Since we’ve been virtual schooling all five kids for a few months now, I can finally say we’ve found our groove. The kids wake up happy and eager to learn, we have a schedule that works for the whole family, and we have the tools in place to ensure the kids are thriving in their at-home classrooms.
It’s an odd thing to be thrown into having the whole family home 24/7 and for work and virtual schooling to all be taking place at the same time. It’s a very LOUD background, especially in a big family like ours, and can be distracting with everyone’s breaks occurring at different times. So, we began a search to look for the best microphones for Zoom calls.
*This is a sponsored post in partnership with Blue Microphones, as always ALL thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
We added Blue Microphones to the kids’ online school set-up to help them focus and to make sure their voices were being heard in their virtual classrooms. And, you know what? The microphones have been a total game changer! The kids are more confident and focused than ever!
How have USB Microphones Helped My Students Excel at Virtual Schooling?
- Gives students a boost of confidence- knowing their voice will be heard loud and clear, along with the ability to quickly mute when they need, has helped my kids feel more confident in their online classrooms.
- Helps students focus on their schoolwork- pairing a Yeti Nano with headphones helped drown out background noises allowing my students to remain more engaged in their schoolwork. Having the mic in front of them also helps them feel confident in participating too!
- Increased Productivity- I think the above two reasons have also helped to increase my students’ productivity overall as well.
- Ensures student’s voices will be heard loud & clear- unlike standard computer mics that can sound muffled and they can pick up unwanted noises, a quality USB microphone ups the quality of the audio. Read more about why you should stop using your laptops mic here)
- Increased Participation- knowing their voices will be heard loud and clear has helped my soft-spoken students have the courage to participate more frequently. They are not as stressed about being asked to repeat themselves over & over.
What is a Blue Microphone
Blue has been around a long time and they have the best microphones for Zoom, podcasting, game streams, musicians etc… We have two different models in our home so I thought it would be fun to share the features and benefits of each so that you can figure out which microphone is best for your family.
I think it’s important to understand the history of Blue Mics. They actually got their start in sound stages 25 years ago, helping sound engineers record voices such as Elton John, Lady Gaga, John Legend & many more. I think it’s safe to say if professional voices like those trust Blue, we can too!
More recently, Blue has brought their incredible technology to the internet by creating the best USB microphones helping to amplify the voices of some of your favorite YouTubers, Game Streamers, and Podcasters. In fact, when I initially started doing research into the best microphones for Zoom, Google Classroom etc… it wasn’t even a question- almost every review included two mics at the top of their list- the Yeti Nano and the Blue Snowball iCE both of which are Blue Microphones!
What Makes Blue the Best Microphones for Zoom and Virtual Schooling?
When it came down to choosing a microphone for our kids to use in their zoom classrooms there were two things I was looking for 1) a microphone that allowed their voice to be heard in the classroom and 2) something that I could afford since we would be purchasing multiple microphones.
After reading through dozens of reviews and coming across quotes like this one from The Verge, “The Blue Yeti and the Blue Snowball have become the go-to podcast microphones, and as the industry expands, so will Blue’s dominance in the space.” I realized that when it came to audio quality Blue was definitely the way to go.
Turns out Blue Mics are also reasonably priced starting at just $49.99. They have a variety of mics at different price points up to $199.99. And, get this regardless of which mic you choose the audio quality will be equally amazing! However, there are some neat features that the higher-end model offers. Below I will detail out the differences in the two models we own, as well as our thoughts on which is the best microphone for Zoom and Google Classrooms. Read more about the best microphones for online learning here.
Snowball iCE Microphone
The Snowball iCE USB microphone is the entry-level model and it is a fantastic option for virtual schooling. In fact, it happens to be the #1 selling premium USB mic. And, as I mentioned previously it is known for its amazing audio quality so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing sound for price.
The Snowball iCE, like all Blue USB Mics, is incredibly easy to set up. You literally just plug it into your computer and choose it as your “audio” for Zoom, Skype, Google Classroom etc… And, the sound quality is awesome- much better than your built-in computer mic.
I also like that the Snowball iCE picks up sound from cardioid only meaning it picks up sound from directly in front of the mic and rejecting unwanted background noises.
I found this graph on Blue Microphone’s website which helps you understand the different microphone pick-up patterns available.
The Snowball iCE comes with an adjustable metal mic stand and a USB cable.
The Snowball iCE retails for $49.99.
Yeti Nano Microphone
The Yeti Nano Mic is a step up in the Blue line. It includes a few features that are really great for those looking for the best microphone for Zoom.
One of our favorite features is the one tap mic mute button on the front of the Yeti Nano. Not only does this button make it incredibly easy for a student to mute their mic when a sibling gets loud or when they are about to sneeze. But, it also makes it easy for them to know when their mic is live and when it’s muted thanks to the lighted ring around the button. Green means you are live and red means you are muted.
The other neat feature that has really helped my children who have a tougher time focusing is the ability to plug-in headphones directly to the Yeti Nano. The sound quality is amazing and the headphones really help drown out all the distractions making it easier for my student to focus.
Another cool feature of the Yeti Nano is that you can choose between two pick-up patterns (see above graph). Meaning you can choose whether the mic picks up sound all around (known as Omni) which would be perfect for conference calls and Facetiming grandparents. Or Cardioid, which only picks up sound from the front of the mic making it a great microphone for Zoom classes because it blocks the sounds that might be going on around your student. Having this option allows you to use the mic for more than just the classroom.
The Yeti Nano also comes with Blue Sherpa which is an app that allows you to have more control over the sound. I don’t feel like this is necessary for virtual schooling. However, it is a great feature if you want to be able to use the microphone for streaming, podcasting, creating webinars etc…
The Yeti Nano is also plug and play on Mac and PC and it includes a USB cord and stand.
The Yeti Nano retails for $99.99.
Blue USB Microphones on Mobile
I know many students are working off of iPads and tablets at home so I thought it would be important to note that the Yeti, Yeti Nano, Snowball, and Snowball iCE have been confirmed to work with Apple Lightning-to-USB and USB-C-to-USB adapters as well as USB On-The-Go (OTG) technology.
This means you can easily plug the Blue Yeti Nano or Snowball iCE’s USB cord into the adapter and then into your phone. It’s just one added cord that you need and your mic is good to go with amazing sound quality. For more details on how to use a Blue Microphone with your iPhone, iPad, or Android device see here.
Something I had not expected was how much I would love the Yeti Nano myself. I have found myself borrowing the kids’ mics when I am gearing up for a Zoom meeting. And, I am also toying with the idea of starting a Podcast because the sound quality is so good!