Fort Wayne, IN (May 3, 2017)—Pro audio retailer Sweetwater recently conducted and captured a 50-microphone vocal microphone “shootout,” or means of direct and uniform comparison, featuring all large diaphragm condenser (LDC) microphones, ranging in price between $50 and $8,995 (street). Sweetwater’s Lynn Fuston, Nick D’Virgilio, and Mark Hornsby, among others, helped stage the event, now available for consideration at the link provided below.
The shootout recorded female and male vocals for simplified direct comparison through Sweetwater’s free online preview portal featuring 320k MP3s per clip; male vocal solo, female vocal solo, male vocal with track, and female vocal with track audio clips are available. Also free, full-resolution 24-bit/96 kHz files of the same are available via download, too.
According to Fuston, the microphones were chosen by considering the hundreds of microphones carried by the retailer—nearly 700, not counting wireless, shotgun, USB or headset mics, he explains—carving the list down to 100 LDC models before settling on 50. These were the microphones “we were most interested in hearing, based on A) popularity, B) availability, and C) price,” he explains.
“Our goal with the Vocal Mic Shootout was to select a wide variety of mics, set them up side by side, and record vocals so we could not only listen to the differences, but also share the files with our friends,” Fuston continues. “Our hope was that we (and you) might discover some vocal mics that we might not have had a chance to hear otherwise. Of the 50 mics we auditioned, I was only familiar with 16, having used them in the studio. As expected, I heard several mics that really interested me, ones that I will probably need to add to my mic collection.”
All 50 microphones were recorded via the Millennia HV-3R mic preamp and Avid’s HD interface at 24-bit/96 kHz with an Antelope Trinity master clock.
More technical insight on the shootout can be read here: sweetwater.com/insync/creating-vocal-mic-shootout/
The microphones included in the shootout are as follows:
AKG C214; AKG C314; AKG C414 XLII; AKG C414 XLS; Aston Origin; Aston Spirit; Audio-Technica AT4033/CL; Audio-Technica AT4040; Audio-Technica AT4047; Audio-Technica AT4050; Audio-Technica AT5040; Avantone CV-12; Behringer C-1; Blue Baby Bottle SL; Blue Bluebird SL; Blue Bottle w/B6 capsule; Bock Audio 251; Bock Audio iFet (Voice setting); Chandler REDD Mic; Lauten Audio Clarion; Lauten Audio LA-220; Lauten Audio LA-320; Lauten Audio Oceanus; Manley Gold Reference Mic; Manley Reference Cardioid Mic; Miktek CV3; Miktek CV4; Miktek MK300; Mojave MA-50; Mojave MA-201fet; Mojave MA-300; Mojave MA-301fet; Neumann TLM 49; Neumann TLM 103; Neumann U47 FET; Neumann U 87 Ai; RODE NT1; RODE NT1-A; RODE NTK; sE Electronics sE2200a II; sE Electronics sE X1 s; Shure KSM32; Shure KSM44A; Soundelux U99; Soundelux U195; Telefunken AK-47 MKII; Telefunken AR-51; Telefunken ELA M 251E; Telefunken U47; Warm Audio WA-87.
Hear the results here: sweetwater.com/feature/vocal-mic-shootout/