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Blue's excellent Snowball USB mic is half price - just £40

Don't use your headset's awful mic for voiceover or streaming, use this.

Blue Microphones are known for their popular Yeti podcasting and streaming mic, but they also make a great budget USB model called the Snowball. Its small, adorably round shape belies its capability to make surprisingly detailed recordings, and it's currently half price at Amazon in the UK. That means you need to pay just £40 to take home this mic that normally retails for £80, the cheapest it's been by some margin for years. If you're interested in streaming or podcasting, or just fancy a USB mic to use alongside headphones without a mic (or a rubbish one), then this is a great shout.

The Snowball is well reviewed generally, thanks to its small stature, convenient desk mount and good audio quality. It uses a condenser mic, so it captures detailed audio but doesn't reject as much off-axis noise as a dynamic mic. The only real downside I've spotted to the Snowball in particular is its limited mounting options; you need to use something specific to the Snowball rather than a standard 5/8ths inch screw mount. However, there are some cheap boom arms available that help keep the Snowball away from sounds like noisy mechanical keyboards that might otherwise be picked up by the mic.

If you're playing games with friends, a USB mic can be a nice alternative for headsets that have crummy built-in microphones - something that's particularly common for wireless headsets, that have to pack in a lot of audio data into a very bandwidth-limited 2.4GHz signal. The result is highly compressed audio, and even expensive wireless headsets struggle to deliver a good-sounding mic. Shifting to a USB mic like the Snowball takes that burden off your headset, resulting in better sound quality.

Using a separate mic also unlocks the door to a wider range of audio options than your standard assortment of gaming headsets, including speakers or headphones that don't have a built-in mic. For example, I love the Sennheiser HD 598s for playing games and listening to music, but they don't have a mic - so if I want to talk to friends on Discord, I need to either attach a clip-on microphone or use a USB mic like the Snowball. The latter is the much more convenient option, as you don't have to run another cable from your headset to your PC, you can just leave the Snowball plugged in at all times with the cable routed where you can't see it.

I know this deal is a little out of left field, but I hope it does help someone. I think with good positioning - close to your face, basically - you can get some outstanding results out of the Blue Snowball, and at this historic low price it's well worth considering.

And well... that's all I have to say about that! We'll see you in just a few more minutes with another deal - and this one with a broader appeal!

About the Author

Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Contributor

Will Judd is a journeyman from the forges of Digital Foundry, here to spread the good word about hardware deals and StarCraft.

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