Neat Microphones Bumblebee II Pro USB Mic Review

Photo taken by the author.

I’m not going to bury the lede; I love this microphone. It’s great. It’s a strong competitor against every other popular USB microphone out there in a sleek, wonderful package that’s priced well.

I’ve spent an entire week using it and I can’t think of one meaningful complaint. The only thing I can come up with (and it’s trivial at best) is that the packaging seems a little larger than necessary. However, even that has a plus in that it does keep the sturdy microphone and stand nice and safe inside.

My last experience with a Neat-brand microphone was the Skyline, an excellent modern take on the classic desktop USB stick microphone. The Bumblebee II features the same svelte design ethos, but now in a small microphone that’s equally capable for the home or professional audio worlds.

If you’re looking for the best new release in USB mics, this is it.

Note: Neat Microphones sent me a final retail unit of this microphone to review. I don’t receive a kick back or any other incentive if you decide to buy one. You can read my full reviews policy right here.

Please click this link if you’d like to support me on Medium.

The Bumblebee II pairs well with most headphones, and has great audio output in addition to excellent recording quality. Photo taken by the author.

The Bumblebee II sells for just $99 (official site here), and comes in a black colorway with some yellow highlights and a lighted ring around its handy multifunction knob. The light changes color to let you know what function you’re controlling. You can set headphone volume, mic gain, and side tone balance right from the knob by clicking it to toggle then turning it, and there’s a separate mute button as well.

In the box, the mic comes pre-mounted on its robust stand, and you also get a nice USB-C cable, an adaptor ring for using the mic with different third party stands, and detailed instructions. It features a headphone jack for real-time monitoring, and full hi res 24-bit/96khz recording support.

The mic’s solid metal body contains a 25mm cardioid condenser capsule, which is impressive considering the small size of the microphone. There isn’t a polar pattern selector here like on some other USB mics, but the Bumblebee II’s recording quality and feature set are so good you won’t miss it.

I got started in USB mics the way that a lot of people did: with a Blue Snowball. The Snowball and Yeti have weirdly dominated the space for years, in spite of their now-ancient designs. While they’ve had some small cosmetic updates over the last decade-plus, they just aren’t that exciting to me anymore.

Today the market for USB audio production is quite competitive. My current favorite gaming-style microphone is the Roccat Torch, from a fellow company in the Turtle Beach family. It comes in at a similar price to the Bumblebee II but it has a more gamer-focused aesthetic. If you’re looking for RGB lighting and gamer-targeted features, it’s a great choice.

Photo taken by the author.

However, if you want a capable, great-sounding microphone that you can use over USB for pro recording, gaming, voice conferencing, or any other audio capture need — I wholeheartedly recommend the Bumblebee II. It has every feature that you need and none that you don’t. Its sound performance is stunningly good for the price. It’s a hefty rebuke of Blue’s longtime market stagnation.

Here’s a short sample of the microphone I recorded. Its capsule is highly sensitive, with strong natural vocal capture performance and plenty of detail for other recording tasks as well. As mentioned above, Neat includes a full-sized printed manual in the box, and this manual actually teaches you how to correctly place the microphone to record different sources! It has many great tips for capturing your voice, live instruments, and much more. I wish that every audio company would do this.

In spite of the small sleek design, the Bumblebee II also has plenty of extra features. It comes mounted on its robust metal stand, but you can easily detach it and put it on the boom arm or mount of your choice. They include a handy adapter ring in the box too so you can change the screw thread size between the two most common diameters.

The included stand is great though, and it’s easy to adjust the tilt of the capsule so that it faces your mouth. The bottom of the stand has a thick foam pad inside, to further help damp the capsule from noise alongside the built-in shock mount. The microphone is built just as well as the stand, with a heft and material quality I’d usually expect to pay more for.

Photo taken by the author.

On the bottom of the capsule next to the USB port there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack. It supports real-time mic monitoring, and has great audio output as well. I tested it with a wide gamut of headphones I have on hand in my personal collection, and it drove them all with authority. I also love that the ports are far enough apart that even thick headphone plugs won’t interfere with the USB cable.

The Bumblebee II sets the new standard for a $99 USB microphone. It should be at the very top of your shopping list. It’s rare that I test a tech product that I can’t meaningfully complain about, but Neat got everything right here. This mic will live on my desk for a long time, and I have no doubt it’ll develop a loyal following of audio producers. Its price, ease of setup, and capability make it a great entry point into the recording world, and its high performance is more than viable for all pro applications as well.

--

--

--

I write independent game reviews and commentary. Please support me directly if you enjoy my work: https://xander51.medium.com/membership

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Microsoft Kinect is back, thanks to Sky’s new all-in-one TVs : Gadget Game News

Will Quantum Computers Break The Internet?

Weekly Wins: The Kylie Jenner Effect

Nite Ize FlipOut REVIEW I wish I would have thought of that.Share

Survivor Strong iPhone 7 Case REVIEW: Minimalistic and Protective, a win-win.Share

Immersive Experience in AR & VR — Immersivegaze.com

Insights from our IoT roundtable v.1

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Alex Rowe

Alex Rowe

I write independent game reviews and commentary. Please support me directly if you enjoy my work: https://xander51.medium.com/membership

More from Medium

Neat Microphones King Bee II XLR Mic Review

The least you can do is try to fix your broken electronics

The Epson SureColor P700 is an Artist-Quality Printer For Your Home

How the Penguin Sausage is Made