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Blue Microphones Nessie review

Kat Orphanides
29 Nov 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
95
inc VAT

A decent condenser microphone, but there are better microphones from Blue at similar prices

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Specifications

The Blue Microphones Nessie is an adjustable condenser microphone aimed at serious home musicians and podcasters, and it has an extremely pleasant design. The Nessie’s microphone is mounted on an adjustable neck that makes setting it at the appropriate height very easy, whether you're using it while seated at a low coffee table, a standard office desk or somewhere less conventional. The Nessie's built-in USB sound card can record DVD-quality 16-bit/48KHz audio. This isn’t the highest bit rate and resolution, but it’s certainly good enough for podcasts and demos.

Blue Microphones Nessie

The ball at the top of the Nessie houses a condenser microphone of the kind for which Blue is well known. Compared to dynamic microphones, condenser microphones have a wide frequency response and are sensitive to quiet sounds, which makes them ideal for accurately and naturally capturing the human voice or the subtle sounds of acoustic instruments. While dynamic microphones use an electric coil connected to a diaphragm to convert sound waves into an electrical signal, condenser microphones have a diaphragm that acts as one of a plate of a capacitor. Constant voltage (in this case supplied via the USB connection) is applied to the circuit, which includes the diaphragm and a second fixed plate. As sound waves cause the diaphragm to vibrate, the capacitance between the plates changes. This alters the voltage across the capacitor, generating the changing electrical signal that communicates the sound to your recording or output medium.

Towards the base of the Nessie's stem is a mute button, which we found to be a little over-sensitive; even the lightest touch enables and disables it. A glowing ring of light around the base flashes when the microphone is muted and remains lit when the microphone is live. Built into the base is a large volume control for the microphone's built-in monitor output. Unfortunately, it's rather too easy to accidentally brush and activate the mute button when adjusting the volume. The Nessie has a 3.5mm headphone port at the back that you can use for very low latency monitoring. There’s also a Micro USB port for connecting the Nessie to your PC, as well as a switch that alters the microphone’s recording mode.

Blue Microphones Nessie

Previous Blue Microphones devices at this price have involved multiple condenser capsules that can operate together in various modes. This setup lets the condenser capsules record different kinds of directional and ambient sound. However, the Nessie has just one condenser capsule that works as a cardioid microphone. In other words, it's set up only to record sound directly in front of it. It also has a built-in DSP chip that can process your audio before it goes to your PC via USB. This processing includes equalisation, a de-esser to get rid of harsh vocal sibilants and automatic level control. These settings are applied in various ways depending on whether you've switched the microphone to vocal mode, music mode or are using it in raw mode, which doesn't apply any processing.

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