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Thread: The Mic Test Thread!

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    The Mic Test Thread!

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    It seems that the most common reason people come to this forum to is to find information relating to what mic is best, what would best fit their situation, what preamp would sound best with what mic, what mic sounds good for vocals and acoustic guitar, and how a mic sounds compared to another mic, the list goes on. The most common response is several individual's own opinion and personal experience with a particular mic/preamp/whatever. But ultimately, what matters most, is the actual sound that is produced. In this regard, I've personally found actual sound samples and audio applications to give me the best idea of how a mic behaves and sounds on various sources. I realize there are a gazillion variables that contribute to the sound of a particular recording other than the mic/preamp used, but nonethless I find it valuable to have some idea how a mic or preamps functions and the sound it is capable of producing.

    So, what I am proposing, is that either in this thread or another thread, that everyone submit any and all audio clips where any microphones/preamps/relating gear is being used. A B comparisons, competing mic shootouts, preamp comparisons, nylon string acoustic vs steel string acoustic with the same mic, Behringer vs everything it copies, etc etc etc. Submit links to either one's own recordings, or other samples one has come across. The idea is to have as much audio reference material as possible in one thread.

    Give as much information as possible. All gear used, signal chain, source, the room it was recorded in, and anything else you think is important. Even if you have the same mic that’s been posted 5 different times, post your recording/comparison anyway! Also, be sure to give credit for other's recordings.


    What I have come across so far:

    "The Listening Sessions"
    http://www.thelisteningsessions.com/sessions.htm
    Produced by Dan Richards and Rob Gainer
    Engineered by Rob Gainer, Bruce Bailey, Dan Richards

    Recorded and Edited at Sea Note Recording Studios
    Sponsored by Digital Pro Sound


    Mics used
    ADK A-51
    ADK S
    ADK A-51sLE
    ADK SC-T
    ADK SL
    ADK TL
    ADK TC
    ADK TT
    AEA R84
    AKG C414B TLII
    AKG C414EB
    AKG C414B-ULS
    AKG C451E
    AKG C451B
    AKG C12VR
    AKG SolidTube
    AKG C 1000
    AKG C-2000
    AKG C 3000
    AKG D 12
    AKG D 112
    Audio-Technica AT3031
    Audio-Technica AT3032
    Audio-Technica AT4041
    Audio-Technica AT4047
    Audio-Technica AT4050
    Audio-Technica AT4040
    Audio-Technica Pro25
    Audix SCX-One
    Avenson Audio STO-2 ( Stapes )
    Avenson Audio Tube Cardioid
    Behringer ECM8000
    Behringer B1
    Beyer M-160
    Blue Baby Bottle
    Blue Blueberry
    Blue Dragonfly
    Blue Mouse
    Bridge Microphones BM1050 cardioid
    Bridge Microphones BM1003 omni
    Brauner Phantom C
    Brauner Valet
    CAD E-100
    CAD M179
    Crown 6-LPB PZM
    Crown CM700
    DPA 4011 (3511 Stereo Kit)
    DPA 4061
    DPA 3530A - 2 X 4006
    DPA 3521 w/ 4021's
    DPA 3552 w/ 4052's
    Earthworks QTC1
    Earthworks SR77
    Earthworks SRO
    EV RE-27
    Groove Tubes GT 33
    Groove Tubes GT 44
    Josephson C-42MP
    MBHO MBP 680
    Mojave Audio MA100
    MXL 990
    MXL 603S
    MXL V69 Mogami Edition
    MXL V67
    MXL 2001
    MXL 2003
    MXL 1006
    Microtech Gefell M300
    Microtech Gefell M295
    Neumann TLM103
    Neumann KM184
    Oktava MC012
    Oktava MK-319
    Pearl CC22
    Pearl CO22
    RCA R77
    Red5 Audio RV15
    Red5 Audio RV10
    Red5 Audio RV8
    Red5 Audio RV4
    Red5 Audio RVK7
    Red5 Audio RVD1
    Royer R-121
    Røde NTK
    Røde NT1000
    Røde NT4
    Røde NT5
    Røde NT1-A
    Røde NT3
    Schoeps CMC64 MK4 ST
    Schoeps CMC62S MK2 S
    SE Electronics Z5600
    SE Electronics Z3300
    SE Electronics SE3600
    SE Electronics SE1
    Sennheiser MD-421 II
    Sennheiser MD-504
    Shure SM57
    Shure SM58
    Shure KSM141/SL ST
    Shure KSM137/SL ST
    Shure SM81
    Shure KSM32
    Soundelux U195
    Sound Performance Lab 2275 Nugget
    Stephen Paul mic
    Studio Projects C1
    Studio Projects C3
    Studio Projects T3
    Studio Projects B1
    Studio Projects B3
    Studio Projects TB-1
    Studio Projects C4
    Studio Projects LSD-2
    Superlux CM-H8K/U/H/O
    Superlux ECM-999
    T.H.E. KA-04
    T.H.E. TT-3M
    Wagner U47

    Preamps used
    A Designs MP-1
    AMS Neve 1073
    AMS Neve 1081
    Aphex Tube Essence
    API 512C
    API 212L
    API 3124
    API 528C
    Aurora Audio GTQ2
    Avalon VT-737-SP
    Behringer UltraGain Pro Mic2200
    Behringer Tube Ultragain T1953
    Benchmark Media 420
    Brent Averill 1272
    Buzz Audio MA-2.2
    Buzz Audio SA-1.1
    DACS Clarity MicAmp
    Dan Alexander Dual Class A
    D.W. Fearn VT-1
    Demeter HXM-1
    Drawmer 1969
    Drawmer MX60
    Drawmer Tube Station
    Earthworks 1022
    ELBERG MP8
    Focusrite ISA 428
    Focusrite Voicemaster Pro
    FMR Audio RNP 8380
    Grace 101
    Grace Lunatec V3
    Great River MP-1NV
    Great River MP-2
    Groove Tubes Vipre
    Groove Tubes Ditto
    HHB Radius 40
    Joe Meek MQ3
    Joe Meek VC1QCS
    Joe Meek VC6Q British Channel
    Joe Meek VCTwinQcs
    Joe Meek JM828
    John Hardy M-1
    Mackie VLZ
    Manley SLAM!
    Martech MSS-10
    M-Audio Audio Buddy
    M-Audio DMP3
    M-Audio Tampa
    MCI 500
    MCI 600
    Millennia HV-3D
    Millennia M-2B
    Neve 33122 - Brent Averill version
    Neve 1272 - Brent Averill version
    Oram MWS
    Phoenix Audio (UK) DRS-2
    Presonus Eureka
    Rane MS 1b
    Requisite Audio PAL Plus
    Requisite Audio Y7 MkIV
    Sebatron vmp-2000e
    Sound Performance Lab 9844 GoldMike
    Speck MicPre 5.0
    Studio Projects VTB-1
    Studio Projects VTB-2
    Summit Audio 2BA-221
    Summit Audio TD-100
    Sytek MXP-4Aii
    TC Electronic Gold Channel
    TL Audio 5051 Ivory 2
    TL Audio C1
    TL Audio PA-1
    Tube Tech MP-1A
    Vintech Dual 72
    Ward-Beck Pod4

    Sources used
    Acoustic Guitar
    Female Vocals
    Fender Deluxe Amp/'52 Goldtop Les Paul
    Lakeland Bass
    Male Vocals

    -

    "Red5 Audio - RVK7 Drum kit mic set samples"
    http://www.dancetech.com/aa_dt_new/h...id=2640&lang=0
    Dancetech.com

    Mics used
    Red5 Audio - RVK7 Drum kit mic set
    AKG Drum mic set

    See link for other info

    -

    "Russian Microphone Sampler"
    http://www.microphones.ru/downloads.htm
    Michael Vladimirsky, www.microphones.ru

    Mics used
    LOMO 19A18
    LOMO 19A19
    MKL-101
    MKL-202
    Oktava MC-102
    Oktava ML-11M
    Oktava MK-13M
    Oktava MC-16

    Sources used (that I could determine)
    Chorus
    Classical Guitar
    Folk Ensemble
    Harpsichord
    Jazz Group
    Orchestra
    Piano
    String Ensemble

    -

    "small budget microphone shootout"
    http://www.stack.nl/~erwint/MicShootout.html
    Erwin Timmerman

    Mics used
    AKG C3000
    Behringer XM2000S
    LOMO M1 head
    Oktava 012 cardioid
    Sennheiser MD421N
    Sennheiser MD421U4

    Mics compared
    Oktava 012 cardioid vs AKG C3000
    Oktava 012 cardioid vs LOMO M1 head
    Oktava 012 cardioid vs Sennheiser MD421N
    Sennheiser MD421N vs Sennheiser MD421U4
    Sennheiser MD421N vs Behringer XM2000S

    Signal Chain
    Takamine EN20 acoustic guitar -> Mics -> Behringer MX802A -> Pulsar card

    -

    “D.M. Gremlin Productions”
    http://forums.dm-gremlin.com/viewforum.php?f=4
    D.M. Gremlin

    Mics Used
    AKG D112
    Audix D6
    Audix Micro-D
    Blue K.I.W.I.
    MXL 2001
    MXL 603S
    MXL 990
    MXL V67G
    MXL V69
    Neumann KM84
    Neumann M149
    Neumann U87
    Shure SM57

    Mic Comparisons
    AKG D112 vs Audix D6
    MXL 2001 vs Neumann U87 (Acoustic Guitar, Female Vocals)
    MXL 603S vs Neumann KM84 (Acoustic Guitar)
    MXL 990 vs Blue K.I.W.I. (Male Vocals)
    MXL V69 vs Neumann M149 (Acoustic Guitar)
    Shure SM57 vs Audix Micro-D

    Preamp Comparison
    Audio Buddy (MXL V67G)
    Mackie XDR (MXL V67G)
    TubePRE (MXL V67G)

    -

    “Microphone Preamps”
    http://www.polyblendstudios.com/micpre.php
    Polyblend Studios

    Signal Chain
    Gibson ES-335 -> MXR DynaComp pedal -> Fender VibroKing -> Royer R-121-> mic preamp -> Apogee PSX-100 sampling at 24bit / 96 kHz-> Masterlink.

    Preamps used
    API 3124+: gain set @12:30 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    Avalon AD2022: gain set @ 42, impedance set to 'MIC' 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    Avalon AD2022: gain set @ 46, impedance set to '600' 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    Avalon 737sp: gain set at 35 + high gain switch enabled 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    PreSonus MP20: gain set @ 3:30, IDSS off 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    TAC Matchless console mic pre: mic gain @ 52 dB, fader @ +2.5 dB 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    Universal Audio 2108: gain 50, impedance 1K, output gain 7.2 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    Universal Audio 2108: gain 45, impedance 1K, output gain 8.8 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    Universal Audio 2108: gain 45, impedance 4K, output gain 10 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    Universal Audio 2-610: gain +10, impedance 500, output gain 6.5 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    Universal Audio 2-610: gain 0, impedance 500, output gain 8.8 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3
    Universal Audio 2-610: gain 0, impedance 2K, output gain 10 24/96 AIF 320 kbps MP3

    -

    “Testing Mics Again”
    http://www.jeffoestreichmusic.com/mictest.htm
    Jeff Oestreich


    Signal Chain
    microphone->Grace 101 preamp -> Akai DPS16 24-bit recording THEN inserted -> RNC Compressor -> TC Electronics M-One XL Reverb Processor -> digital back in to Akai

    Mics used
    Studio Projects C1
    MXL V69

    -

    “Acoustic Mic Tests”
    http://homerecording.com/bbs/showthr...hreadid=113466
    taylorguitarman

    Signal Chain
    Lowden O25 Acoustic Guitar -> M-Audio DMP3 -> Yamaha AW16G

    Mics used
    AT3035
    SM57
    Studio Projects B1
    Oktava MK012
    MXL 603S
    MXL V67G

    -

    [Piano Comparisons]
    http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists/...d=1656&alid=-1
    Michael Jones

    Mics used
    SM57
    SM81
    MXL 603S

    Preamps used
    API 312 (Jensen Transformers)
    Audix 35102

    Source used
    Piano

    -

    “Okay then, listen to the B1 on jazz guitar”
    http://www.adjanemmen.nl/mp3/swing.mp3
    Han

    Mic used
    Studio Projects B1

    Source used
    Swing Band

    -

    “Recording better vocals”
    http://gearslutz.com/board/attachmen...?postid=145570
    PersonalJesus

    Mic used
    AKG C-414 B-ULS

    Preamp Used
    M-audio Firewire 410

    Source used
    Male vocals

    Room
    8x10x12 bedroom with carpet floors

    -

    “Mic shootout”
    http://www.nowhereradio.com/bergen/singles
    Bergen

    Mic used
    BLUE KIWI
    MXL 990
    Studio Projects C1

    Source used
    Male vocals

    -

    “A Simple Mic Comparison”
    http://www.fxguidry.com/mictest1/
    Lynn & Fran

    Mic used
    AKG 535
    Behringer ECM8000
    Countryman EM-101
    Oktava MC012 Cardioid
    Oktava MC012 Hypercardioid
    Oktava MC012 Omni
    Neumann KM-184
    Neumann TLM103
    Shure SM81
    Shure KSM44 Carioid
    Shure KSM44 Omni
    Shure SM58
    Shure SM57

    Preamps used
    M-Audio DMP-3
    OMNI I/O

    Source used
    Martin OM-18V Acoustic Guitar

  2. #2
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    Thumbs up

    Super post!

    This should remain on the top of this forum. I've already been listening to samples of mics I'm curious about on certain sites and already I've 'heard' what some people have mentioned in certain mics. The SP C1 for example in the sample clips I listened to it and it does sound a bit bright. I've listened to some of the major brands (Audio Technica AT4040) and once again heard why they are leaders in the mic biz.

    Thanks a million Rhythmschism.

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    yeh i listened to the mic comparisons on acoustic guitar and thought the ATs sounded great. they had detail but not the harshness ( you know that nasty cheap metallicy sound) of the mxls

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    Yes, I was listening to the same clips with the acoustic guitar. The Audio Technicas sounded very well balanced.

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    A noble thought, but pretty impractical...

    Lynn Fuston's comparison CDs are semi-useful only to give you a flavour of a mic/pre combination's sound, and it only works because there was consistency in the recording environment for each sample.

    Myriad clips from a variety of sources with inconsistent recording environments and signal chains will be essentially useless.

    ex - a rookie records an acoustic guitar in a sonically bad room with an SM57 thru an ART Tube MP and posts a clip... someone else posts an acoustic guitar clip done with an SM57 thru a Great River in a sonically excellent room.

    Comparing both clips is useless -- the rookie may not even be aware that their environment is unsound and considers the poor results a factor of using the SM57, or the Tube MP, or both!

    You can see the problem...

    Unless there are controls in place with respect to the acoustics of the recording environment, as well as the signal chain, comparison clips won't tell you a bloody thing!

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    yeh everyone posting clips from different sources is useless, if anything misleading.

    Lynn Fuston visited MTSU last week and we had a little mic pre shoot out. It was quite interesting.

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    That's quite some mic info.

    I have some sound fragments in OGG on my website, OGG sounds better than MP3.

    For example: in 'Country example 1', you can hear the Sennheiser MD441 on pedal steel guitar amp.
    The vocal mic is the Neumann M149.

    In the 'Folk example', you can hear the AKG C3000 on acoustic guitar (nylon), the Neumann M149 on vocals, upright bass, violin and accordeon.

    In the 'Gothic' example, which is from 1994 and recorded with a Tascam MSR24S, you can hear the AKG C1000 (yes!!) on vocals.
    This band is a platinum record seller these days.

    In 'Heavy example 1' , the guitars were recorded without any mic, just straight into the board, it was tracked to two inch though.

    In the 'Jazz example 1', you can hear the MD441 on trumpet and Tbone, the M149 on woodwinds, the Beyer M260 ribbon on upright.

    Jazz example 2, is an old recording, with the Tascam MSR also and I don't remember well which mics were used, but the mics were MD421's, MD441's, Beyer M69, M201, the only condensers were the AKG C451's on mallets. The recording got CD of the month and got a 10 for audio quality. The board was a small SECK 1882.

    In the 'Rock example 1', you can hear the MD421 on guitar.

    In the 'Rock example 2', you can hear the MD441 on distorted Marshall amps.

    In the 'Singer songwriter' example you can hear the M149 on a nice female voice.

    I hope you guys will get an impression about some microphones.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Blue Bear Sound
    A noble thought, but pretty impractical...

    Lynn Fuston's comparison CDs are semi-useful only to give you a flavour of a mic/pre combination's sound, and it only works because there was consistency in the recording environment for each sample.

    Myriad clips from a variety of sources with inconsistent recording environments and signal chains will be essentially useless.

    ex - a rookie records an acoustic guitar in a sonically bad room with an SM57 thru an ART Tube MP and posts a clip... someone else posts an acoustic guitar clip done with an SM57 thru a Great River in a sonically excellent room.

    Comparing both clips is useless -- the rookie may not even be aware that their environment is unsound and considers the poor results a factor of using the SM57, or the Tube MP, or both!

    You can see the problem...

    Unless there are controls in place with respect to the acoustics of the recording environment, as well as the signal chain, comparison clips won't tell you a bloody thing!
    First of all, I am not trying to say I know more than you, or am more qualified to comment on this issue, because I am not. I am fairly new to recording, and realize you have quite a bit of experience in the field, but perhaps you could help me to better understand some things.

    As I mentioned before, there are many many variables that go into a recording, and I agree. But then again, how are these any less useful than a verbal or written review? I notice that the majority of people who give their opinions or criticism of mics on this forum usually do not state the room used, the signal chain used, all the instruments or voices they have tried, any such inconsistencies as you have noted. Not only that, but what about their monitors? The room they monitor in? How trained are their ears? They take not only a recording they have produced that has been influenced by countless inconsistencies, but then go on to to subject more variables on the matter by giving their opinion about how that particular recording sounded to them. To me, this seems like it would have more potential to achieve a less accurate measurement of a mic or preamp.

    I realize that there are those such as yourself who have the room, the experience, the ear, the gear, and everything else to make valid points regarding a mic. But then there are such recordings such as "The Listening Sessions" that have the resources and know-how to able to make consistent recordings to a similar level of accuracy. Yet, people here looking for feedback on a mic or preamp most often still like to hear the opinion of others, of which some are not professionals and could be said to not have the skills and resources to be able to form any conclusive or substantiated opinion on a piece of equipment.

    But then again, this site is geared towards home recorders, and so feedback from other people using the same cheap gear in the same 10x12 bedroom recording vocals with less than perfect pitch can often be useful information to someone in a similar situation. In the same way, I would think that being able to hear recordings with much of the popular, more budget oriented equipment that is frequently recommended and disputed over here, in as many environments, combinations, and applications as possible, would be at least as beneficial as an amateur review/opinion of the same piece of equipment.

    It definitely should be made clear that 2 different recordings using the same mic will in most cases not sound alike, due to all the unknowns and varied influences; this should never be overlooked. But when I hear a recording with an SM57 that sounds fantastic, I do not automatically assume that as soon as I purchase the mic I too will be able to produce equally fantastic recordings simply because I have that mic. Rather, I know that I have a mic that has the potential to sound fantastic, and as my experience, knowledge, gear, and environment grows, the mic will grow with me.

    My goal with this thread is not to determine how good a mic or preamp solely by listening to recordings. I merely suggest it as a piece in the overall pie that contributes to someone’s perception of a mic/preamp. Also, some people are not able to audition gear before they buy, and all they have to go on is the word of people in forums like this or other reviews. This simply affords them a limited portrayal of what their subject of interest could sound like.

    If I am also wrong in making these statements, please explain where my faults lie. Thanks.

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    Re: The Mic Test Thread!

    Originally posted by Rhythmschism

    "The Listening Sessions"
    http://www.thelisteningsessions.com/sessions.htm
    Produced by Dan Richards and Rob Gainer
    Engineered by Rob Gainer, Bruce Bailey, Dan Richards

    Recorded and Edited at Sea Note Recording Studios
    Sponsored by Digital Pro Sound

    Many thanks for the work you put into this.

    I only wish the guys above had also recorded a standard test sweep from a calibrated speaker (calibrated by a recording done at the same spot in the same room by a reference mic.) That would have been unbelievably useful for my work. Heavy sigh.


    Bob

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    Originally posted by Rhythmschism
    As I mentioned before, there are many many variables that go into a recording, and I agree. But then again, how are these any less useful than a verbal or written review?
    IMO, verbal or written reviews for mics and/or monitors are also useless unless you know something about the skills/capabilities/critical ears of the person offering the review!

    Seriously.... all these reviews in mags by reviewers you haven't heard... what do they mean? Nothing......... except for that unique environment and signal chain, those were the specific results the reviewer got. Exactly how does that help you if your own envronment has no parallel.

    I know - "well what if we use the same budget gear" -- that's no help either because budget gear is notoriously dissimilar from unit to unit. So you can't be sure if a budget mic sounds that way because of the environment, the person's skill (or lack of), or simply bad QA of the gear in question.

    I'm not trying to knock your efforts, but rather I'm pointing out that people should simply put "reviews" into proper perspective and avoid putting too much stock into them unless they honestly know something about the qualifications......

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