April 30 2010
Microphones, which I tend to think of as slightly old technology, are getting important again. This is partly because of the revival of voice-recognition software, partly because of teleconferencing as a green alternative to business flying – and also down (up?) to the rise of Skype and similar VOIP applications, and even podcasting.
What you really want with a microphone is for it to be connected to your computer via a USB port rather than those unreliable little 3.5mm jackplug sockets. What’s also nice is for it to be omnidirectional so you can put it on a table and have the whole company board (or family) be audible on a teleconference or Skype call at the same sound level.
The Snowball, from Californian microphone specialist Blue Microphones, is a professional-quality USB microphone that picks up everything at equal volume in a 360° sphere. It’s PC and Mac compatible, and needs neither software nor batteries as it’s powered from the USB port – another benefit of USB connection. The Snowball looks fittingly cool and retro, is light (but importantly not too light, at 460g) and of satisfying size at a circumference of 325mm. It also comes with a stand and a USB cable.