Sunday, January 4, 2015

Review of the Blue Spark & Spark Digital Condenser Microphones

For a mid-budget home studio voiceover/vocal microphone, my preferred choice is currently one of two condenser mics from Blue Microphones, either the Spark or the Spark Digital. I've had the Spark Digital for a long time and just recently got the regular Spark to add to my gear. These microphones retail for around $200-250 in Canada. I'm quite impressed with the Blue microphones, and they've also gotten good reviews from a lot of other people, so I decided to do a review of my own. These microphones are more expensive than the most basic low-end mics out there, but I feel that spending a bit of extra money is worth it, and you'll have pretty decent quality for whatever project you're working on. If you want to just watch the video review, here's the link, although I'll also include the specs of these mics further down in this blog post:

Here is the general overview of the Spark, taken directly from the Blue Microphones website:

Blue's newest professional mic, Spark, is a cardioid, solid-state condenser microphone designed to help you achieve professional quality recordings in any creative environment. Spark features a custom-designed condenser capsule with Class-A discrete electronics resulting in superbly detailed and uncolored output, making it the ideal microphone for recording vocals, drums, guitars, pianos, brass, woodwinds, and just about anything else you can light a fire under.

A new feature found only on the Spark microphone is the unique Focus Control, providing two different usage modes at the push of a button: the Normal mode (out position) providing increased low frequency sensitivity for recordings with great impact and definition, along with the Focus mode, (in position) for even greater clarity and detail.

The Spark microphone ships with a custom-designed pop-filter and shockmount as well as a convenient and stylish wood case for transport. With Spark, you've got everything you need to make professional recordings, all in one package.

Here is a general list of features of the Spark:

- Transducer: Condenser
- Polar Patern: Cardioid
- Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
- Sensitivity: 28 mV/Pa
- Output Impedance: 50 Ohms
- Rated Load Impedance: Not less than 1kOhm
- Maximum SPL: 128 dB
- S/N Ratio: S/N Ratio: 84 dB
- Noise Level: 10dB [A weighted]
- Power REquirement: +48V DC Phantom Power
- Weight: 1.25 lbs.
- Dimensions: Length - 7.76 inches; Diameter - 1.77 inches

The Spark Digital is good for USB 2.0+, 30-pin, or Lightning connections. You MUST specify which of these connections you need when ordering, as it doesn't come with all three choices! Of course, you can buy the separate cords if you want to be able to use two or three different types of connections.

As I've mentioned, I've owned Spark Digital for a while now and I've been pleased with it, so I figured it was worth a review. Also interesting is that although Blue says that the internal specs of the two microphones are the same, their website lists a frequency response of 26 Hz to 20 kHz for the Spark Digital, rather than a low of 20 Hz. Perhaps this is a typo?

I also have quite a few other tutorial videos relating to DJ'ing, audio editing software, and studio equipment. I've got an organized list of those videos in the index of my "videos" page on my main website. If you're interested in any of those topics, you should bookmark this page right now:

Thanks for your interest in this series, and thanks for sharing this post or links to any of the videos.

Follow Jonathan Clark on other sites:
        Main Site:
        Music Blog: