Impressions: Check out the Snowball USB Microphone

The Blue Snowball Mic is billed as a plug and play, studio grade, USB Condenser microphone. For the less audio inclined, this sub-$100 product allows you to record anything, anywhere, and it will sound amazing.

We’ll start off by saying that the Snowball Mic is true to it’s claims, with crystal clear sounding audio that massages even the most staunch audiophiles ears. It’s a fantastic package overall  – the mic itself has three different settings depending on the usage, and it comes with an adjustable telescopic tripod so it can sit on a desk.

Two of the mics settings are cardioid, meaning it picks up sounds the best in a specific spherical area right in front of the microphone. The third setting allows for the mic to pick up anything around it. Of course, a mic is only as good as it’s surroundings, and you can purchase a shock ring to cut down on vibrations. However, due to it’s size you will need a larger pop shield.

So yes, this is a fantastic mic to use on a PC or Mac for podcasting, singing, or recording instruments. Me and Don actually use one of these while recording Podcast Derailed, with the only bottleneck in terms of quality being Skype’s audio codec. Which is kind of crazy, especially as you can use it as soon as you plug it in.

How does it affect you as a PS3 gamer though? Well, the console allows you to plug in USB microphones, and the Blue Snowball is no different. Even though it’s compressed somewhat over PSN, the quality is much better than any of the official Bluetooth headsets for the system. If audio clarity is essential when you’re playing Search and Destroy and Spec Ops in the upcoming Modern Warfare 3, then the Snowball Mic is almost essential.

One thing we decided to test out as well was LittleBigPlanet 2, in the game there’s an item called the magic mouth that allows you to record audio from a bluetooth headset or a USB mic. While it did sound a lot better than some of the cheaper headsets, the game does a lot of compression on the recording. You probably wouldn’t particularly need it for this, even if you plan to create LittleMassEffect.

Overall, it’s a fantastic quality all-purpose microphone. And for a high end audio product, it’s steal at the price they’re asking.