If you do a lot of Skype (or other VOIP) calling but aren’t satisfied with the audio quality of the microphone built into your laptop or desktop computer, then the Tiki by Blue Microphones could be the answer to improve Skype voice quality.

Close up angle view of the Tiki USB microphone with built in DSP processing by Blue microphones

The Tiki may be small (formed into a unit not much larger than a standard USB memory stick), but it wields mighty power when it comes to capturing voice and other types of audio.

Capable of capturing CD-quality 16-bit 44.1k audio (with a frequency response of 40Hz-20kHz).  Two opposite facing cardioid microphones capture your voice and ambient audio, the built in 400MHz advanced DSP (Digital Signal Processing) then applies noise cancellation, voice isolation and intelligent muting to dramatically improve call quality.  Bringing your voice to the fore front and minimising other unwanted extraneous noises in the background.

All this is done entirely inside the Tiki hardware, requiring no special driver installation or other hardware.  It truly is a plug and play unit.

The clever DSP technology is enabled thanks to the expertise of the iZotope (a significant player in the audio plug in and software market).   If you’re interested in iOS core audio programming, they have a handy guide containing tips and tutorials.

For operating mode indication the Tiki has an integrated LED that glows red when the mic is performing it’s auto mute function to eliminate noise such as keyboard typing.

The Tiki has already been awarded Design and Engineeering Showcase Honours at CES 2012 (in the computer peripherals category) for being the first USB microphone to employ advanced DSP that mimics the intelligence of human hearing.

Although the Tiki has been designed with VOIP such as Skype in mind, dramatically improving chats and conference calls, this isn’t where Tiki’s uses end.  It’s advanced noise reduction is also suitable for improving performance when used with dictation and other voice recognition software such as Dragon Dictate.

Also, because it’s possible to turn off the clever DSP altogether, by pressing the button on the end of the device, the Tiki is also capable of capturing high-fidelity audio recordings.  So if you’re also a musician that likes to get down some of your musical inspiration every now and then the Tiki will do a great job of this too.

It come with a USB docking extension cable and the packaging doubles as a durable carry case.

Annotated diagram of the Tiki USB microphone features

Beautifully styled (as you’d expect from a Blue Microphones product), with great audio enhancing technology baked in, the Tiki really is a seriously powerful but highly portable microphone, that will also perform well in many other scenarios, not just Skype/VOIP.  If you haven’t yet made the effort to improve your computers audio capability beyond what’s built in, this should be the product to make you change your mind.

You can check out the Blue Microphones Tiki at Amazon.

Links and further reading

Link to Tiki product information on the Blue Microphones website

Tiki/Built-in computer microphone comparison chart – by Blue Microphones 

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