Cool, Retro and Portable: The Blue Raspberry USB Microphone

Podcasting Microphone

Blue Microphones have been a staple of podcasters, vloggers and online audio enthusiasts for over a decade. They even get a shout out in our article about best USB microphones for podcasting. The Blue name remains prominent, even though the company has changed owners a couple of times. The original founders, Skipper Wise and Martins Saulespurens, who founded the company in 1995, sold it to Transom Capital in 2008.

In 2013, Blue was acquired by the Riverside Company.

Blue Raspberry USB Microphone

The need for mobile audio capabilities is growing, and Blue has come out with a new microphone to meet this need. The Raspberry is said to be the ultimate mobile USB microphone for PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad. The first thing you will notice about this microphone is, frankly, how cool it looks. It is a small square silver colored microphone with a retro feel. The bottom half is red leather with the famous Blue logo.

The shape may resemble a retro radio microphone, but the features are cutting edge. The Raspberry features a USB and a firewire plugin (cables included), so it can be used with a PC, or a Mac, or plugged directly into an iPhone or iPad. It’s small, but according to Blue, it has a new patent-pending Internal Acoustic Diffuser (IAD) design which enables the microphone to focus on your voice while minimizing other sounds.

Adjustable and Removeable Stand

Besides the compact size, easy plug-and-play, and cool name and look, the Raspberry has a built-in stand with a clever and practical design. It folds down and swivels to be used as a low microphone stand. It can also be folded straight down and used as taller stand, and if you just don’t want to be bothered, the stand is removable.

The stand also has rubber shock absorber feet to absorb vibrations, and it features a connection insulator. There is also a thread mount for connecting to a tripod. 

Easy Recording on the Go

If you are on the go, this microphone is an easy option. Just plug it into your iPhone and make a recording. When you get home, plug it in to use as your studio microphone. You can even edit and publish on the go using GarageBand or other compatible software options. Although, depending on your setup, it may be easier to edit and upload the file from your computer. The Raspberry also features a headphone jack for monitoring your recordings. There are controls for mute, levels, and headphone volume

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

The Blue Raspberry may be the newest addition to the Blue family of USB microphones, but the has long been the go-to microphone for online users. It is a much larger microphone that sits on your desk. The Yeti is also a plug-and-play microphone that will connect to your desktop or laptop and work with whatever audio software you have. The Yeti has a rich sound because of its three condenser capsules.

Four Polar Pattern Options

The Blue Yeti has four pattern polar options which represent the directions from which it can pick up sound.

If you are recording a single person podcast, the cardioid polar pattern will pick up whatever is directly in front of the mic. There is also a 360-degree omni-directional pattern which can be used for a multi-person podcast.

Stereo is another option, meaning that the microphone records right and left. This can produce stereo sound that replicates the natural sound in a room. The last option is front and back which is also called bidirectional or figure of eight. This is a good option for interviews if sharing one microphone. Although, two microphones could make more sense because having the speaker’s mouth closer to the mic can create a deeper sound. It just depends on how cozy you want to get.

The controls are directly on the mic. On the back, there is analog gain control, so you can adjust the sensitivity.

The directional polar pattern control is also on the back. Headphones can be plugged directly into the Yeti. The front of the Yeti features a volume control and a mute button. The Yeti comes with a desktop stand, but it can also be used with a stand or the Radius II Yeti shock mount.

The Yeti Family of Microphones

The Yeti has four color options including silver, black, white, and gray. The Yeti Pro also has an XLR output, so it can be used with an audio interface. The Yeti Studio comes with additional software for creating studio style vocals. The Yeti may not be the newest microphone on the block, but it is still a popular option.

The Blue Snowball

Another fun USB option by the folks at Blue is the . This microphone has been the first choice of many new podcasters. Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty used a Blue Snowball for several years before upgrading. The Snowball is a USB plug-and-play microphone with three pickup settings including cardioid for sounds from the front, omni to record a group or music, and a cardioid setting that reduces mic sensitivity in case you are recording something that is really loud.

The Snowball is an affordable entry-level USB microphone that comes in a cute round design with several color options. Choices include textured white, gloss black, electric blue, orange, chrome, and the cool white Snowball iCE. The Blue Raspberry is a new and slickly-designed microphone for on-the-go recording, but some of the older Blue options are also solid podcasting choices.

Portable Recorder Options

The Blue Raspberry is a cool microphone that can be used on the go or in your studio, though there are other options that could provide better quality. The Yeti has a deeper sound and is a good studio option. Portable recorders are great for on-the-go podcasts and also have some advantages when using them in your studio. The advantage of using a portable recorder in a studio is that you don’t have to worry about computer related issues such as fan noise or hard drive crashes.

A portable recorder is just a little hand-held device that will record audio usually onto an SD card. These devices have built-in microphones, but there are usually inputs for using an external microphone as well. Tascam and Zoom make several portable recorder models with different degrees of functionality. Most have built-in microphone capsules that are especially good for recording ambient sounds such as a rainstorm.

Tascam Wi-Fi Portable Recorders

The microphone capsules on the newer models have been improving in sound quality and they can be used for music and, of course, podcast interviews. Tascam even makes a four track recorder that allows the direction of the capsule to be changed. They also have a couple of new Wi-Fi portable recorders which can stream directly to your phone or computer.

Zoom Interchangeable Input Capsules

Depending on your needs, there are some inexpensive entry-level portable recorder options available. There have also been quite a few improvements in some of the more high-end options. One of the weak spots of a portable recorder is that the sound quality of the built-in microphone capsules may not be that great for interviews or vocals. The old one capsules may not be that great for interviews or vocals. The old workaround for this was to use a separate microphone plugged into one of the inputs. With the newer models, the sound quality of the capsules is improving and they are adding new features like the adjustable capsules on the Tascam DR-40.

Zoom has created interchangeable mic capsules, so you can have the best built-in option no matter what type of audio you are recording. Besides the standard X/Y capsules, there are options for a shotgun mic capsule or a round, mid-side capsule along with a lot of other cool accessories. There are quite a few different tools to get the same job done. A lot of what you choose will depend on personal preference and budget.