AF’s Weblog

October 1, 2012

Blue Microphones Reactor Review

Filed under: Microphones — Tags: , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 9:09 am

The launch of the Spark, which we had the opportunity to review here, generated a lot of excitement. But Blue Microphones shows no intention of stopping there and has introduced a new microphone with a quite… different look?! Reactor enriches the product range of the US brand while staying faithful to the philosophy of offering affordable, but original products. Let’s dig into the details.

How Does it Sound?

Blue Microphones Reactor

 

Blue Microphones ReactorI find the Reactor does a quite good job in all four examples. There’s no doubt it’s a modern mic with high output level and emphasized highs. Regarding the preamp, we kept the same gain setting for both mics in order to show their different output level. In the mono drum-ambiance sample, the Reactor emphasizes the overall brightness of the drum kit. The cymbals clearly cut through, as does the attack of the toms, giving quite a lot of presence and attack to the overall sound. The sound is bright rather than sharp, although that depends on the cymbals… It would have been interesting to try out a couple of Reactor as overheads. However, I fear that the weight of the microphone makes it difficult to put it on a stand and place it in the right position…

Now let’s take a closer look…

Conclusion

Blue Microphones ups the ante when it comes to originality with this characterful microphone. The Reactor is bright both in terms of look and sound, and it will serve a wide range of recording applications. The microphone gives good results with many sound sources. However, do note that you have to use it with a sturdy stand if you want to place it in strange positions, in spite of its 90° swiveling head. Nevertheless, with this small rocket, you get Blue’s very good engineering and manufacturing quality for just $500.

Thanks to Red Led for his legendary guitar playing and to Marc Upson (Upson Studio) for letting us use his facilities… and for his patience. Red Led appears courtesy of LeftWing Beard&Glasses Publishing

Advantages: 
  • Look?! (it’s all a matter of taste)
  • Sound
  • Manufacturing quality

Drawbacks:

  • Weight?!
  • No pad… With such a high output level, a pad would be really helpful!
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October 10, 2011

Blue Microphones Spark Review

Filed under: Microphones — Tags: , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 2:20 pm

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?

Explosive Package

Blue Microphones Spark

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.

 

Blue Microphones Spark

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…

Conclusion

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.

Advantages:

  • The sound
  • Comprehensive package considering the price!
  • User’s manual
  • Manufacturing quality and overall design
  • Incredible value for money

Disadvantages:

  • Shock mount is not “optimal”
  • No pad… but considering the price…!

To read the full detailed review see:  Blue Microphones Spark Review

 

 

 

 

July 7, 2009

Blue Microphones – Bottle Rocket Stage 1 & 2

Blue Microphones presents their new Bottle Rocket Stage 1 & 2 with “modular” technology, which means you can attach different heads to these mics.

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

February 1, 2009

NAMM 2009: Video Demo Blue Microphones Eyeball and Mikey

Filed under: namm 2009, Recording reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 9:22 am

Short presentation of the Eyeball webcam and Mikey condenser microphone for iPod from Blue Microphones.

To watch all NAMM 2009 video demos visit us on Audiofanzine NAMM 2009.


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