Here at MMORPG.com, we cover the hardware and tech that we use to enjoy the MMOs and RPGs from the ground up. For some of us, this includes the content creation that goes alongside our shared hobby. Just like having the right components to handle the digital heavy lifting of modern video games, a clean and clear sounding microphone is worth every penny for anyone who is live streaming or creating content with voiceovers. What if you didn’t have to shell out as much copper for that sound? Blue Microphones thinks that you shouldn’t have to. This is our review of the Ember by Blue Design.
In case you are not familiar with Blue Microphones, their line of Yeti microphones are nearly ubiquitous with streaming. However, the company has a whole array of consumer- and studio-grade products for just about every level of audio production and enjoyment. The Ember is a crossover product that provides studio quality sound at a price accessible to the average content creator.
- MSRP: $99.99 USD
- Transducer Type: Condenser capsule
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Frequency Response: 38 Hz - 20 kHz
- Output Impedance: 40 ohms
- Maximum SPL: 132 bD SPL
- Power Requirement: 48V DC Phantom Power
The Ember is a compact condenser microphone with a hand tuned side-address capsule and tight cardioid polar pattern. This means that incredible care has gone into calibrating the Ember for tight recording spaces and off-axis noise rejection. And that isn’t just a rehash of Blue’s marketing, it actually functions like that.
Let’s take a listen:
As you can hear, the Ember does an exceptional job of capturing what is right in front of it while quickly diminishing sound from the sides. While there this audio sample does still have some sound present off-axis do to the polar pattern of the capsule, anything picked up in the background is easily terminated with a very minimal noise gate or gets drowned out by in-game audio. The only real downside to this tight polar pattern is that you really do need to be close to the Ember to get the full quality that it provides.
In comparing it to similarly priced microphones, like the MXL 990 and Sterling Audio SP150, the Ember has a clarity to it that the others seem to lack without external help. That off-axis rejection comes back into play with keeping the background clear of clutter to focus on what you are aiming to capture.
When it comes to build quality, I was struck immediately out of the box by the design of the Ember. The microphone capsule is quite demure atop the steely blue metal chassis. While it has a slender design similar to a dynamic microphone, its balanced heft gives it a premium feel that is carried across Blue’s product line. Even the mount for the Ember feels high quality. With 180 degrees of articulation and a ring that allows you to secure the mic to the mount, Blue has thought through the needs of their target audience. The one piece missing at this time is a compatible shock mount from Blue.
Like other condenser microphones, it is important to note that the Ember does require 48V of phantom power. Most digital audio interfaces will provide it, but it is worth consideration if you are considering it.
Blue Microphones has a pedigree that it carries into this affordable microphone. Its build quality and audio capture capabilities stay true to the brand while being an incredibly affordable condenser microphone. I would not call the Ember a “budget” microphone by any stretch of the term because the quality is simply astounding for the price. However, if you are on a budget and you are searching for gear to produce quality content for steaming or podcasting, the Ember may just be the spark to ignite your creativity on a whole new level.
- Excellent off-axis rejection
- Beautiful clarity
- Great price point for creators looking for a quality option without having to spend more
- Sturdy design
- Close proximity to the mic is necessary to maintain quality of capture
- No extra features - i.e. high-/low-pass filter, dB reduction, available shock mount
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.