The affectionately named Blue Snowball USB microphone is multipurpose, however, it holds the distinction of being one of the best mics for recording lectures we’ve tried.
Whether you’re recording yourself as you prepare material for your students or for an actual event where you’ll need to play a recording, this microphone will give a clear recorded rendition of your voice for your audience.
It also has super sensitive hardware components, so it picks up the sound of a voice talking in a room like no one’s business. In fact, if taking notes isn’t your bag, this mic is extra handy.
While some microphones are good for karaoke and others are good for recording music, the Blue Snowball USB is fantastic for recording voices. Teachers, professors, podcasters, and interviewers will love how clear their voice is during playback with this microphone.
Features to Love
- 3 pick up settings
- Plug and play
- Mac and PC compatible
- Desk tripod
- USB compatible
Powered Through USB
The microphone doesn’t require batteries to operate. It’s powered by the USB once you plug it into the computer. The front of the mic features a light that will be lit when it’s operational.
In this mode, the mic will pick up sounds from directly in front of it. This means that the sides and the back will be blocked. If you want to record music or live instrumentals that require a deeper sound, this won’t be the right setting for your recordings. This is great for podcasting if there’s one person directly in front of the mic. Lectures will be crystal clear with this mode. It’s #1 on the back of the microphone itself.
You won’t need to place your mouth very close to the mic to be heard. It’s designed to pick up sounds – including your voice – from 2 to 3 feet away. If you have a huge amount of noise in the background or the next room, this mode won’t pick up the sounds at all, but you should still ask those people to keep it down.
Cardioid Mode with -10 dB PAD
This second mode is almost identical to the first except it’ll capture louder sounds while still keeping the same quality and clarity of the sounds itself. This is a good setting for loud instruments, singing, and a variety of music.
This setting is number 3 on the back of the microphone itself. This will pick up sounds from all directions instead of just the front like setting number 1. It’ll “hear” all sounds at an equal volume around the mic itself and record those sounds at an equal volume.
This is great if you have more than one person in a room for an interview on your podcast. Or if you are including a guest lecturer in your course. You can even bring this microphone to school and record your teacher and the other students during an especially lively class.
Setting for Recording Lectures
As mentioned previously, the type of room noise will directly influence the setting you use to record. For example, if you are recording your own lecture for students, you can use the #1 setting and speak directly into the front of the mic.
If you’re including a guest lecturer on your recording, or you want to interview someone for the lecture you’re giving, the omnidirectional mode will pick up more than one voice in the room with equal clarity.
Ease of Setup
There’s no need for software or instructions to begin using the microphone. Plug one end of the wire into your computer’s USB port and the other side into the back of the mic, and you’re ready to rock and roll.
Software to Record
The Blue Snowball USB Microphone is an inexpensive microphone for recording your lectures, but if you’re on a serious budget, you can certainly get free software to capture your recordings.
While the Snowball doesn’t need software to set it up on your computer, you will need software to record and edit your lectures. The company recommends a few different software choices like Garage Band, Logic 7, and Adobe Premier Elements. We have a free recommendation for your recordings. Use Audacity, which is an open source program for recording.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the microphone pick up my keyboard sounds if I’m typing at the same time?
It will depend on the settings you use. If you use the omnidirectional, you will pick up the clicks of the keyboard. Use #1 and face it away from the keyboard. It’ll work fine.
How sturdy are the foldout tripod legs?
While you can’t lean on the legs, they are pretty sturdy. They’re also adjustable, so you can raise the height of the microphone.
Can it be used for a conference with more than two speakers?
Placing the microphone in the middle of the table and setting it on omnidirectional (#3) will give you a recording of all speakers with equal clarity.
We recommend this microphone to those who need a simple microphone for recording lectures. Whether it’s a recording you’ll play for students or during business meetings, the sound will be crystal clear and easy to hear.