Picture this: I’m about to hit the road to record Gospel music on-location when I realize I should have a second handheld vocal condenser for a “two-leader” duet. For such applications, I typically use a Shure Beta 87C (the rarer cardioid version) and acquiring another one right now isn’t going to happen.
So I hit the local Guitar Center and pick six promising—and supposedly higher-fidelity—handhelds for a quick “one-two test” in the PA room. The immediate standout was this cute little bronze number from Blue Microphones—the en·CORE 200—featuring their proprietary Active Dynamic Circuit requiring 48V phantom; the circuit drives the mic output, assuring signal consistency no matter the cable length, according to Blue.
I think I’m a fan of this “active dynamic mic” thing already; my favorite kick mic, the AKG D12VR, uses similar technology. The en·CORE 200’s top end offers a pleasant smoothness and greater articulation, providing more clarity without harshness than the other five I auditioned. At least on vocals, the en·CORE 200’s mids had a desirable, rich forwardness that was still closer to flat than colorful. The bottom end was clean, bordering on thin, but rolled-off in such a way that, when the mic is “eaten,” the resulting EQ balance seemed right on point; it’s pre-EQ’ed, if you will.
The en·CORE 200 did a great job on-location, offering pleasant compatibilities with baritones, tenors and altos (yet not my first choice on the sopranos); amply rejecting both feedback and handling noise.
Back in the studio, I put the en·CORE 200 up for scratch vocals on a band tracking session. This particular vocalist has an ultra-deep Johnny Cash-like mumbly baritone that I’ve captured before, but not without considerable time invested in mic selection and EQ. While monitoring over speakers, right after the first take, the singer says to me “Where can I buy one of these mics? This is the way I want my vocals to sound in the monitors live.” Later I used the en·CORE 200 on scratch vocal again, this time with a very talented tenor; I received tones and performances on par with my “real studio mics” and the vocalist might just keep that scratch!
The en·CORE 200 isn’t a brand-new product, and this is not a truly comprehensive review, but I stumbled on this little gem and thought some of you may potentially like it as much as I do. And the en·CORE 200‘s best feature? It’s only $150 street.
For more live application insight on the en·CORE 200, check out live sound engineer Will James’ full review from the Pro Audio Review archives.
Blue Microphones | http://www.bluemic.com/encore200/
Rob Tavaglione owns and operates Charlotte’s Catalyst Recording and has been a long-time Studio Contributor to Pro Audio Review. https://twitter.com/robtavaglione