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5 Mic Shootout (Vocal)
View Poll Results: Which mic sounds the best (or sucks the least)?
Mic A
2 Votes - 8.70%
Mic B
3 Votes - 13.04%
Mic C
10 Votes - 43.48%
Mic D
5 Votes - 21.74%
Mic E
3 Votes - 13.04%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

Old 8th March 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
5 Mic Shootout (Vocal)

Hey everyone,

Backstory:
I gathered all the microphones I've picked up over the last few years and decided to do a quick vocal shootout for a cover I'm arranging. After finishing, I thought I'd post it here. I learn a lot from these forums and figured I'd try to give back. Hopefully this benefits those looking at budget mics for vocal work.

Shootout:
The shootout was't scientific - I just put them up in my untreated living room and sang into them from about a foot away. Used the stock Apogee Duet 2 preamps and converters. The tracks are completely dry with the exception of clip gain (to match levels) and a limiter (to bring the levels up some). 320kbps MP3. Not a perfect comparison, but I think the basic vibes of the mics are there.

After listening, please:

1. Decide which mic (A, B, C, D or E) you think "sounds the best" (or "sucks the least" if that's more appropriate) and why.

2. Head over to this page to see the names of the microphones:

- MIC SHOOTOUT REVEALED

3. Reply with your thoughts! (If possible, try not to give the names away in your reply.)

Thanks a ton, GS community, and I hope this helps some.

GB
Attached Files

Mic A.mp3 (2.39 MB, 366 views)

Mic B.mp3 (2.39 MB, 347 views)

Mic C.mp3 (2.39 MB, 399 views)

Mic D.mp3 (2.39 MB, 323 views)

Mic E.mp3 (2.39 MB, 366 views)


Last edited by gabebondoc; 10th March 2014 at 01:23 AM.. Reason: [Fixed the reveal link.]
Old 9th March 2014
  #2
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
I picked D it sounded fuller and had the most warmth but bear in mind I listened on my iPad.

EDIT: just looked at the list and am not sure whether to be shocked or not...
Old 9th March 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 
HamHat's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
C sounded great closely followed by E. Do we not get to know the microphones were judging?
Old 9th March 2014 | Show parent
  #4
ndc
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamHat ➑️
C sounded great closely followed by E. Do we not get to know the microphones were judging?
I think it makes more sense to judge first so you don't apply any preexisting opinions about certain microphones. If you're told to compare a neumann vs an MXL sample (knowing which is which), you'd naturally and immediately lean toward the neumann even if (in a blind test) the MXL sounded better. It's just the way the human brain works
Old 9th March 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
 
prizebeatz1's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Wow, that was huge!!! I picked D and then C. I just thought D had great clarity while keeping sibilance under control as well.
Old 9th March 2014
  #6
Gear Nut
 
tuvanh25's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
B sounds the smoothest. I think it would be easiest to process (eq, compression).A would be my second choice. Now off to go and check the mics.
Old 9th March 2014
  #7
Gear Nut
 
tuvanh25's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Interesting bunch of mics. You have a nice voice.
Old 9th March 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
skillz335's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I liked e the best even tough it was a bit sharp at times, really dug c, but thought it picked up too much noise, the model really surprised me, it had a tube sound or warmth to it.
Old 9th March 2014
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Wow I think A,B,C,D,E sounded pretty good but G was absoluty the best!
Old 9th March 2014
  #10
Lives for gear
 
guitarboy94's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I like C
Old 9th March 2014
  #11
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Boy, the differences to my ears werent that great for most of them. I'd have to go with whats behind door D.
Old 9th March 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
jaxman12's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
They sounded so close it was too hard to tell. Some sounded a little clearer but almost unnoticeable to me.
Old 9th March 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
tkaitkai's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
C seems to be the most well-rounded.

A and B have an odd-sounding midrange. D is nice. E is also great, but sounds a little thin compared to C.
Old 10th March 2014
  #14
Lives for gear
 
guitarboy94's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Holy Cow. I just looked at the answers. I'm shocked. I'm really beginning to wonder what can't be achieved with ANY mic. It's all about talent and working the mic, folks. That's all I can say.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
tkaitkai's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarboy94 ➑️
It's all about talent and working the mic, folks. That's all I can say.
Agreed. What I was expecting is completely different from what these mics actually are.

OP, you have a great voice, and it just goes to show that getting a good performance is just as important as having a good mic.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
guitarboy94's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkaitkai ➑️
Agreed. What I was expecting is completely different from what these mics actually are.

OP, you have a great voice, and it just goes to show that getting a good performance is just as important as having a good mic.
I think this test also just goes to show how grossly we exaggerate the characteristics of microphones, such as the constant "night and day difference" expression. No night and day differences here at all, IMHO, and these are most definitely very different microphones. To be honest, after hearing this test, I sort of feel like getting rid of half of my microphones and tracking everything with a few 50 dollar used SM57's from here on out.
Old 10th March 2014
  #17
Lives for gear
 
skillz335's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
^ I kind of disagree, it was night and day for me at least between c and e. d, b, and e were close in my opinion but e just had a bit more definition on the vocal inflections. Where as b was a bit smoother, a was to aggressive for may taste for those particular tracks. Im still learning in this regard, but I agree its is true people put too much emphasis on what kind of mic as opposed to how to use the mic or address its weaknesses.
Old 10th March 2014
  #18
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
+1 for C
Old 10th March 2014
  #19
Lives for gear
 
HamHat's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I know singers that sound terrible with the listed mics, it's all about matching the right mic to the right source. And of course proper mic placement.
Old 10th March 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 
hello people's Avatar
Some basic comments:

Mic A makes the singer sound like Frank Sinatra
Mic B - Kirk Hammett
Mic C - John Lennon
Mic D - Bono
Mic E - Dee Lite

So it's tough to split them. They all have a highly distinct character and sound. Let me repeat that...they all have a HIGHLY DISTINCT CHARACTER AND SOUND. The starkest difference being between mic B the Kirk Hammett mic and Mic E late 80's dance queen Dee Lite...that's a staggering difference...night and day...or more specifically...man and woman. Amazing.

But I'm going to really pull a coal out of the fire here and call the obvious bluff...it's a set up! It's a trick.

Only one mic was used in this shootout.

They all sound exactly the same.

Do I win?!?
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
guitarboy94's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I think I'll add...not only was ONE mic used, but that ONE mic was a vintage U87!
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people ➑️
Some basic comments:

Mic A makes the singer sound like Frank Sinatra
Mic B - Kirk Hammett
Mic C - John Lennon
Mic D - Bono
Mic E - Dee Lite

So it's tough to split them. They all have a highly distinct character and sound. Let me repeat that...they all have a HIGHLY DISTINCT CHARACTER AND SOUND. The starkest difference being between mic B the Kirk Hammett mic and Mic E late 80's dance queen Dee Lite...that's a staggering difference...night and day...or more specifically...man and woman. Amazing.

But I'm going to really pull a coal out of the fire here and call the obvious bluff...it's a set up! It's a trick.

Only one mic was used in this shootout.

They all sound exactly the same.

Do I win?!?
Old 10th March 2014
  #22
Lives for gear
 
28 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I liked A the best, by a good bit. Then a tie between E and C. I really disliked B and D


I just looked at the answers--very interesting, not what I would have expected. I liked A the best by a good margin, because it had the least annoying high end stuff going on
Old 10th March 2014
  #23
Lives for gear
 
HamHat's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
To bad you didn't have a u87 or u67 to compare. Would have been interesting to see how it compared.
Old 10th March 2014
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
A and B…

C in the middle

D and E last..

So pretty much in the order you have them in

(E was the worst… sounded like the voice was being strained to push enough air)
Old 10th March 2014
  #25
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks a ton for the replies, fellas.

I've learned the most about what my ears like from blind shootouts... it's just kinda tough to put one together for yourself. Helps a lot to get some blind, outside perspectives on the sound of these mics. Very, very useful.

@HamHat - Man, I really wish I had the funds to throw a nice high priced mic in, too... someday.

@tuvanh25 - Thank you!

Moving into a new spot later this month... hoping some moderate acoustic treatment will help kick these mics up a notch or two.

Thanks again and I'm looking forward to more responses!

GB
Old 10th March 2014
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
C for me
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
hello people's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamHat ➑️
To bad you didn't have a u87 or u67 to compare. Would have been interesting to see how it compared.
I think I could answer that

Old 11th March 2014
  #28
Lives for gear
 
mac black's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
all sounding pretty average, if i had to choose it would be A.
Old 11th March 2014
  #29
Lives for gear
 
guitarboy94's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
OP,

Anyway we could hear these takes in the context of the mix? Vocals have a funny way of sounding big, warm and awesome in pure raw form through nearly any microphone, but often show their true colors and behavior in a mix once compression and EQ is applied. The real question is: how well do these microphones take EQ and compression? How thin, thick, veiled or transparent do they sound in context of the mix?
Old 11th March 2014
  #30
Lives for gear
 
prizebeatz1's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Yeah but wouldn't the best mic for the job require the least eq/compression, etc?
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