Auditioning Microphones

by Daniel H. Steinberg

I'm auditioning four mics for our podcast Distributing the Future. I've uploaded four mp3's and would love your opinion on the mics.

I'm looking for a mic to use in the studio and a mic to use in the field. What do you hear in these microphones that you do or do not like. There is no processing here so you will hear more room noise than you would in a finished piece of audio and I haven't put any compression or equalizer on this.

I'll post what each mic is in a couple of days but would like you to evaluate these without knowing what is what. These are all dynamic mics. Please provide your thoughts on the mics both from six inches and from three inches. Of course if you feel the need to post your thoughts on my voice or my read I can't stop you, but this time I'm really interested in your thoughts on the mics.

The files are each around 500K and run thirty seconds.

What do you think?


2005-11-18 12:20:50
Mic Test


I listened to these once each, in sequence, with headphones (I, too, am in a noisy environment), and just tried to give my immediate impressions.

  1. Mic A, 6 inches: I could hear a lot of breathiness in this one. Middle of the road for me.

  2. Mic A, 3 inches: This one really fell down here; it was boomy, without much clarity, and you "felt" too close to the mic.

  3. Mic B, 6 inches: A lot more background being picked up in this, including a slight hum throughout; that became very annoying even after 30 seconds.

  4. Mic B, 3 inches: Lots of clarity (and made me dislike Mic A at 3 inches even more), although that hum is still there.

  5. Mic C, 6 inches: Very clear and precise; I felt like I heard all that was there to be heard. Great sound, but better be a controlled environment.

  6. Mic C, 3 inches: Yeah, lovely sound here. I even heard what sounded like your chair squeak as you moved away from the mic at the end.

  7. Mic D, 6 inches: Another middle-of-the-road for me. A little less clarity, and a little fuzzier, although still not as boomy as Mic A.

  8. Mic D, 3 inches: There was slight improvement closer on this one.

  9. I'd probably go with Mic C for studio work, if it was me (and I had a nice studio that was controlled), and look at B for field work if I could get rid of the hum (although that might still pick up too much extra junk). As an alternate for field work, I'd look at D, and keep it close (or post-process it more).

    -Brett McLaughlin

2005-11-18 12:39:37
Mic Test
I think I like B for studio, and maybe C for field just because C seems to take away some of the background noise, but I like the sound from B better.
2005-11-18 22:32:29
The two I liked were: B at 6" and C at 2".

I kind of like the no processing on your voice treatment. Maybe that's because I know what you sound like.

2005-11-19 19:16:32
mic check 1, 2, 3....

I liked mic A at 6". The mid range was boosted a bit and gave your voice a bit more body and roundness. A 2" the proximity affect distorted your voice too much.


Too loud all around. Way too boomy though there is barely any distorting as you get closer to the mic.


Weakest one so far and a bit up on the treble side. Sounds better and rounder at 2". Sounds like a good mic for inside or outside.

At 6" the sound was a bit tinny but with some of the lows accented as well. At 2" the sound becomes rounder and sounds better.

MIC A & D sounds like contenders for studio work with D getting the better of A at 6". MIC C & D seems to have the flatest response and would be good for field work.

2005-11-20 08:57:31
Mic testing
I like mic C best--at both 6" and 2-3". Your voice sounded clearest with this one, and I heard the least background noise.
2005-11-21 13:59:52
C for Me
If I were to pick based on the four samples, I'd go with Mic C. I first thought Mic B was the best, it has a sort of boomy, full-bodied feel, but that may not be the best choice for everyone's voice. After listening and comparing a few more times, I liked C a lot better.

Mic C seems to have good clarity at 6 inches and still gives a nice rich tone up close. It should perform well in a variety of situations.

I have just one question: Have you been drinking coffee? :-)