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Blue Woodpecker

Blue Microphones Woodpecker

3.85 3.85 out of 5, based on 5 Reviews

A wonderful ribbon mic sound for many things...

11th January 2012

Blue Microphones Woodpecker by doug hazelrigg

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Blue Woodpecker

I love this mic. I bought one used for $500 and at that price it's one of the best values of gear I've bought in a long long time. On a few projects I've used it on everything (except drums). I particularly like it for strummed acoustic guitar -- putting the mic a bit further away than is typical, at about 2', yields a very nice pick attack that many modern Rock recordings aspire to. It's decidedly unusual for a ribbon in that it has a pretty hot output, and a slightly hyped top end. I've read comments that it comes off as "thin" sounding, but that hasn't been my experience. It does have a fairly high amount of self-noise, which might disqualify it for a solo'd instrument. One thing to keep in mind is that it's phantom-powered -- a couple of times I momentarily forgot this But the unit survived

  • 1
12th January 2012

Blue Microphones Woodpecker by John Eppstein

  • Sound Quality 1 out of 5
  • Ease of use 1 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 1 out of 5
  • Overall: 1.25
Blue Woodpecker

A disclaimer: I don't own one of these mics.

I don't WANT to own one of these mics. I probably wouldn't take one if you gave it to me.

One gets the distinct impression that the only reason this product exists is the desire of the company to jump on the ribbon bandwagon.

Everything that I look for in a quality ribbon mic (and I own several) this mic doesn't have. There are ribbons available in the $200 range that sound infinitely better.

Where a typical ribbon mike is smooth on the top end yet detailed, this mic is hard and harsh. Yes, it does have (artificially) extended highs, but they come at the expense of overall sound quality. The hyped top register of this mic is unnatural and nasty.

Sound quality = 1 because there is no zero.

Ease of use = 1 because it's impossible to make the mic sound good. Ear fatigue city.

Features got a 4 solely because it's active and I guess that counts as a positive feature. At least you won't blow the ribbon by applying phantom.

Bang for the buck = 1 because there is no value in an ugly sounding microphone.

Understand, I was really excited about checking out this before I actually heard one, which turned out to be one of my most disappointing audio experiences in the last decade.

Everything in my voice that I use a ribbon to smooth out this mic exaggerates.

Blue needs to stick to what they know best - condenser microphones. They have no aesthetic appreciation of what a ribbon mic does and why one would choose one over a condenser. As it is all they've managed to achieve with this product is to turn a ribbon into a poor travesty of a condenser.

Hell, I'd probably even take a Beta 57 over one of these and if you've read many of my reviews you know what I think of the Shure Beta series.

25th February 2012

Blue Microphones Woodpecker by JimRyser

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Blue Woodpecker

I just love this mic for vocals both lead and b/g. You can hear my example on soundcloud under Jim Ryser/Trauma. Recorded in the basement of my home. I also use it for my 12 string - perfect top end that is natural.

10th January 2015

Blue Microphones Woodpecker by Lenzo

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Blue Woodpecker

I picked up this mic for $400 used and it's a killer. I'm loving it on vocals and acoustic guitar. It just adds a sheen to the sound while retaining the high end nicely. It has a little higher noise floor than I would like. Fine in a band setting, but if you are doing quiet solo instruments, you have to watch your set up. I also think the shockmount needs re-designing, though it works well enough. All in all, just a great mic at this price. I've seen many used ones in this price range. I've owned a fair number of lower to mid priced ribbons and this is my favorite by far.

20th June 2017

Blue Microphones Woodpecker by 6dyslexicelephnt

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Blue Woodpecker

This is a very niche/character microphone.
When you first hear the concept behind the mic, it sounds like the perfect microphone. Ribbons are smooth but they have low output and high end rolloff. Condenser mics sometimes have too much detail that doesn't actually enhance the sound. What you want is a mic that either sounds honest or enhances the source by emphasizing its best aspects. Very-high-frequency rolloff is super useful for a lot of situations. For drums, it masks nasty reflections or mechanical sounds. For guitar amps, it masks amp and guitar hum. For piercing vocalists, it can make their voice more bearable to listing to.
Ribbons came back into vogue because they are very smooth sounding but they generally have low output and can be dark. The active ribbon Woodpecker with extended high frequency response seems like it would be the solution to all these problems. Good output, smooth, and high end detail without being too bright. I wish I could give a 5 for the concept behind the mic. If this mic actually hit that sweet spot just right, it seems like everyone would have one in their mic cabinet.
But in actuality, the mic only shines in very specific situations. I bought it because it sounded great on acoustic guitar. For a singer songwriter, it would sit perfectly just a bit back behind the vocals and not compete much over frequency of a LDC vocal mic with high frequency presence. When I tried to use it on acoustic in a dense mix, it wasn't cutting through enough for my tastes. I used an AT4050 instead.
I tried it on drums as a "front of kit" mic like I've seen an engineer do with an AEA R84. It didn't have the boom you want with an FOK mic. The cymbals sounded smooth though. I would recommend other ribbons on drums like the Beyerdynamic m160 or AEA R84.
I tried it on my clean VOX AC30 and it sounded great! I was really impressed with it here. It sounded a bit brighter, or at least high frequency focused than a standard medium ribbon like a Fathead but it was still smooth and rolled off just where you would want it to to cover the amp hum. I just bought a Stager SR-2N medium ribbon that I like a tiny bit better but the Woodpecker is cheaper than because it can be found used pretty easily. If your budget is under $500 for a guitar amp ribbon mic that has high end detail, I would consider this mic alongside the Beyerdynamic m160.
I tried it on vocals and was actually kinda surprised how decent it sounded. The mic is a bit noisy and I wouldn't use it for a lead vocal because compression would cause the self noise to surge in and out. I think it would work well for background vocals.
It seems like it could also work really well on tamborine or egg shaker or something else that is loud and bright but you want to be smooth.
I give this mic a 4 overall because I feel like a mic only has to do one thing really well to be worth $500 used. This does a couple specialty things well and sounds like no other mic that I have. If I had to describe it, it sounds like what I imagine an old, noisy U48 in figure 8 sounds like. Warm, bassy, but still good detail.

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