The American manufacturer Blue Microphones — famous for its emblematic Bottle — decided several years ago to extend its products range by offering more accessible microphones with the same reliable manufacturing quality. Today, the brand reaffirms its ambition and launches the Spark, a condenser microphone that redefines the down-market mics, both for Blue and its competitors. Will it sparks things off?
It seems that “famous brands” have made it a national (international, I beg your pardon) sport to offer low-budget products to compete directly with more aggressive competitors… even if still surprising. Especially if the manufacturer’s flagship costs almost $6,000. Now, the Bottle can be seen in many recording studios and in front of many famous artists, however, it’s not the first time Blue has tried to offer low-budget recording tools… From USB mics to iPod accessories, its product range grew over the years and reinforced the reputation of the brand that was previously inaccessible…
What’s at stake with the Spark is very high, especially due to it’s low price: $199! How can a mic with such a low price find a place in such an aggressive market segment? Is the brand trying to use its fame to attack a market segment that is almost saturated?
I must admit that, at first, I didn’t understand a thing. The first nice surprise was the packaging itself. The Blue Spark is sold in a small wood case including accessories we didn’t expect considering its price. In fact, you get a small shock mount and a windscreen conceived by Blue to match the capsule size. In spite of its modesty, the brand didn’t relinquish its habits nor professionalism — on the contrary, it has kept its identity.
Inside the case you’ll also find a brief user’s manual with original layout and pictures. In fact, the technical documentation provided reminds a matchbox, which only reinforces Spark’s universe and design. Very well done. The manual is comprehensive enough and easily readable. Beginners and experienced users alike will find something interesting inside. For instance, you’ll find small schematics explaining how to use the Spark optimally, i.e. in which recording situations, with which instruments, how to place it in front of the sound source, etc. You will also find all standard technical data, in case you’re looking for precise information instead of nice images. Certainly, the manual is only a small part of the product, but it reflects the quality of the whole… And, considering the price, the manual is surprising and very well conceived.
Now let’s take a closer look…
It’s always a surprise to see a high-class brand attack a low-budget market segment, but we can affirm that Blue didn’t rest on its laurels to conceive the Spark. This all-around microphone feels at home in the studio and can capture almost any sound source without a sweat. It certainly can’t compete with its famous big brothers but it offers a rarely reached performance and high-quality manufacturing at a very affordable price. An excellent new product and certainly a new standard for all home-studio owners.
- The sound
- Comprehensive package considering the price!
- User’s manual
- Manufacturing quality and overall design
- Incredible value for money
- Shock mount is not “optimal”
- No pad… but considering the price…!
To read the full detailed review see: Blue Microphones Spark Review