In recent times, with the release and adoption of Windows 11, a noticeable number of users have reported issues with their Blue Snowball microphones not functioning as expected. The problems range from the microphone “going to sleep” despite showing it’s powered on, to being misidentified as a different model, or even not being detected or recognized at all by Windows. Some users have found the microphone works flawlessly on Windows 10 but faces issues immediately after upgrading to Windows 11.
In this article, we’ll look into various reported issues and offer solutions that have been effective for many to in resolving the Blue Snowball mic driver error on Windows 11 or 10.
Commonly reported issues with the Blue Snowball mic on Windows 11/10
Below are some of the most frequently reported problems with the Blue Snowball microphone when used with Windows 11 or Windows 10.
1. Microphone going to sleep
Many users have observed a peculiar issue where their Blue Snowball microphone seems to “go to sleep” after some time, despite the light being on. This results in the microphone not picking up any sound, and sometimes, users can “wake” it by making a loud noise near the device.
2. Misidentification of the Blue Snowball microphone model
A few users have reported that their genuine Blue Snowball microphones are mistakenly identified as the Blue Snowball Ice model by certain software, including the official Blue Sherpa software. The distinguishing factor between the two models is the three-option switch present on the back of the original Blue Snowball, which the Ice variant lacks.
3. Yellow caution sign in Device Manager
Another commonly reported problem is the presence of a yellow caution sign next to the microphone’s name in the device manager. This typically indicates driver issues or conflicts within Windows.
Related problem: Unknown USB Device (Set Address Failed) in Windows 11
4. Microphone not detected or recognized on Windows 11, but works on Windows 10
Particularly after updating from Windows 10 to Windows 11, some users found that their microphones stopped being recognized by the operating system. In “Device Administration” under “Universal Serial Bus Controllers”, the microphone sometimes appears as an “Unknown USB device”.
5. Mic volume shows 0% in Windows sound settings
For some, even when all settings seem correct, the microphone does not pick up any sound. Windows reports 0% volume when trying to test the mic.
Linked issue: Headphones Jack Not Working on Windows 11 or 10
Solution 1: Use an externally powered USB Hub
One of the primary issues some users have encountered, especially with laptops, is the insufficient power supply from the built-in USB ports. This can cause the Blue Snowball microphone to intermittently “sleep” or not be recognized at all. To overcome this, employing an externally powered USB hub can help ensure the microphone gets the necessary power for optimal functionality.
Why an externally powered USB hub?
USB ports on some devices, especially laptops, might not always supply enough power to efficiently run external devices like microphones. An externally powered USB hub, as the name suggests, draws power from an external source (typically an AC outlet) and can provide a consistent power supply to connected devices.
Handy guide: How to Hear Yourself on Mic in Windows 11
Steps to implement the solution:
- Purchase an externally powered USB hub: These are available at most electronic stores or online marketplaces. Ensure the one you buy is from a reputable brand and has good user reviews.
- Setting up:
- Connect the USB hub to an electrical outlet using its power adapter.
- Plug the hub’s main USB connector into one of your computer’s USB ports.
- Connect your Blue Snowball microphone:
- Now, instead of plugging the Blue Snowball directly into your computer, connect it to one of the ports on the powered USB hub.
- The microphone should now have a consistent power supply and should operate more reliably.
- Test your microphone: After setting everything up, go to your computer’s sound settings to see if the microphone is recognized and test to see if it’s picking up sound.
Note: If your microphone is still not recognized, ensure all connections are secure and that the powered hub is functioning correctly by testing with other devices.
Related resource: How to Increase or Boost Microphone Volume in Windows 11
Solution 2: Avoid using USB extension cables
Extension cables, especially those that come with on/off switches, can sometimes interfere with the proper recognition and functioning of external devices. Direct connections usually ensure the best performance and recognition of devices like the Blue Snowball microphone.
Why avoid extension cables?
USB extension cables, though convenient, can sometimes introduce issues related to power delivery or data transmission. For sensitive devices like microphones, any interference or inconsistency can lead to malfunctions or non-recognition.
Steps to implement the solution:
- Disconnect the USB extension cable: If you’re using any USB extension cable with your Blue Snowball microphone, disconnect it.
- Directly connect your microphone:
- Plug the Blue Snowball microphone’s USB cable directly into one of your computer’s USB ports, ensuring a direct connection without any extensions.
- Try different ports if the first one doesn’t work. Some systems may have specific ports that deliver better power or have better data consistency.
- Check microphone recognition: After plugging in the microphone directly:
- Right-click on the sound icon in your system tray (usually at the bottom right corner of your screen).
- Select “Sounds”.
- Navigate to the “Recording” tab. Here, you should see your Blue Snowball microphone. If it’s recognized, it should be active and not grayed out.
- Test your microphone: Speak or make a noise near your microphone and see if the sound levels fluctuate, indicating that sound is being picked up. You can also set the microphone as the default device and run any recording software to test its functionality.
Suggested read: The Wizard Could Not Start Microphone in Windows 10/11
Solution 3: Update firmware or BIOS
Incompatibility issues can sometimes arise due to outdated firmware or BIOS on your computer, especially a laptop. Keeping these components updated ensures better harmony between your computer and external devices like the Blue Snowball microphone. An updated BIOS can also address underlying power management issues that might be causing the microphone to malfunction.
Why update the firmware or BIOS?
BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is integral firmware used during the booting process of your computer. Updates to the BIOS can improve hardware compatibility, address bugs, and enhance system stability. For peripherals like the Blue Snowball microphone, such updates can be the difference between proper functionality and recurring issues.
Steps to implement the solution:
Caution: Always follow manufacturer instructions when updating the BIOS. An incorrect or interrupted update can potentially harm your system. If you’re unsure about the process, consider seeking help from someone knowledgeable or reach out to the manufacturer’s customer support.
- Backup your data: Before making any significant changes, it’s essential to back up crucial data to avoid potential data loss.
- Check for updates:
- Click on the “Start” button or press the Windows key.
- Select “Settings”.
- Navigate to “Update & Security”.
- Under “Windows Update”, look for any optional firmware or BIOS updates available for your system.
- Check your computer’s manufacturer’s website to see if there are any new firmware updates. For example, if you have a Dell laptop, visit the Dell driver site to see if any updates are available.
- Install updates:
- If an update is available, click on “Download and Install”.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process. This might include your system restarting one or more times.
- Reboot your system:
- Once the updates are installed, restart your computer.
- Test your microphone: After your system reboots, plug in your Blue Snowball microphone and see if it’s recognized and functions correctly.
Solution 4: Check the audio services
Windows operates several background services to ensure audio devices work correctly. If the Blue Snowball microphone isn’t working, there’s a possibility that some of these audio services might not be responding or could be in a stopped state.
Why check Windows audio related services?
The “Windows Audio” and “Windows Audio Endpoint Builder” services are integral to audio functionality on Windows systems. If either of these isn’t running correctly, it can lead to issues with audio devices, including microphones like the Blue Snowball.
Steps to implement the solution:
- Open the services app:
- Press the Windows + R keys simultaneously to open the Run dialog box.
- Type “services.msc” and press Enter or click “OK”.
- Locate the audio services: In the Services window:
- Scroll down and find “Windows Audio”. Double-click on it to open its properties.
- Do the same for “Windows Audio Endpoint Builder”.
- Check the service status: For both services:
- If the service status is “Stopped”, click on the “Start” button to start the service.
- If the service is running, consider restarting it by clicking “Restart”.
- Ensure automatic startup: In the properties window for each service:
- Use the dropdown menu next to “Startup type” and ensure it is set to “Automatic”. This ensures that the service starts automatically with Windows.
- Apply changes and reboot: After making the necessary changes:
- Click “Apply” and then “OK”.
- Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
- Test your microphone: Once your computer reboots, plug in your Blue Snowball microphone. Head to the sound settings and check if the microphone is recognized and working correctly.
Note: If you continue to experience issues with the audio services, consider seeking professional help, as deeper system issues might be present.
If, after trying all the aforementioned solutions, your Blue Snowball microphone still doesn’t work, it may be indicative of an underlying hardware issue. Faulty hardware, such as internal components of the microphone or USB connectors, can sometimes be the culprit behind such persistent problems. On the other hand, there’s also the possibility of a more deep-seated driver error within Windows that hasn’t been addressed yet.
In such situations, it’s important to remember that technology, however advanced, isn’t infallible. Until a fix is presented or you can pinpoint the specific hardware issue, it might be more efficient to consider utilizing another microphone to ensure consistent audio recording and communication on your Windows device.