Ordered a Blue Spark Digital microphone when it was  Musiciansfriend’s “Stupid Deal of the Day”.
Got it yesterday and it was defective. I buy quite a bit of the “Stupid Deals” and it always seems that the items are returns.  The packaging has always been opened and there are always finger prints.  How much trouble is it to wipe the item down before shipment, cleaning off the fingerprints.  After all, they are claiming that these things are new.   Half the time I end up sending the “Stupid Deals” back because there is usually, some kind of defect that isn’t noticeable on a quick inspection on returned items.  But, the reviews on the Blue Spark Digital were all 4-5 star so, I bit the bullet and purchased it.  It would give me something to use while I awaited the Duet 2 repairs.

I got my Blue Spark in a few days and, sure enough, the damn thing was defective.  The base attachment for the mic had been stripped out and wouldn’t allow the mic to screw in firmly to the base and the volume was incredibly low even turned all the way up.  I called Musiciansfriend to let them know I needed to exchange it for a working Blue Spark and I was told that the $99 dollar special on the Blue Spark Mic was over but, they would be happy to send a replacement for $198.  They went on to explain that the $99 price was only good on the factory re-conditioned units they had in stock and all of these units  had been sold.  Told them I would call Blue and see how much of a pain it would be to go through them to get a replacement before sending the mic back for a refund.

Calling Blue this morning they told me they will REPAIR, not replace, the defective Blue Spark mic. They informed me that I paid for shipping to the factory and once they receive the unit it USUALLY takes 2-3 days to look at it and they will ship it back after repairs are done.

I’ve never gotten factory repairs back in less than three weeks.  BUT, they could be the exception.  Repairs are always a royal pain in the ass for me.  Always have to send it back several times before they actually take enough time to find out what the problem is and then to actually fix it correctly.

This morning I got up and figured I may as well do a review / comparison on the Blue Spark Digital while I had it.  I was also curious to see how it sounded/recorded (after reading so many glowing reviews) against my Rodes NT1.  The sound output was incredibly low but, I could get enough for a comparison.

I ran the Blue Spark through my New MacBook Retina and the Rodes NT1 microphone through my 4 year old MacBook Pro using my Zoom R-16 as the interface (remember, my three month old Apogee Duet 2 is getting REPAIRED).
I didn’t know (I should have) that the recording software can only be set to use one USB audio interface at a time. I wanted to record all of this in one sitting with everything as equal as I could get it for a true comparison but, I would have to use two MacBook Pro’s, recording together in order to get both the Rodes (running through the R-16) and the Blue Spark (direct USB) to record simultaneously .

The Blue Spark configured easily enough but, I couldn’t get very much volume from it.

Low sound levels on the Blue Spark tracks
Low sound levels on the Blue Spark tracks

Had to turn it all the way up on the mic, as well as the software, to get it to record audible sound. The sound quality of the Blue Spark has a bit more treble/brightness to it then the Rodes, which has a warmer, rich, sound. But, I was surprised that the Blue Spark sounded as good as it did.  The guitar was clean and ringing and the vocals were crisp.  It wasn’t as silky, smooth and warm as the Rodes.  But, the Blue Spark was a defective unit, which, may or may not, explain the low volumes. I’ll try to get the review posted in the next day or two.

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