The Blue Snowball microphone design isn’t actually new. The original came out more than 15 years ago, and it’s a testament to its excellent build that, even now, the design is still viable. However, trends come and go, and mic designers learn to make changes and improvements over the years.
So, with the Snowball iCE model there have been a few changes.
Normally, when you make improvements on an older model you put in more advanced features, right? That’s not what happened with the Snowball. Instead, the designers even took out a couple of features. The removal of these features made the manufacturing process and expense easier and less costly, and the changes led to a noticeable drop in the mic price.
This is an entry-level mic now, and it’s geared towards newbies.
What makes the removal more palatable is that the manufacturer removed the features that weren’t good in the first place. They took out the -10 dB pad, which lowered the sensitivity of the mic. This was supposed to improve the noise reduction, but no one used it because the Snowball didn’t have much gain to begin with.
The other feature they removed was the omnidirectional pattern, which was ostensible to make the mic useful for interviews and group discussions. In reality, it produced very inconsistent results, and often the sound quality was just too muffled anyway. So what was left in the Snowball iCE?
Features of Blue Snowball iCE Plug and Play USB Microphone
- It’s still a USB model. This is always the go-to design for newbies, as they already have the PC for their audio recordings and editing to begin with. With this USB connection, it’s basically a plug and play Put it in the USB port, set up the settings in the control panel, and you’re off to the races.
- The audio quality isn’t terrible, so you can actually use this without feeling like an amateur. You get much better audio quality with this than with an ordinary built-in headset or a cheap generic mic. It’s good enough for clear Skype conversations, video voice-overs, and podcasts if you’re all alone talking. It does especially well with the midrange frequencies, so you get smooth vocals.
- It’s easy enough to make it sound better in your recordings. You can just use a pop filter externally, and that isn’t that expensive.
- The design is certainly well-made given the price limitations. It’s not that fragile, and you don’t have any buttons or other controls protruding from the main body. Just don’t drop it on the ground or bump it too often and you can use it for a long while.
So why buy this mic?
- It’s certainly affordable. Budget considerations are a crucial factor that can’t be overlooked. At least with this microphone you can actually start with audio recordings (even on a limited budget).
- Even with a meager budget, you don’t sound like you’re using a cheap $1- headset for your recordings. Despite the various audio limitations, the vocal quality you get with this mic is simply terrific when the price is considered as well. That’s’ certainly true when you just add a cheap pop filter in your setup.
- Speaking of the setup, with this mic you don’t get any headache figuring out how to make it work. You just plug it in, and then your computer will automatically recognize it. Check the box that says it’s your input source, and you’re ready to go.
- The wire is replaceable, too. If you have a problem with the wire, then you don’t need to buy a whole new mic as a replacement. You can just get a new wire. You should get the 10-foot wire, as the original is only 6 feet long,
- You don’t get too much noise with this either. That’s a very common problem when you do your podcasts at home, as your recordings tend to pick up noise that you learn to ignore over time. With this mic, you don’t have to do much to clean up your audio recordings.
- The quality of the sound is comparatively dull when you compare it to other podcasting mics. Of course, such comparisons are unfair since those other mics are generally more expensive. But the truth remains that even other entry-level mics sound much better than the iCE.
- It’s just not good for interviews and for group sessions.
- The stand isn’t great as it’s built flimsy.
This is what you get when you’re not satisfied with your gaming headset for audio recordings and Skype conversations, and you don’t have much money for any other solution. If price is your main consideration, get the Snowball iCE— at least it’s a significant improvement over a built-in headset for your voice recordings.