It's been a busy period for Blue Microphones, which has entered the portable market with gusto. First, we had the updated Mikey iDevice add-on, the Mikey Digital, which turns your iPhone or iPad into a quality stereo audio recorder. And the firm has introduced the Blue Microphones Tiki - a small USB mic that helps improve voice calling performance and so much more besides.
It's hard to think of something to compare the Tiki to, aesthetically. When attached to a laptop - its preferred partner - it juts out like a steam punk addition. This would be the microphone used by HG Wells, if he were around today, we should imagine. It looks like it's fallen off an airship inhabited by mutant pirates. And that's a good thing.
The microphone contains two important features that help it suit a wide variety of users, from Skype callers, to podcasters and, even, home music-makers. There's an Intelligent Speech mode that brings voice frequencies to the front of a mix thanks to isolation technology, all the while suppressing background ambience with noise-cancelling tech. And there's a Natural Recording mode that opens the audiofield to capture a wider variety of sound.
This means you should get clarity in a number of different locations and situations. For example, Pocket-lint used one to speak to our colleagues when in a field at the V Festival this year. The team reported back that the quality their end was excellent, even though a wind was whipping across at the time.
Another feature that's really cool is Intelligent Muting. When active, the microphone will turn off the audio input when you are typing, say, or when the computer fan is going nuts. There's a multi-coloured LED inside to tell you when it's active or not (blue means "on", orange "off").
Also included in the box is an extension USB cable and housing so you could even use the Tiki with a desktop computer. It's compatible with both PC and Mac and is plug and play.
For those who want to know more about the inner gubbins, there are two custom condenser capsules with advanced digital signal processing that perform the recording wizardry. Its audio specs allow it to record audio at CD quality - 16-bit 44,100Hz, 40Hz - 20kHz. There's also a plastic carry case, which initially forms part of the packaging.
We really like the Tiki and will be using it to record at least part of our CES podcasts while we're over in Las Vegas at the beginning of next month. Make sure you listen in.
It costs £49.95 and is available from a number of retailers, including the Apple Store.