The Blue Nessie makes me think of that old classic TV show Lassie. Man am I getting old or what? It’s all nostalgia all the time these days. 😛
Anywho, this baby is one of Blue Microphones’ entry level mics. Like the Yeti, it’s a really convenient plug and play USB mic that delivers exceptional results sound wise. Some people have complained about it’s plastic build, although the base is very sturdy.
Also similar to the Yeti, you will primarily be using this for pod-casting, and voice over type application. It’s got a headphone jack on the back, and adjusts up and a down. It’s range of motion isn’t that stellar, so you may want to keep that in mind before purchase.
On the plus side, it’s got a built in pop filter and shock-mount, so no extra accessories are needed. Some reviewers weren’t too impressed by either however. It’s at it’s best doing single recordings, but has 3 different modes:
Raw (voice-over, etc.)
So in that sense, it’s very versatile, and has been praised in all 3 different scenarios
Versatile with voice over, instruments, as well as vocals.
Headphone jack on the back. Works well with no latency live monitoring What is latency?
design is economical & compact. It sits nicely on your desk, leaving a small footprint.
Clean audio recordings. full and bright reproduction of the voice.
Mute button is in essence a touch pad (no button).
LED ring indicates when it’s on (solid) and when it’s muted (flashing).
Good for pod-casting, and voice over type stuff.
Easy to use, plug and play USB (micro).
Works well with adobe audition.
Mostly plastic, build quality isn’t up to par with reviewers expectations.
No recording software is included or recommended for novices. I will recommend something overall though! I use the freeAudacityin a pinch. While not a professional tool by any stretch, it will get you started in the right direction. Meant to get your feet wet, and works great!
I’ve seen numerous complaints on the headphone volume knob. People are saying it’s hard to turn (requiring both hands, one to anchor the mic).
Must UN-plug from USB port to turn off, no on/off switch.
Swivel head is poorly designed and will not stay up-right in certain positions.
You may have audio problems with it soon after you buy it. A few people mentioned some different issues with the mic just quitting on them, clicking sounds, static, and weird background noise.
Built in shock-mount and pop filter are essentially useless by many accounts.
Who this mic benefits?
People looking for versatility and convenience out of their purchase. The 3 modes all sound really good.
What you will need?
Hard to say. It comes with a built in shock-mount and pop filter, but you may not be satisfied with either.
Very mixed reviews, so be weary. It’s really hit or miss. It’s an amazing mic sound-wise, with a ton of potential flaws. The build quality is a bit suspect (all plastic), and it feels a little underwhelming in many respects. A lot of people are saying it won’t hold up in the long term.
The Blue snowball just may be the most startling example of price vs. value that you will find in this price range or otherwise. It’s a user friendly mic that delivers simple, efficient, and practical results. It just makes sense for all types of voice over work… ranging from pod-casting, webinars, Skype, you-tube, and basically anything that requires you to blab into the mic about stuff! 😛
It’s a rather large and unique specimen, standing on a tripod and resembling that of grapefruit .. in both size and weight. Lol. Many reviewers have commented on not being prepared for such a big and textured ball. They were expecting something smaller, but at the same time were pleasantly surprised by it’s solid build quality.
As mentioned above, the value here is remarkable. I’ve read quite a few reviews and many of them have mentioned owning this mic for 2 years, all the way up to 5. It’s longevity and reliability contribute to this, making it a proven solution to your dilemma.. It becomes the #1 safe option in entry level affordability.
It’s got a crisp clean sound, not unlike Rice Krispies in the morning. 🙂 It works well without a pop filter, but you may want to look into accompanying the Snowball with a good one. Reviewers have noted a vast improvement in sound quality in this regard.
You also may want to take note that the output level according to many is a bit low, and you might have to be very close to it when speaking. To some it’s just too quiet, and only picks up sound when you’re right up on it. Ironically, it’s still very sensitive and picks up a lot outside of the immediate vicinity. Make sure you’re in a quiet area away from ambient noise if you can help it.
EQ and Polar Patterns
The good news is that it does very well with EQ. If you happen to want to clean up the sound later on, you can with great results. It doesn’t have a mute button or on/off switch however, but does have a selection of two different polar patterns that may come in handy..
Cardioid. Meaning it receives sound only from the front
-10db Cardioid. Same as the cardioid setting, but reduces the volume a bit.
Omni directional. Picks up sound from all directions. Works very well with interviews, pod-casts, and any situation that has multiple persons speaking.
Keep in mind that there is a switch on the back for each of these settings, but it’s labeled 1, 2, and 3. One reviewer found that to be a little irritating because they don’t actually tell you which is which. I will though!
One thing to know about the Snowball is that it isn’t well suited for actual vocals or singing. In these instances, it is used as a backup for the Rode NT1A or Blue Yeti, which serves as a nice upgrade. It does very well as a travel mic on the go, but I’ve read a few reviews saying that if you can, just go for the Blue Yeti instead. It’s the gradual next step up from the Snowball.
Perhaps the best thing about this little beast is the fact that it’s pretty indestructible, especially coming in at such a low cost. Reviewers harp on it’s durability, and that it can withstand quite a bit of abuse. As touched on before, it’s a lot heavier and bigger than pictures would indicate, which ends up contributing to it’s solid structure.
Some have complained about the tripod however. Being that the actual microphone is so big, it can become top heavy and prone to falling over. A good remedy for this is the
This provides a better solution as it’s a lot heavier and more solid. The dragon pop filter that it’s frequently paired with on amazon makes for a great one two punch to go a long with your Snowball. Think of Mike Tyson here, crushing his opponents with speed, precision and efficiency. 😀
All of that Tyson silliness aside, you don’t have to go that route. The tripod that comes with it, in most cases will do you just fine. The separate pop filter however is almost mandatory since you have to be very close to the mic to get that lush sound without the plosives.
Built solid as a rock.
Heavy USB cable.
Easy to hook up. Is automatically detected when plugged in
Works well even without a pop filter.
Great for voice-overs, podcast, Skype, webinars, screen-casts, gaming, quick and easy live recording, sax, etc.
Picks up the bass nicely in your voice.
Does well with EQ.
Clean sound, does a great job of eliminating noise when you’re very close to it.
Great customer support from Blue microphones.
Output level low, you may have to speak up quite a bit.
Selector switch labeled 1-3 instead of which polar pattern you’re on.
Takes up a lot of room on your desk.
Proximity issue. You will have to get in real close to get the best sound possible from it.
No on or off switch.
No mute button.
Tends to be top heavy and fall over quite a bit.
Who this mic benefits?
Of course basically anything voice over related, as we’ve discussed. I’ve also heard that it does well with some instruments, from saxophone to acoustic guitar. Just don’t buy it primarily for this purpose.
What you will need?
Nothing unless you would like to upgrade by getting the separate stand and pop filter as I’ve pointed out above. My advice would be to try it out bare bones and see how it functions for you, then add accordingly.
Great sound at an amazing value. Perfect for voice-over, not as good however for vocals. Does well with instruments, but you may not want to purchase it solely to record them.
Similarities & Differences
Neither have on or off switches.
Both are good for voice-over type stuff.
Build. The build quality of the Snowball is much better than that of the Nessie.
Built in? The Nessie has both a built in shock-mount and pop-filter, while the Snowball does not. Keep in mind the Nessie’s filter doesn’t really do it’s job.
Mute? The Nessie has a touch only mute button, but the Snowball does not have one at all.
Jack. The Nessie has a headphone jack, but the Snowball does not.
Design. The designs of each are radically different. The Nessie is essentially one piece of hardware, while the Snowball can be taken off it’s stand and used with a different one.
Polar pattern. The Snowball offers cardioid, omni-directional, and -10 dB cardioid. The Nessie only has a cardioid polar pattern.
Modes. The Nessie comes equipped with 3 recording modes, while the Snowball does not have this feature.
While I may consider purchasing the Snowball, I would definitely not even bother with the Nessie. The idea was good, but the complaints really dissuaded me from even giving it a try. It’s too hit and miss, and becomes too much of a gamble for me.
The Snowball is a good option just starting out, but I would recommend the Yeti over it. A few different people in reviews said if you were thinking about the Snowball, just save your money and purchase the Yeti instead because it’s an immense upgrade for not that much more. The sound quality, build, features, and flexibility are all light years better, and it’s the best USB microphone on the market in my mind. It is the all in one solution and I highly recommend it. Interested in learning exactly why? Check out my in depth and informative:
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.