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Old 2 weeks ago
 
Lives for gear
 
Progger's Avatar
@ kraku – First, I applaud your aim to think critically about systems that don't necessarily make sense. Gear mythology can indeed be real, and it affects markets in bizarre ways. But you might want to take into account the fact that non-religious, observable attributes of recorded sound are not all-consumingly represented in frequency graphs. In fact, those make for a very small, limited view of the big picture. A full 3D spectrograph might offer a better picture, and I'd be curious to see differences between otherwise identical tube vs solid state mics when accounting for the nuances of timbre.

It's timbre, though, that frequency response grasps are unable to display, and timbre is exactly the reason some engineers prefer tube mics for many applications. (Spectrographs can do a better job visualizing timbre.) I won't argue with you that gear mythology is a thing, and it's a bit silly. But I also think your initial thinking might be somewhat limited in its scope. There are many more nuances to recorded audio than frequency response. Human experience, too, is a measurable data set, and a very valid one: we won't have the ability to conduct a properly methodical scientific sociocultural/experiential survey here on GS, I'd wager, and we mostly get piles of anecdotal evidence of limited use. But there's much more than placebo when hearing the differences between a u87 and a u67, for example. (Incidentally, I prefer the u87 most of the time!)

Many of us on the forum are coming from an artistic place, too, so individual aesthetic perception and experience matter tremendously more than they would in a purely scientific context. Technologically speaking, the "best" microphones – i.e., the most accurate – are relatively inexpensive small-diaphragm omni condensers without tubes or transformers. Those can be great mics, of course! But their timbre will be very, very different from a u67, and it's not subtle. The u67 isn't accurate, it just sounds good in music. Its technological flaws have become its selling point, and that's simply because of art.