Are you into podcasting, live streaming, or video marketing? Then the Blue Snowball USB condenser microphone might be the one you’re looking for to enhance your digital recording experience.
The microphone is compact and delivers studio-quality sound. Its cardioid polar pattern reduces room noise by capturing only the audio at the mic’s front. If you have an untreated room or studio, and you don’t want all the hassles of acoustic treatment, then this little guy might just help you.
The circular mic comes with a tripod and USB cable, so no need for extra accessories. The Blue Snowball is a plug-and-play device, which means there’s no need to download drivers or software. Once you plug the microphone in, just open your DAW (digital audio workstation) or VoIP platform, and you can start using it.
In this article, we’ll share the best Blue Snowball Settings to make the most out of this microphone.
The Blue Snowball microphone is pretty straightforward to set up. First, mount the microphone on the tripod and make sure that it’s properly secured at the center to prevent it from tipping. Once mounted, you can pivot the microphone back and forth until you found the desired position.
Using the USB cable, connect your microphone to the computer’s USB port and be sure it’s firmly plugged. If you’re using an iPad, secure an iPad Camera Connection Kit for Bluetooth connectivity. A red light indicates that the connection of the microphone to the computer was successful.
For Mac Users:
- In the Apple menu, click System Preferences
- Select Sound preference
- Click the Input tab
- Under the Choose a Device For Sound Input, double-click Blue Snowball
- Adjust volume level, then exist system preferences.
For Windows Users:
- Open Start Menu, select Control Panel then click Sound.
- Under the Recording tab, ensure that Blue Snowball is selected
- Open Properties and under the Levels tab, adjust the volume.
- Click Apply, OK, then exit the control panel.
Expert Tip: Before using the microphone, try to find the right place that allows a smooth recording experience. Solid surfaces bounce back sound waves harder so it’s better to stay near the center of a room.
The Blue Snowball microphone offers you three pickup settings: Cardioid, Omni, and Cardioid with -10DB pad, depending on your application. The microphone is primarily used for vocals but it also sounds wonderful when used for other instruments like guitar, drums, strings, percussions, and others.
Take note that Blue Snowball is a sensitive mic so start at the lowest volume first, then increase the volume gradually until you reach that sweet spot.
Choosing this setting lets you capture sound from the front. This works best for recording instruments and podcasting.
The omnidirectional setting is effective if you are recording a group of speakers or instruments because it captures the sounds around the mic.
Cardioid with -10DB pads
If the sound source is especially loud, you can use this reduce to minimize mic sensitivity.
The microphone works great for acoustic guitars. People usually think that the best mic placement for acoustic guitars is directly in front of the soundhole. While this may sound credible, the resulting audio captured will end heavy and muddy, which means additional editing work for you.
Expert Tip: To capture that beautiful and bright sound, place the microphone is to place it directly in front of the guitar’s twelfth fret about 6 to 12 inches away. Put the Blue Snowball microphone on top of a desk or any table. As an alternative, you can also place the guitar in front of the bridge for a clearer and crispier picking action.
The Blue Snowball microphone can also be used to record electric guitars. However, since electric guitars do not project much sound like acoustic guitars, you’ll have to plug them in an amp. This is where you’ll position your microphone.
To determine the proper placement of your microphone to the amp, use a flashlight to check the center of the speaker cone. This placement involves a bit of experimentation and careful listening. Keep in mind the following:
- Positioning the mic at the speaker’s outer edge produces warmer and darker tones.
- Moving the mic towards the speaker’s center produces a brighter and more detailed sound.
- Placing the mic within a distance of 1 inch from the grille cloth produces a more focused sound.
After settling with your preferred mic placement, mark the specific locations on your amp with some gaff tape for easy reference in the future. You can also experiment with pulling the microphone away from the amp to capture some of the room ambiences.
The Blue Snowball is capable of capturing live drums and the ideal placement of the microphone is again subject to your ears. Because of the mic’s sensitivity, it effectively captures transients.
However, it’s best to keep a safe distance from the drums to avoid clipping and ruining your record. As a starting point, place the mic 2 to 4 inches above the rim or hoop the adjust based on your reference Adjust the mic’s head so it points towards the player’s stick.
Take note of the following:
- Pointing the mic towards the player’s hand allows it to capture more attack and definition.
- Placing the mic nearer a drum enhances its low-end sound, shell resonance, and distinction from other sounds.
- Placing the mic farther from the drums includes environment into the equation, producing a more blended and airier sound.
In your DAW, do not exceed -6 dB so that you’ll still have adequate headroom when mixing the track. To avoid reflections and better sound absorption, you can put acoustic foams on the walls near the drums.
The Blue Snowball is compatible with most live streaming platforms like Twitch, Youtube Live, Facebook Live, Since each software is unique, the settings are also different.
Expert Tip: The first place you need to visit when you open the application is the platform’s audio device settings. Select the audio device of your Blue Snowball so that the software can recognize it.
Here are some ideas you can try to achieve clear live streaming audio:
- Apply noise suppression filters. If there is noticeable background noise such as fans or cars, then you have to deal with them using this filter. Start at the minimum noise threshold then work your way up until you achieve a balanced suppression.
- Apply boosting to the microphone. The nearer you are to the mic, the crispier and clearer the mic’s pickup will be. However, in instances where you need to stay away farther, you’ll need to boost the mic to capture more details.
When using the microphone, it’s important to speak directly to its center and if possible, use a pop filter to reduce distortion
Overall, the Blue Snowball is an uncomplicated yet premium-sounding mic. Microphones with XLR connections require an audio interface or mixer that has phantom power, to make it sound. With the Blue Snowball mic, you only need to plug it into a USB port and then you can proceed with your recording or live streaming right away.
This is particularly convenient for people who are on the go and just want a simple setup.