Finally, a USB mic that's not only easy to use, but sounds as good on your desktop as it does in a professional recording studio. Meet the Snowball; the world's first professional USB mic.
Whether you're recording a guitar at your kitchen table or a complete band in the studio, the Snowball can capture it with detail unheard of before in a USB mic.
Blue Microphones is very excited to announce that, with the new iOS 4.3 update, Apple's camera connection kit now allows the Snowball and Snowflake USB mics to be used on iPad! Now you can get Blue's studio-quality audio on your iPad with any recording app, including FiRe, GarageBand, Blue FiRe and more!
PC: Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, XP Home Edition or XP Professional
USB 1.0 or 2.0; 64MB RAM (minimum)
Macintosh: Mac OSX
USB 1.0 or 2.0; 64MB RAM (minimum)
For more information on Windows 8, Windows 7 or Vista compatibility, visit the Snowball FAQ.
The Snowball is a direct plug n' play mic that connects to either a Mac or PC - no additional software is needed. With its dual capsule design and unique three-pattern switch (cardioid, cardioid with -10dB pad and omni), the Snowball can handle everything from soft vocals to the loudest garage band - and it's ideal for podcasting.
What exactly is this Snowball all about?
The Snowball is a revolutionary microphone. Leave it to Blue to reinvent the wheel... err, microphone once again! With USB connectivity, it has never been easier to get live audio into your Macintosh or Windows desktop or laptop. Just plug it in, adjust your input level and you're up and running.
Is The Snowball a dynamic microphone like the Blue Ball, or a condenser like the Blue 8Ball or Kiwi?
The Snowball is a condenser, which, according to the audio wonks we know, has a smooth open sound with a nice, natural high-end.
I've heard that condenser microphones require something called phantom power. Do I need to concern myself with this? Does The Snowball need batteries?
No. The Snowball derives its operating voltage from something called bus voltage, which is always present on your USB port. As long as the red LED is glowing, you know you've got power. The Snowball does not require batteries.
Is the Snowball compatible with Windows 8, Windows 7, and Vista?
Yes, Snowball is currently Windows 8, Windows 7 and Vista compatible. Older Snowballs manufactured from July 2007 to January 2009 with serial numbers lower than 76-065000 are not Windows 8, Windows 7 or Vista compatible. (Snowballs manufactured after January 2009 do not have serial numbers.) Snowball is plug-and-play and does not require drivers.
Do I need any special software to use The Snowball? Do I need any drivers?
Technically, no. Depending on your application, your OS may have sufficient features to utilize the capabilities of The Snowball. But, to get the most out of your Snowball, you'll want to have some kind of software that allows for digital signal processing and non-linear editing that will accept audio from the USB port. Some examples of these programs are listed below.
Can I use The Snowball with a traditional analog audio mixer?
No. The Snowball features digital output only. It must be connected to a USB port in order to function. What sample rate and word length does The Snowball use? The Snowball's digital output is set to 44.1 kHz / 16-bit, just like an audio CD. But this is something that only audio geeks really need to worry about.
How can I select a different sample rate?
Because The Snowball is designed for the greatest ease of operation and setup, sample rate / word length are not user-definable. Sorry, geeks.
Can I use more than one snowball at a time?
Some audio editing software allows for multiple USB connections. Check with your software vendor-- they should have technical support staff who can answer all of your questions about their product.
What does cardioid and omnidirectional mean? Why should I care?
These are the two polar patterns The Snowball is capable of producing. If you think of polar patterns as the shape of the area that a microphone "hears" omnidirectional hears everything at equal volume from all angles (in a 360 degree sphere surrounding the mic), while cardioid only hears what's right in front of it at full volume and other sounds at increasingly diminished volume as the sound source moves further away from the center of the mic (audio techs call this off-axis). You should care because one of the most useful features of a microphone is the ability to control its pickup. We like polar patterns so much, that some of our professional studio microphones have as many as nine different patterns! With The Snowball, we've given you the two most likely to be useful to you.
What is The Snowball used for?
Is it a vocal mic, an instrument mic or both? The Snowball was designed to provide a wide range of applications where a high-quality transducer (a fancy way to say microphone) is needed, but so is ease of use and setup. Though most professional engineers prefer certain microphones for certain applications, we designed The Snowball for use with a wide variety of sources. Here are some suggested applications we came up with when we were locked in Blue's patented anechoic think tank: instrument and voice for music production / pre-production / demos, DV-looping / dialog, podcasting, sound effects, audio sampling, interactive programming, video sweetening / post, internet telephony, internet conferencing, recording lectures, poetry slams, spoken word performances and speeches by your favorite politician-- generally anywhere where you need an easy-to-use microphone and you have access to a computer with a USB port. Happy recording!
Do I need to keep The Snowball in the freezer when I'm not using it?
No. This is one snowball that won't melt!
Please note: as there are so many different software packages that are compatible with the Snowball, we are compiling a list of software we've tested and assured compatibility. We will publish that list shortly along with detailed instructions explaining how to use The Snowball with each package because, as you can imagine, they are all different! In the meantime, we suggest consulting your software's manual, user forums and technical help lines. Here are a few to get you started:
How to get audio from my Snowball with...
- Go to Preferences->Audio and select the Blue mic as the input device (it will only show up when the Snowball is plugged in).
- Create a vocal track and select the Blue mic as the input device for that track.
- You may need to adjust the Snowball's input level in the control panel if you experience any distortion (crackling).
Logic 7 and Logic Pro 8
- Open the Audio and MIDI setup program in your Apps->Utilities folder.
- Create an Aggregate Audio Source (Audio menu - open Aggregate device editor).
- Add the devices you want to use to the aggregate device (Built in audio and Blue mic).
- Change the audio device in Logic's audio preferences from Default to Aggregate. (To use an aggregate device with Logic)
- Open Logic Pro or Logic Express.
- Choose Logic Pro > Preferences > Audio or Logic Express > Preferences > Audio and select the Devices tab.
- Select the Device drop down menu and choose the aggregate device from the list.
- Click Apply Changes at the bottom-right of the window.
- Select "USB Audio Device" ( 1, in, 0 out) from an audio track.
- From within that subcategory, there are 3 selections: Left USB Audio Device, Right USB Audio Device, and Stereo USB Audio Device.
- Select Left or Right for mono audio tracks.
- Press "R" to arm the track for recording.
- Roll disk.
Adobe Premiere Elements 4 (Windows Vista/XP)
- If you should experience any problems getting the program to recognize the mic, Adobe recommends the following: If the device does not allow you to record, then your microphone is not being detected as a valid input device in Premiere Elements. You can use an open source program called ASIO4ALL, which is a device driver that essentially wraps existing WDM devices, like USB microphones, as ASIO-compatible sound devices. Use the following steps to utilize this tool:
- Quit Premiere Elements.
- Visit the following web page and download the latest available version of ASIO4ALL: www.asio4all.com/
- Install the software, and restart the system if asked to do so by the installer.
- Make certain that your microphone is plugged in.
- Launch Premiere Elements. Go to the 'Edit->Preferences..>Audio Hardware' menu option. For the Default Device, choose the ASIO4ALL option. Click the ASIO Settings button, then select your microphone from the list of devices, click Exit, and then click OK on the Preferences dialog. Close and then restart Premiere Elements.
Windows 7 Setup Procedure
- Under START MENU open Control Panel, then select Hardware/Sound.
- On Hardware/Sound page click Sound, then choose Recording tab.
- Insure that the Blue mic selected as the Default input device.
- Set your volume in the Levels menu.
Snowballs manufactured after July, 2007 (with serial numbers higher than 76-065000) are 7 and Vista compatible. Snowballs with numbers lower than this are not Windows 7 or Vista compatible.
Windows Vista Setup Procedure
- Under START MENU open Control Panel, then select Sound.
- Select Recording tab; insure the Blue mic is selected as Working with check mark next to the icon. (Disable alternate mic if necessary)
- Click on Properties; select the Levels tab, set your input level, click Apply, then OK.
- Exit control panel.
Windows XP Setup Procedure
- Under START MENU open SOUNDS AND AUDIO DEVICES control panel.
- Select AUDIO tab; ensure the Blue mic is selected as DEFAULT DEVICE.
- Click on VOLUME; select appropriate volume level.
- Exit control panel.
Macintosh Setup Procedure
- Open Apple menu -> SYSTEM PREFERENCES.
- Double-click SOUND preference file.
- Click INPUT tab.
- Double-click the Blue mic under CHOOSE A DEVICE FOR SOUND INPUT dialog box.
- Set input volume to the appropriate level.
- Exit SYSTEM PREFERENCES.
The following software update downloads are available for Snowball microphones with a Serial Number before 76-065000.
My microphone doesn't seem to be working.
- Open your computer's audio menu and verify that Blue Microphones Snowball is the selected sound source.
- Confirm that the USB cable is not plugged in upside-down, on the rear of the Snowball. (If the USB cable is upside-down, the red light will come on, but the snowball will not be recognized)
- Try restarting your computer.
- Make sure the Snowball is plugged directly into your computer, and not connected to any hubs.
- Have you tested on another computer? This will help narrow down if the issue lies within the Snowball, or your computer.
- Sometimes operating systems will not recognize the device name, but will label it as a generic USB device. Please confirm that this is not the issue.
- If it is not available, please try, if available, another USB cable. If the mic still is not available, there may be a fault with it.
My recording is distorting.
Decrease the gain by adjusting the input volume or try increasing the distance between your Snowball and your sound source. If this does not work, you may need to use the Pad (setting 2).
The Snowball is causing quite an avalanche...
All manuals are downloadable in Acrobat PDF format.
Band of Skulls
Brand New Heavies
DJ Don P
Kings of Convenience
Low vs Diamond
The Go! Team
The Ringer is a vintage-style suspension mount designed to isolate the microphone body from ambient vibration when mounted on a mic stand. The Ringer works with Blue's Snowball USB microphone as well as virtually any mic with a standard thread mount.