The Dual-Connection Spark Digital Microphone, from Blue.
From obscurity to saturation, USB “studio” microphones have broken the sound (pun intended) barrier in their rise to the market …and their plateau, within several years.
Often dismissed due to their price points and all-in-one package, USB microphones afford amateurs a low-price/high-quality entry while providing a secondary or emergency portable solution for professionals. USB is good, but digital opens the door to even more possibilities.
Blue is a true microphone innovator, known for their theatrical styling along with solid performance. The Blue Spark digital offers USB performance but also provides a 30-pin universal connection. Now, we can plug in a large diaphragm condenser anywhere an “i” device is available. I had a blast trying the Spark digital on an iPhone*, iPad* and even an iPod Touch*. True; the sun may be setting on the famous universal connector. However, there are (and will remain) tens of millions of compatible devices donning “the universal”.
As a microphone, the Blue Spark digital is simply a good large diaphragm performer, much like its predecessor, the Spark. I was reminded that the Spark does proximity effect quite well and is susceptible to plosives. Don’t forget a blast filter if you intent on getting up close.
Fit and finish is excellent. Besides the microphone, you’ll find a small desk stand/shock mount, two cable sets and an attractive carrying pouch.
Blue calls it a “focus” switch. Focus simply bleeds off bass and adds detail, lending an extra personality to the mic at the flick of a switch. The small front mounted knob allows three levels of audio for zero latency microphone monitoring and overall mic gain. Tap or twist to mute. On the bottom, a mini USB connector receives either of the two included Y-cables. One cable is mated with a USB connector while the other terminates with a universal 30-pin. Both cables include a standard 3.5mm female connector for headphones.
The Blue Spark digital offers great performance and value for the price. A complaint I have is that the headphone and mic levels could be hotter. This is a typical issue for USB powered devices due to voltage and current constraints of the USB standard.
While the microphone itself is a solid performer, the proprietary stand falls short (quite literally). I had to prop the mic up considerably for comfortable height. The stand allows tilting, but that’s all. It would be nice to have a threaded boom mount.
Always unique, electrically competent and attractive too. USB and universal connections adhere recording duality and quality to above par value. The Blue Spark digital might just resonate for you too.
*iPhone, iPad and iPod are registered trademarks of Apple Incorporated.