We haven’t seen much in the iOS space from Blue Microphones since 2013’s Spark Digital, an outstanding studio-grade microphone that had a unique design aesthetic and impressive sound quality, but was clearly more targeted to desktop and studio applications rather than on-the-go recording. With its new Raspberry, Blue fills this gap with a portable studio-quality mic that can more easily be carried with you for on-location interviews, podcasts, live streams, or more, without compromising on Blue’s acoustic microphone technology or unique design aesthetic.
Raspberry is a tabletop microphone rather than a handheld one, and it comes with an attached stand for use on a desk or other surface. The stand folds up conveniently behind the mic for packing it away. Two five-foot cables — one Lightning and one USB — are provided for connecting to an iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, or PC, along with a soft suede carrying pouch for transporting Raspberry, and a 1/4” thread mount adapter for connecting to a camera or video tripod. A micro-USB and headphone port are found on the back, with the latter allowing for direct monitoring. Dials on either side of the mic provide for gain and headphone volume control.
Raspberry is a cardioid pattern mic, picking up audio directionally from the front side of the microphone, and Blue highlights a new technology in Raspberry that it calls Internal Acoustic Diffuser, which is designed to focus the user’s voice or instrument and minimize the background sound of the room — similar in concept to the Focus Control feature found in the company’s earlier Spark Digital, but somewhat more refined. While not as sophisticated as Spark Digital’s studio shock mount, Raspberry’s integrated stand is designed to also minimize background surface noise, with an insulator between the mic and stand, and rubber shock absorbing feet. A multi-colored LED on the front of Raspberry provides a quick indication of audio levels, shifting from green to amber, and then red as audio source levels become too high and begin to cause distortion.
Raspberry’s electret cardioid condenser provides a standard 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency range, with a maximum gain of up to 40 dB. An integrated analog-to-digital converter sends a clean 24-bit digital audio stream to the connected iOS device at a 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate. Raspberry draws power from the connected Lightning or USB device, but when used with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, it will remain in low-power mode until an approach Core Audio app is loaded — while Blue doesn’t provide any of their own recording apps, Raspberry can be used with just about any iOS audio recording app, including the built-in Voice Memos app, although the company recommends going with an app capable of recording at higher bit rates, such as Apple’s GarageBand.
Blue Microphones has continued to impress us with the quality and design of their mics, and Raspberry is no exception. Raspberry provided impressive recording quality in several different environments, both indoors and outside, with voice recordings coming through crisp and clear with little to no background noise or even room echo — a good indication that whatever Blue is doing with its Internal Acoustic Diffuser is clearly working. About the only scenario in which we picked up any noticeable background noise was outdoor recording on a particularly windy day — Raspberry does a good job of minimizing wind noise, but it doesn’t completely eliminate it, so users looking to use this primarily in outdoor environments will want to take that into consideration — we had no problem hearing what the speaker was saying, but it wasn’t nearly as crisp and focused as the in-room experience. That said, Raspberry seems to be more targeted to use as a tabletop microphone, so we don’t consider this to be a serious problem. Ultimately, though, Blue Microphones has turned out another great studio-quality microphone here, and if you’re a serious on-the-go video or audio producer, Raspberry should be at least one of the options at the top of your list.
Company and Price
Company: Blue Microphones
Compatible: All Lightning-capable iOS Devices