Does this low-cost studio mic have the sound to match its looks?
Item: Blue Spark Studio Condenser Microphone
Price: US $199, UK £169
At a Glance: Blue’s Spark is a studio microphone that is well suited to home studio users who need a low-cost mic that can produce good results on a wide range of sources. The mic borrows some of the design characteristics from Blue’s more expensive models to offer a clean, full-range sound as well as great looks and build quality. It requires a preamp with 48v phantom power and its cardioid pattern makes it well suited for vocal recordings.
High Notes: The Spark microphone comes with a wooden box, custom shock-mount and pop-filter. It has a reasonably high output, which is great if you do not have a preamp with massive amounts of gain and can work with SPL’s up to an impressive 128dB. On vocals, the Spark offers a well balanced sound with a slight hint of presence boost and well defined low-mids. It also works well on acoustic guitars and most other instruments you would want to record at home. The microphone features a unique “Focus Control” that provides two different sound characteristics at the push of a button. Rather than using a low-cut filter, it works by altering the voltage loading on the capsule to change the way it behaves. In “focus” mode the mic produces more high frequency detail, whereas in “normal” mode, the mic has increased low frequency sensitivity.
Off Pitch: The focus button on the mic is slightly hard to reach when in its shock-mount. Also the pop shield isn’t quite as effective as a dedicated shield placed further back from the mic.
A VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: Blue’s Spark offers great value for money, however it is a crowded market and it faces strong competition from mics such as the SE Electronics SE 2200A and the Audio‑Technica AT2020. However, with its striking look and good sound quality on a wide range of sources, the Spark is a great choice – especially if you are looking for a studio mic for under $200 that will be able to record vocals, acoustic guitars, percussion or anything else you might want in your track. Blue are soon to release a USB version of the Spark that is intended for users without an audio interface with phantom power as well as for use with iPads.
Manufacture’s Website: http://www.bluemic.com