Dragonfly and Mouse Condensers

Large-diaphragm studio options with rotating capsules and full-frequency clarity and depth.

 

 

Dragonfly

Blue Microphones was founded in 1995 by American musician Skipper Wise and Latvian engineer Mārtiņš Saulespurēns. The company first rose to notoriety with the affordable Snowball USB condenser, which was tailor-made for aspiring artists to use for laptop-based home recording. Blue is now owned by computer-peripherals giant Logitech, and its catalog has expanded into the professional market with a variety of innovative condenser, ribbon, and dynamic microphones. We received a pair of Dragonfly large-diaphragm condensers ($999.99 each) for overheads and a stout Mouse LDC ($1,249.99) that’s designed for bass drum and other low-frequency applications.

This retro-futuristic mic has a classic broadcast vibe while integrating cutting-edge features and performance. The head of the mic is mounted on a rotating swivel, so you can make quick, pinpoint angle adjustments without having to adjust the entire mic or mic stand. When using the Dragonfly for overheads, this feature is a godsend for making final tiny tweaks to bring the full kit into balance once the basic mic height and configuration are established. For instance, when using coincident X-Y or near-coincident ORTF setups, I was able to adjust the aim of the right-side mic capsule slightly to accentuate the floor tom without adversely affecting the phase coherence and stereo balance between the two mics. And such fine-tuning didn’t require me to mess with the angle of the mic clips or mic stand boom arms, which made the process much faster and simpler.

The large diaphragm inside the Dragonfly is precisely designed using a finely tuned pressure-gradient membrane, and the circuitry is super discreet, which translates into a clean, detailed, and natural recorded sound. The polar pattern is cardioid, which means the bulk of the signal that the mic picks up comes from directly in front. The dynamic range extends up to 138 dB, providing plenty of headroom for miking drums.

The frequency response of the Dragonfly features a gradual drop-off of around 8 dB that begins at 50 Hz, as well as two separate high-end bumps of 3–5 dB around 6 kHz and 12 kHz. The ultra high end tapers off by 8 dB around 15 kHz. The result is a clean, focused tone that sounds full and natural across the typical range of drums and cymbals, with controlled sub-lows and super-highs that often get filtered out in the final mix to minimize rumble and excessive sibilance.

The EQ boosts in the top end added very nice clarity to the cymbals and the attack of the drums without sounding overly hyped or harsh. With just a few minor EQ adjustments and light compression, I was able to get a silky, deep, detailed, punchy, and balanced mix of my kit that was an accurate representation of how the drums sounded in the room. If you’re looking to capture the full detail of your drumset with as few mics as possible, you should consider the Dragonfly. Each Dragonfly comes with a high-quality wooden case and an easy-to-use S2 shock mount. Visit your local retailer or shop now at Sweetwater.

 

Mouse

The Mouse is a large-diaphragm condenser with a shorter and wider body, and it also features a rotating head. This mic is designed for capturing low-end-heavy sounds, like the bass drum, as well as smooth midrange and crystal-clear highs. The diaphragm is hand-built from gold and aluminum, and the discreet circuitry and onboard transformer allow for a transparent signal path and distinctively warm sonic character. The Mouse’s frequency response extends across the entire hearing range (20 Hz–20 kHz) and features a similar EQ curve to the Dragonfly’s, with minor roll-offs in the super-highs and ultra-low subs and two wide bumps in the high end. The dynamic range extends to 138 dB, which provides plenty of headroom for most drum applications. The mic is also designed to have a less-pronounced low-end bump caused by proximity, so even if you place the Mouse very close to the bass drum, it will still capture a fairly natural, balanced tone.

Our favorite application for the Mouse was to place it 4.5″ from the front of the bass drum, slightly off-center, and aimed directly at the head. This gave us an accurate representation of what the drum sounded like in the room while minimizing bleed from cymbals and other drums. There was plenty of beater attack, midrange body, and low-end bump that could then be sculpted with subtle EQ and compression to best suit the overall mix. The rotating head of the Mouse also allowed me to experiment with different angles quickly and easily for times when I wanted to de-emphasize the attack by aiming the capsule more toward the bottom of the drumhead. When combined with the Dragonfly overheads, the Mouse filled out the low end very nicely, creating a complete sonic picture that sounded exactly as you hear the kit when seated at the drum throne. This would make for a great starting point if you were to expand into a more extensive multi-mic setup, or these three mics could be all you need for a minimal yet fully balanced recording. Visit your local retailer or shop now at Sweetwater.

 


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