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Blue Blackout Spark SL microphone review

Blue Blackout Spark SL microphone

£169
8.9

Build quality

9.0/10

Design

9.0/10

Ease of use

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • It looks the business
  • XLR connection for pro use
  • 100Hz high pass filter and -20dB pad
  • Great mic response
  • Awesome clarity

Cons

  • Some might not like the price but it is worth it

blue spark blackout sl reviewA while ago we brought you news of the latest mic from Blue, the Blackout Spark SL. Well, I loved how it looked so I asked to see if we could play with one.

Blue Microphones have been the go to brand for many a podcaster and home recording musician for a while now, and for good reason. Their USB-connected mics are perfect for no-nonsense but quality audio recordings straight in to your computer. I dare say that most podcasters will have had a Yeti on their desk at some point.

These days even gamers are upping their, errr, game and bringing in pro level mics instead of relying on the all-in-one headset and mic kit. Funnily enough, I have been using a gaming headset and mic for podcasts for the last year or so. This will explain why I am comparing the Blackout Spark SL with the Astro A40 TR headset – not a fair fight, I agree, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Blackout Spark SL design

blue spark blackout slThe Blackout Spark SL is kitted out with a custom designed JFET condenser capsule. This delivers consistent, detailed and transparent sound for a wide range of recording scenarios.

I do like its retro styling. It also looks the business on the end of a boom stand.

The main torso of the device is a neat, almost matte black. The collars and cuffs, so to speak, are a lovely shiny anodised finish.
[youtube id=”hSm1QR5Vwc8"]
The cardioid-only polar pattern greatly reduces pickup of background noise. This is ideally employed for recording a single gamer, speaker, or vocalist.
 
There are two switches on the body of the mic, a 100Hz high pass filter and -20dB pad.

blue spark blackout sl switchesThe -20dB pad keeps voice clear and crisp when things get intense. Additionally, the 100Hz high-pass filter eliminates rumble or other low noises from desktops or noisy environments.

It weighs in at 327g which is reassuringly substantial without being too ungainly.

The mic measures 4.5 x 4.5 x 22 cm with an XLR fitting at the end as well as a threaded collar for the bundled shockmount.

Blackout Spark SL performance

spark blackout sl xlrBeing fitted with an XLR connector means that it is already geared up for pro use. XLR is the standard fitting used for mixing desks, and pro audio interfaces. Before you start thinking that you have to go out and spend more money on a desk or interface, worry not. Blue has you covered.

[a[amazon_link asins=’B001EW5YQS’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’gadgnews-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=”]at I used to connect the Blackout Spark SL to my PC was Blue’s own natty Icicle interface.
 
This simple USB converter packs a mic preamp and so lets you connect your XLR microphone directly to your computer via USB. Thanks to its 48V phantom power, you can even connect premium studio condenser mics such as the Blackout Spark SL.
 

Audio samples

spark blackout sl on wooden boxUsually, if I record any vocals I generally use one of my trust Sure SM58s through my now aging TC Electronics Impact Twin. However, all that is a faff as I’d have to break it down and then set everything up again on a weekly basis if I used it for podcasting.

This is why I have been utilising the Astro A40 TR gaming headset with mic. It’s there on my PC and ready to go whenever I need it.

spark blackout sl and shockmountAs this has been my usual mic then, I have recorded a quick clip of me using that, and then the Blackout Spark SL.

Blue Blackout Spark SL microphone review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 3 min
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