One of the most intriguing current trends in gadgets is the professionalization of amateur content online. With so many aspiring YouTubers and podcasters out there, everyone’s keen to get their production quality up, and specialist manufacturers like Blue are answering the call for higher-end gear. Having launched the Blue Yeti Nano at IFA last year, making its world-renowned USB microphone more compact and affordable, Blue has come to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with its first consumer-grade XLR microphone in the form of the new $99.99 Blue Ember.
XLR refers to the connector used on the microphone: it’s the same sort you might find on super high-end headphones as well as professional studio production gear. It’s a huge, old thing that provides an extremely reliable connection and, for our purposes, signals the more professional inclination of the new Ember microphone. You can use XLR to plug the Ember into an interface like the Rodecaster Pro, which is a sort of self-contained podcasting studio, with buttons you can customize to play jingles and sound effects on command.
Blue says it’s designed the Ember with a “tight cardioid pickup pattern [that] focuses on the sound source directionally in front of the mic and minimizes room noise for a clean, up-front sound with excellent isolation.” The company also notes that the extra skinny design of the Ember, which is deliberate, helps it to fit into tight spaces and minimizes its on-screen presence when doing video streaming with it.
The Blue Ember is compatible with standard microphone stands and boom arms. (However, it doesn’t come with one included.) Blue’s evidently endeavored to get the price as affordable as possible, expecting that you’d be spending more to flesh out your full studio setup anyway. Given the company’s established pedigree in the field of streaming, podcasting, and YouTube vlogging with the Blue Yeti, there’s plenty of reason to expect the Ember to live up to Blue’s claims of exceptional clarity and quality.
The Blue Ember goes on sale in February, and you can preorder it now for $99.99.