The Ember is Blue’s most affordable ($99) XLR microphone designed for “recording and live streaming.” In other words, it’s designed for anyone who likes the idea of the Yeti but wants the versatility and control provided by XLR.
What is the XLR Thing, Anyway?
That may be confusing at first blush—especially for anyone who isn’t familiar with XLR and what it’s good for. While I’ll be happy to give you the quick and dirty explanation of XLR just below, there’s also an excellent explainer on XLR technology at our sister site, How-to Geek. If you’re looking for the nitty-gritty on XLR, that’s where you’ll find it.
In short, XLR is a type of input (it stands for X connector, Locking connector, and Rubber boot, but that’s honestly not important) designed for high-quality inputs. It sends a balanced signal that isolates noise, which makes for smoother, crisper, and overall better audio. Sounds good, right?
It is! But there’s a catch: it’s not as simple as plugging it into your PC, and everything is good to go. You’ll need some sort of interface to use XLR, be it a powered mixer or a dedicated audio interface.
Great, So What’s the Ember All About?
The Ember is Blue’s most affordable XLR mic for home recording, podcasters, and live streaming. The company has the equally-affordable Encore 100, but that mic is designed for singers. Before the Ember, if you wanted to get into the XLR audio thing from Blue, you’d be looking at the $199 Spark. That’s twice the cost of the Ember.
As for the Ember’s details, it’s a simple condenser mic with a tight cardioid pattern which means the sensitive area is at the front of the mic to keep background noise to a minimum.
The grille itself also works as a sort of mini pop filter, which will soften the pop often associated with Ps and Ts, especially for those who aren’t used to actively trying to soften this emphasis with their own voice. Basically, that means the Ember sounds excellent without the need for an additional pop filter (though you can still add one if you’d like).
It ships with the mic itself and an adapter for use on a mic stand. That means you have to provide your own XLR cable and interface, which is pretty standard for this type of mic. It’s also worth noting that this mic doesn’t have any of the extra bells and whistles you may be used to seeing on USB mics like the Yeti—like a gain control or various headphone jack. Your interface handles all those things.
When it comes to using the Ember, well, it takes a bit more work to get everything dialed in compared to a USB-powered mic, but the result is worth it. You can get a crisp, clean, and smooth sound that works so well for the type of application the Ember is designed for.
Using the Ember