Blue are best known for their interesting looking studio mics. They hold a unique place in the market with stylish offerings for high-end and entry-level mics. Here’s a closer look at the latest incarnations of their popular Blue Essentials series of large diaphragm condenser mics, as displayed at the recent NAMM 2017 show.
Blue’s flagship ‘Bottle’ valve model retails at around £4k and is used by some pro studios in preference to vintage mics by the likes of Neumann. Blue are also a popular brand in home studios with mics like the ‘Baby Bottle’ available for less than £300. More recently, Blue have made bold moves into the headphone market and their live mics are gaining many fans.
Revamped Blue Essentials?
According to Blue, the Spark SL, Bluebird SL and Baby Bottle SL are their most popular mics treated to a sleek new look. Each mic comes with -20dB pad and 100Hz high-pass filter. As with the whole Blue range, these mics seem aimed squarely at ‘creative’ musicians and producers. I have no doubt these are great sounding mics for the price bracket.
But how different are these from the previous generation? Well, let’s take a look:
Have I missed something or is the new “sleek” new look pretty similar?
Do the Blue Essentials models mark anything more than a marketing exercise? I applaud Blue for continuing to bring a more interesting design aesthetic to studio mics than some of the more long established brands. However, it seems to me that this is another re-branding exercise. This tactic is favoured by so many brands. Yes, the specs have changed a little. They’ve probably changed their manufacturing processes in some way and maybe Blue can bring their costs down. Hopefully this saving is passed on to the customer.
Blue describe the Baby Bottle SL as delivering warmth and intimacy, the Bluebird SL as offering modern clarity and “crispness” and the Spark SL model’s forte is described as transparency and detail. I would love to check them out on a recording session, but I’m under no illusion the new models will perform significantly better than the previous version. Then again, the originals do have many fans…
Price and availability
The Baby Bottle SL ($399), Bluebird SL ($299) and Spark SL ($199) microphones are available now.