In November 2000, Lynn Fuston assembled a dozen engineers, a male and female vocalist and 49 of the best vocal mics ever made at Classic Studios in Franklin, TN. These mics ranged in price from under $100 (Shure SM-57) to over $20,000 (Telefunken 251). Most were current production models, but also included some vintage classics like the Neumann U-47, U-67, M-49, AKG C-12 and more. The objective was to listen to all these mics in a carefully calibrated environment with accurate performers, allowing us to hear them side-by-side and evaluate the similarities and differences in their sonic characteristics. Never before has such an extensive (and expensive-over $150,000 in all) collection of mics been assembled for the purpose of a listening comparison. Each of the mics was level-calibrated by Dan Kennedy of Great River and run through identical signal paths (we used Grace and Great River preamps on the male and female vocalists, respectively) and the listening sequence was determined randomly by picking the names out of coffee mugs. Since the purpose was to compare the “sound” of the mics, I decided it would be more interesting if no one but the tech staff knew which mic we were hearing.So all the listening was done “blind,” and we had no idea which mic was which (or its brand name or price) as we wrote down our impressions of how each sounded. We covered the control room window so we were unable to see the mics as we listened. After the listening tests were complete (it took six hours per singer), the listeners compared notes about each mic and then the identity of that mic was revealed. It was a fascinating and revealing exercise as you will discover.
What could be better than hearing a collection of great vocal mics? The 3D Mic CD Mic Collection includes: