Blue Satellite Delivers Amazing Sound but Needs Refinement

3 minute read
| In-Depth Review

Blue, a well-known microphone manufacturer, has recently made its entrance into premium headsets. The Blue Satellite is one of four models the company has recently introduced for audiophiles. This headset is a Bluetooth model that also comes with an extra-long auxiliary cable for those times you don’t want to use a wireless connection. Let’s take a look at what else you get for your listening pleasure.

Blue Satellite Headphones

The Blue Satellite headset is gorgeous and sounds great, but it needs a bit of refinement under the hood

Blue Satellite Features Active Noise Cancellation and a Built-In Amplifier

The Blue Satellite has active noise cancellation that doesn’t compromise your listening experience. I tested this by turning ANC on and off, and noticed no difference in the highs or lows of my tunes. All that happened was the background noise was stripped away, even most of the sound of a loud lawn mower.

Blue Satellite Headphones

With your Blue Satellite headphones, you’ll get a charging cable, a 3m auxiliary cable, and a carrying case

A built-in amplifier helps deliver rich, dynamic, and detailed sound. It pairs nicely with the ANC, giving you the opportunity to really get lost in your music. The outside world just fades away, and you’re left in a state of relaxation or excitement. It all depends on what sort of music you enjoy.

Excellent Battery Life, but no Indicator

Blue advertises that the Satellite will provide up to 24 hours of listening with just Bluetooth sound. Turn on the ANC and amplifier, and that drops to eight hours. In my testing, that was exactly right. It’s a decent amount of battery life for such a powerful headset.

The problem is that Satellite doesn’t report its battery state to your iPhone. You get no indication when the headset is about to shut off, other than a beep that may or may not make its way through your music.

blue satellite headphones

I wish this status icon gave me a battery life indicator, but apparently Blue didn’t think of that

Other headsets and earbuds report battery condition over Bluetooth, so I’m not sure why Blue didn’t think to include that feature. With that said, if the battery does die on you, a three-meter audio cable can take over the job of getting your tunes to your ears. Assuming you can find that Lightning-to-headphone adapter, that is.

Bluetooth Connections Are Good, but Not Great

Let’s talk a bit more about Bluetooth. When the Satellite first released, it didn’t offer good (or any) support for multiple device connections. Blue recognized that as a problem, and fixed it with a firmware update. Unfortunately, the firmware isn’t user-flashable. To make up for that, Blue has offered to exchange any older models of the headset with the new, multi-device compatible one.

Now, let’s discuss connecting to multiple devices. In most scenarios where Bluetooth accessories support connecting to multiple devices, transitioning from one to the other is easy. You disconnect from the first device, put the accessory into pairing or connection mode, and then connect your second device.

It doesn’t work that way with the Satellite, unfortunately. Instead, to switch from using the headset from my iPhone to my iPad, I have to toggle Bluetooth off on my iPhone. Otherwise, the Satellite automatically connects to my iPhone as soon as it enters pairing mode.

Powerful Sound Drivers and Range

Blue Satellite features custom 44mm dynamic drivers, in an over-the-ear form factor. The frequency response is 16Hz to 22,000Hz, offering you very rich lows and crisp highs. The quality of sound is truly amazing, especially when you couple ANC and the amplifier.

Blue Satellite Headphones

Blue Satellite offers a classic look, with modern and powerful acoustic drivers and technology

The Active Noise Cancellation uses 30mm dedicated drivers, with a patented technology that prevents ANC from interfering with your music quality. Four pick-up microphones detect and cancel out background noise.

A Microphone That’s Only ‘Meh’

I would have thought, given Blue’s history of building outstanding microphones, that the built-in mic with this headset would offer phenomenal quality. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case.

The omni-directional mic seems to pick up much of the audio coming in the earpieces, and then echoes that to your recording or whomever you’re talking to. I’ve had several times when I used the Satellite headset for a phone call, and the person I was talking to could hear the echo quite clearly.

Less-Than-Intuitive Controls

Blue says the Satellite has “intuitive” controls, but that’s only partially true. There’s a learning curve involved, and the placement of the controls doesn’t always make sense. Over your right ear, you have volume up and down, along with a play/pause button that doubles as skip if you double-click it. However, the amplifier and ANC controls are on the left ear.

Blue Satellite Headphones

The controls for Blue Satellite’s Active Noise Cancellation, amplifier, and Bluetooth are on your left ear cup

With that said, the buttons offer a definite positive feedback experience, clicking solidly when you’ve pressed them enough. There’s no mistake about whether you’ve pressed the button, only whether you’ve gotten your finger in the correct spot to activate it. I’ve found listening in a lying down position makes it more difficult to locate the ANC and amplifier buttons right away. There’s also no way to activate Siri with the control buttons, which is unfortunate.

Blue Satellite Headphones

Over the right ear, you’ll find volume controls and a Play/Pause button

My Final Verdict

The Blue Satellite is a good product with amazing sound. You won’t regret spending a premium investment on this headset, at least as far as audio quality goes. There are some missing features, though, that really should be present on any Bluetooth headset running more than US $100. One of those is a battery life indicator.

Product: Satellite Headphones

Company: Blue

List Price: $399.99

Vendor Price: $399.99 with Prime Shipping

Rating:

We Like It. You Should Get It.

Pros:

Excellent sound quality, comfortable fit, good battery life

Cons:

No battery indicator, less-than-intuitive controls, difficult to use with multiple devices

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