Gear Review: Blue enCORE 200 Active Dynamic Mic

Buy the Blue enCORE Mic

BLUE is one of the industry leaders in cutting edge studio microphone designs. With the enCORE 200, BLUE takes a bit of their studio sound magic and puts it in to an affordable ($149) microphone for live sound use.

The BLUE enCORE 200 is a unique and groundbreaking design concept that attempts to solve the age old problem of singers and sound men everywhere. How do you get the clarity and definition of a condenser or studio microphone while getting the flexibility and ease of use of a standard dynamic stage microphone? BLUE’s answer was to create a dynamic microphone with active circuitry. This gives you an increased depth and clarity, with far less feedback issues than a standard stage condenser microphone.

At first glance, I notice of course the stylish looks of this microphone. There are very few microphones on the market that offer a great sound and a unique statement making look. Don’t be fooled though, this microphone is much more than just the surface looks. I also immediately noticed the great feel of the non slip dark blue body and the extremely tough copper colored grill. The enCORE 200 also features a very small orange phantom power indicator, so you know that you are receiving phantom power. The light is unobtrusive and is helpful in making sure you are connected properly.  BLUE also includes a nice green-fur lined carrying bag, which is actually a nice touch compared to the standard unlined zipper bags of many other companies.

After the initial look, I took the enCORE 200 to the stage for 2 of my artists live shows. I immediately noticed an enhanced clarity of the vocals which helped them to sit up in the mix. After years of listening to the standard SM58 live this mic really had an ear opening and impacting sound. I believe BLUE engineers a lot of “ease of use” in to their EQ curves on all of their microphones, so EQ’ing was rather simple. The one negative thing I soon discovered was an increase in handling noise, which I believe is inherent to the active circuitry design. I had to be a bit careful when applying compression, because that will of course increase handling noise.  I thought during sound check that this handling noise might be an issue, but once the band stepped in and the mic was on the stand the handling noise was inaudible and quickly forgotten.  I was on the other hand pleasantly surprised at the lack of feedback that this microphone produced. In the same room I have had feedback nightmares with the Neumann KSM105 which is a high priced ($699) full condenser mic. I’d approximate about a %10 increase in feedback on the enCORE 200 as compared to a standard SM58. Whereas a standard condenser can have as much as a %60-70 increase in feedback over an SM58.

After the show, the complements ensued.  The artists received manycomments on how “cool” their new mics looked, and the technical minded in the crowd were impressed with the clarity of the vocals. I found the enCORE 200 a pleasure to work with and even noticed the increased confidence my artists had from using a visually stunning microphone.

I must say that after some real world experience with the BLUE enCORE 200, I am extremely impressed with what blue was able to achieve. They took the standard dynamic microphone and sonically supercharged it at a price that won’t make you “blue” in the face.  Between the great sound, look, construction, and price range, I really see this microphone becoming an excellent choice over some of the traditional competitors in the same price range. In an industry where any edge counts, this certainly is a great tool to have in your corner.

Until next time, this is Jason Green.