Blue Microphones is not an ordinary audio brand, it is one of the most product-oriented sound specialists for mobile devices. Its new Raspberry is not only compatible with PC or Mac OS computers, but it can also interface directly with an iPhone or iPad with its Lightning cable delivered.
When the Yeti that we reviewed at the beginning of the year wanted to be a massive all-purpose microphone, the Raspberry played it mobile: with 273 g and a compact design, it wanted to be a real mobile recording studio to slide into n any backpack, even a handbag.
Nothing superfluous in the box: the microphone and its articulated stand (we will come back to this), a tripod mount, two cables (USB and Lightning) and a small carrying pouch. Note that the latter is a bit small and its touch a bit cheap, we would have preferred a small semi-rigid case more able to protect the precious – 200 € all the same.
Very nice workmanship, excellent sound rendering
The quality of the cover does not foreshadow that of the microphone: like the Yeti, the Raspberry is very well built and offers a very good quality of finish. The two potentiometers placed on the sides (headphone volume and gain) do not reveal any weakness, as does the articulation between the foot and the microphone (read the paragraph on ergonomics a little further).
On the software side, no need for a driver to operate the Raspberry on a Microsoft or Apple computer: the microphone is natively recognized under Windows 7, Windows 10 and Mac OS Yosemite / El Capitan (we did not have a PC under Linux at the time of the review ). Easy as pie, but to start recording something, you will need software since the Raspberry comes naked. It doesn’t matter since the excellent Audacity is both free and open source software – for our part, we used Hindenburg Journalist Pro.
Once the microphone is correctly selected in your recording software, it is the surprise: if it does not look mine, this microphone which does not take the appearance of a professional device offers an impressive quality. Placed 15 cm from the mouth, the Raspberry offers a very clear and dynamic sound with lots of presence.
A change of position which has no influence on the sound quality, the result remaining excellent. If it is tinged with the sound signature of the environment, the Raspberry however isolates very well the voice of the speaker.
In general, the Raspberry offers a very good sound rendering compared to its small size, even if in our opinion, the Yeti is both more efficient and more versatile with its different modes (interview, song, etc.)
Powerful on the move, but only on iOS
Operating with PCs via USB, the Raspberry is also compatible with Apple mobile devices such as the iPhone and other iPads. Compatibility which unfortunately does not extend to Android, the fault (no doubt) to a lack of homogeneity of the sockets not only in the formats (Micro USB, USB-C) but also in the electrical (current) and electronic standards (data flow).
Any iOS audio software can access the microphone and control the headset. For our part, we used Apple’s Garage Band, an easy-to-use software that manages headphone feedback very well.
If the headphone feedback seemed less powerful than under PC, in fact the recorded audio file had the same level and the same quality under iOS. The sound is still very good, the isolation of the voice impeccable. Be careful however what you want to do with your file: on PC we were able to recover the uncompressed file in WAV format while Garage Band delivers, by default, a compressed file in .m4a format.
Well-studied ergonomics, difficult to read levels
Folded around the microphone when it is stored, the Raspberry’s foot unfolds in desk mode and can tilt effectively 90 ° (beyond, it falls). It can also be placed vertically in pedestal mode but its balance is then a little more precarious.
The placement of the knobs is certainly aesthetic, but we would have preferred to have them on the front, at least the gain (ability to increase the power or amplitude of the signal). Likewise, we regret the lack of scaling of the headphone and gain levels – the best would have been to put a graduated potentiometer on the front like the Yeti.
Finally, if the absence of software delivered is perhaps the guarantee of maximum compatibility – no software is favored for the benefit of another – it would have been in good taste for Blue to offer a selection of free programs or advanced software demos. Difficult indeed for a neophyte to know where to go without prior knowledge. Our advice: download Audacity to get your hands on it before turning to another solution.