Due to the intensive development of streaming, podcasts, and the ability to play videos in the background, the requirements for audio quality for content makers have increased dramatically. Finding a good recording device for novice creators is not easy: there are many terms and technical characteristics that will say little to a commoner in the street. There are either cheap lapels or professional stationary microphones to choose from. If with the former, in terms of development, everything is quite simple, then the latter requires a certain technical savvy.
The same compromise that combines excellent recording quality and simplicity of settings came to my review—a microphone in an unusual design from a company producing sound recording equipment for more than ten years. But since the description of the impressions of the voice transmission will not allow us to add up the complete picture of the gadget, the voice acting of this review was made. The recording was done in a quiet room through the Audacity app.
The appearance of the microphone corresponds to the name “Snowball” and has an almost perfect ball shape. The body is made of matte black plastic and resists soiling well. On the front side, there is a glossy brand logo. Around it, in a circular pattern, vaguely reminiscent of chamomile petals, is the grid of the microphone itself. Well, in the conventional “forehead” of the sphere, there is a red power indicator.
There is also a grid on the reverse side, but its functionality is not entirely clear because there is no bidirectional audio capture in the microphone. Just below the center of the circle is the micro-USB port. Yes, the connector is outdated, but this is quite normal for recording equipment.
The power cord plugged into the microphone protrudes quite far beyond its limits, so when moving the microphone across the table, you must be careful not to damage the connector.
The microphone comes with a small tripod, which is a tripod. The metal legs have rubberized nozzles at the ends, which prevents possible movement on smooth surfaces. And the legs also have a small spring-loaded play, which, in theory, is designed to reduce the transmission of vibration from the table.
Despite the stable support at three points, the microphone will have to be placed on a spacious platform due to the large distance between the extreme points of the legs – 325 millimeters in circumference.
The supplied USB cable is placed in a thick rubberized sheath and has a length of two meters. There is kink protection in the outlet area of the plugs. The length of the wire is more than enough to allow freedom of movement around the sound recording location.
The sphere itself is attached to the post using a proprietary 15mm threaded connection. So if you want to mount the sphere on tripods with a standard thread size, you will have to get an adapter. For a tripod, the stand is made of plastic, while for a microphone, it is made of metal and is more reliable. In the sphere of attachment of the sphere, there is a rather tight hinge, which allows you to change the microphone’s position within a small range – 15 degrees up or down.
Connection and functionality
Apart from the above features, Snowball iCE does not have any external interfaces. Getting started with a microphone is not easy: all required is to connect the microphone via a USB cable to a computer or laptop. After updating the drivers, the gadget is immediately ready for use.
The manufacturer offers a proprietary Blue Sherpa utility for more flexible customization. However, my sample only supports gain control for the recording volume.
Feedback after two weeks of use
The main feature of Blue Snowball Black iCE is plug-and-play technology, which means “plug and play.” Yes, the microphone does not have any flexible settings that professionals will need, but it seems to me that the orientation of this gadget is a little different. First of all, the manufacturer positions its product for intuitive work with sound projects for beginners: from simple communication in messengers to streaming and recording music. In my opinion, the speech quality of the microphone is really very good.
The only drawback of the Snowball Black iCE is the rather weak noise cancellation out of the box. From which the microphone transmits any extraneous noise in the background. On the other hand, this achieves an obvious sound with discernible subtle notes in the voice. So, if you do not have the necessary skills to work with sound, then to achieve ideal sound, you need to competently prepare the surrounding space, taking care of sound insulation.
- unusual and eye-catching design;
- quality materials and good build;
- confident fixation on the table;
- the clear and natural-sounding of speech;
- ease of use.
- the tripod takes up a lot of space;
- no tripod height adjustments.
May not like:
- only one recording mode;
- all sound settings only for processing;
- there is no audio output for connecting headphones.