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Blue’s flagship tube mic, the Bottle, quickly became one of the standout recording mics in the industry, and with the Baby Bottle SL, that big, warm sound is still there. Just in a smaller form factor. And for less than 1/10th the cost.
Like the other newly launched SL versions, the Baby Bottle is a condenser mic with a cardioid pattern. Like their Bluebird SL, the capsule is covered by a Mylar, gold-sputtered membrane. Gold is an excellent conductor, and while expensive, offers up higher conductivity. A 100Hz hi-pass filter and a -20dB pad are also user-switchable, a nice touch for different applications. Depending upon the usage, these two options offer up a lot of varying tonal response.
The frequency response is 20Hz-20 KHz, meaning a very high frequency range, and with a Max SPL of 134db, it can handle extreme amounts of volume thrown at it. Simply put, close miking is not an issue, and certainly posed no issues during our tests.
For a non-tube driven mic, it’s extremely warm, with plenty of clarity on the top end. Is it going to be as rich and warm as the original Bottle? Well, no. But again, keeping in mind its price point, there’s no way it could. Still, we were impressed, all-around. The upper mid-range has plenty of definition as well, it’s simply a nice balance overall. Acoustic guitars maintain plenty of width, but the bottom end sounds clearly-defined and tight.
Like all microphones, placement is key, but that overall sound profile of the Baby Bottle SL is still quite ‘present,’ and thankfully works across a lot of other applications. Higher volume situations yield similar results, with limited coloring, which is great. On vocals, it has a nice depth and response, but it’s not fighting itself with the other frequency ranges. It’s almost as if this is the way all vocal tracks should sound.
Blue suggests this mic for any acoustic sound source: strings, horns, as well as drums. A pair of these would make an excellent overhead pair for a drum kit, as they can definitely handle the higher volumes, with plenty of definition.
The street price is $399, and like the other SL versions, it comes in a nicely padded, wooden storage box, as well as a shock mount. Any studio should consider this for future mic locker upgrades, as opposed to finding a clone of some other classic mic.
It’s got a lot of those great vintage elements, but can handle high volumes with much more clarity. Plus, the rugged nature of the design means it can handle multiple sessions (and maybe some not-so-gentle clients) and still hold up over time.
Tonally well balanced, plenty of applications, great on acoustic and electric instruments.