I posted a link to yesterday’s blog post at a couple of recording forums and one guitar site. I started threads at the Reaper Forum, on Gearslutz, and at the Acoustic Guitar Forum. It’s been interesting reading people’s reactions.
As I expected, some folks reject the validity of these controlled tests, stating that different mics respond to different positioning in different ways, and their performance in their optimal position is the important issue. I can only suggest that they try some controlled testing in those different positions. After all, if the difference really exists, it should be apparent when levels and positions are matched, right?
And as I expected, some people pointed out that mics with different patterns and mics with very different transducer technology, like ribbon mics, sound different from the cardioid condensers I used. I absolutely agree.
Also as I expected, some people suggested that my use of a single source, the acoustic guitar, is preventing me from hearing the differences, which show themselves on cymbals and vocals. As Dirty Harry was wont to say, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” I don’t record those sources so I don’t use them for testing .
One comment that has come up a couple of times is that the mics I chose were too similar, all large diaphragm mics from the low end of the spectrum. So I pulled out my highest priced mic, a Schoeps CMC64 small diaphragm condenser, and stuck it in the array.
Variety is the Spice of Mics?
For a little more variety, I replaced the Rode and AT mics with the Shure KSM141 and KSM44. So this set of clips includes two large diaphragm mics and two SD mics, and the price spread ranges from under $200 to over $1500.
I followed the same procedure I illustrated in yesterday’s post, aligning mic diaphragms by eye, playing a test tone through a small speaker about 1 foot from the mics, then adjusting gain on the M-Audio Profire 2626 to match their levels as well as possible in Reaper. Then I recorded the test tone followed by the acoustic guitar clip.
Mics and Clips
So here are the mics:
and here are the clips:
As before, I’ll post the key to the clip identities in a future blog entry. Or if you post your opinion and preference in a comment here or on one of the forums I visit I’ll email or PM the information to you.
Please let me take a moment to wax philosophical here. No one has reported doing double blind ABX comparisons on the clips so far. Several posters have offered opinions on the sonic qualities of the clips, but no one has confirmed that they can actually hear a difference! This seems to be human nature, but I think that skipping the double blind check is missing a really valuable learning experience.
This entry was posted on Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 8:36 pm and is filed under Audio, Comparisons. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.