Logitech has a long history of offering great gear for people who create YouTube videos and stream on Twitch, including several of our top webcam picks and our favorite microphone, the Blue Yeti. But for more serious creators and those who make this type of video content for a living, Logitech is upping its game with the new $349. Blue Sona XLR microphone and $99 Litra beam desk light.
The latest products under the Logitech For Creators banner, the Blue Sona and Litra Beam, both available to order now, are designed to help everyone from pro gamers to makeup artists look their best in front of the camera. The Sona promises a major improvement in quality over your typical USB microphone, while the Litra Beam is designed to illuminate you much better than the average ring light.
To learn more about these promising new gadgets, I had an exclusive chat with Andrew Siminoff, Senior Product Marketing Manager, and Soren Pedersen, Senior Product Manager. Here’s their rundown of what sets Logitech’s latest gear for pro creators apart, and why they double as great work-from-home gear once you’re done streaming.
Blue microphones are synonymous with content creation — there was a time when you couldn’t fire up a YouTube video or watch a Twitch stream without seeing someone speaking into the company’s iconic $129 Yeti USB microphone. The $349 Blue Sona XLR is a high-end version of the concept for those ready to step up a gear, offering a dedicated XLR connection (meaning better quality) and built-in gain boost for better volume. that you would normally buy. as an additional accessory. Another big differentiator is that the Sona is a dynamic microphone, which picks up more focused sound versus a condenser mic like the Yeti, which can pick up more background noise.
The Sona also looks like a direct competitor to the $399 Shure SM7Bwhich has become the go-to for serious content creators, and is used by nearly every professional YouTuber and Twitch streamer we interviewed.
“That’s our take on this style of microphone, but we’ve modernized it a bit,” says Pedersen, emphasizing the importance of Sona’s built-in ClearAmp technology which adds extra gain without any additional hardware. Earn boosters such as $149 cloud lift are a popular way to improve a microphone’s clarity and signal strength, but they also add extra cost to an already expensive mic.
“You shouldn’t have to go back to the store to [another] $150 to buy more gain, just to make your microphone usable on something,” Pedersen continues.
The Blue Sona also stands out with its casual look, which comes in graphite and off-white color options, and includes interchangeable red and graphite windshields. The result is a mic that’s both colorful and customizable, which is a refreshing change in a category dominated by all-black gadgets. Pedersen was using the graphite mic with a red windshield during our Zoom chat, which made the microphone much more visible during the call.
“[It’s] just something to skip,” says Pedersen. “It’s what I use for games. And I put black on when I talk to Grandma.
Considering how popular (and relatively affordable) Blue Yeti microphones are, I asked Pedersen about the main benefits of upgrading to the Sona, especially since XLR microphones require you to own an audio interface that allows you to connect them to your computer rather than just being plug-and-play via USB.
“Whenever you switch from a multi-part system, such as a micro USB, which is a microphone and a USB interface integrated into one, [and you upgrade to a] dedicated tool… usually there are better quality tools [sound] it comes,” says Pedersen. “As [creators] getting into the interfaces, sometimes it’s a matter of control, like mixing multiple sources, but it’s really about getting a dedicated tool that’s designed to [broadcasting].”
Earlier this year I reviewed the Logitech Litra Glow, which is a small $60 light that clips onto the top of your monitor to make you look better on video. I loved using it and found it more elegant than fixing a giant ring light on my desk. Like the Sona in the Yeti, the Beam spans the smaller Glow, delivering a wide 15-inch beam of light that you can place anywhere in your setup for pro-quality lighting – or pair multiple other Beams together for cinematic effect. And like the Glow, it can easily be controlled and customized via software, and meets strict testing guidelines that ensure your safety if you’re sitting in front of it for long hours.
“When we set out to create the Beam, the first part was a sleek design, then we went with a very slim footprint so it could fit on any desk,” says Siminoff. “But the part that excites me [is] the ability to move [multiple Beam lights] around and shape to create cinematic effects.
While Beam offers great flexibility for hardcore users who want to configure their own advanced lighting setup, Siminoff was quick to point out that the light will also look great for the everyday YouTuber. He also noted that some of the beam improvements were a direct result of feedback the team received from the Glow light. This includes more control options via Logitech G Hub software as well as wireless Bluetooth connectivity that allows greater freedom in where and how you position the light.
“People wanted more control within G Hub. They wanted to build a control light separately and name them. And most importantly, we think more techs will buy Beam, and a lot of them will use more than one. So the ability to name and control them separately seems really important,” Siminoff says. “The ability to connect to the computer via Bluetooth was also requested. [so it won’t tie] one of your ports. We understand that these are so limited and users already have so much plugged into their computer.
The Litra Beam is certainly a promising accessory on paper, but what are the advantages compared to a standard ring light (which can be found cheap on Amazon) or a more high-end box light like the Elgato Key Light? According to Siminoff, it all comes down to natural, balanced lighting, better onboard controls, and the confidence that you can sit in front of your light for hours on end with minimal eye strain.
“So compared to a ring light [you get a] much smaller footprint, no weird effect in the eye, and we get that even light pattern you expect,” says Siminoff. “Compared to the Elgato light…what we really worked on was having a much smaller stand without the huge power adapter they include. And we are Bluetooth because the Wi-Fi on their light… I found that to be complicated.
While the Logitech G Hub offers plenty of ways to easily adjust the Litra Beam’s brightness and color temperature from your desk, Siminoff pointed to the Beam’s built-in controls as a key feature that sets it apart from the competition.
“I like the idea that I can reach out and control everything [directly] on the light, or via software. And [Elgato doesn’t] give you both options, so for me that was a bummer,” says Siminoff. “There are times when you can use it separately. Maybe you are cooking in the kitchen with our light and the computer is far away. So you can just reach and touch the light rather than going to touch your computer. Things like that [are] where I want the controls on board.
While the Blue Sona XLR and Litra beam are designed to elevate professional content creators, Logitech discovered an unintended bonus feature while testing them internally via video calls: they both make excellent work-from-home products.
“As these units started to work and people started moving into the dynamic world, the quality of life sitting on Zoom all day improved,” Pedersen says of the Blue Sona. “If companies gave away stuff like this as part of their remote work kit, everyone’s blood pressure drops 20 points just because they don’t have to put up with all that noise and ‘Someone ‘could someone mute your microphone?’ all the time, right? And even if you give presentations, the way you speak and the way you present yourself is important now. I feel like we’re past the days of like, “Oh , it’s just on Zoom. ‘We’re fine.'”
That’s not to say you should buy a $349 microphone and a $99 light just for your weekly Zoom sessions – $129 Blue Yeti mic and $60 Litra Glow will do the job just fine for this – but it does mean these products are an especially worthwhile investment for creatives who also do a lot of video conferencing.
“Above all [for] the kind of people who work from home and maybe also have a podcast or maybe also a small music studio or maybe also a YouTube channel when they do voiceovers… whatever “also”, it’s definitely not done [strictly] for people working from home, but holy cow, is this a good solution for that.
Siminoff echoed Pedersen’s statements on the lighting front, noting that good office lighting better simulates the brighter, brighter lighting you’ll find in a traditional office. Ultimately, the Logitech For Creators team seems keenly aware that how you look and sound on camera makes a big difference, whether you’re leading a major presentation or streaming on Twitch to hundreds of thousands of people.
“I mean, we grew up hearing ‘Lights, camera, action,’ right?” said Siminoff. “Now I would just like to say that in the world of streamers, creators and games, it’s ‘Lights, Camera, Mic, Action’.”