We all know that 2020 has forced many of us to work from home, and it is likely, that many companies will now set about asking more staff to work from home permanently as a way to save a little money in the coming years.
Taking that into account, today we are going to suggest a microphone to you that is not only 15 years old, it’s also widely available at around the £30 mark if you know where to look. That’s right, today we are looking at the infamous Blue Snowball Ice and how it could be a real game-changer whether you are working from home, or thinking about getting into streaming in 2021.
Ok, so for those of you that are familiar with this microphone, let’s get one thing out of the way, we know that out of the box, this microphone can lack a little. While this may be the case, we have to get real and first of all realise that we are dealing with sound technology and as with any piece of sound equipment, it will always need a little tweaking for you to get the best out of it.
So, Let’s Give You A Voice That Would Make A Wolverine Purr
So, I suppose we should really start to get into how to do things properly (don’t worry, this method is super easy)
The first thing you will need to do is plug in your Blue microphone, you won’t need any additional drivers, Windows will detect the microphone and install it like lightning for you.
The next step is to head online and here, you will need to navigate to download two little additions. The links are here
VB Audio Cable (do not confuse this with an obvious audio cable of a virtual nature that may appear, this one is actually the only one you need)
The purpose of both of these is simple. The virtual audio cable is created to give your microphone a secondary output with improvements that are usable via all of your media sources, whether it’s Skype, Teams, or even OBS.
The audio interface is where we can apply the settings to give everything that final crisp finish that it needs to really boost your audio.
Now you want to install your virtual audio cable first, you will be prompted to restart, but you can say no to this, this time. Second, you want to go ahead and install Voicemeter. Once this has installed, you will need to restart your computer.
With your computer restarted, it’s now time to start adjusting the settings, well, it would be time for this laborious task, but as a little Christmas present, we have dialed in the optimum settings and exported them as a template you can download here.
Once downloaded, adding these settings is nice and easy. Simply open Voicemeter, click the menu, and load settings. Navigate to where you saved your downloaded files and hey presto, you will now see that your settings have changed.
You may notice that initially you won’t see any of the bars moving, in the famous words of Douglas Adams “DON’T PANIC”.
A few short clicks and you will be set up.
First go to hardware input and select your blue snowball microphone
On the second hardware input tab select your sound card (most of the time this is already done for you)
Finally click on the A1 tab and look for either VB Virtual cable OR VB – Audio Point select whichever one you have and your levels will be live.
Now all of those steps are complete, the rest is simple. All you will need to do now is head to your search bar and head to your sound control panel. To get there, type sound into your bottom search bar and then click sound settings.
Once in sound settings, you will see a tab for the sound control panel on the right. All you need to do here is head to the recording tab and scroll down until you see “Microphone VB-Audio Virtual Cable” set that as default and you are good to go.
As I am sure you will be able to hear for yourself the difference is huge. Now, while this microphone may be on the lower price point, do not be fooled into thinking you need a more expensive microphone for good audio quality. Providing you can get your hands on a solidly built microphone, with a little effort, you can have your audio sounding as smooth as butter.
Below you will hear a comparison of before and after with the audio. After you hear it, you will see that while this may be a USB audio device, in the right hands it can really pack a punch.
This is recorded in the simple Windows sound recorder and is an accurate depiction with the use of the settings shown above.