The new SL range of microphones from Blue takes a very distinct look at three sounds of condenser microphones. The three models in the range are the Spark SL, Bluebird SL and Baby Bottle SL. Each has a particular price point covered as well as capturing a certain sound and style. Ultimately - for those of you able to do so - owning all three would be an ideal solution for a plethora of vocal and instrument applications, and would certainly make a very solid foundation for a serious microphone collection to cover a range of genres, styles and recording applications.
The maroon-coloured microphone in the collection and the lowest of the three as far as price goes. Don’t let the price difference put you off - this is still a very usable mic for any number of applications. I can see this performing equally as well for acoustic guitars as for spoken word recordings. When you want clarity and definition, the Spark SL doesn’t go colouring the sound in any distinct way. It simply delivers a clear and concise sound with just a few controls to tame the source. A 100Hz high pass filter allows you to remove any unwanted rumble when recording vocals and a 20dB pad allows you to use the Spark SL with high sound pressure levels like drums and percussion. Hand percussion like congas and bongos would happily sing through a microphone like this and wouldn’t present any issues with unwanted popping or overdriving of the capsule.
This microphone is specifically designed to produce a very modern, almost hi-fi sound that is clean and crisp for articulate instrument applications. It’s a large diaphragm condenser, but it behaves more like a small diaphragm, highly-directional microphone. It is ideal for getting added dynamic response from acoustic guitars and pianos, and I just know it would take the skin off your nose with a horn section in front of it. If you are looking for clarity and punch in your recordings without having to run the source at high volumes, this is the Blue microphone for the task. It also makes an ideal alternative for a vocal microphone when several vocal tracks are used in one song and you want each to stand out from one another. As with any good microphone collection, the SL range offers some real diversity that allows you to multitrack single sound sources with different capsules for varying results. The Bluebird SL is the perfect microphone for doubling up your takes with when looking to add some sparkle to the mix.
BABY BOTTLE SL
Last but not least is the dark blue model – the dark horse in the range, which is undoubtedly my favourite of the three. The Baby Bottle SL is the one that really tries to capture a sound of a bygone era with a classic warmth to its sound. Dark in colour and dark in tone, it still offers some lovely sparkling high frequencies, but is certainly dominated by the rich mid-range and lower mid frequencies that define this classic sounding unit. This is going to be the go-to vocal microphone for many users simply because it sounds like it is far more expensive than it actually is. Whether it’s on vocals, a valve guitar amp, piano, acoustic guitar or strings of any sort, you can expect a timeless sound from this microphone.
Hits and Misses
Three mics to suit three sounds
All quality builds
Great price points
You’ll want all three