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microphone "solo" shootouts are worthless
Old 7th September 2010
  #1
microphone "solo" shootouts are worthless

yeah.. they are!!! :D

It's one of those AHA moments in my life. I've heard a Wagener 47 in my friends studio. solo without any other instruments playing it feels/sounds like a sm58 on speed. nothing special a bit more sparkle on the topend..

I would never buy such a mic if I just heard his voice alone.

then he showed me the final mix.. and I was impressed. the sound cuts trough nicely, not much EQing necessary.

now.. where are all the other mics that doesn't sound like a million dollars solo? hehheh
Old 7th September 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 

That's very interesting George. Thankyou for sharing.

How are things at home?

Regards RAy
Old 7th September 2010
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by ray_subsonic View Post
That's very interesting George. Thankyou for sharing.

How are things at home?

Regards RAy
heh I can feel it.. thanks for putting me into places heh
Old 7th September 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 

heh .. I always look at the photo of Jack when I read your posts. I wonder if Marlboro paid him for the endorsement in your avatar photo ??
Old 7th September 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 

But you do make a good point ..

When you make quantitative decisions about a mic based on listening to an mp3 or a wav file, you have to remember a few things :

*Let's make some arbitrary figures .. We'll say 50% of this equation is the recording side of the chain, and 50% is the playback side of the chain, which is usually a DAW in a computer, in your monitoring environment.

*At capture, the methodology used, the space, the mic, the pre, the converters & the monitoring environment ALL color this equation. A superior, average or bad (as in damaged) cable may also affect the outcome BEFORE you make it to 1's and 0's.

*Files may well null perfectly between recording, playback and through the download/transfer process. But consider the playback rig : OS, Native, converters, cabling, monitoring, monitoring environment ALL color this process (I'll leave others to jump up and down and argue HOW MUCH of a difference).

*Add in a major dose of BIAS, as there don't seem to be many truly OBJECTIVE LISTENERS on GS, and you will get divergent listening experiences and opinions. Add in the level of experience of the listener .. I WILL GUARANTEE YOU .. No two people "Hear" sound the same way ..

*I try not to be a cynic, but seriously, there are many shills on GS .. Sure, they don't work DIRECTLY for the manufacturer, but CONCESSIONAL PRICING can be very persuasive .. If I was getting concessional pricing, I know what I'd be saying .. I'm not casting blame at anyone in particular, it's just something we all need to be aware of ..

*Having said all that, I still appreciate shoot-outs, and find them enlightening and informative .. All the while though, you have to take them with a grain of salt ..

My 20c worth ...

Regards RAy
Old 7th September 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray_subsonic View Post
Sure, they don't work DIRECTLY for the manufacturer, but
A lot of them do.... I really can't stand most dealer reviews around here, even from the dealers I like. WOW THIS PREAMP / MIC / COMP WILL BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF! now shipping!

But I agree about shootouts in general - there're way too many variables before the sound even hits the mic for this "frozen moment in space-time" to convey the essence of a piece of equipment... I say this with no disrespect meant to the time and effort of people putting them together.
Old 7th September 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcb4t2 View Post
I say this with no disrespect meant to the time and effort of people putting them together.
Yup .. Same .. I still appreciate that people do them.
Old 7th September 2010
  #8
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Martin Kantola's Avatar
 

No they are not.



But it IS a special case, so you really need to know what to listen for. Also, it's sometimes very helpful to load the files into your DAW and add some EQ and processing to see how it feels to work with.

To me personally, a mixed and mastered track is a very difficult way to evaluate a microphone. Maybe an in-between with some instruments and an almost unprocessed vocal could be helpful, such as a jazz trio with a vocalist? Any suggestions welcome...

Martin
Old 7th September 2010
  #9
Gear Addict
 
David C.'s Avatar
 

Mic and pre shoot outs are only valid to me if it's ME singing on them.

heh
Old 7th September 2010
  #10
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George just likes courting controversy ..
Old 7th September 2010
  #11
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

I would have to agree with George on this one. The only time a solo mic shootout would be valid is if of one is planning on recording solo voice with no accompaniment. Books on tape, anyone?

As I recall, there was a shootout around here where the stock apex 460 tube mic got a lot of love by virtue of its bright, sizzly, distorted top end. A $200 mic wins out over the best mics in the world? GS polls are just that - people voting. I don't trust the voters to make my decisions for me. Remember GW Bush?
Old 7th September 2010
  #12
Part of becoming a well-rounded recordist is learning how different mics (and mic types) will fit into a project and getting an intuitive grip on what to grab, when.

Just as a best practice is EQing a given track while primarily listening to the full mix, one must consider how a given mic will work with a given source in a given project and eventual mix.

Unlike EQing while mixing, however, mic choices must be made out in front, so there's a lot more intuition that figures into the process, and that usually largely derives from both experience and imagination (being able to take what you know and extrapolate that into an unknown or unfamiliar situation).
Old 7th September 2010
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
I've heard a Wagener 47 in my friends studio. solo without any other instruments playing it feels/sounds like a sm58 on speed. nothing special a bit more sparkle on the topend.
You mean Wagner... However, if you don't hear a huge difference between those two mics you don't know what to listen for. I hooked up both mics and the difference couldn't be bigger. The Wagner sounds larger than life.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Kantola View Post
But it IS a special case, so you really need to know what to listen for.

thumbsup
Old 7th September 2010
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nashville Cat View Post
You mean Wagner... However, if you don't hear a huge difference between those two mics you don't know what to listen for. I hooked up both mics and the difference couldn't be bigger. The Wagner sounds larger than life.

thumbsup
Typing iphone errrrors.

Well the difference is there. My comparison was a bit.. Not so good.

What I mean is, if you listen online to shootouts and then there is this chinese mic with the hyped top and lowend, it usually wins.. Because it sounds so over the top. The wagner is just well balanced.. Which means boring (please take here any other 3000$+ mic.
Old 7th September 2010
  #15
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
What I mean is, if you listen online to shootouts and then there is this chinese mic with the hyped top and lowend, it usually wins..
Whichever sample is loudest usually wins. heh
Old 8th September 2010
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
What I mean is, if you listen online to shootouts and then there is this chinese mic with the hyped top and lowend, it usually wins.. Because it sounds so over the top.
I get you... To me there's only one way to compare mics. In your own studio under real life circumstances. Everything else is non-professional.


Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
The wagner is just well balanced. Which means boring (please take here any other 3000$+ mic.
I'm not sure what you mean. Your phrasing is a bit confusing! heh
If a Wagner sounds boring then there's no exciting mic out there. IMO




Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
Whichever sample is loudest usually wins. heh
*lol* That's a reality. Unfortunately! A lot of great gear did get bad reviews because of inexperience and lack of knowledge. That's life!
Old 8th September 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
Whichever sample is loudest usually wins. heh
Tony, there's more to this statement than meets the eye.

First, I'd like to pay respect to all those who post files to the best of their recording ability in the spirit of sharing ..

However it should be obvious that there are other posters who are "shills", subtley "Swaying" the process by either a few judicious tweaks in the capture process, and a bit of subtle "Post-Production" on the finished files ..

"Mob Rule" factor and "The Pareto Principle" .. You can get ANYONE to believe ANYTHING, if you get enough consensus ... In a number of these shoot-outs, the "crowd" has been completely "Led down the Path" by a few posters. Once you get consenus and some numbers, critical reasoning is LOST.

My bet is that the majority of people download to their computer, and pass quickly over the files, often through laptop speakers or crappy conversion, and not in a proper monitoring environment. The brightest or loudest usually wins here ...

Cheers RAy
Old 9th September 2010
  #18
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Martin Kantola's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
What I mean is, if you listen online to shootouts and then there is this chinese mic with the hyped top and lowend, it usually wins.. Because it sounds so over the top.
So true! A lot of hard earned money is wasted on this type of microphones before the user realizes that they're not that great after all in the final mix...

Martin
Old 9th September 2010
  #19
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teleharmonium's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
What I mean is, if you listen online to shootouts and then there is this chinese mic with the hyped top and lowend, it usually wins.. Because it sounds so over the top. The wagner is just well balanced.. Which means boring (please take here any other 3000$+ mic.
But that doesn't mean the shootout is worthless, it means it is up to the listener to get value from it (or not). Which it ultimately is anyway for anything related to audio.

For example, most of those cheap Chinese made mics annoy me with their weird resonance and treble hype achived with fixed crappy EQ inside the head amp. So when I hear that, even as a solo track, I know I don't want that mic, even though I have observed other people consistently favoring the brighter mic.

If I don't understand what I like, or why I like what I like, or how to relate a solo track to how it would work in my mixes, that's my problem, it doesn't mean the sample audio file couldn't be useful to someone else.

If we can't use our imagination and our analytical minds/ears to make good decisions, we can't do anything well related to production, because we make all kinds of decisions before hearing the results in the real world context. Small and large decisions, even just deciding which tools to try before then deciding based on the comparison ... they add up.

I just don't think it's reasonable or practical to take your argument to it's logical conclusion, which is that you can't "really be sure" until you hear something in the real world situation you ultimately need it to perform in. Obviously that is the best case scenario, but we can't try everything.

We all get ideas from sounds and mixes that we hear that aren't the same as our own mixes; we imagine and deduce how they will translate to our needs, and make educated guesses and take calculated risks. So we just need to learn to do this as well as possible. It's a fundamental skill to this type of work and people tend to get better with practice.
Old 9th September 2010
  #20
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

The only time I see them being fairly relevant is if you own one of the mics being tested, and get to hear it on multiple sources and then hear the differences in tone and delivery with the other mics.

In other words, if a U87 (I know I know, which U87...true) is featured on voice, drums, acoustic guitar, guitar cabs...and so is an AKG 414 (again, which one...), if you own one of them it could help you decide whether or not you find the differences you hear worth picking up the other.

No tests are perfect, but yes many take them as gospel truth. Context is everything.

War
Old 9th September 2010
  #21
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The entire game is knowing how the soloed tone will fit into the mix downstream. Not to mention how it will inspire (or put off) the artist(s) during tracking.

I think shootouts are one of the only really useful things here and the problem is training people how to make good ones.
Old 9th September 2010
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by spicemix View Post
The entire game is knowing how the soloed tone will fit into the mix downstream. Not to mention how it will inspire (or put off) the artist(s) during tracking.

I think shootouts are one of the only really useful things here and the problem is training people how to make good ones.
Yeah. In my studio Ichoose the right mic for the singer and change the pre/compif necessary. I usually blend this signal with the roughmix.
Old 12th September 2010
  #23
Gear Addict
 
Admiral James T.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
yeah.. they are!!! :D

It's one of those AHA moments in my life. I've heard a Wagener 47 in my friends studio. solo without any other instruments playing it feels/sounds like a sm58 on speed. nothing special a bit more sparkle on the topend..

I would never buy such a mic if I just heard his voice alone.

then he showed me the final mix.. and I was impressed. the sound cuts trough nicely, not much EQing necessary.

now.. where are all the other mics that doesn't sound like a million dollars solo? hehheh
stealin' someone's thunder, George?
Old 12th September 2010
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Admiral James T. View Post
stealin' someone's thunder, George?
This time you were the lightning, and the thunder was 20km away drom you.
Old 12th September 2010
  #25
Gear Addict
 

This thread is worthless without a shootout.
Old 24th September 2010
  #26
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Bring it on ...
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