Blue Microphones has a good reputation among podcasters for producing high quality USB microphones. Now it looks like the company is coming out with something that may be even more useful for radio journalists and music producers looking for a quick way to plug their favorite XLR microphone into a computer without resorting to the crappy mic input mini jack.
The Icicle XLR to USB adapter provides 48V phantom power, has an analog gain control switch, and converts your audio to 16-bit, 44kHz digital audio in realtime. At $60, sure you could pick up a cheap USB mic instead of an adapter. But being able to plug your $399 EV RE-20 into your Mac or PC without a bulky mixer? Priceless.
The Blue Microphones Icicle adapter should be available next month.
Update: As Peter at Create Digital Music points out, this is hardly the first XLR to USB adapter. Nor is it the best. Since there’s no headphone jack, you have to monitor recordings through your computer which can lead to latency problems. But it’s certainly one of the cheapest. Fuller featured adapters will run you $150 or more. In other words, I think it’s safe to call the Blue Microphone Icicle the Zoom H2 of XLR to USB adapters. There are better options out there. But this’ll do for audio producers on a budget.
It’s only as priceless as the A/D that’s in that thing, and for $60, I’d wager it’s pretty much crap.