My 5-star, "blown away" rating here is predicated on the fact hat I spent $200 on it. Does it compare with my Lauten LT-381? Hell no. Does it justify spending $200? Hell, yes!
I have three stories to tell about the Spark USB.
First: I have a friend, who is an absolute neophyte to technology. He doesn't know technology, doesn't want to, and seems to be unable to (he's been my friend for 3 decades, I love him either way!) This friend needed some quick demos for a voice-over contract bid. We had tried several other mics, none of which he was able to use, because of his technophobia. I ordered the Spark USB on Thursday afternoon, my SE Delvin Wolf had it to me on Friday. I brought it to my friend on Friday night, he plugged it into his computer and it just WORKED. No fuss at all. My buddy was impressed by how it reproduced his voice, the low end in particular, as well as the zero-latency monitoring, and the build quality. He recorded tracks on Saturday, sent them Saturday night, and had a contract offer on Sunday. Heh!
Second story: we might take for granted the ability to select gear just from information on a website. But do not trivialize the guys at Sweetwater who know their products, and are ale to converse intelligently about "what will work and what won't". In this case, I described my dilemma - and my buddy's voice- to Delvin, and this was his recommendation... and Delvin got it to me in time (yeah, I paid rush, but the contract was under deadline too... Fair price for the service I received!) My friend and I have not looked back. I can't get this kind of service anywhere else - thanks, Delvin!
Third story: on a whim, I borrowed this mic back from my friend, and used it to record my 12-string acoustic, mandolin, and bouzouki on a track I was working. The Blue Spark USB comported itself with sheer elegance. The sound is open and wide- a slight hype on the high end (even with the "focus" switch off), but there is a nice robust low end all the time. The meerest tweak of EQ made the mic sit just-right in the mix.
The Subjective: I own a a LOT of mics, from cheap to "Ouch!", from punk sonics to "OMG!!". The Spark is built far better than a $200 mic should be, and exudes Quality. I don't use the term "Quality" (capital Q) lightly - but this mic warrants the term. I have ZERO regrets to this investment. It's a great mic!