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3.03.2008

How to get your BLUE Snowball Mic working under Vista

I recently came into possession of a BLUE Snowball Podcasting mic. I was dismayed to learn that there is no official Vista driver or support for this mic at this time. Details on BLUE's support forum are sketchy at best. I spent a lot of time reading third party sites and stumbling around BLUEmic.com. I'm happy to report after much trial and error, I was able to get the Snowball working in Vista.

The big issue is that the link BLUE provides to the firmware update in their support forum is broken. When it did work, it would take you to a firmware updater that seemed to only work under Windows XP. If you could download it, you had to run the update on your mic from a XP machine and then it would work under Vista with the new firmware.

It turns out that there actually is a working firmware updater available on their site. It just happens to be in a directory that BLUE doesn't directly link to.
Just download this executable: http://www.bluemic.com/update/snowball/SnowballHighGain.exe
and run it under Vista. You will need to have Administrator privileges to run the update. It will flash the firmware on your Snowball and make it Vista compatible. Now since BLUE doesn't link to this file, or officially promote it, I'm assuming this is unsupported and may void your warranty. Run the updater at your own risk. I'll just tell you that I ran the updater on mine, and it works fine now. I've compared operation under XP Pro and Vista Home Premium using the new firmware, and everything seems to be the same on both systems. I don't run a 64-bit install of Vista, so I don't know if this will work in that environment or not.

I hope this helps some folks who are trying to use this mic for podcasting under Vista and have been frustrated thus far.

* Update -5/20/08 * - Looks like BLUE updated their website and deleted the updates directory that contains the firmware update files. I e-mailed service@bluemic.com asking if there was a new location for the fix, or an updated method to fix the mic in Vista but have received no response. For now there is no update available. If someone who downloaded the old fix recently wants to contact me, perhaps we can find a way to mirror the old fix.

* Update - 7/28/08 * - BLUE's site now says the Snowball is Vista compatible. I'd assume they're probably shipping a version with new firmware factory installed that works. I don't know if they have a way to update existing mics to the compatible version, but it's probably worth contacting their support people if you still can't get yours to work. Post a comment and let me know how they handle it.

* Update - 12/30/08* - AngryBob has mirrored copies of the updaters over on his blog here:
http://angrybob.ill-literati.org/2008/10/02/blue-mic-snowball-highgain-firmware/

*Update 11/2/11 * - Blue has put the firmware updater and a FAQ here: http://www.bluemic.com/snowball/#/support/  Some serial numbers work out of the box now with Win7, earlier serial numbers will require running the updater which is linked from the FAQ.




49 comments:

  1. How do you like the mic? My boss has one sitting on his desk. I've thought about getting one like that, but then I wouldn't be mobile.

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  2. I like it a lot.
    It's a nice package since it comes with the stand now.
    One thing I occasionally hear people complain about is that it's not that sensitive. Really, this mic has a high level of noise rejection. It's made to record at higher SPL. So if you're doing dialog or voiceover, you need to about 2 inches off the grille. The bonus though is that it'll record louder sources like acoustic guitar without clipping and distorting like some USB mics would.

    I like that it's driverless. If you've updated the firmware for your OS, it gets detected as a class-compliant USB device, no driver needed.

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  3. After downloading the Vista patch, will the mic still work under XP or does the download wipe the XP compatibility?

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  4. It's working fine for me on XP,Vista, and OS X.

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  5. Thanks for the link. Unfortunately it does not seem to work with Vista 64K....my search continues

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  6. Hey, it works! (Vista Home Premium 32 bit)

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  7. This would be great but the link is broken. =(

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  8. Looks like BLUE pulled the plug on the directory that stored these files. I don't have a copy of the file, so for now I guess we're out of luck.

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  9. BigBlueProblem20/6/08 1:31 AM

    Called BlueMic to double check that this mic works with Vista considering all the trouble I've been hearing about on fourms. Response is "Oh yeah, that was for an older version of Vista, it works just fine". Well, $250 (podcasting kit + overnight shipping) + client paying me to recommend a mic. IT DOES NOT WORK IN VISTA. Blue Snowball "Failed" in Driver Software Installation dialog box. "Device driver software was not successfully installed." I would have to say BlueMic is dishonest about compatibility and incompetent in producing a driver. Very upset about this. I do not recommend their products.

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  10. If anybody still has that update that was yanked, please link it.

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  11. Kould someone send me the file if they have it? Maybe upload it to another site b/c its not on bluemic.com anymore.. tha bumbs

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  12. ernest harvey28/7/08 7:06 PM

    you know what macrogeek...your an amazing person providing this info for me....but like you said blue pulled the plug on the link, so no i'm sittin here IN IRAQ..yeah that's right i'm a U.S ARMY SOLDIER... i love to make music when i'm not out running missions but the piece of crap snoball doesn't work...so i was jsut wondering if yuo could recommend a good usb recording mic that i can purcahse and where i can buy on at online. since like i said i'm in IRAQ??????

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  13. I'd start here:
    http://www.sweetwater.com/c981--USB_Mics

    I got my Snowball from them. It was a good buy at the time, and I wasn't really expecting Vista compatibility at the time. (I didn't anticipate upgrading) They know their stuff, I'd call or e-mail and let them know you need a Vista compatible mic. I know there were a whole bunch out there that apparently used the same technology as the BLUE mic and none of them worked well with Vista, but I think there are some new ones that work now. I'm not sure which ones they are, but the guys at SW should.
    I know they can ship to APO's.

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  14. thanks for this helpful info. My hubby told me about the problem and had already viewed your site.
    That explains why my interview went wrong while talking with someone via skype in Austrialia
    We have contacted the company.
    Thanks again
    Keep up the great work!

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  15. Hey Macro,

    I run a blog on voice over. We’ve been trying to track down a copy of the Snow Ball high gain exe. It’s been pulled from Blue’s page.
    If you still have yours floating around, I’d love a copy.

    You can tag me at my blog (linked) or at someaudioguy[at]gmail[dot]com

    Thanks!

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  16. Sorry, I don't have a copy of the firmware updater anymore either. I've searched and searched for it.

    My understanding is that this mic is now Vista compatible out of the box. If you have an old one that won't work under Vista you'll probably have to get BLUE support involved to get it updated.

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  17. After a few weeks of no reply, I finally got word from Vista on the status of this situation. They said that any Snowball with a serial number of 65000 or above is Vista compatible out of the box. For the rest of us, they recommend we use XP. (Thanks guys!) They are working on a fix and will release it as soon as it is done.

    If anyone has a copy of that firmware I would really love access to it. I'd be happy to host it on my website for anyone to download if I can just get my hands on it.

    Thanks,
    Sara

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  18. Darn! Serial # is in the 21,000's

    Typical Blue. They run the place like it's a one man operation.

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  19. My Snowball never worked on my Vista laptop (SN in the 30,000 range), but I found a solution on an amazon review:

    If you have Vista change your screen resolution from 32 bit to 16 bit. IT WORKED! I can't believe it was that simple! Hope it works for everyone. Good luck.

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  20. @Anonymous
    That sounds really odd. I'm suprised it worked. Did they maybe mean to change the audio resolution, or sample rate in your recording software to 16-bit? That would make more sense. Either way, glad it works now.

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  21. I was a little more than hesitant in buying my snowball, due to the fact i use Vista on my PC. After reading what Sara had posted, I began to poke around, finding nothing relating, or nothing that would coincide. With time to kill, I went down to my local shop today, weary, and expressed my concern; how I use Vista and im not certain its going to be compatible. I asked buddy to check the serial number for me, so at least, I was assured one that was manufactured at a later date. With the serial number being in the 80,000 range, I figured ide test my luck. Worst case scenario being, ide be back downtown the next day to return it, which he was fine with. So, I purchased it, brought it home and set it up. I plugged it into my computer, while I had my fingers and toes crossed.. it immediately recognized it and began to install the necessary drivers. To my surpirse, with no complication, in no time at all, it WORKED! ..and quite well too! Ive recorded a few tracks now and with NO issues! NONE, NOT ONE! ..the sound quality is fantastic, the volume, level, is fine. The omni-directional setting is just what I needed, so im ECSTATIC.. AND WHAT A PRICE!! Anyone hesitant in buying a NEW snowball, rest assured, IT NOW WORKS ON VISTA, I CAN CONFIRM! BELIEVE THAT! Thank you Macrogeek, Thank You Sara, and Thanks to everyone else that took time to post here. Best Wishes, Take Care!

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  22. would this be a good mic to use to record classroom lectures? we want something that will pick up the lecturer and, when he switches on the omnidirectional, pick up questions from the students. Good idea?

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  23. @Dis
    It probably would not. This mic is not very sensitive at a distance of more than 2 feet or so. You need to be up on it and speaking in a normal to loud tone. It works good for voiceover, a single singer, or instruments like guitar.
    A lecture mic will probably not pick up the student questions at a distance. If it were that sensitive it would pick up too much classroom noise as well.

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  24. So basically as of now if you have a snowball with that serial number below 65,000 you cant use it with vista less you

    1.Change you Vista system to 16 bit

    or

    2.Got lucky and downloaded the patch before they (at the blue website) took it down.

    I've had the Snowball Mic for probably about a year or maybe more now and it has worked great for me. But i recently got a laptop that use vista and i discovered that it didn't work vista. I also contacted Blue myself and they said they've been working the problem for about 2 months now and haven't found a solution. After reading this forum I don't this is true. The Rep on the phone also sound surprised that my S/N # was only the 14,000, As if there was no hope for my mic to be updated.

    I hope that a real universal and more practical solution is found quickly because i use my Snowball ALOT!

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  25. Has anyone had any success using this mic on a Windows Media Center machine? It works great on my XP machine, but the MC just searches for drivers.

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  26. s/n around 30,000, updated the "high gain" firmware using XP, but there is no love with Vista. I tried the "16,000 colors" fix, too, but this didn't help. Vista can see the device name but is unable to properly install the drivers. It sounds nice on my XP laptop.

    I don't think I would every buy from Blue... I thought their microphones sound great, but with such poor technical support and lack of forward thinking, what will happen with all their current models when Windows 7 comes out? What about the next gen of Mac OS? It's not like Vista is a new kid on the block... you can't even buy machines without Vista... just saying sorry to all the people with low serial numbers... like 60,000 customers, well, this isn't how I want to be treated as a customer.

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  27. I cannot get the Snowball to work on Vista. Is there now a solution. Thanks. Trevor

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  28. where do you find the serial number?

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  29. where is the serial number located on the mic?

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  30. Hello guys - I cant get vista to work on mines either...So frustrating

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  31. I cant get mines to work on Vista to work either..so frustrating

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  32. http://www.bluemic.com/salesandsupport/support.html

    Upper Right hand side of the screen.

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  33. GREAT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The Blue Snowball works in Windows 7 under XP Mode.
    Basically, running an XP virtual machine within Win 7. But that function is available to users of Windows 7 (except Home version).
    And you can run your program in seamless mode, so it's just like running it in Windows 7.
    Finally! I got my MIC back!

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  34. Thank you so much for all the great info on this site... I plugged my Snowball into my PC (which has vista) and it immediately adapted. You were right about the serial numbers, because mine is higher than 65000.

    Thanks again!

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  35. My serial number is located on the silver ring going around the center of the Snowball. I'm 039017, btw. My Snowball worked the last time I used it. (A year ago? More?) I've not changed my setup at all, other than install recommended system updates. I'm using Mac OSX 10.4.11 now. When I plug in the Snowball it draws USB power, light goes on, ... but does not show up in list of Audio Input devices. :(

    And, oh yeah: I tried downloading the update. When I run that program it still won't recognize when I have the Snowball plugged in!!!

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  36. i have only been able to use the snowball with windows7 one or two time successfully. any suggestions?

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  37. I am using windows 7 64 bit and got an old snowball (S/N032XXX). While I am able to connect it to a Mac and do recordings, under windows 7 it doesn't seems to work. I even tried downloading the highgain update, but I got this message while trying to install it:

    Please verify following:
    - make sure you have administrator rights on this computer
    - connect USB cable or if USB cable is already connected pull and reinsert.
    After this is done press OK or CANCEL or abort installation.

    I am the admin and tried reconnect and press OK but this message keep coming back.

    I even tried update under mac, which went OK but on windows 7 it still cannot be recognized. The icon in device manager is "Blue Snowball" with a yellow exclamation mark.

    Need help.

    Regards,
    Alex

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  38. ok guys, was having the same problem with Vista. What I just happened to try and actually worked was unplug from USB port. Unplug from the back of mic, replug into USB port then plug back into mic and magically it worked again.. with that being said Im keeping my fingers crossed

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  39. Is there a driver for Win 7? Is running Win 7 as an XP machine the only fix?

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  40. whenever I try to update, it says this message

    Please verify following:
    - make sure you have administrator rights on this computer
    - connect USB cable or if USB cable is already connected pull and reinsert.
    After this is done press OK or CANCEL or abort installation.

    Also im running on windows vista 2007

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  41. Same as above

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  42. You can run a program as administrator by right clicking on the EXE and selecting that option.

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  43. cool, hoping this works....didn't know it was the same as upgrading to Vista...they should have said so....thanks!

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  44. has anyone figured out how to get the older snowball mic to work on win7? i get the same error as above as well.

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  45. Same problem others have stated. I'm using Windows 7 Home Premium SP 1 64-bit. I run the high gain patch as an administrator and get an error halfway through. Re-connecting the mic doesn't work, though Windows recognizes that there is a device attached and the red light on the front of the mic comes on.

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  46. Right click, run as admin does absolutely nothing, message repeating here as well. Using snowball iCE on windows 7.

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  47. Has anyone figured out a fix for the error that keeps popping up?

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  48. I'm having a error that says "this device cannot start (error code 10) PLZ help someone ?

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