Blue Microphones is known for its top notch USB microphones. Heck, the Yeti is a staple around the Engadget compound for recording podcasts and voiceovers. The company's latest, Nessie, continues the audio maven's fascination with cryptozoology while delivering some interesting new features along with another fantastic retro design. At the top is the mic itself, which looks quite a bit like the Snowball. It sits at the end of a long arm with some slight articulation. The small extension allows you to either focus Nessie up for tall casters or down for recording the occasional acoustic guitar track. At the opposite end is the round, surprisingly heavy base that is home to the headphone volume knob as well as a few other controls.
Around back is the 3.5mm jack itself, right above the three postion mode switch. The first position is raw audio, which applies no effects at all. Second is vocals, which boosts mids and applies a slightly agressive compressor and limiter to beef up recordings of people speaking or singing. Last is music mode, which pulls back on the compression and boosts the highs to add a bit more brightness. The knob on the prototype was quite stiff -- in fact it was alost impossible to turn with one hand -- but the company says the final version wont suffer such issues. Lastly, at the bottom of the neck is a red capacitive button that mutes the mic. Simply brush you finger across it and the blue LED in the base gently pulses to let you know it's muted.
Inside the housing is some specialized circuitry that helps mask the most basic common mistakes you make while recording. The processor dynamically alters the EQ and levels, while also applying a de-esser to keep your latest bedroom podcast crisp and clean. The pop filter and shock mount also helps keep noise from shaking and plosives to a minimum. Most importantly, Nessie also keeps Blue Mic's history of affordability with a price of $99. Head on after the break for a video tour of the hardware along with an audio sample.