Review of the Tiki USB Microphone from Blue
If you use Skype a lot, or anything else that needs a mic but you want something small with noise cancelling technology there is a solution in the guise of the Tiki USB Microphone from Blue, and here is our review.
The new Tiki is the world’s first USB microphone that mimics the intelligence of human hearing by focusing on desired sounds, minimizing background noise and knowing when to mute altogether. Tiki’s two modes give any Skype user, podcaster or musician the versatility to quickly choose the best option in any situation. First, Intelligent Speech Mode brings your voice to the forefront of a conference call or chat while noise-cancelling technology simultaneously minimizes unwanted, competing background noise. Natural Recording Mode captures a wide range of sources from vocals to acoustic guitar, recording high-fidelity audio with exceptional clarity. Tiki sets a new standard for crystal clear audio for wherever you go.
Who are Blue?
From their website:
Blue Microphones was founded in 1995 with the belief that technical innovation and cutting-edge design can combine to create a family of audio tools that not only look inspiring, but sound like nothing else on the planet. Building on years of repairing and improving classic Golden Age microphones, and recognizing advances in digital processing (extended frequency response, dynamic range, and project recording capability,) Blue fundamentally changed the way microphones are imagined, creating a line of mics with custom-designed sonic signatures that make each Blue microphone truly unique and perfectly situated to take advantage of today’s increased digital bandwidths. Or to put it simply: the perfect analog devices for the digital age.
Starting with state-of-the-art technology that ensures the purest possible signal path, along with Class A fully discrete circuitry (no ICs, pads, or filters), each microphone is designed to fill a specific role in a recordist’s repertoire. Every studio series mic contains its own propriety capsule that is hand-tested and approved to capture specific sonic signatures in specific ways. The first proprietary design, the Blueberry (Electronic Musician 2000 Editor’s Choice Microphone of the Year) was designed and engineered at the behest of John Gass, a Grammy award-winning engineer/mixer, who asked if it was possible to create a contemporary pop vocal mic that also substantially eliminated the need to spend hours “EQing” or over-processing the signal source. The Blueberry’s success led to future Blue designs that focused solely on delivering the best possible reproduction of specific vocal or instrument types. The result is a portfolio of professional microphones that create a full palette of sounds, enabling artists to realize the sonic landscape of their vision. And that portfolio is still growing, with the new additions of the Spark and Reactor mics to the Blue family.
At the turn of the millennium, after receiving an early version of Apple’s GarageBand™, Blue realized that project studio recording presented the next revolution of the recording industry. Believing that the lack of a high-quality USB microphone to protect the signal source would slow down this revolution, Blue developed the Snowball, the world’s first professional USB mic. Throughout the development process, the Snowball was designed specifically with musicians in mind; however, people very quickly began to adopt the product for consumer applications, such as podcasting, chat, and narration. Out of this, Blue’s line of consumer audio products was born, and its audio DNA continues with Blue’s newer consumer desktop mics, from Yeti Pro to Tiki, along with Mikey Digital, our portable recorder for iOS devices.
Blue is 100% committed to getting the very best microphones in the world into the hands of those who have a passion for high quality audio; this is our heritage and will always be the core focus of everything we do. From the uncompromising and revolutionary Bottle to the desktop/studio flexibility of the Yeti Pro, every product reflects Blue’s rare expertise and inimitable design sense. We encourage you to audition each Blue microphone to discover the ideal sonic character for your audio needs.
- Intelligent ultra-compact USB microphone
- Brings your voice to the forefront using voice isolation and noise-cancelling technology
- Improves vocal clarity for online communication like Skype and iChat, and voice recognition software
- Reduces computer fan and typing noise by intelligently auto-muting
- Recording mode optimized for podcasts and music recording
- Multi-colored LED indicates muting status and more
What’s in the Box?
The box contains the Tiki mic, a USB extension docking cable and a manual.
A Closer Look
And here is the Tiki “docked” with the extension cable.
And just to show you the actual size of the Tiki, here it is against my iPhone 5.
Using the Tiki
There are no required drivers for the Tiki – just plug it into your Windows machine or your Mac and away you go.
There are two modes, and these can easily be switched by pressing the mode selection button (which is the tip of the Tiki).
When you are in “Intelligent Speech” mode, the light on the side is Blue. This mode is best for chats, conference calls and noisier environments.
The other mode is called “Natural Recording” and shows Purple. This mode is best for podcasts, vocals, instruments, narration and quieter environments.
There is also an orange light that is displayed when it is muted or there is no sound – I couldn’t get a picture because the Tiki picked up the sound of the camera every time and changed it to blue!Listen to some audio samples on the Blue website
What can I say, I was very impressed with the Tiki.
When I took it out of the box, my first thought was that is was very small and light, and that it surely wouldn’t be that great quality wise, and boy was I wrong!
I was impressed that it didn’t need drivers for either Windows or Mac and that it worked perfectly first time on both machines.
The two different modes are very useful, and provide different results (both of which are great).
Using the Tiki on Skype was excellent, I found it gave me just as good results as using my Snowball (also from Blue), and there is quite a bit of difference in size there! The noise cancelling technology works very well indeed.
I was also happy that Blue included a USB extension dock in the box so that you can have the Tiki away from the machine if required (and let’s be honest, most of the time it will be required).
The cost of the Tiki is around £35, which is a really good price for a mic of this size and quality – if you have any need for a small high quality mic then look further and get yours now, you wont be disappointed.