How do you sound test different mics without buying them

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by inferno, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. inferno

    inferno Guest

    if i wanted to test a bunch of microphones e.g. on an acoustic guitar or someones vocal, how would i do that without buying one? :shock:

    ive just got an sm57 right now but say i found a new singer and that didnt suit her style how would i know which mic would be the best for her without buying a bunch.

    or should i buy a bunch, test them, then bring the rest back for a refund? :) LOL
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    If you have a relationship with a dealer who will let you take mics to your space for testing and return those that arent what you need or want, then this is the very best scenario possible.
  3. inferno

    inferno Guest

    but i dont LOL
  4. Sights

    Sights Guest

    Develop one! It dosn't take much to show that you are a serious buyer, and if they like your talk, your generally in. :cool:
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    We are all professionals but we are also collectors. I have purchased equipment since I was a preteen and I will be turning 52 in a couple of weeks. I haven't stopped yet.

    I still have an omnidirectional Electro-Voice microphone " 636 Slimaire", I used when I was 9 years old. It originally belonged to my grandfather. It still works. I still use it amongst all of the other high-end microphones I possess. That I have accumulated. That I have collected, throughout the years, generations, eternity. Small subcompact systems are still quite important. So start small. Think big. Get there eventually.

    Places like can be very helpful. I the microphones we have used professionally we have been able to verbalize as to their acoustic characteristics and can advise you. Having a broad but narrow selection of microphones is advised. I.e. Shure SM57/58 type dynamics, a couple of those. A couple of small diaphragm condenser microphones such as the Octava's or Rode's and that goes for a couple of large diaphragm condenser microphones as well. Then, for your most esoteric and most colored, delicate most transient faithful sounding microphone, Whose technology goes back to the early 1930s, the one that will give you all the warmth and fullness without strident irritations? Simply a couple of ribbon microphones. Ribbon microphones of almost any variety will do since there are so few. A couple of decent ones are coming out of China. Or consider your classic Coles out of Great Britain. The new David Royer ribbons out of the United States. The West German classic Beyer and any antique or other ribbons you find. This will give you 2 of every flavor kind of microphone known to the recording industry. You'll probably never part with them. Treat them nicely and gently. Treat them better than you would treat your wife or girlfriend.

    If you have an erection lasting more than four hours, call your doctor.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    What do you call him ... a genius?
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:

    I just got a chance to try out the new BLUE Woodpecker microphone, which is a phantom powered ribbon microphone (go figure) and if you get the chance listen to one. I think you will be amazed. It maybe the new classic ribbon microphone. Good low end, not tubby, beautiful midrange and a shimmering hi end. All in all a good microphone that can't be damaged by hooking it up to a phantom powered channel and only $999.00. As you can tell I was pretty impressed.
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    No, I think you just call him to brag.
  9. inferno

    inferno Guest

    how did you get to try it out?
  10. nickeveslage

    nickeveslage Guest

    I don't know of any place that will let you take microphones home to test them or even return microphones. There are plenty of creeps out there. I can't imagine anyone would want to buy a microphone and wonder why it smells only to find out where someone else seemed to enjoy it....if you catch my drift.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    nickeveslage, this is where having a long relationship with an established local dealer can make a huge difference. I have been dealing with Chuck Levin's/Washington Pro in Wheaton Maryland, since 1978. If I wanted to evaluate a piece of equipment, I wouldn't have a problem with that and haven't. I don't think I could say the same thing for Sweetwater, Full Compass, Guitar Center because they're music oriented versions of Best By & Circum City.

    I think the new tube powered ribbons are a wonderful thing. If I had $2900 to blow on a new microphone it would be the new David Royer tube powered ribbon. Anybody interested in swapping one of those for a U-67? I have a pair. Of.....U-67's that is. OK, the others also but those are not for sale as they are attached to me.

    More than a mouthful is a waste
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    I'd call my wife. If she's not around...a lady of the night...if that's not possible, my high-speed internet provider...

    Yes, this is true, but you have to prove to those guys that you're not a creep. Invite them to your place and show them what you have. I bet they're musicians...offer to test the mics on them! That way, they're present while they're being tested (they can bring them and take them away).

    In my area, there are 4 "music stores" which sell pro audio plus a Guitar Center. Then 60 miles away is Chuck Levins.

    The problem is, the only one with decent mics is Guitar Center and Chuck Levin's. Obviously, I'm not going to drive 120 miles round trip to "borrow" some mics, so I'm stuck with the local guys. Guitar center does not loan out mics (their inventory control/loss prevention model doesn't allow anything out of the store if it hasn't been purchased or wasn't brought in and logged by you to begin with.)

    So...when I want to try out mics, I:

    1 - Go to a studio that I know has the mic and spend a little time there. Often, these studios won't charge you - especially if you're just sitting in on a session where they're using the mic.

    2 - Take a pair or more of mics that I'm familiar with to Chuck Levins or Guitar Center and listen to them beside the mic I'm interested in. It's not hard at either of these places to find a guitar player or a singer who wants to play or sing in front of your mic.

    The last time I wanted to test a large diaphragm condenser in Guitar Center, I literally walked into the middle of the sales floor and exclaimed loudly..."I need a singer, preferably female!" Within 5 seconds, I had 2. I offered them 50% off of a studio session if I could borrow their pipes for 3 minutes each.

    As for Sweetwater - I have a very good relationship with my sales guy and he's told me numerous times, I'm welcome to purchase a mic and try it and if I don't like it, I can send it back. I've never (and probably will never) done this as I think something just feels wrong about this. Since I spent several years of my life as a sales person, I know how much I hated seeing returns!

    Anyway...I think that's a good couple ways of doing it!

  13. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    If you don't have that relationship with a dealer, what about renting? There are tons of places out there that rent for a fraction of the cost of purchasing. It's money well spent, if you ask me.

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