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Review: Blue enCORE 100i Instrument Microphone

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Review: Blue enCORE 100i Instrument Microphone

Blue Encore 100i Instrument Microphone

Courtesy Blue Microphones

The Bottom Line

The Blue 100i is an affordable, versatile microphone that easily sounds much more expensive than it's conservative price tag. However affordable, the Blue 100i offers stellar performance on just about everything, easily replacing many of the old industry standard microphones. If your budget is limited and you need a good utility microphone for your studio, this is an excellent, affordable choice.
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  • Excellent sound quality
  • Strong build quality
  • Wide frequency response
  • High SPL handling


  • None


  • Cardioid dynamic microphone, custom-wound element
  • Frequency response: 65Hz - 16kHz
  • Max SPL Handling Capability: 154db
  • Impedance: 50 ohms
  • Retail price: $89, street: $80

Guide Review - Review: Blue enCORE 100i Instrument Microphone

In the recording and live sound reinforcement worlds, there's one microphone you're sure to find anywhere in the world: the Shure SM57. It's the most trusted, most universally-used microphone anywhere, and with good reason. It's always been affordable, and it works on almost everything reasonably well. While it's not the best microphone for everything, it created a demand in the market for a low-cost, reasonably-versatile mic. Recently, many great companies have taken a stab at adding to this market with options that they feel offer much better bang-for-the-buck in terms of utility and build quality, and Blue Microphones has certainly scored a home run with their new Blue 100i instrument mic.

Built Like a Tank

The Blue 100i is built extremely well, thanks to a heavy-gauge metal body, with a metal grille protected by a reinforcement ring. The 100i's construction is certainly designed to withstand the rigors of the touring world or the studio.

Aside from it's stellar outward construction, under the hood, the 100i contains a high-quality, custom-designed capsule that's designed for quiet, studio-quality performance in a light, portable package. It's the same capsule you'll find in the enCORE 100 vocal microphone, a favorite among stage performers. From there, the capsule is fed into passive low-pass filter, and a custom transformer, which gives the microphone it's smooth, controlled characteristics.

But how does it sound?

Simply, the Blue 100i sounds killer on just about everything. It's one of those new breeds of dynamic microphones that could easily replace small-diaphragm condenser microphones on some applications, thanks to it's stellar high-frequency response and articulate, detailed mid-range. Easily one of the best value-priced microphone products of 2010, the 100i retails for around $80 on the street, $89 MSRP; for this price, you get a warm, detailed, and "musical"-sounding microphone, perfect for guitar amps, drums, percussion, and, really, just about anything else you can throw at it. I didn't have terrific results using the 100i as a cymbal microphone, because of it's more limited frequency response (although for high-hat, it certainly had a "vintage" vibe). However, most everything I threw at the 100i worked brilliantly. While it sounds good on microphones, you should consider the Blue 100 vocal microphone if your primary use is vocals; it's tailored frequency response is a better match than the 100i.

One of my favorite uses of the 100i is on snare; with a well-tuned snare, the 100i captures both the body and shimmer perfectly.

The 100i ships with a great stand adapter, as well as one of the most smartly-designed carrying cases I've seen. It's dealt well with being used frequently on the road, as well as in the studio, sustaining some direct-hits from drumsticks without a scratch.

The 100i is available now from Blue Microphones and their network of retailers, and can be found for around $80, depending on your local market.
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