Recording - May 2013 - 51

filter!”, because a lot of the time that’s
exactly what it sounds like—a highpass filter with a corner frequency around 120
Hz and a slope around 18 dB/octave
based on the published response plots.
The effect is dramatic, and while it is very
useful for solo instruments with a lot of highs
(like flute) and really tightens up voiceovers
in noisy, rumbly environments, I found it ate
a bit too much of the bass in many instruments and left it turned off for most of
my recordings. All that being said,
it’s still a cool thing to have... it’s like
having two mics for the price of one,
with the second mic being a specialty device you wouldn’t normally buy
just to have laying around waiting for
the right instrument.
We recorded male and female
vocals, acoustic guitar, dulcimer,
woodwinds, and hand percussion with
the Spark Digital, and got clean and
consistent results. The polar pattern is a
pretty wide cardioid with a good bit of
rejection behind the mic (except at the
very low end) and a reasonably smooth offaxis response; I wouldn’t recommend clustering a group of players around it, but a soloist
who weaves a bit as he plays guitar could
probably get away with it thanks to this mic’s
forgiving pickup pattern. We did end up
quickly pressing a pop filter into service for
our vocal tests, though, and we recommend

that you do the same, either with the custom
Spark Pop filter or a third-party option.
Computer operation was flawless; on
our Mac OS X 10.6.8, Windows XP and
7, and iOS devices, it was as simple as
plugging in, telling the DAW software
about the mic in its Preferences or Options,
and getting to work. The headphone amp
was loud, clean, and provided zero-latency monitoring for better takes.

The only caveat for iOS apps is that they
have to be able to recognize mics and headphone outputs connected to the device’s
dock. This was once a common problem, as
many audio apps stubbornly ignored the
dock and relied on the much lower-quality
(but universally available) headset minijack
with its TRRS mono input and stereo output.

Fortunately we seem to be seeing the end of
this teething-infant phase of iOS audio, as
more makers realize that the dock connector
is a much better audio option.
Our tests only ran across a few apps that
refused to recognize the Spark Digital, most
commonly software instruments that allow
users to sample sounds with the internal mic.
Audio recorders like Sonoma Wire Works
StudioTrack, WaveMachine Labs Auria,
and of course Apple GarageBand
worked beautifully with the Spark
Digital, as did IK Multimedia’s
VocaLive voice processor.
Zap!
The Spark Digital is easy to set up,
quick to control, and offers the Spark’s
flexible and high-quality sound, making
it a real contender for serious audio
recordists who want great DAW sound
on a budget. This applies not only to
laptop Mac and Windows PC users but
also to the growing community of serious iOS recordists, who until now have
had to carry separate audio interfaces or
kludge together USB mics with Apple’s
Camera Connection Kit. If the Spark Digital
sounds like it will fit your needs, you won’t go
wrong by giving it a careful listen.
Price: $199.99
More from: Blue, www.bluemic.com


http://www.bluemic.com http://www.chameleonlabs.com http://www.realtraps.com http://www.chameleonlabs.com

Recording - May 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - May 2013

Recording - May 2013
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Jim Anderson Records Patricia Barber
Lewitt Authentica LCT 940
PreSonus Eris Series High-Definition Studio Monitors
How To Record Great Vocals At Home
Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
Plug-ins To The Rescue—Real-Life Remedies For Vocal Tracks
Moon Professional 3500MP 2-Channel Microphone Preamp
DPA Microphones d:fine Series Headset Microphones
Plug-in Outlet: Toontrack EZmix Pack: Vocal Toolbox
Plug-in Outlet: iZotope Nectar Elements
Blue Spark Digital USB Microphone
Plug-in Outlet: Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (and Character)
Readers' Tapes
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 17: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 4
CAD Audio Acousti-shield 32
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - May 2013 - Intro
Recording - May 2013 - Recording - May 2013
Recording - May 2013 - Cover2
Recording - May 2013 - 1
Recording - May 2013 - 2
Recording - May 2013 - 3
Recording - May 2013 - Fade In
Recording - May 2013 - 5
Recording - May 2013 - Contents
Recording - May 2013 - 7
Recording - May 2013 - Talkback
Recording - May 2013 - 9
Recording - May 2013 - Fast Forward
Recording - May 2013 - 11
Recording - May 2013 - 12
Recording - May 2013 - 13
Recording - May 2013 - Jim Anderson Records Patricia Barber
Recording - May 2013 - 15
Recording - May 2013 - 16
Recording - May 2013 - 17
Recording - May 2013 - Lewitt Authentica LCT 940
Recording - May 2013 - 19
Recording - May 2013 - PreSonus Eris Series High-Definition Studio Monitors
Recording - May 2013 - 21
Recording - May 2013 - 22
Recording - May 2013 - 23
Recording - May 2013 - How To Record Great Vocals At Home
Recording - May 2013 - 25
Recording - May 2013 - 26
Recording - May 2013 - 27
Recording - May 2013 - 28
Recording - May 2013 - 29
Recording - May 2013 - 30
Recording - May 2013 - 31
Recording - May 2013 - 32
Recording - May 2013 - 33
Recording - May 2013 - Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
Recording - May 2013 - 35
Recording - May 2013 - 36
Recording - May 2013 - 37
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-ins To The Rescue—Real-Life Remedies For Vocal Tracks
Recording - May 2013 - 39
Recording - May 2013 - Moon Professional 3500MP 2-Channel Microphone Preamp
Recording - May 2013 - 41
Recording - May 2013 - DPA Microphones d:fine Series Headset Microphones
Recording - May 2013 - 43
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: Toontrack EZmix Pack: Vocal Toolbox
Recording - May 2013 - 45
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: iZotope Nectar Elements
Recording - May 2013 - 47
Recording - May 2013 - 48
Recording - May 2013 - 49
Recording - May 2013 - Blue Spark Digital USB Microphone
Recording - May 2013 - 51
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (and Character)
Recording - May 2013 - 53
Recording - May 2013 - Readers' Tapes
Recording - May 2013 - 55
Recording - May 2013 - 56
Recording - May 2013 - 57
Recording - May 2013 - 58
Recording - May 2013 - 59
Recording - May 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 17: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 4
Recording - May 2013 - 61
Recording - May 2013 - 62
Recording - May 2013 - 63
Recording - May 2013 - CAD Audio Acousti-shield 32
Recording - May 2013 - Advertiser Index
Recording - May 2013 - 66
Recording - May 2013 - 67
Recording - May 2013 - 68
Recording - May 2013 - 69
Recording - May 2013 - 70
Recording - May 2013 - 71
Recording - May 2013 - Fade Out
Recording - May 2013 - Cover3
Recording - May 2013 - Cover4
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