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The really cool thing about nice microphones, is even if they’ve been meant for one application that doesn’t mean they can’t be used for something completely different to come up with new and interesting sounds. So, when Blue released their Ember Microphone earlier this year, designed to be a multipurpose mic, things got interesting.
Overall it’s quite slim, inside the metal grill is a hand-tuned condenser capsule with a small diaphragm that’s configured in a cardioid pattern. It requires phantom power, via its XLR connection, and comes with its own mic stand mount.
It’s meant to be an “all in one” microphone, meaning it does the job well regardless of the sound source. It sounds great on electric guitar amps, as well as placing it on the sound hole of an acoustic guitar (even off-axis results in our tests were fantastic). It’s quite focused, so moving it around slightly can open up frequencies very easily. Hard to think of another microphone that can do double duty like this in the guitar realm with such great results. Frequency response is 38Hz-20kHz, and a max SPL of 132 dB, so keeping clarity and articulation in a wide range, and at high volume levels isn’t an issue at all.
Speaking of high volume applications, one of these on a snare drum could easily make you rethink whatever mic that’s currently your go-to. It’s small enough to sneak into the maze of drum hardware without any worry, which is great. Trying to fit a large condenser on a kit can be difficult, at times. Even better, a pair of these would be nice as a set of overheads.
Using it for vocals, it has a lot of great applications; doing voiceover work, or as a podcasting mic, it works really nice, again with plenty of clarity and no boominess. Using it as a mic for YouTube videos is a no brainer as well. In a more musical vocal situation, it is wonderful, with the ability for the singer to work the mic, without having to play around with sweet spots or work around dead zones. Again, clarity is the big deliverable here – moving the angle of the mic’s attack can make a difference, too, so don’t hesitate to experiment when it comes to optimal placement for your application.
Overall, it really is a one stop shop for any musical application. The street price is a ludicrous $99, which is quite amazing. It easily competes with AKG and Rode condensers we’ve tested at twice the price. Try to find a great sounding, well-made mic that can handle just two of the situations above, and one that does it so well that it makes you rethink your previous selections. Now try to find one that does it all – that’s Ember.
Any user that has a small 2-channel interface connected to their computer, should have one of these. Singer/Songwriters, we’re looking at you. Want better options for a snare drum or a guitar cab, look no further. A recording studio with a couple of these in their mic locker will appreciate the focus, and ease of dialing in good tones. The only downside is figuring out what WON’T get mic-ed up with one of these. And at this price, you could outfit your entire studio in one fell swoop.
Great price, great sound in multiple applications