A Gift for Fans Of Reaching for Lucidity: Better Sound! The Ball Microphone from BLUE Review

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I know, I know, how pompous can I be. But I meant that partially in jest. But even in jest, you will be getting better sound from RfL.

The Ball microphone by BLUEYou may remember yesterday I said I was happy to be getting a new studio toy, “The Ball” microphone from Blue. This is not to be confused with the Blue microphone most closely associated with New Media, The Snowball, no this is the original ball from Blue, which is blue.

Yep, I have a a blue “The Ball”, which is so much more sweet than blue balls, eh?

Well, I am in love with this microphone, completely. It is a dynamic, but get this, it is a phantom powered dynamic. The phantom power is for a balancing circuit that that smooths out the signal, making it much more rich than a regular dynamic. It is exactly what I was looking for.

I have long been a fan of using dynamic mics instead of condenser mics for home recording. Yes, the condensers sound better, but the majority of home recording folks do not have a pristine recording environment. It is harder to get a clean sound out of a condenser at home than with a cardioid pattern dynamic. Even if the sound is not as rich or powerful, at least it is easier to keep unwanted noise at bay, which is a better trade off.

You can fix sound a bit in production, but it is very hard to take out noise without damaging sound, thus taking away that perk of condenser mics.

Also, homes can be a destructive space. Dogs, kids, clumsiness, things that do not happen at the perfectly setup studios, are a regular day’s routine at home. Condenser mics are not that sturdy and even a light tap can damage them irreparably. dynamics are closer to bulletproof.

Even with that, however, the fact that quality Chinese made condenser mics brought the price down to that of quality dynamic mics, and home recorders want the props of using studio quality equipment, you can see why so many at home producers went with the condensers.

Still, one question I get often is how to reduce the intrusion of unwanted sound? I always ask back, do you have a condenser or a dynamic?

Even a tight cardioid pattern condenser will pick up the smallest ambient sounds. A dynamic with a tight cardioid pattern is much more forgiving.

So, I have used dynamics for most of my New Media career. I did flirt with condensers for a bit, but went back to my trusty dynamics. I still was always on the lookout for a better sound, however.

Enter “The Ball”. Unlike the other BLUE mics, this one is dynamic. But it does have that balncing circuit that runs off of phantom power. This is the perfect mic for me, I am now convinced.

Normally, I am not a fan of best of both world things as you tend to end up with something less in the trade off. Not with this mic. Even though it offers performance in the middle of condenser mics and dynamic mics, it plays to the strengths rather than the weakness of both.

You get a great, deep, and smooth sound from this mic, and it takes well to EQ tweaks. This means you can manipulate the sound curve right off of your board and tweak it just the way you like. Is it up to a high dollar condenser standard? No. But it does not have to be. The sound of this mic is all it’s own, and it is sweet.

Add to this that it has the sturdiness of a dynamic. Also, it rejects ambient sounds very well. the cardioid pattern gives a great sweet spot, but rejects the unwanted.

And how about SPL? SPL means sound pressure level. It is the amount of pressure the mic can handle before distorting. This has always been a strength of dynamics. Condensers can’t take that high of a pressure. This mic? 162db! It is absolutely mind blowing what this mic can take without distorting.

Even though Blue offers two USB condenser mics that they market to New Media and home recording guys, the Snowball and Snowflake, I would have to say leave them alone. Get a mixer or an audio interface with phantom power and get “The Ball”, the Blue blue ball microphone.

Here is a sound test. I am still tweaking the sound, but you will get the idea.

I can’t wait to record with this little bugger.

Cheers,

Eban!

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5 Responses

  1. […] over to Reaching for Lucidity: The Blog, where I have a review up of my new favorite piece of equipment, my “The Ball” […]

  2. Hey Eban… Man, are we one the same page here, or what?
    I use my BALL on 99% of my vocals on vox tracks for demos. As you say, it does have it’s own distinct sound. And it’s fantastic! I do have several other “cheap” mic’s that I like as well… Since I only have one Blue Ball, when there is more than one of us in the studio, doing a podcast or recording, I do use my MXL 770’s (X’s 2) & MXL 990. This way I need to do less post edit because all 3 mics or very similar… but when it comes to recording vocals… the Blue Ball is the one. The only.

    Enjoy and take care… back to podcasting post edit!

  3. […] Latvian Universal Electronics–and the mic is killer! Check out my review of the microphone at Reaching for Lucidity: The Blog, and get one for […]

  4. That mic is like a ball, yo.

    You talk to the ball, but no sack.

    I like that mic.

  5. Hey Jim, yeah, I love this mic.

    Tony, hey. Well, it doesn’t fell like I am talking into a sackless ball, lol. it really is a great mic!

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