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Blue Snowball comparison with Samson USB microphone

A client of mine has started a series of podcasts. Thus far I have recorded the podcasts using the Samson C01U USB Studio Condenser Microphone discussed in a previous blog posting. We had always planned that my client would ultimately be able to create his own podcasts and he asked me to get him a suitable microphone. Having read a few reviews I decided that the Blue Snowball microphone would be the best option.

Snowball Blue microphone

At first I was surprised by the size of the microphone. It has a diameter of about 4 inches. The Blue Snowball was extremely easy to set up. I simply plugged it in and it was available for recording. It comes with a sturdy little desktop stand. The instructions suggest using a pop filter, which I have used in the recordings included below.

There are 3 settings on the back of the Snowball:

  1. Activates cardoid capsule
  2. Activates cardoid capsule with 10dB reduction
  3. Activates omni capsule

Option 1 is best for making recording directly in front of the microphone. Option 2 reduces the input signal and option 3 is useful for recording sound more generally. The instruction manual that comes with the microphone also suggest different orientations of the microphone depending on the sort of sound you want to achieve, e.g. tilt the microphone slightly upwards for “more projection and head tone,” straight at the mouth for “maximum brightness and intelligibility” and towards the chest for “robust full lows and smoother highs.”

I thought it would be interesting to record something with each of the microphones I have tested to give an idea of the quality of each microphone as far as podcasting is concerned.

In each case I recorded a poem by Thomas Hardy using Audacity to capture the sound. Capture settings were 44,100Hz at 16bit. Having made a recording I exported the MP3 at a bit rate setting of 64.

Recording made using the Blue Snowball

Recording of Blue Snowball microphone

Recording made using Samson CO1U

Recording made using Logitech USB headset

Recording made using Beyer M58 microphone (the microphone was connected to Presonus TubePre. The Beyer M58 is a professional microphone used by newscasters. It is characterized by its length which is useful for adding TV station logos)

Recording made using Beyer M58 connected to Canon HG10 HD camcorder

The poem is:

In Time of ‘The Breaking of Nations’

Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half-asleep as they stalk.

Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by;
War’s annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.