Can you tell the difference between a $100 dollar microphone and a $3500 microphone, all recorded in exactly the same way, with the same sound source. If you can't, you might save yourself $3400 dollars!
Many people were bold enough to have a go at the test. Well done if you did!
Although people could in general tell the difference between the preamps, very few correctly identified which was the most expensive and which was the least expensive.
It wasn't a good idea to ask people to comment on the microphones as well as the preamps. Within its own terms of reference the preamp test was solid. However the microphone test introduced two variables where there should only have been one.
So... what we need is a proper microphone test. And here it is!
Here are audio examples of seven different microphones in common professional use ranging in price from around $100 to around $3500. The parameters of the test are these...
The mics are all either nominally cardioid, or switched to the cardioid setting.
The mouth-to-mic distance is consistent in all examples at 22 centimeters.
The microphone is placed 10 cm above the mouth and angled down at the mouth.
No pop shield was used.
All recordings were made in a large proprietary vocal booth in the same session.
The recordings were made on a Pro Tools HD system to 24-bit resolution using a Focusrite Octopre preamplifier. The recordings were normalized and bounced to 16-bit .WAV files with dither.
The Audio Masterclass Newsletter is a free resource to help home recording studio owners improve the standard of their work. The Newsletter is available on this website, and via free email subscription.