  • Not that versatile (you will not be able to use this is too many scenarios)
  • Cheap plastic construction
  • Uncomfortable Ear Cups
  • Non-braided Cable

Conclusion

Overall, I think that this is a great deal if you can find it for $16. If you have a podcast guest that's in another city or state, and does not have access to a good microphone, you can just buy them this headset as well as the USB adapter, and ship it directly to them. It comes out to like $22, and the audio quality will be a huge improvement over their internal computer mic, their webcam mic, or a phone call. 

If you have any questions about this headset, leave them in the comments down below or on youtube and I will get back to you ASAP. Thanks for watching & reading.

Buy the Headset: http://amzn.to/1kJ9ONy
Buy the Adapter: http://amzn.to/1KBMRk4

Blue Snowball iCE Microphone Review

Hey Everyone, Tuesday means another tech review for you. When I say tech review, I mean a microphone review. Today I tested out the Blue Snowball iCE, a USB microphone that will set you back $50.

This mic is built like mics are supposed to be built. With heft. It feels like it was built to last; like it can take a beating. The mic stand that comes with it is nothing to write home about, but that's a fairly typical occurrence when stands are included with microphones. I think that the stand will be perfectly sufficient for desktop use.

The audio is pretty dang good for $50, and the ease of use is amazing. You plug it in. Select the microphone in your system preferences, set the input level, and you're good to go. I did run into one issue though, I kept getting clicking noises. There was even a point where I got some sort of digital feedback that made the audio unusable. I wasn't able to locate anything about this phenomenon, but I have a hunch it has to do with moving the cable around and holding the mic in my hands.

Over all it's a great mic and if you're looking for a desktop mic to improve your skype calls, podcasts, or voice overs, I highly recommend it!

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1h6SBeK