Blue Microphones Nessie Review. The Nessie is a USB desktop microphone for the consumer market that works with the PC, Mac, and iOS devices via Garageband. The sound quality is good although the price feels a little too high in comparison to the Yeti.
Having been a leading innovator in the professional audio sector for many years, Blue Microphones is an established brand that has become synonymous for striking personified designs, technology that is easy to use, and superb sound quality. In fact today we shall be exploring Blue’s latest microphone release; the Nessie – an adaptive USB desktop cardioid condenser microphone that works with both Windows and Mac operating systems primarily for vocal performances.
When the package arrives in your hands the outer box design is certainly slick and will more than adequately protect the Nessie during transit. Once you get inside you will find that the package is quite simple, coming only with a short yet detailed manual, a one-
As you have probably guessed, the aesthetics of the ‘Nessie’ have been modelled on the mythical Loch-
Although upon first glance the Nessie appears to be a rather simple device, it actually hides some great features that are incorporated right into the design. As previously mentioned, the base is sufficiently weighty to inhibit any movement when left idle or when in use. Located on this base is a circular digital gain dial, which discreetly wraps around the circumference. It is great that Blue have included a visual representation of the gain input so that users can remember approximates for various recording applications, but we would have liked to have seen a real-
Situated on top of the base plate, two red switches are seated into the design and labelled appropriately; one is used for quick muting the input signal (which cuts the output completely and is visually shown by the blue LED changing to a red pulsating cue), and the other is for the engagement of what Blue Microphones lucidly label as ‘Focus’. Referring to the latter, the ‘Focus’ feature is adaptive to three separate contexts. Strongly featured within the marketing of the Nessie, Blue want the end users of this item to be focused on the creative process and not the recording, yet the ‘Focus’ does have some common variables that allow an amateur to quickly settle on an adaptive tone for the instruments that they wish to record. In its common state (‘Focus’ off) the microphone behaves without any signal processing before it is passed into the recording application; this is known as a dry signal. In this state the microphone characteristics are uncomplicated, nude, or what you could call ‘neutral’, and will best suit a user who prefers to create a tone ‘in the box’. Visually defined by three circles is the ‘voice mode’, this ‘focus’ selection appears to apply a fixed vocal equalisation curve, de-
Making our way up nearer the microphone capsule now we are attracted to the serpentine head. What is nice about this design is that Blue have allowed to capsule to be directed to the sound source with a quick vertical adjustment. In use this feature is very useful. Likewise, it is much preferable to a fixed position that would veto any direct signal path, yet we still would have liked to see a touch more flexibility here. In terms of the capsule itself, Blue has brilliantly integrated both an effective shock mount and a pop shield eliminating the need for a user to spend time setting up, or forgetting, a moderately complicated rig that can easily confuse, delay, or distract those Einstein moments. Essentially the musician is connected to their rig in the shortest time possible and even phantom power (48v) does not need to be thought about as the Nessie automatically engages this when connected as an USB microphone input.
Buried within the head, or capsule, is a small diaphragm cardiod condenser capsule which is perfectly acceptable for most acoustic instrument applications. In conjunction with the various ‘focus’ settings we have found that there can be a great deal of flexibility in this design to allow for an acceptable tone that requires minimal mixing. However, it is important to understand that these inbuilt presets are a catchall affair and sadly cannot be adjusted by the user, as there is no software application available. If Blue created an application that tapped into the firmware then this would have pushed this microphone into better territory.
In its most basic ‘neutral’ setting, the Nessie sounds a little lacklustre and limp on vocals primarily as a result of an unclear focus to the very slightly gristly top end and indistinct midrange. In essence vocal performances were lacking character and the ambient noise rejection was near forgotten. Sadly untamed plosives on vocals (common with self-
On the surface, the Blue Microphones ‘Nessie’ is a well-