Sometimes the word ‘Microphone’ makes me think of the French word for Microwave: ‘Micro-ondes.’ Just Me?
Whenever I upgrade equipment, I’m reminded of how awesome it is to upgrade equipment. When I was drumming in a band (I played with these guys), I remember distinctly how each individual upgrade contributed to a more enjoyable style of play.
When I got a new kick pedal, I could play better with my feet and it opened up a new way of playing. Ditto getting a new hi hat stand. A new ride cymbal changed the way I played. Same with new hi hat cymbals and drum heads. Every piece of new equipment was like a new injection of life into the quality of my sound and the style of my play. Long story short: upgrading is good.
Given my experience with upgrading my drum kit, I shouldn’t have been surprised when a new microphone changed my relationship to my voice. But, needless to say, I was surprised…pleasantly.
The Blue Baby Bottle is a smaller version of Blue’s flagship microphone, Bottle. Smaller, in this case, doesn’t mean it packs any less punch. I find this microphone to be extremely sensitive, delivering ultra-rich tones and deepening my low range.
It has deepened my relationship with my voice.Me, a little later
It comes in a cherry-wood box that feels super sexy. It makes the whole experience of getting a new microphone, feel somehow, old school. It also comes with a quality control certification, which is a nice touch. Finally, it also comes with a shock mount and a silly little windscreen. Let me rephrase, a silly little windscreen which I still use, in addition to my actual windscreen, because it actually does help. A little bit. Enough that I keep on the silly little windscreen.
And the Voice Over? How about the Voice Over?
The more that I use this mic, the more I like it. It’s given my takes a depth, a complexity that just isn’t there with the AKG Perception 220. It’s like there’s a heft to my VO now. Frankly, the Blue Baby Bottle is rad and totally blows the lid off of the VO I was able to record before.
It records hot, so I tend to keep more of a distance from this mic. I find it’s almost impossible to get a clean tone if I’m right up against the mic. I’m staying around six inches away from it and placing the mic above and to the right of my direct delivery. I’m finding this is a good sweet spot to get clean vocals and still capitalize on the mic’s fat, beefy richness.
I could pretend to know more about the underlying technical specs of microphones. But I won’t. I like to stick to terms such as “fat,” “beefy” and “sexy.” These are words I can wrap my head around. I’ll turn to Barry Cleveland of mixguides.com for a guide on the specs:
“[F]or starters, the Baby Bottle is not a tube mic; it employs solid-state, Class-A discrete circuitry with a transformerless output. The Baby Bottle has a fixed-cardioid pickup pattern and significantly greater sensitivity than the Bottle.
The Baby Bottle uses an edge-terminated, single-membrane, large-diaphragm capsule. The hand-built and hand-tuned capsule is constructed using a 6-micron mylar film, sputtered with a combination of (99% pure) 24-carat gold and aluminum, tensioned to a custom brass backplate.”
For the price, this mic really is an excellent value. It has deepened my relationship to my voice. When you sound better, you feel better, and you deliver with more confidence. This mic gives life to a vocal robustness. It gives me oomph on the deep tones and richness in mid-tones that adds a maturity to my vocal quality. I feel like I can still rock the upbeat 18-22 promo, but can now, more consistently, pull off a chiller, more conversational coloring to all my delivery.
It’s Not All Rainbows and Happy Dancing Forest Elves Though, Right?
My main gripe with this mic is its self-noise. The mixguides.com review notes how minimal the self-noise is, but I couldn’t disagree more. Even on low recording levels, I find the ambient “shh”ing to be prominent. It’s almost negligible in the actual audio recording; when I’m listening to an edited track, I forget that it’s there. However, when I am actually editing a track together, the self-noise is maddening.
When I cut a clip, even in perfect silence, the frame on the very edge of the edit becomes a loud pop. This doesn’t happen when I record with the AKG. What I have to do to work around this is scroll around the area where I want to make the cut bit by bit, hunting for a frame that doesn’t “pop.” It seems like, on average, one out of every ten or so frames gives me a clean cut. This has been adding a frustratingly large amount of time to my editing process.
Also, I’m not guaranteed that the edit itself is going to be entirely invisible. Most of the time, I can get a perfectly clean edit, but sometimes, the best I can do is get really really close. It’s to the point where, if you didn’t know there was an edit there, you wouldn’t hear it, but since I know it’s there, I can hear it. As I move forward, I’m going to need to do some investigating into other software and see if it’s a software issue. If anybody out there has any suggestions to help, I’d love to hear it.
All in all. I highly recommend this mic. It’s helped me take my business to the next level. Makes me excited for more upgrades to come. Maybe I can upgrade my studio to include an engineer? I could use one of those.
Next up: I hear there might be a new demo coming along. Spoiler alert: there is.