In 2014, we’re going to send more gear reviews your way, including more of our own. Everybody at HRH has been scurrying around with various projects, and like you, we want to know what the best tools for our projects are.
At the same time, gear reviews can be a bit rubbish and I’m personally a little wary of falling into the trap of endless comparison. You could always get better gear, but we’re more interested in sharing quality gems with you, not getting bogged down in gear wars. You should be spending time in the studio, not trying to find the best microphone in the world.
In that spirit, we present the Blue Spark Condenser mic. This unit has been out for a while now, but I recently got my hands on one and I’m nothing less than blown away.
Blue pays a lot of attention to presentation, and the fancy-looking wooden box makes you feel like you’re stepping into the range of high end mics. Blue has plenty of unconventional looking mics but never sacrifice on build. The Spark is no exception. This feels and looks quite solid and comes with a custom Blue windscreen and shock mount.
But how does it sound? On vocals, the Spark delivers all the detail and upper air that you expect from a condenser, plus a sweet, rich low end, thanks to a little frequency bump around 70 Hz. Incidentally, there is a “Focus” switch, the equivalent of a high pass filter, that produces a very subtle change in the sound of the microphone. If you’re battling street noise, you might try the Focus mode, but don’t expect a huge change in characteristics.
Immediately, I felt like this is the mic that I’ve been looking for in this price range. It really sounds like a thousand bucks, somehow faithfully reproducing the voice and adding a rich sheen of butter to the low end. EQing these vocals was a dream.
How do they sound on guitar? Amazing.Just amazing. If you want to get a sense of it, this video from Cat5Studios is a good shootout between the Spark an SM57, something a lot of us can use as reference.
My only qualm with the Spark is the windscreen, which sits incredibly close to the microphone and performed far worse than my Audiophonix windscreen. The Blue windscreen seems like a bit of an afterthought but it’s a small price to pay for the quality of the microphone. In this price range, there are now a lot of quality contenders, but they all have to answer to the quality of the Blue Spark.