The View from 2005: Most of these microphones are still around, and we’re still doing this kind of work, so I think you may find this test to be of considerable interest. Note how much was involved in conducting the test. I couldn’t get H&SR or any magazine to fund more tests like this, as they are simply way too expensive and time-consuming to conduct on an ongoing basis. This suggests a fundamental flaw in magazine equipment reviews. Be that as it may, we did this test and I think it was quite illuminating. Enjoy!
Vocal tracks are the most audible and important elements of a song. The ability of a microphone to translate the essence, the “-ness” of the singer, is a key element in the making of a great recording. So, it stands to reason that microphones that do this well are to be prized. Trade magazine articles often describe various engineers’ and producers’ favorite mics for vocals, from Neumann U47 tube mics to industry standard items like the ElectroVoice RE20, and we all have our ears out for mics that will really hear the soul of the voice that we are trying to coax into the bit-stream of audio.
Meanwhile, the qualities that make a microphone great for vocal work are not all that well understood, and there is, er, a diversity of opinion about the subject. O’Blake (not his real name) says things like, “What you need is a mike with an old-style precious-metal diaphragm to handle low-level signals and let the dynamics of the recording really work.” Meanwhile, O’Laca says, “The proximity effect is so important. The full chestiness that comes from a really pro singer who knows how to work the proximity effect of the mike makes the singer.” O’Wayne says, “Really accurate mikes are boring, especially for singers. You need a mike to have character. A good producer must pick the mike to fit the singer and the song.” O’Ben says, “What really matters is the singer’s attitude and focus. The mike doesn’t really matter a whole lot.” Hmmm.
Therefore, Home and Studio Recording called up eight different manufacturers and invited them to send vocal microphones for a comparison study. The kind of study we did, so far as I know, has never been performed quite this way before. We had the unique combination of loaner microphones, multitrack studio, DAW, TEF 20 analyzer, singers, engineers and producers all in one room, all listening to the same controlled tests referenced against the same standard: the singers themselves!
The microphones we tested are a fairly diverse lot. Due to the nature of the tests themselves, we felt it was necessary to limit ourselves to eight microphones. Obviously, there are many other worthy choices on the market, and our particular selection, while broadly representative, is neither comprehensive nor “best ‘o bunch.” Unless noted, the mics have cardioid polar response.
Recording gear, studio setup.
So i finally invested in some recording software and bought a lexicon Lambda and I'm currently running it through Cubase 4. While it's working out great so far, i need to buy some new microphones to record vocals, acoustic guitar and banjo, and possibly drums? Well anyway, what are the best microphones/deals around and what should i look into getting? or am i better off buying an acoustic pickup for guitar/banjo and buying a mic just for vocals.
Any opinions or input, go for it.
Your reasoning for why reverb sounds better
It's really very simple- a sound recording is an artificial reproduction of a live event occurring in front of sound transducers (microphones), much the same way a photograph is a representation of what was happening in front of the camera lens, which is an optical transducer of sorts.
Like any mechanical recording/reproduction there will be inaccuracies- cameras take in the four dimensions of height, width, depth and time (shutter speed) and and render them in a two dimensional photo format. Sound recordings take spatial information and try to put it all into a multiple channel format that can only approximate reality