Blue Microphones Icicle XLR to USB Mic Converter/Mic Preamp

Why should you bother with a bulky interface, when all you want to do is plug a single microphone into your computer? With a Blue Icicle in your arsenal, you can turn any microphone into a totally streamlined, USB-ready recording device. Instead of lugging around some fancy rack and a bunch of outboard gear, just toss an Icicle and a mic in your laptop bag, and take your studio straight to the source to track vocal takes, guitar overlays, on-site interviews, sound effects, or whatever your little heart desires. It’s even got 48V phantom power for those power-hungry condenser mics.

Quick facts

  • Plug and record
  • Studio Quality USB microphone preamp
  • Supplies 48V phantom power for condenser microphones
  • No special drivers required
  • Fully balanced low noise analog front end

Top reviews

A Slight Quality Control Issue

I ordered this item on March 22nd. I expect to get its replacement from the people at Blue sometime today. So, what’s a month, anyway? The first one that came from Amazon had a constant, high-pitched tone. I emailed, then called Blue, and eventually spoke to a pleasant tech support guy who was aware of the problem. He allowed that the company had shipped out a number of units with this defect. That’s always good to hear. So, several emails later, I received a Return Merchandise Authorization, and shipped it right back to them. Who knows, if this one works, maybe I’ll like it. Blue’s products look good, but they make a strong case for buying locally.
LatinaNew Offenburg, MO

Not too happy thus far…

Shipping: Ordered on a Sunday of Week 1. Placed in box on a Friday of Week 2. Received it Wednesday of Week 3. Whoever’s responsible for shipping (Amazon or Blue) took their sweet time to drop it in this 8″x5″ box.

Product: Currently testing the converter with a Shure PG58. Gain is incredibly low and a annoying tone when recording. I do believe the product is in working condition; too bad I have to figure out how to edit the hardware properly.

GlennaOakwood, IL

leave this one on the shelf

It works reasonably well with condenser microphones. With dynamics the hum exceeds the signal. Works with Windows, not with Linux. The build is very cheap. Anything more than $5 for this is too much.
LaraeKoppel, PA

Still up in the air

I bought this device and use a brand new sure 52 with it.

The noise and feedback I received with this device was horrible – I might have a bad unit.

When I called customer service, a real person answered right away and offered to expedite getting me a new unit. (Very cool and is why I gave them 3 stars for now)

I’ll see how that process goes and update my review.

AmieNew Egypt, NJ

No good for Wii

Bought it thinking this would plug into the Wii and I would be able to use my condenser microphone with it. Well, long story short, doesnt work. But it is still usable with a PC/laptop to record audio. But we can do that with a builtin mic also. Would u like to pay 1$ towards the presidential election?
WmDahlgren, IL

Great product ! Beautiful sound !

We’ve only had the Blue Icicle 1 week, but my daughter loves it, and is working with it every day.

How good is it ? My daughter is 18, and turned down $25,000 a year in scholarship money to Pepperdine’s Music program as a coluratura soprano. Her voice is so perfectly re-produced using a Shure 57 and the Icicle, that I can not tell when she sings and when she plays it back through the computer, an off-the-shelf Dell, using a pair of $30 JBL computer speakers for sound.

The icicle is really good.

Now they can replace the old TV commercial, from “Is it live, or is it Memorex ?”
to “Is it live, or is it Blue ?”

MelodiBingham, IL

Worked for 2 hours, then stopped.

I used the icicle for about two hours. After taking a break, I plug it in and my laptop wont recognize it. I did everything I could think of to fix this, even hours of searching google. Nothing. In the process of a return. =/ It would’ve been perfect if it just worked.
IzettaSouth Deerfield, MA

Transportable y buen Sonido!

Muy buen producto. por su tamaño, uno lo puede llevar a culquier lado junto con su laptop y hacer culquier grabación, en cualquier momento. Antes de tener este producto, tuve muchos problemas con la entrada de audio en mi mac, pero con el icicle por fin pude tener una entrada decente para cualquier micrófono. Hasta el momento no genera ruidos de ningún tipo y la calidad es impresionante para algo tan simple.
TheronIndustry, TX

Simple plug and play that just worked – period.

I bought the Blue Icicle because I had to quickly record some trumpet lines and I didn’t have an interface. Well, actually, I did pick up an open box unit that didn’t work because they couldn’t provide me with the external power supply, so I took it back and got the Icicle as a quick fix that would get me where I needed to go in a timely manner.

Hardware: iMac, dual core 2.0 GHz processor and 4 GB or RAM. OS 10.5.8.
Software: Garage Band.
Mic: Shure SM57.

Pros. For recording trumpet with an SM57 it was perfect. Clear sound, low noise, LOTS of signal. With the gain a little over half way on the Icicle and about 58% in Garage Band I got hot horn lines with gain to spare. Any hotter and they would have started clipping, so it definitely gave enough signal to get the job done.

Cons. The gain knob has no dial or indicators for how far you have turned it – it has to be done by feel making it almost impossible to duplicate your settings exactly. This could be improved with a knob with an arrow and a marked dial so you can see where it’s set. It also feels a bit cheap – it’s lightweight and feels almost fragile. Treated with care it’s fine, but I doubt it would take much abuse before it would break and I have been ultra careful with it because it feels so lightweight and cheap. I also used it as recommended in the accompanying literature and didn’t plug it directly into the back of the mic – I used it with a mic cable.

For what I needed it was perfect – simple plug and play that got good sound into my computer, and it worked well in a pinch. I just wish it was a little higher quality in terms of construction. A bit heavier and a better dial for the analog gain, and I would have rated it a full 5 stars but as it is, I can at best give it 4.

ShannonOelwein, IA

Worked great, then…

Just plug and play with your preferred software. No hassles, worked great for about 3 months then just stopped working. Didn’t drop it (It is made of a flimsy plastic and is light as a feather – feels cheap). It just stopped working. When I buy a product I don’t just want it to work great for three months. Totally dissapointed.
JayeLyndeborough, NH

Very Noisy

I was told by the salesman at Guitar Center that the Icicle was easy and very high quality. . . It is perfectly easy but I have had nothing but problems from mine. There is a constant popping in anything I record. I am using an AKG C3000B microphone I have had for a long time and it is in perfect condition so the problem is not with my mic. Anyone else having this problem? Haven’t been in touch with tech support yet, but I will say I am not happy with the Icicle. . .
SolangeAshland, MT

Does not deliver enough volume

I have several different ways of connecting XLR microphones to my computers for use in webinars, and I thought this design would be simpler to transport and connect, but when I tried to use it with a Shure SM58 mic the volume it produced was about 25% of what I am used to, and was not adequate for my purpose.
EmilyDelaware, AR

stopped working…

I had this product for literally only a week, and had only used it one time. When trying to use it again I found that it wasn’t sending the sound through. When I plug it into my PC, it recognizes it and the icicle lights up, and i select it as my recording device, but then when i actually try to record, it makes no sound at all (and i have tried moving the gain knob around so it’s not that) This was a complete waste of money, unless there’s an easy fix that i’m missing…
RacquelSheldon, SC

Can’t monitor what your recording without latency

It does record with ease and decent quality for the price. The only problem is it acts as a sound card and you can’t record and listen to yourself at the same time without latency. This is a deal breaker for me. Blue microphones should add a headphone jack onto the interface so you don’t have to listen to recordings through your computer and you can hear your recordings in real time.
StewartNauvoo, AL

Works great, no noticeable noise and has a high output gain with a smooth flat responce

Let’s get this out of the way, first: Yes the case is made of thin flimsy plastic, and it doesn’t look like it can handle drops to the floor.

I’m using it with a Behringer ecm8000 mic and Real Time Analyzer (RTA) software (on my laptop running WindowsXP PRO SP3) to precisely tune notch filters and speaker crossover networks and it works perfectly. Audio output sinewaves show up very clean and accurate under an oscilloscope, with peaks at 90 degrees (which is a good sign). No hissing sounds at all, it’s very quiet with a mic connected, high frequency-spectrum wise. For the record, I bought a usb to Toslink output adapter to connect to the amplifier because integrated laptop/PC sound cards are usually noisy as hell.

I think some people are using mics with very low sensitivity or crappy output sources (e.g. cheesy soundcards, amps, receivers or multimedia speakers), or even lousy, improperly shielded mic cables and blaming the unit, but who knows. What I can safely say is, for the cheap price, the unit manages to produce an output that has a very high gain and runs virtually flat while covering the entire audio spectrum.

WINDOW7 FUNCTIONALITY(updated):
At first, it didn’t work with WINDOWS7 x64 Ultimate. I kept getting a message about not being able to find a driver. And at the time the Icicle website made no mention of Windows 7 compatibility (2 months later, they are saying it’s compatible with XP, VISTA and Windows 7). After nearly giving up, I found my old USB motorola cell phone charger cable lying around and noticed it had a similar mini-usb header to the that of the Icicle’s. I connected the Icicle using the motorola cable into my Windows 7 PC, and to my surprise it was recognized. I actually got the idea when the Icicle began losing its USB connection (with the original cable) whenever I moved it around a lot. Could it be the dinky looking USB cable included with the Icile causing intermittent disconnects or driver problems with Windows 7? I’m really not sure at this point. What I can say is that the Blue Icicle seems 100% reliable when used with the old Motorola USB cable. Perhaps the Motorola cable makes better contact or has better shielding–who knows. (I’m inclined to cut away the white insulation of the original Icicle cable just see if it’s shielded to the USB’s electrical ground source. It wouldn’t be the first time I find an unshielded USB cable. Then again, it might be the mini-USB header causing the problem.)

JulesEphrata, PA

I love it

This is all that I needed to make my condensor mic work! I have an MLX 990 and it works great with it! without this I was going to need to buy a preamp, and something that converted XLR to USB and a phantom power generator. This little thing does it all. It does exactly what it says it does, nothing more and nothing less.
I am not a professional recorder by any means I just wanted to set up a small studio in my room and be able to have my mic go straight to my laptop without having to buy a small soundboard. This might not work for someone who has a fancier setup than mine, but for my basic stuff it works amazing.

The only thing I was surprised about was the size. in the picture it looks like its really small, but its really like 1 1/2″ round and as long as my hand. It in no way effects the performance or anything I just thought it was noteworthy.

If this was helpful please take a few seconds to hit the helpful button above. I would really appreciate it 🙂

MarceneEaton, IN

AWESOME PRODUCT

I have several of these converters in my home studio — the quality is amazing on both dynamics and condenser mics! I had an Icicle that initially had a low hum, contacted Blue, and they said that the first 500 units produced had a low hum but that has since been fixed. They sent me a replacement unit and it works perfectly now. BUY THIS PRODUCT if you have the need.
DoraPlumsteadville, PA

TRUE PLUG N PLAY ON THE GO WHEREVER THERES A PC

The Icicle is truly a great piece of hardware. It’s as simple as plugging your mic cord into the product and plugging that into your USB. The BEST thing about this product is it allows you to take your mic wherever there is a usb equipped computer. It is light weight so I don’t know it’s durability and don’t plan on throwing it to find out. The Icicle comes with a gain knob which is a plus BUT remember with this is a 60 dollar plug n play tool so it doesn’t have any other features.

*also i didn’t have the noise/feedback issue

DonnieVentura, IA

simply great

Though this micpreamp has several weaknesses, I give this 5 stars because it’s just perfect for what I do.

I’ve been finding ways to record vocal in convenient way with good quality. Everyone told me I’m suppose to get audio interface for good vocal recording, but audio interfaces always ended up with frustration.

After seeing several reviews of Icicle, I was going to return this, but once I used it, I don’t think I want to return it anymore.

This preamp is way beyond my expectation.

However, like I mentioned above, it has weaknesses so this might not be a solution for many people

1) it has no headphone jack for direct monitoring
2) no asio driver
3) only one input
4) does not look strong so always be careful

If you are a person like me who just to need to record vocal conveniently using easy software like cool edit or audacity, you won’t regret.

ClaritaButler, MO

works perfectly, sounds great

I tried this on both Mac OS X and on Vista (not on the same computer), and it worked perfectly with both. Although Vista was a little confusing, nothing more was involved than finding the right audio preferences. No drivers in either case. I recorded a short review of the Blue FOR each setup, WITH each setup, which I posted on my devnotes posterous com blog — you can search that out and listen to both of them if you have any doubts about the sound. The whole thing lights up blue when it’s plugged in, so if you love blue, this mic’s for you. I have a Behringer condenser mic, about the least expensive mic you can find, but it sounded great before and it sounds great through the blue icicle.
VertieElmwood, WI

Owned This For A Year; Windows 7 Problem?

I’ve owned this product for about a year already and it is still working completely fine; although, there was a few technical issues I had to figure out myself. There’s no problem with the Blue Icicle itself though. There would be a problem when trying to install this with Windows 7. There was no problem at all using it with Windows XP. It seemed like it would install a different driver instead of it being ‘Blue Icicle’. Instead, it would show up as ‘USB Multi-Channel Audio Device’. It just didn’t sound the same when I was using it with Windows XP. It sounded more louder with some feedback in the background. What I did to fix this problem was to uninstall the ‘USB Multi-Channel Audio Device’ driver from Device Manager, then unplug the Icicle and plug it back in. When the ‘Installing device driver software’ notification pops up, click it and click ‘Skip obtaining driver software from Windows Update’. It will now be installed as ‘Blue Icicle’ and work like how it should be! Make sure you raise the levels up in Sound in Control Panel if the mic sounds too low for you, even with the Gain Control Volume up; it shouldn’t be up that high anyways as it would have some feedback in the background. I’m not sure if I’m the only one with this problem, but I hope this helps whoever does!

When I first got the Icicle, it sounded amazing and I had a lot of fun with it! I still do, too! I use this with my Audio-Technica AT2020. I use it almost everyday, whether if it’s for music producing or online gaming with friends. And yes, this does work for the PS3 — not sure about the Xbox 360 though. I recommend this product for anyone who doesn’t have a mixer for their microphone ’cause mixers are kind of expensive! Haha.

GeorgeannaLorton, VA

Too Cheap

Owned two of these and when they work they are fine. The power knob has no indicator on it though. My biggest problem, and the reason I will NEVER purchase another, is this: both gave out with in a year. One now sounds like I am recording from behind a wall and one developed a hum that will not go away. Do yourself a favor and find a more reliable option.
LeMoorland, IA

Until it stopped working it was okay

Great audio, until a few months in it just decides to stop working. Common problem: google it and you’ll see. Cheapest construction of any product every designed in the entire world. Feels like a fast food toy.

I do not recommend this product. Piece o’ garbage.

TommyOak Hill, NY

Match Your Mic Carefully

I will admit, the Icicle does allow you to plug any mic with an XLR jack to your computer using a USB jack. It does indeed provide phantom power to condenser mics and it will deliver a signal to your recording software.

Beyond that, the usefulness depends on your mic and what you consider an acceptable recording level.

I tried this with an AKG 200, BLUE enCORE 200 and an AKG 4500. All deliver very nice sound when used in a conventional recording chain. I could barely get an audible record level yelling into the enCORE 200, my staple for location voice recording. Normally, I plug the enCORE directly into a digital audio recorder with an XLR cable. No mic preamp, no phantom power, no EQ, and I get a good clean clear sound level near the peak of input level.

This is one very disappointing product. If you route your mic through a preamp, then put the Icicle between the preamp and the USB input of your computer, you can get a decent record level, but that extra equipment is what this light weight gadget is supposed to avoid. Personally, I think you might be better off getting a decent channel strip* or mic preamp and an XLR to to mini jack to go between the channel strip and your computer input and forget the Icicle altogether.

BLUE makes some great products, but this is not one of their better ones.

*For those that don’t know, Channel Strips combine several pieces of equipment into one box: typically a mic preamp and a compressor. Higher end units add some EQ capability as well or have other options.

MalisaDover, FL

Works great!

Great USB audio interface! I also own the Shure X2U and they perform just about the same…I wish I would have known that before I spent way more on the X2U.
CorneliaMilford, ME

Not for long term use

This product was awesome the first couple months, I was convinced I was over any potential “defective period…” Well, after caring for it well and giving it no reason not to work, it of course stopped working for me. I now can’t use it for anything serious. Anything I record that is profound or important runs the risk of cutting out half way without giving any warning leaving me with half a recording of audio and half with crickets. There must be some crappy design inside the tube that prevents establishing a solid connection, I’m just happy it’s not my $100 blue microphone! Don’t waste your money on the icicle, it’s productive ability has an expiration.
CarmelLinden, IN

Cheap

Cheap: A plastic tube with some presumably lightweight circuit inside. Never worked right; no user interface, no known way to engage or defeat the phantom power.
TeodoraShoreham, VT

the business

Put simply this is a brilliant piece of kit… does exactly what it says on the tin… converts any XLR mic to USB – including phantom power supply.

We have an Neuman professional condenser mic here at Blockhouse tv and I kid you not – it sounds amazing with this piece of kit. Have plugged into our mac and thrown the signal into Audacity and/or Final Cut pro and it sounds the business – no hum, noise, clicks or pop. We use it to voice the children’s animation DVD series; Jack and Holly. Both the actors and the tech staff find it a really easy and portable set-up to use. OK – looks aren’t great – and it’s plastic – but I don’t really give a monkey’s about that – all I care about is the signal to noise ratio, the sound quality and can it power our very expensive mics? The answer is – yes it can. We say buy!

Jack and Holly’s Christmas Countdown (US Format) Jack and Holly’s Christmas Countdown (European format)DVD

NoeCleburne, TX

Cool stuff

I already have the Bluebird from Blue and was using it to record a friend’s live performance. With only a laptop computer at my disposal, I was able to connect my XLR to USB directly into Garageband. The Icicle is small, portable, and so easy to use– plus, I didn’t have to carry a huge A to D converter!
DimpleManchester, MN

Not bad, not great

Icicle is a pretty good preamp for the price.

Very easy setup and a cool design, but definitely was not very rigid. It’s very light and made of plastic.
But the one things that I didn’t like was the noise. It had a fair amount of buzz along with it.

A cheap preamp for the price, but you get what you pay for.

AidaHerman, NE