USB mics have come of age with this style icon, but does it sound as good as it looks?
Blue Microphones has been shunning the traditional look of studio-grade microphones for years now, so it’s no surprise that its venture into the lower end of the USB recording market is just as visually striking. The Nessie, presumably named after its distinctive, Loch Ness monster-style shape, is most definitely a looker. This mic’s retro sci-fi stylings are bound to please anyone looking to complement the utilitarian look of their Mac on their desk. That said, the Nessie’s design isn’t without its shortcomings. On closer inspection, the largely plastic construction leaves it feeling a little bit cheap.
The twisting base (to control headphone volume) – while novel – creaks a little, which sort of ruins the magic. The flexible stand also suffers from the same ailments. Blue is known for its quality and the Nessie appears to be a compromise too far for the sake of a low price tag. Despite its shortcomings as far as construction goes, the Blue Nessie outperforms most other mics of its size by a long way. We hooked the Nessie up to a Mac and ran it through GarageBand, trialing the three different recording modes on offer. The raw audio offered a straight-up, uncoloured reproduction of the recorded vocals – perfect for budding podcasters, while the instrument mode picked up some plucked acoustic guitar beautifully.
The star of the show, though, was the vocal mode, which EQ’d our questionable singing talents perfectly and did the same job that a studio-grade Vocal Exciter might perform, only on a far smaller budget. The Nessie’s built-in pop and wind shield did a great job as well, successfully killing off any unwanted plosives (P and B sounds). The pick-up pattern of the microphone appears to have been tuned to perfection, doing a great job of blocking out any background sound while we recorded in an acoustically untreated room. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that the quality of recordings that the Nessie produces almost entirely excuses its slightly cheaper construction.
Whether you’re a first-time podcaster or an amateur musician looking for the cheapest way to set up your home studio, the Nessie will serve you well.
This may not be a mic that’s built for life on the road, but you can depend on it to sound great when you need it. Now, if only they built it all out of metal…
Pros Sonic response and pickup pattern are near perfect for price
Cons Budget construction is questionable, mic hard to position
iPad (with Camera Connection Kit
and powered USB hub)