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Old 11th December 2018
Lives for gear
WunderBro Flo's Avatar
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
Someone asked me last week if having a $10,000+ microphone really makes "any difference." I thought about it and had to admit that yes, it does. Could the questioner actually *hear* the difference between a $100 mic and a $10K mic? That's debatable. He was not an engineer. But it definitely makes a difference. In terms of the "value" that a singer feels when singing into a mic. But it's not all psychological.

If I asked you as an artist if you'd like to sing into the $7000 mic that Amy Grant sang into or use a $200 clone, which would YOU pick?

(Honestly, as an engineer, I'd insist on using the mic that sounded best on the artist in the studio at the moment, regardless of price or heritage. I've done it — picked the SM7B over the Telefunken U47.)

If there was no difference, then old microphones would be just that — old. But instead they continue to increase in value. There's a reason. And it's not just greed.
I agree. And I add something on top of that: Knowing that you are now singing into the $7000 mic that Amy Grant/Rihanna/Dr Dre/Ed Sheeran performed into will make most singers feel amazing as opposed to singing in a $500.- clone, because using a clone, a software emulation, a cheaper alternative etc always carries the side effect of doubt with it. Doubt about the mic, the acoustics, the rest of the gear chain, the skills of the people involved ("hey why must they use cheap alternatives if they are as good as the others?" etc etc). Doubt pulls performances down, amazement pushes performances up, which is easily heard on the recording afterwards. Yes, there are super confident people out there who are totally unimpressed (for example because they are already superstars) but the vast majority of talent will be amazed or doubtful depending on the mic/gear/location situation.
I always like to think of it as a car analogy: Take ten photos of a guy while driving from A to B in a Mitsubishi and then ten photos of the same guy driving the same route in a shiny Lamborghini. Both cars took the guy from A to B but his face will look drastically different on the photos depending which car he was driving. His facial expression on the photo is our vocal recording in the DAW.