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Doug

Microphone Test Number 1

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Hi Everyone,

I have accumulated a fair number of mics over the last little while but I haven't had the means to easily do A/B comparisons. Until now. I just got myself a presonus firepod which has eight mic preamps.

So for this test I took 4 small diameter condenser mics - Line Audio CM3 (~$100), AT4051 (~$500), AKG C451B (~$650) and a Josephson C42 (~$400) and placed them as close together as possible - they formed a circle around two inches in diameter. They were placed about 12" out from the lower bout of the guitar and pointed just back of the saddle. The idea was that they were close enough together that the sound hitting the diaphragms would essentially be the same.

I then recorded a bit of acoustic guitar and rendered into the highest possible MP3 I could get. I have to admit that I think the rendering kind of invalidates this test to a certain degree, but lots of us listen to MP3 solely anyway. It is interesting, though, that one mic's file is larger than the others. This mic was recorded slightly hotter than the others, but not by much.

And here are the results. Let me know if a) you can discern any difference to the quality, and B) whether you can rank the mics in terms of preference. By the way, the order of the mics does not correlate to the list.

I should redo this test with a dynamic mic in the mix. And also with a cheaper quality condenser (the ones I have are all recommended for acoustic guitar).

I'll do another test later with large diameter condensers (I only have two of them).

let me know what you think.

-Doug

mic1.mp3

mic2.mp3

mic3.mp3

mic4.mp3

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To a very unpracticed ear I would rate them as follows from best to not best:

No 1: Most natural sound, good lows and highs

No 4: Natural but lows were a little muted

No 3: Also natural but it again seemed to me to be short of lows

No 2: Thinest sound of the four

I am going to come back to this latter and verify what I think I am hearing. Also to let you know I am listen through some fairly cheap headphones.

PS Great thread and comparison, thanks.

Just finished running these through Reaper and found that No 4 has the strongest signal of the three and as played through Reaper has the best sound to me. So I will switch No 1 and No 4 in place.

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Very interesting, Knight. You have mic #2 at the bottom and say it is the thinnist. Without trying to convince you otherwise, could it not be that that mic had the most definition? They are all so similar that you'd be hard pressed to pick out any from the others, but I thought number 2, without being overly bright, seemed to have more clarity. But I know which mic is which so it may be an emotional attachment. ;)

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Doug,

I am listening through two types of gear. Cheap headphones and KRK studio Rokit 6se monitors. Like Knight I also put them into my recording software. I currently cannot give a opinion, as I want to look at more info. I will come back with my review a little later.

Interesting thread. Nice playing,

By the way everything sounds clearer on the headphones, and change significantly on the monitors. I can see the different values in recording level response setting everything at 0 in each track.

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Doug,

It could be that No 2 is brighter, to me it doesn't seem to have as much bottoms as 1,3 and 4 and would seem thinner (probably a bad choice of words, still learning the vocabulary of recording).

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Nice bit Doug, I'm no help with these sorry ears of mine, I'll say this though..

3&4 were the most pleasing to me through Adobe Audition and 4 did seem a tad hotter than the others...and to be honest, If I didn't know before hand, I never would of picked up on any differences...cool thread!

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My preference starting with my least favorite at the top:

#2 = Line Audio CM3

#3 = Josephson C42

#4 = AKG C451B

#1 = AT4051

I agree with knight46, I think #1 had the best sound.

-tkr

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Here is the visual result of MIC no.1

Recording imported to studio, level set at 0 - sorry about the noise it was recorded on the camera and you hear the camera mic.

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Sorry about the audio fellas, but here we can see where each mic is in the spectrum. Now what about our ears? This is where it becomes subjective to each listener although we may all come to the same conclusions. Of course the speakers will also play a vital part.

Here we can see what we hear and hopefully focus our attention to the sound quality as we go to each mic in the actual audio while reviewing

the movie files. I could not get them all to load in one post. Once you have them on your computer you can watch each one over and over and over, well, you know what I mean.

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My preference starting with my least favorite at the top:

#2 = ????

#3 = ????

#4 = ????

#1 = ????

I agree with knight46, I think #1 had the best sound.

-tkr

Hi Tekker,

I purposely mixed up the order of the mic list so that the price wouldn't effect choices. I'll reveal which mics are which a bit later.

(Unless you were guessing at which mic was which. ;)

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Wow, Eddie. That was a lot of work. Thankyou for doing that.

I think the amazing thing is that they are all so similar. Even the cheapie (which is made in Sweden with hand selected capsules - great value).

There's a few things - maybe I should have posted the wav files, but they were recorded at 44.1K 24 bit (I don't know if windows media player can play that). And I should have added a wider range of mics to see if they are noticeable.

When I listened to each one before they were MP3'd, I really liked the clarity of mic 2 - it stood out as different from the others. You can always eq to add bass but I don't know how you can add definition after the fact.

It's all extremely subjective.

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Doug,

You are most welcome. I actually liked Mic No. 2

It appears as though Mic track 2 is giving higher values in the high mid range. May account for its clearer tones and separation.

It was also carrying less low end frequency's.

Great part about this thread is that I am actually paying attention to some of this stuff in my own recordings. Not that that helps me any.

LOL

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Hi Tekker,

I purposely mixed up the order of the mic list so that the price wouldn't effect choices. I'll reveal which mics are which a bit later.

(Unless you were guessing at which mic was which. ;)

Yes, I was guessing at which mic was which..... Was I right? :D

-tkr

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Interesting thread Doug, still learning about this important aspect of recording after listening to them all my list is 2 3 4 1 , two and three seemed to have more clarity but I don't know how good my ear for this is, these tests are educational so thanks for posting:winkthumb:

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How sad is this! I couldn't hear any differences at all. Too many years in industry and my hearing is shot. But I did enjoy the playing.

Thanks Karcey. I think the take away is that there is very little difference. Especially after rendered into MP3.

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Doug,

Watch the vid on Mic 4. Notice how sensitive it is when picking up the lower frequency and much weaker in the higher frequency range as compared to the other mic's.

The look at Mic 2, as a bolder comparison.

I think there you can see the difference.

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it's interesting you know, becasue #1 (AKG C451B) is known as being very bright. And #4 is known as bright as well. But # 2 is supposed to be fairly flat.

I going to do some more tests.

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