Microphone Shootout

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Freddy G, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Hi!
    This is a shootout of 12 different microphones on male voice and acoustic guitar.
    The mics are:
    1. Audio Technica 4033
    2. Audio Technica 4050
    3. AKG C414-EB (vintage transformer version)
    4. Electro-Voice RE20 (vintage)
    5. Neumann KM84 (vintage)
    6. Neumann U87 (vintage)
    7. Sennheiser MD421
    8. Shure SM5 (vintage)
    9. Shure SM57
    10. Shure SM57 modified
    11. Shure SM58
    12. Sony C800g

    These mics represent a wide range of price and quality. Starting with the least expensive mic, the SM57 to the most expensive....the Sony C800g tube mic costing almost 100 times! more than the 57. :wow:

    There are 2 folders that contain the audio files. You can download them here:
    https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=4328578fd5a133e2&resid=4328578FD5A133E2!104

    The files are 44.1k sample rate at 24 bits in mono. After unzipping them I think the best way to listen to them is to load the files in your DAW, each file on it's own track, so that you can solo each track as it's playing. Like this:

    [​IMG]

    Although I was careful to be consistent with matching gain, proximity to the mics and positioning, I would not call this totally controlled and scientific. There are variances...but I think it's still usefull.

    I sang the vocal part....I don't claim to be a real singer, so please take it easy on me :). I used a Stedman pop filter for all the mics except the Shure SM5. The mics were at a distance of 8" from my mouth.


    For the guitar I played the intro of Rush's "Closer to the Heart" because it's very rich in texture. There is arppegio picking, open ringing strings and chord strums. The guitar I played was a 6 string acoustic that I made. The mics were positioned pointing at the neck/body joint at a distance of 8".

    The mic pre is a tube design that I built.

    Happy listening! I look forward to your comments and questions and hopefully this might help someone shopping for a new mic or just as a primer for what these mics actually sound like.
     
  2. Ed Zeppeli

    Ed Zeppeli Senior Member

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    Whoah I just saw this thread.

    Unfortunately I can't get to the sample page. Firefox says untrusted site and when I clicked thru the warnings I get to an odd site w/ french text.

    Regards,

    Warren

    EDIT: Nevermind. I reset my CMOS yesterday which screwed w/ my date on the PC and that probably caused my issue. Will check 'em out ASAP.
     
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  3. hellraiser_666

    hellraiser_666 Senior Member

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    This is GREAT! It could very well be the "go to" place for all the newbies (like me) before dumping cash on a mic for home studio

    Thank you Freddy! :) you are a legend
     
  4. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    that's odd!....anybody else having that problem? It's the first time I've used Skydrive to store files.

    I've uploaded the files to another server. If anyone has problems try here:
    Guitar mics 1.zip

    Guitar Mics 2.zip

    Vocal mics.zip
     
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  5. Ed Zeppeli

    Ed Zeppeli Senior Member

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    I edited my post above Freddy. It's good now!

    Thanks a lot.
     
  6. nicolasrivera

    nicolasrivera Senior Member

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    Holy moly Freddy, thanks so much!!!!

    Of course i went strait and listen to the sm57 and the MOD sm57, and man, what did you do??? the MOD one sounds so much warmer and full. Can i send you 3 for moding?? :)
     
  7. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Nicolas,
    It's just a matter of getting rid of the transformer, it's the easiest mod. You can do it yourself...all you have to do is unscrew the capsule, unsolder the wires from the capsule that go into the body, remove the XLR connector and unsolder it. Then place the body in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. That loosens the glue that holds the piece of shit transformer in the body casing. Once you get the transformer out of there clean out the blobs of glue and rewire the capsule directly to the XLR.
    You will lose about 12-14 db of gain but you heard for yourself the improvment in the mic.
    And if you are micing a loud source like a guitar amp or snare drum, the gain loss won't be a problem. If you are micing something quiet then you need a high gain, clean mic amp.
     
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  8. nicolasrivera

    nicolasrivera Senior Member

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    Thank you Freddy,will try that ASAP. Cant thank you enought.
     
  9. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    No problem Nic!
     
  10. Cap

    Cap Senior Member

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    I'll never stop to learn...thanks Freddy!
     
  11. joeobrien

    joeobrien Senior Member

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    Thanks Freddie. Very helpful. In fact without doubt you are one of the most helpful guys on MLPF.

    Have a good day!:)
     
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  12. Ed Zeppeli

    Ed Zeppeli Senior Member

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    Awesome. Finally had a chance to listen. Thanks very much for your efforts on this Freddy!

    I liked the RE20 on guitar and there was quite a noticeable presence difference on the vocals with the Sony that I really liked.


    Is the SM5 the predecessor to the SM7?


    Cheers,

    Warren
     
  13. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Thanks for listeneing fellas.
    Warren, the SM5 was the predessor to the SM7. I like the SM7 better on vocals, it has a thicker mid that gives a vocal a nice presence in a mix and doesn't need as much preamp gain.
    I know what you mean about the Sony presence being different, but then it was the only tube mic in the group. I thought about including my G7 but I figured I should just stick to commercially available mics.
    I was surprised at how dark the 414 was, but remember it is the old transformer coupled version (great on a shrill, sibilant vocal). And how thick the U87 was (along with a lack of sibilance) you might even say "dull". But these qualities can have their place.
    I agree, the RE20 had something cool going on for the guitar.
    I hoped to include the SM7 in the shootout but it is locked out on an orchestra right now, along with a bunch of other mics that would have been really cool to include...maybe some other time :D
     
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  14. MUSTANGCAT

    MUSTANGCAT Banned

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    Cool post! I understand that the very high end mics have a very flat freq response. I'm happy with the way my SM57 works with acoustic guitar. I would never mod it. For vocals it is very strong but, I prefer an SM58 or one of my Audix condensor mics. Losing 12 to 14 dbs is huge! I feel your mod will work for certain people though!
     
  15. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    You could replace the transformer with something better
    TAB-Funkenwerk Transformer Modfor SM57 and SM58 Microphones
     
  16. Bing17

    Bing17 Senior Member

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    Great demo! While very subjective, to my ear, I like the 414 and the KM84 best for your voice. They added the bass I like. The Sony was amazing sounding - I think you should send that one to me, as I think it would suit my voice.
     
  17. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    You're right...it's a lot, but as I said if you are miking a loud source like a snare or guitar amp it's not an issue. (and for me that's all I ever use a 57 for anyway)

    Thanks Yeti, I wasn't aware of this transformer. I will order one.

    I think I have a spare lying around here somewhere....what's your address? :D
     
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  18. DLChance

    DLChance Senior Member

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    Ever try the EV ND767?

    It's my absolute favorite all-around mic, and they only cost around $130. I have six of them.

    But since I started using Shure 55SH mics onstage, I'm thinking about trying them in the studio, too. They're really clear, and they have a nice wide freq response.
     
  19. axslinger

    axslinger Senior Member

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    It's been my experience that unless you know exactly what you are looking for and have experience in recording gear, you can't go wrong with an SM57. It's a great utility mic, built decent and easy on the wallet. It's great for drums, guitar, vocals, etc. Again, it's a great utility mic. There are plenty of specialized mic's out there but they're kind of like different guitars, you better know the characteristics that you're after. It would be like buying a Les Paul with the intention of getting good Stevie Ray sounds. Just my 2 cents.
     
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  20. Sakamoto

    Sakamoto Senior Member

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    Thanks for he post Freddie, and while I'm at it I'd like to say that I really enjoy and appreciate your postings! Always very helpful!
     

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