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3 mics ranging from sub-$100 to $2000. Can you hear a difference? (Mention headphones used.)

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 

NOTE: The mics are revealed on post #32.

 

We keep hearing about headphones and the diminishing returns one gets at around $200. Well, mics are almost exactly the same technology and they should be pretty much the same with the diminishing returns. Let's have a listen and see.

 

Three pairs of small diaphragm condenser mics of various prices were used to record a grand piano, placed a couple of feet away from and above the tail of the piano. The only processing I've done on these is remove the self noise, so that it doesn't get in the way.

 

Please, tell us your order of preference and, if you care, explain the reasons behind your preference. Also mention what headphones you used to listen to this (if you used speakers, mention that too.)

 

I will reveal the mics once we get enough feedback to have an idea what people prefer. This should be interesting!

 

 

(I couldn't upload the files, so I put it up on YouTube. Sorry if the quality is lacking. Let's judge it the way it is.)

 

http://youtu.be/azZkHjFRDTM


Edited by MorrisL - 3/24/16 at 11:33am
post #2 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorrisL View Post
 

We keep hearing about headphones and the diminishing returns one gets at around $200. Well, mics are almost exactly the same technology and they should be pretty much the same with the diminishing returns. Let's have a listen and see.

 

Three pairs of small diaphragm condenser mics of various prices were used to record a grand piano, placed a couple of feet away from and above the tail of the piano. The only processing I've done on these is remove the self noise, so that it doesn't get in the way.

 

Please, tell us your order of preference and, if you care, explain the reasons behind your preference. Also mention what headphones you used to listen to this (if you used speakers, mention that too.)

 

I will reveal the mics once we get enough feedback to have an idea what people prefer. This should be interesting!

 

 

(I couldn't upload the files, so I put it up on YouTube. Sorry if the quality is lacking. Let's judge it the way it is.)

 

http://youtu.be/azZkHjFRDTM

 

Are the tracks volume matched? Would be easier to have 3 separate tracks; you could put them as a zip on dropbox or google drive.

post #3 of 47
Thread Starter 

They are volume matched. I don't use the cloud software you mentioned... I think this should be good enough. Most music gets down to this quality before it reaches the consumer these days anyway, so I think it's OK to proceed with the YouTube sample. 

 

Please, tell us your preference - A vs. B vs. C

post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorrisL View Post
 

They are volume matched. I don't use the cloud software you mentioned... I think this should be good enough. Most music gets down to this quality before it reaches the consumer these days anyway, so I think it's OK to proceed with the YouTube sample. 

 

Please, tell us your preference - A vs. B vs. C

 

No youtube is fine for quality, I just meant that switching quickly between files to hear sound differences is easier with separate files. Youtube search can be awfully slow :)

post #5 of 47
Thread Starter 

I made it easier to switch between files by creating shortcut links right under the video. Give it a try!

post #6 of 47
Thread Starter 

Let me make this test more interesting to you guys. These mics range from below $100 to around $2000. Can anyone hear a difference in quality?

post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorrisL View Post
 

Let me make this test more interesting to you guys. These mics range from below $100 to around $2000. Can anyone hear a difference in quality?

 

C sounds the best to me, but it also doesn't have some of the clicking in the recording that A or B does.

 

BTW, here's the three files separately, trimmed of silence:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwmVtb5IwniELVJfVERnUVh0Ujg/view?usp=sharing


Edited by RRod - 1/7/15 at 6:25am
post #8 of 47
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for participating, RRod, and for posting the files on dropbox. I really appreciate that!

 

I'd like to ask anyone else viewing this to please take a moment and comment as well. I promise that you will appreciate the knowledge you are likely to gain from this experiment. I'll create a final report with all of your preferences once we have enough input. It will be very enlightening. 

post #9 of 47

I liked the third one, but that was largely due to the lack of the slight popping/clicking that the others contained (I wonder if this is an artifact of the noise removal you mentioned). Also, the performances sound slightly different to me, which makes it hard to compare.

post #10 of 47
Thread Starter 

Thanks for participating, cjl. It's the same performance, recorded from the same distance. Pics are sensitive in various frequencies, so some pick up certain sounds like pedal noise and hammer strikes more than others. 

post #11 of 47

If it's the same performance, how far apart is the mic location from each other? There are some pretty noticeable differences that I wouldn't have expected just from changing microphones.

post #12 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorrisL View Post
 

Thanks for participating, cjl. It's the same performance, recorded from the same distance. Pics are sensitive in various frequencies, so some pick up certain sounds like pedal noise and hammer strikes more than others. 

 

I wasn't really hearing mechanical noises; like cjl I was hearing what sounded more like equipment (mic) or processing noise/pops. Also, C is, at least visually in Audacity, a bit faster than the other two:

Created with GIMP

post #13 of 47
Thread Starter 

Oh, thanks for pointing that out. I don't know what happened during processing, of which I need nothing more than noise removal (Adobe Audition). Maybe I hit something by accident during export.

 

I think we can safely disregard that for the sake of proceeding with the test. It shouldn't take away much from the quality of the recording, I assume. 

post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorrisL View Post
 

Oh, thanks for pointing that out. I don't know what happened during processing, of which I need nothing more than noise removal (Adobe Audition). Maybe I hit something by accident during export.

 

I think we can safely disregard that for the sake of proceeding with the test. It shouldn't take away much from the quality of the recording, I assume. 

 

Yeah I still like C; the upper bass range especially. This is all very subjective, though.

post #15 of 47

First, I'd like to say that I heard some audible noise in Mic A. 

After that, I couldn't tell that much of a difference between mics B and C, although (and it could very well be my imagination) it did seem like Mic C was a bit on the brighter side. 

B was my favorite.

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