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 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, and happens to be my favorite USB mic.
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.
The somewhat inconspicuous Samson Meteor is about the size of a light bulb, but don’t be fooled by it’s less than intimidating appearance. It’s a fantastic little microphone when it works, but that’s the the crux of the issue here unfortunately.
It’s got a hammer like build and a nice stand, and people marvel at it’s beauty. It really does look like a mini spaceship or something. The audio quality is great, and it has a headphone jack for voice monitoring (with no latency), which is pretty neat as well. The good reviews call it a workhorse capable of great things.
The bad reviews are pretty harsh, and point out a lot of it’s shortcomings. Remember however that it is an entry level mic, so don’t expect it to perform like a Nuemann or anything. That said, I’ve owned this mic and loved it. It was extremely solid in my hand, and it’s sound quality was phenomenal for it’s price.
Workhorse mic, very versatile.
Good carrying case and solid box.
Works with Mac, Logic, Garage band, iPad, iChat, etc.
Solid build and good stand. Works after multiple drops according to one. One lad even said you could use it as a hammer (Hank Hill voice), and he was being serious. Lol. The point is that it’s built Ford tough baby.
Red/Amber light of death. Known to quit after anywhere from a few days, to a few weeks, to 6 months, to a year/year and a half. It’s unfortunate, and a byproduct of a sub $100 mic in my opinion.
Your PC may suddenly stop recognizing it, which is also a drag. It may also suddenly die.
There have been some reports of soldering issues with the mini USB connector and port, to where the unit essentially comes apart in this area.
No gain adjustment on the mic.
Some driver issues may become apparent on Windows OS.
Vocals. Because it just picks up way too much, and singing into it will prove much too loud.
What you will need?
It’s plug and play yo! But some people had more success with a separate mic stand and pop filter. More on that in Stu’s notepad.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
Some were saying it’s a bit odd because even though the mic is super small, they had trouble finding desktop space because of the way the legs protruded outwards.
While the vocal quality for the most part was reported as good, some complained of a hollow, tinny sound. As if you were recording inside a tin can.
You may have to bend down to get in position to speak in the mic. The users who had the most success were the ones who bought a mic stand and pop filter. For the extra money, you may as well go with the Blue Yeti, which I will review shortly.
A good rule of thumb for this mic is not to turn up the gain past 60%.
An affordable entry level piece that has a solid build and good audio quality, when it’s functioning properly. The majority of people like or love it, but just be aware that the red light issue may be a problem for you, depending on if you get a bad apple or not. In many cases, simply returning it for a new unit does the trick.
Similarities & Differences
Both are plug and play USB.
Both are good for voice-over type applications, and not as good for vocals.
Both are built very solid.
Weight. The Snowball is significantly heavier than the Meteor. 460g compared to around 272.
Stand. The Meteor has a fold out stand that is built in with the mic, while the Snowball can be removed from it’s stand and used with a separate one.
Polar Patterns. The Snowball has 2 polar patterns: Cardioid and Omni-directional, while the Meteor is strictly Cardioid.
Level. The output level of the Snowball is said to be a bit low. The Meteor doesn’t seem to have this issue.
Aesthetic. Both have an extremely different look, and the Meteor sits pretty low on your desk. You may have to hunch over to speak into it as mentioned earlier.
Support. I’ve heard Blue has great customer support, while Samson’s is a bit shoddy.
Monitoring. The Snowball does not have a headphone jack, while the Meteor does.
Volume. The Meteor has a volume knob while the Snowball does not.
The Meteor and Snowball are both undoubtedly good mics, but I found that the Meteor picks up a lot of background noise. For it’s price, this is to be somewhat expected. The good news is that the sound is crystal clear and comes through plenty loud. I do have a hard time recommending either because there’s a better option on the horizon:
The Blue Yeti. It’s the best USB microphone on the market, and you will instantly know where that extra money went. It’s sound is warmer than the Meteor, but still articulate and detailed. It’s packed with all of the features you need that other more affordable mics lack. In my mind, there is no reason to waste precious time and money on other similar options. The Yeti is the solution. 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.