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Blue Microphones Spark
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Blue Microphones Spark

Large diaphragm condenser microphone from Blue Microphones belonging to the Essential series.

Public price: $199 incl. VAT
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kondwanikaphaizi kondwanikaphaizi

« Brilliant Low-Cost Vocal Mic »

Published on 07/10/14 at 06:01
When I made the decision to start recording vocals in my home studio I decided to buy some low cost mics to experiment with and just to get myself comfortable with the whole recording process. I ended up buying several mics but none of them really impressed for one reason or another. I eventually opted to buy the Blue Spark after doing some thorough research and it was a great investment.

The Spark is an XLR, cardioid mic with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. The build quality is very good and it has a solid and polished feel. It's quite heavy for a mic of it's size, weighing in at 567 grams, with a height of 7.71 inches. It comes packaged in a wooden box and has a custom shock-mount and pop filter which is quite handy if you don't already those items separately. It also comes with a user manual which explains how to setup the mic, store it and tips on recording different sound sources. The mic is mainly targeted at the low-budget market and home/project studio owners. I use mine mostly for in-studio recording of R&B, reggae and hip hop vocals.

Being an XLR condenser it requires phantom power which you can obtain from many mixers and audio interfaces. I use mine with an Avid Mbox Mini 3 and the pair works great. If you don't have a mixer or audio interface to provide phantom power but are still interested in getting this mic you can consider buying the Blue Spark Digital which is a USB version of the mic or buy an XLR to USB converter which will use power from your computer.

One unique feature of the mic is that it has a "Focus" button which when activated acts as a high-pass filter and rolls off frequencies below 100Hz and adds some boost to the lower . Aesthetically it's a very beautiful and unique-looking mic.

OVERALL OPINION

What I like most about the mic is the sound quality. The self-noise of the mic is very low and when used with a good preamp it produces stellar results, enough to make you forget its low price.
When the "Normal mode" is activated it captures bass and low frequencies very well. The sound is very forward and in-your-face, perfect for hip hop which normally needs powerful vocals. None of the other mics I've used within the same price range capture the bass element of a voice as well as the Spark.

It generally performs very well under most of the conditions which I use it for, which is mainly vocal work (R&B, hip hop and reggae vocals) and recording sounds to use in my music (things like hand claps, shakers, tambourines, beat-boxing, custom sound effects, etc). Since it captures vocals so well this should be usable usable for voice-over work and podcasts.

Following are the pros and cons of the mic that I've noted:

Pros:
- Excellent sound quality at its price point
- Attractive design. It's solid and feels expensive.
- Dual mode to increase/decrease low-end sensitivity
- Comes with its own shock-mount and pop filter (free stuff is good)


Cons:
I'm hard-pressed to find any real cons with the mic, because it performs exceptionally well considering it's cost. But the main thing is the quality/usability of the included accessories. Much as I appreciate that they're free the pop filter is not effective at close range, so I have to use an additional pop filter. The shock-mount is also cumbersome. It doesn't hold the mic very well, it shakes a lot. I've found that it works best when hanging upside down.

With that being said I would not hesitate to buy this mic again. It really gives more bang for your buck and shines above most mics in its price range and even some in the slightly higher price bracket.

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