There are a great many microphones on the market these days. And if we are talking about microphones for recording in studios or for other reasons you have a wide choice. The subject of this Blue Baby Bottle review is just one.
There are those that excel which some people can afford, but most can’t. On the other end of the scale, there are very cheap mics that probably aren’t worth bothering with if you are serious about sound. Then there are those on the mid-range price-wise.
We talk about price points because as with most things you only usually get what you pay for. But in this mid-range price bracket, there are more microphones than any other. It is therefore difficult to make choices.
There are some microphones ideally suited for the stage and others for the studio. There are the rare few excellent mics that can accommodate both scenarios. It is, therefore, important to be able to identify which mics are best at what. That way you will get what you need from your microphone.
We are going to have a look at one such mic in this mid-price range but before we do let’s talk briefly about the manufacturer…
Blue has been around since 1995. They were established as a joint venture between an American session musician and a Latvian recording engineer. The name Blue isn’t an attempt at being trendy it is just an acronym. It stands for Baltic Latvian Universal Electronics.
The company has undergone a few ownership changes over this short period of time. Sold in 2008 and 2013, it is now owned by Logitech. Blue are now based in California.
They now manufacture a range of condenser, dynamic, USB, and ribbon microphones. Also preamps, mic accessories, and headphones. Known for their interesting designs, they have established themselves in the marketplace and have built a solid reputation.
We are going to outlook at one of their microphones the Blue Baby Bottle…
This microphone could be described as being a studio workhorse. By that we mean it has a lot of strings to its bow and gives the user a lot of options. We would go as far as to say that in its category it is one of the most versatile mics you will come across.
It demonstrates a very neutral character in its sound and is very strong in the mid-range frequencies. This will make it suitable for recording vocals, drums, and acoustic instruments. Electric and Bass guitars through speakers are also within its remit. But its use will also extend to those instruments considered a bit tricky to record well, such as the sax, flutes, and some stringed instruments.
It is not what you might call a ‘specialist’ mic, as some are. Its versatility, therefore, makes it a microphone worth consideration for the home or smaller studio where a variety of uses are very important.
So, let’s have a closer look…
One thing that is common with most Blue microphones is that they often have a very distinctive design. They also have quite innovative names. The Blue Baby Bottle is no exception.
I suppose you could say that it does.
It has a strong metal casing over the ‘bottle’ which contains all the electronics. It is not designed to be thrown around, but sturdy enough to take some of the inevitable knocks. On top, the unit has a strong metal spherical mesh grille to protect its internal workings. At the lower end, the fitting for the XLR cable, which is not provided, is also metal and secure.
It looks a tough little mic and it is. It weighs just under one pound and is 8¾ inches in length. On the top of the casing, there are switches for the high-pass filter and -20dB pad.
It has a transformerless output and the signal path is not interrupted by integrated circuits. This allows the sound received to be converted to electrical energy (transduced) very accurately without coloration. The build quality is good and quite strong. It is made in China.
This mic is a pressure-gradient condenser mic with a cardioid pattern. It has a single membrane large-diaphragm capsule. It contains a mylar film of 6-micron that has a sputtering of gold and aluminum. In fact, every part of this mic has been designed to achieve maximum performance.
This hand-tuned capsule will give an amazingly accurate and transparent sound. And as we have already said, this with very little coloration. It is also one of the quietest mics in its range because of its custom circuitry.
We mentioned earlier that on the casing are switches for the 100 Hz high pass filter and a -20dB pad. These will of course help you to achieve a very pure sound devoid of any external noise. Essential control elements for producing great recordings.
This mic has a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz and an impressive SPL of 134dB. This allows it to handle even the loudest sounds from vocals, guitars through cabinets or drums. Being a condenser mic it will require 48v DC power.
Where Is It Best Used?
One of the great plus points that this mic has is its versatility within a given environment. We have to say we don’t think that this mic will challenge the SM58 or 57 for use in live performances. That is a given, but it is also not really what it was built for.
This mic as we said earlier is a workhorse studio mic. It has some very good attributes and its potential variety of use is certainly one of them.
Our view is that it will be a great studio mic for a home or new and growing studio. In the early days, such studios usually has to have a tight budget. That budget might not extend to half a dozen specialized mics. Therefore you will need a mic that can do a few things well.
This mic will be very good for vocals. It will also be good for electric guitars because of its neutral mid-range response. Aim the mic at the center of the speaker for the six-stringers or towards the edge for the important sounds. The bass that is. You will achieve either accented highs or a rich fuller sound.
With an acoustic guitar, it is never easy to get the perfect sound. Large-diaphragm mics do need to be placed in exactly the right position (normally pointing at the 12th fret) to capture the full resonance of the instrument. The Baby Bottle can achieve that which is impressive.
For the drums, the high SPL and fast transient response give it a head start. It records drums very well for what is, after all, an affordable mic. For other instruments that may not be so common for a small studio, it has the built-in requirements to perform well.
With saxophones and other reed instruments, flutes, and strings the prevalence of a mid-heavy sound acts as a huge advantage.
But when you think recording, don’t just think of music in the conventional sense. How about recording dialogue, interviews, etc., for podcasts or videos. For that, it is going to excel.
As we say, it offers a variety of options. It is not what you might refer to as brilliant for any of them. It is just pretty good at all of them. That is a huge asset to a new venture in its earliest recording attempts.
We don’t think we need to spend much time discussing the performance after the last section. From that, you will get the idea that we think it does a good job.
From our experience in the early days of a studio having equipment that will perform a range of functions at a reasonable level is very important. It certainly has an effect on the initial outlay. This mic performs to a decent standard across a variety of disciplines as we’ve said. That is something that not all mics at this price point can say.
You don’t usually get an awful lot of extras with any mic and so it is with this. You do though, get a shock mount and a very basic built-in pop filter. Certainly for vocals and possibly other recordings you will need an external pop filter. It also comes in a very presentable wooden box for its protection which is something a lot of manufacturers won’t give you at this price.
Blue Baby Bottle Pros & Cons
- High output.
- Very quiet.
- Resistant to mechanical noise.
- Unusual and attractive styling.
- Very affordable for this level of quality.
- None considering the price.
So Many Microphones, So Little Time
You’ll probably need more than just a Baby Bottle in your mic locker, so check out our reviews of the Best Condenser Microphones, Best Microphones Recording Electric Guitar, the Best Microphones for Recording Rap Vocals, the Best Vocal Mics, the Best IOS Microphones, the Best Dynamic Microphones, the Best USB Microphones, or even the Best Microphones for Youtube currently on the market.
What We Think?
This is a mic with a lot going for it. It sounds superb for the price point, is incredibly versatile, and will look ‘cool’ in any studio environment. In fact, if whoever you’re recording is used to more ‘normal’ microphone designs, this will definitely make them raise their game and bring the best performance out of them.
It’s a microphone that will grow with you and will never be moved on. You may replace it with higher-end microphones down the line, but it will always find a use somewhere, making it a great investment for the future.
At this price point, this is an excellent option for anyone looking for an affordable, practical, and versatile microphone and is therefore highly recommended.