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MAC ACCESSORY:
Snowflake USB Microphone

By Bet-TAY, Special Features Editor
Posted June 15th, 2010

SOUND CHECK - SHIBBOLETH, SHIBBOLETH!
With the exception of the Mac Pro, all currently shipping Macs have built-in microphones. The mike is okay but if you are recording podcasts or video voiceover, you may be ready for a better sound input device. Blue Microphone's Snowflake came to our attention. We wondered if it performs as good as it looks.

Our testing was done on the MacBook Pro Core i7 2.66Ghz. We created a shootout using the built-in mike, the Snowflake, and the Sony DR-260USB. No special drivers are required for the Snowflake (or the Sony). You just plug it in. Then you open System Preferences > Sound. Select it as the input source.

GarageBand made it easy to make a test voice recording using each mike. We then played back the recording, judging its quality and character.

What stood out to us about the Snowflake was its clarity. The other two mikes tended to be more muffled and boomy. All three mikes produced echos but mainly because our "recording studio" has cement ceilings and hardwood floors.

Speaking of studios, there are some great ideas on the internet and great companies that offer materials and advice on how to create a good sound recording environment in a home studio. Some sites debunk myths like "wood walls and floors in a recording studio makes the sound 'warm.' "

CONCLUSION: If we were choosing between the three, the Snowflake is the hands down winner.

PORTABLE
The Snowflake seems like a natural for the MacBook Pro since it not only folds up but has a small drawer for stowing the USB cable.

VERSATILE
You can either leave it on the base or remove it to set on the top edge of your MacBook Pro's screen.

TECHNICAL SPECS
Transducer Type: Condenser, Pressure Gradient w/USB Digital Output
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Sample/Word Rate: 44.1 kHz/16 bit
Frequency Response: 35Hz - 20kHz

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Macintosh: Mac OSX; USB 1.0 or 2.0; 64MB RAM (minimum)
Windows: Vista or XP; USB 1.0 or 2.0; 64MB RAM (minimum)

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY THE SNOWFLAKE MIKE
Amazon has Blue Microphones Snowflake USB Microphone new and used at discounted pricing.

Apple's Store (online) has the Snowflake Microphone.

Buy.com has the Snowflake Microphone for $37.95 plus shipping.

B&H Photo has the Snowflake Microphone.

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copyright 2010 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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