For those serious about recording killer sound on the go using USB 2.0 or iOS device, it's been tough waiting for Blue Microphones Spark Digital mobile recording device. But it's here, after the company announced it was coming back in January.
Blue Microphones has a great reputation in the recording industry, so this was highly anticipated. Just as imagined, the Spark Digital is a solidly built, attractive microphone that captures excellent sound quality with a host of helpful on-board controls.
Specifications and Features
At a little under 7.5 inches tall and an inch and a half in width and depth, the Spark Digital is similar to Shure's SM57 or SM58. Once the microphone is attached to the included metal stand, however, it gets a bit bigger. Although it sounds lightweight, it is anything but and this should be considered when you may be carrying it around for extended periods of time.
The front features the volume and gain control with four LED level indicator lights. Turn the knob left or right to adjust, and push the knob to mute the mic. Another LED display on the dial indicates when the mic is muted, or when the mic is recording. The dial, however, is easily removed. In testing, the button came off during travel. Another switch toggles the Focus Control on and off. The jack on the bottom of the mic takes either the iOS 30-pin cable or a USB for use with laptop or desktop.
Focus Control is described as a feature that enhances a recording's clarity and detail, moreso than “Normal” mode, but it does more. When you toggle the Focus Control switch on, the mic's capsule's voltage is altered, which changes the dynamic frequency response. This means you have more in-depth control over the finished recording, and can choose the best sound quality for the type of situation you are recording.
Accessories and Performance
Use the enclosed metal stand during longer recording sessions. It is capable of swiveling 180 degrees, and when you get it in a position you are happy with, it locks into place. A downfall with the stand: the bungee-style cording that secures the mic in place on the platform. Because the microphone is heavy, that means less stability in certain positions. Keeping the microphone vertical solves this problem.
The cables needed to connect the Spark Digital to USB and iOS are included. Unlike the Yeti, there is no built-in headphone jack to monitor zero-latency, but you'll find this connection on the included cables, so no worries. Carry it all around in the included soft bag that features a compartment on the inside to hold the cables. The 30-pin connector means that you'll have to purchase an extra adapter to be able to use the Spark Digital with the iPad, iPad mini, and iPhone.
The sound recorded is of a wonderful quality, giving a decent clarity and depth of sound, and performing better than other mics. Whether music or speech, high or low, the sound was handled excellently by the Spark Digital.
The Spark Digital is a top pick for your recording on-the-go needs. If there is anything to be improved upon, it would be the stand and its platform, as well as securing the knob a little bit better. Bottomline: it works extremely well at providing a high-quality sound. Pick one up for $199.