Blue Microphones announced today its latest product made just for streamers, podcasters and YouTubers: the Ember XLR.
The Ember XLR features a cardioid XLR condenser with a “proprietary, hand-tuned custom condenser capsule” designed to isolate the audio someone wants to record from ambient noise. Combine that with other Ember XLR features and you have a microphone custom-made for at-home studios.
That is kind of Blue’s jam. The company has been around for 20 years, but it’s best known for its Yeti microphone. That model has for a long time been the go-to option for people looking to record quality audio without having to break the bank. Yeti has remained popular for a few reasons: it’s relatively cheap at roughly $100, it’s easy to use and it connects via USB, so users don’t have to worry about the more complicated setups used by professional recording studios. Sound quality is good for the price too, making it perfect for most amateurs.
So it’s no surprise that Blue took a look at the Yeti’s playbook with the Ember XLR. It'll cost $99 when it debuts in February—half the price of Blue’s next-cheapest XLR mic—and probably won’t be much more complicated to use than Yeti. But there is one key difference: the Ember XLR doesn’t connect via USB.
That distinction is probably obvious to audiophiles—the fact that this microphone uses an XLR connection is right in its name. Others might want to note, however, that this means the Ember XLR is something of a step up from the Yeti despite the similar price tag. It requires more equipment, too.
Using the Ember XLR will require an XLR cable that connects to a digital audio workstation (DAW) or mixing console that in turn sends the audio to a connected system. Most DAWs or mixing consoles start around $100 and quickly rise from there depending on what the recording studio requires.
All of which means the Ember XLR’s $99 price is likely meant to position it as a step up from the Yeti, not a competitor, thanks to the cost of the other equipment. That makes sense—some people are bound to want to upgrade from the Yeti without having to spend $200+ on a mic and $100+ on a DAW.
We’ll see how many of those people there are when the Ember XLR officially debuts in February. Pre-orders are open now; details can be found on the microphone’s product page.
Blue was acquired by Logitech in July 2018. In the months since, the company has introduced the Yeti Nano as well as the Ember XLR. Like we said when the Yeti Nano made its debut: it looks like Logitech plans to keep making microphones for the foreseeable future after the buyout.