Everything Blue has learned from years of building the world's best studio recording microphones has gone into the enCORE 100, a studio quality handheld dynamic microphone designed to deliver exceptional all-around performance, no matter what your application.
The enCORE 100's Aria Dynamic Capsule is specially tuned by Blue's capsule engineers to deliver natural vocals, balanced highs, and amazing detail and clarity, making it an incredibly versatile tool for live performance as well as studio and broadcasting applications. The unique, durable finishes, and high quality craftsmanship guarantee your enCORE mic will deliver a lifetime of great performances.
- Aria Dynamic Capsule for amazing detail and clarity
- Cardioid polar pattern for high off-axis noise rejection
- Proprietary capsule mount for incredibly low handling noise
- Stage-ready, heavy-gauge construction with electro-plated finish
- Unique styling and remarkable craftsmanship
- Includes soft-grip microphone clip and storage pouch
Separate your performance from the crowd with the Blue enCORE 100's standout design and craftsmanship!
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zZounds Expert Review
BLUE makes some nice condenser microphones for the studio, and with the release of their new enCore series, you can get that same great performance on the stage, too. On the outside, the enCore 100 looks a lot like one of Shure's Beta series mics, but on the inside, it's all BLUE. The dynamic element is patterned after their Aria capsule (found in the BlueBird, for one), featuring the same type of magnetic material, coil weight, and diaphragm, and delivers similar frequency response and audio character in a stage-ready dynamic mic.
Like most dynamic microphones for live use, the enCore 100 has a Cardioid pickup pattern to reject off-axis sound and cut down on feedback. It's great for a variety of input sources, with a frequency response (50 Hz - 15 kHz) for faithful vocal reproduction and a high Sound Pressure Level rating (up to 147 dB) to handle the loudest guitar amps, percussion, brass, and wind instruments.
What's In The Box
The enCore 100 comes with a standard carry pouch and mic clip. The pouch was lined to prevent scratching, and the rubbery clip really hugs the mic for a snug fit. It took a bit of effort to yank the mic back out, but the clip will most likely loosen up a bit as time goes by. I prefer a more rigid plastic clip, but that's easily remedied.
The enCore In Action
Being stage mics, it makes sense to evaluate them out on the road. And the timing was good, as I was getting ready for a two-week tour when these arrived at my door. The first thing I noticed was the solid, reassuring heft. The enCore 100 weighs just under a pound, and felt much more substantial than some of the other dynamic mics I've used. The metal grille was ringed with a rubber bumper to add some protection from a side impact, and the handle was lightly grooved to offer some traction. This seemed like a plus, though I discovered those grooves could lead to some handling noise if you're not careful.
For most of the performances, I set up two of the enCore 100s as the main vocal mics. I usually use SM58s for this, so it was a good comparison. Vocals were nice and full through the enCores, with hardly any EQ needed. The enCore 100 seemed to require a bit more gain to get up over the rest of the band than a 58 would, but that was no problem as the enCore has very high gain before feedback. With a full band on stage, the Cardioid pattern did a great job of rejecting off-axis sound.
I had glanced at BLUE's frequency response graphs before heading out on the tour, but hearing the enCore 100 in action didn't always match what I saw on the chart. The midrange presence, for example, sounded like it spiked a bit higher than graphed; certainly higher than a 58. This added some clarity to the vocals, but also required a little extra care to cut down on sibilance. The lower end of the midrange was a little thicker than a 58, giving a nice, rich character.
After some tweaking, the singers were impressed with the monitor mix, saying they were really able to hear themselves clearly in spite of the stage volume. They did mention that the tight Cardioid pattern meant they had to stay pretty close to the center of the capsule to stay on-axis, though.
We were planning on doing a live recording at one of the venues, so I took the opportunity to put an enCore 100 on the snare that night. It blended really well with the overheads and the room mics we had set up, delivering plenty of body and a healthy "crack" to keep the snare present and driving in the mix.
Back In Studio
I had such good results with that live snare track, I decided to give the enCore a go in a more controlled recording environment. And, since it had fared well next to the SM58 up on stage, I wanted to see how it would stack up against a 57 in the studio.
First, I recorded a few vocal takes with the 57 and the enCore. There were definitely some differences in the character from mic to mic, but they generally sounded similar in context. So much so that I was able to cobble together (with a touch of EQ) a comp track from the different takes with no glaring discrepancies. For the most part, the enCore was a little juicier in the low mids, while the SM57 was a little snappier in the higher midrange.
From there, it was on to some amp tracks. The SM57 is famous for this application, and I did what I could to create the same environment for both mics. The 57 and the enCore were positioned as close together as I could get them, pointing at a single-speaker combo amp with the capsules at the same distance from the center of the cone. Both mics ran into a multichannel preamp with no additional EQ or dynamics. As with the vocal test, the sound was similar from mic to mic, again with a little extra roundness in the low mids on the enCore versus some added zip from the 57 on the high mids.
Moving up to a half stack with some overdrive dialed in, I started to notice more separation in the tones from one mic to the next. The SM57 delivered the tight bite it's become famous for, but the enCore 100 opened up a bit more and brought some added richness. After adding some EQ to the enCore track, I was able to accentuate the high mids and still retain the broad character.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I was impressed with the enCore 100. You get a serious piece of equipment for stage performance at a fair price, with the ability to expand the usage into your studio. It's built well, feels solid, and sounds great. I would definitely recommend it as a good all-around microphone.