Blue's USB Tiki mic sports old-school soul styling

Blue Microphone sets the shiny Tiki portable USB mic free at CES. Skyping never looked so cool.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
Blue Microphones Tiki mic
The Tiki is the soulful way to Skype. Amanda Kooser/CNET

LAS VEGAS--USB mics aren't known for being fashion plates. Looks aren't tops on your list when you're Skyping or jockeying a teleconference. Blue Microphones is changing that with the new Tiki mic.

The Tiki portable USB mic has some pleasant specs like CD quality audio, a multicolored LED status indicator, and an extended docking cable. Also, it's less than 3 inches.

It filters background noise and can be set to a natural recording mode as well.

An intelligent mute feature shuts down all the dog barking and keyboard tapping sounds when you're not talking.

But who are we kidding? This little mic is all about the styling. It looks like a shrunken-down classic chrome mic embedded in a zig-zag holder.

I checked out this new arrival on the show floor here at CES, and you can't help but reach out and touch it. It makes me want to softly sing Clarence Carter songs to Skype.

The $59 Tiki fits in well with Blue's lineup of studio microphones. It carries over a lot of the design cues that make the mics popular, but has the audio quality cred to make it a USB mic contender.