Microphone Shootout Blindfold Test

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by JoeH, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    this sounds like fun-- anyone try it yet?

    TRANSOM.org - a showcase & workshop for new public radio


    * NEW TOOLS - Microphone Shootout Blindfold Test *

    Okay, if you are even a little bit techie, you're going to love
    this. It's Part One of a most fabulous online Microphone Shootout,
    the logical continuation of Transom's ever-popular "What Microphone Should I Buy" discussions. It was conducted by our TOOLS Editor, Jeff Towne, in cooperation with the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) and Indre Studios in Philadelphia, and it's fun because you get to play along. Like a blind taste-test.

    There are streaming or downloadable files of both male and female voices recorded on eighteen studio mics, valued from $79 to $2,600, and listed only by a letter. You decide which you like best. We even give you a form to fill out. The experts have opinions too. Compare yours to theirs. When you're done, find out which mics you picked, and see pictures, specs, and prices. If you're not a techie, call your friends who are and tell them about this. They'll appreciate it. (And, coming soon in Part Two, field recording mics)


    (Can't wait till the do something like this with preamps. THAT should drive a few of the more obsessive types quite mad! :twisted: )
  2. Digger

    Digger Guest

    This is very interesting, I didn't even know it existed. I actually have been in contact with a couple of RO Moderators about ideas for posting my own similar test. The premise is almost identical, we tested 21 mics ranging in price from $299 to $7000 USD (all condensors) on both a male and female vocalist.

    The initial idea was to create a basic website and let people choose the order of their fav's - the similarities are very striking. A friend and I conducted the tests and it was a lot of work but very worth while. Thanks for the post.
  3. gomp

    gomp Guest

    Thanks JoeH, that was fun!
    I did the blindfold test, both on monitors and headphones, and it proved once again that price does not equal personal preference :D
    It pleased me to see that some of the mics I liked, I actually own.
    Highly recommended!
  4. X-Rocka

    X-Rocka Guest


    now I'm even more happy that I got a used Sennheiser MD421
    for 150€ from ebay! :mrgreen:

  5. tnjazz

    tnjazz Active Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Crap. It figures that the one I liked the best (hands down!) was the U87...

    A surprise in my top 4 was the Rode NT1. I would not have expected it. Liked the TLM103 and the KSM27 as well.

    Surprisingly poor (for me) were the AKG414 and the Schoeps. I definitely did not expect that, as I've gotten pretty good results all around from the 414 in some recent applications.

  6. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I was surprised as well bt the NT1 coming in the top 5 but the surprise was even bigger that the 414 was the one I like the least! my other favs were the KMS 27, kms 44, U87 and I did like the B1- in the bottom were the senny 421, shure sm7, ksm 141 and the re27.

    thank you Joe. I don't know if this test really means anything but itwas fun!
  7. J-MADD

    J-MADD Active Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Home Page:
    Yes this is interesting, but none of these mics are really being pushed with vocals (singing). I also thought the 414 sounded like crap in this shootout, but on many singing vocals it sounds great.

  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    That was a lot of fun. Senseless but fun. One obvious thing and I believe that Lord Tiger has alluded to this in the past, there was no doubt which mic was the U87...theres that sheen that none of the others had.
    Though this was spoken voice I feel its a bit more reality than a singing voice. Theres little chance of the singer having plosives and the diaphram thing....well it seems to be a fairer representation of the basic sheen and fundamentals as the speaking voice is going to be much easier to reproduce on take after take. But thats just me.
    I found 4 Shures on my list of six. The others being the 87 and the 4050. And one of them being the 57. As an owner of a couple of treasured Unidyne III's I can only reiterate what I've always said...Give me a console,good songs and some SM57's and I can make a record.

    I was surprised I didnt like the SM7 as its always been one of my favorite mics.. Maybe its better on the singing voice...

    Too bad they didnt throw in an ADK or two.
  9. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    This was a good way to spend the evening. My favourites were the Schoeps (especially on the female voice), the U87 and AT4050. I was quite surprised by how much I liked the AT.

    I had mixed feelings about the Shures, and was surprised by how unimpressed I was by the 414 and TLM-103, both of which I scored below the AKG C3000, which I thought was actually quite good on the first voice, along with the Rode.

    I was a little disappointed not to have one of the really cheap mics in my top 3, as I was hoping to discover a bargain :cry:

    Thanks Joe for the entertainment!
  10. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    well, I did pick an NT1 in the top 5 and I do own an NT1... in reality this mic is ok (with a good pre) but not a top 5 contender by any stretch. Goes to show you but I really did like it on the spoken voice a lot. I think I will give it a whirl next time I have a VO... (probably not, I'll still use my RCA D77!) :D
  11. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    I'm surprised that I didn't place the Shure KSM-44 higher up on my list, but looking back on the notes I made, it was the third voice that I didn't like on this mic, but I thought very few mics were able to capture that voice well anyhow. I was also a little surprised that I didn't like the Sennheiser or the SM7 at all. I had another listen today and quite liked the Electrovoice, but the 414 still remains third from the bottom of my list.

    I have to say that this was great fun!

  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I made ALL my final decisions based on the third voice as it seemed the hardest to pin down.
  13. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    I did 8 rounds of head to head randomly reorganizing the pairs for each round with the winner getting a point. I only focused on the male voice since that is all I will need it for.

    The top 4 ended in a tie.

    SP B1

    there were 3 in a tie for second just one point behind.

    Rode NT1
    TLM 103

    I was adnittedly pretty surprised by those results. The SP mic being on the top of the list absolutely floored me. Has me wondering about the C1 now as well.
  14. roguescout

    roguescout Guest

    This is kind of creepy..

    I picked my KSM 44 as the favorite! HA! I must be getting used to it!

    Funny though, I had the TLM in second and the 87 in third. Money isn't everything to my ears it seems!

    The bottom of the list was the 421, the C1 and finally the poor SM58 which surprised me again since the 57 instrument mic was a mid-packer.

    Cool link! Thanks! That was fun!
  15. OJG

    OJG Guest

    To all of you who did not like the akg 414, here's a quote from the web site:

    And of course, the condition of the specific mic can have a huge effect. (In retrospect I realize that the AKG 414 that we used in this test didn't behave like others I have used and could have been suffering from age or wear.)
    <End Quote>

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