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RE20 Vs. SM7b - An Actual Shootout! Dynamic Microphones
Old 9th May 2012
  #1
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

RE20 Vs. SM7b - An Actual Shootout!

WAIT!!!

Before listening to the files below, I reposted them further down in the in the thread (in Post #7). My reasoning was to label them better for identification purposes. When I reveal the identities I will reference those file names.


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In the interest of science, I have just completed a shootout between a Shure SM7b and an EV RE20. I thought I'd post the sound files here and let people get an idea of what these two mics have to offer.

I conducted these tests as "scientifically" as I could. The mics were placed side by side (and very closely). They were equidistant from the source (thus capturing the same performance). Each was run through a pair of Focusrite ISA One preamps. The files were normalized afterward for level matching purposes.

I conducted three tests: Strummed Guitar, and two male vocal tests (one of 'normal' volume, and one at 'screaming' volume).

I am posting these as hi resolution MP3 files (320 kbps) for your perusal. I'd love to hear some opinions on them. Which mic do you prefer for which application? Does one outperform the other on one application in particular? How would you describe the differences?

For the moment, I'm going to keep this a blind test so as to minimize biases (one way or the other). I'll post the identities of the mics after people have had a chance to weigh in.


--------------------------

WAIT!!!

Before listening to the files below, I reposted them further down in the in the thread (in Post #7). My reasoning was to label them better for identification purposes. When I reveal the identities I will reference those file names.

So for clarity, Please listen to those for referencing them and discussing them.

Sorry for any inconvenience / confusion, and thanks for your input.
Attached Files

1_Normal_Voice_A.mp3 (353.6 KB, 6802 views)

1_Normal_Voice_B.mp3 (345.2 KB, 6325 views)

2_Loud_Voice_C.mp3 (225.2 KB, 5841 views)

2_Loud_Voice_D.mp3 (224.2 KB, 5686 views)

3_Strummed_Gtr_E.mp3 (571.5 KB, 5567 views)

3_Strummed_Gtr_F.mp3 (572.1 KB, 5473 views)

Old 9th May 2012
  #2
Gear Addict
Normal voice: No preference, both sounded too similar on my little earbuds.

Loud voice: preferred the second

Acoustic: Preferred the first because of the crisper top end. Although if I was doing something like a Murder By Death style band I would prefer to use the second.
Old 9th May 2012
  #3
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

I was just looking at the way I posted these files and I'm afraid it may be a bit unclear how to think of them.

I'm going to repost them so they are a bit more easily "sorted" by mic.



edit: Well, I tried to rename the files (sorted by mic), but alas the site wouldn't let me repost them to the same thread. Suffice to say that the mic identities are 'mixed' from test to test. Sorry if this is confusing. I will try on more work around.
Old 9th May 2012
  #4
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mcgruff's Avatar
 

B is noticeably better than A - smoother and better balanced. There seemed to be some kind of mid-range peak in A which didn't sound good to me.

The screamin' vocals were hard to tell apart.

I wouldn't use either of these mics on acoustic guitar, at least not if I was looking for a natural sound.
Old 9th May 2012
  #5
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

okay. These files are named so as to be more easily "sorted".

Sorry if there was any confusion in the original post
Old 9th May 2012
  #6
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Tim Abraham's Avatar
 

A and D sound like I'd expect an SM7b to sound on vocals. I prefer them to B and C.
Old 9th May 2012
  #7
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Okay, I thought I'd repost these with the identities defined from test to test. Sorry about any confusion or inconvenience.



Here is a link to the post that reveals which mic is which.


https://www.gearslutz.com/board/7868884-post31.html


Thanks for listening

:
Attached Files

Gtr_Mic1.mp3 (580.1 KB, 5850 views)

Gtr_Mic2.mp3 (580.1 KB, 5584 views)

Loud_Voice_Mic1.mp3 (231.2 KB, 5749 views)

Loud_Voice_Mic2.mp3 (231.2 KB, 5593 views)

Normal_Voice_Mic1.mp3 (344.4 KB, 6142 views)

Normal_Voice_Mic2.mp3 (344.4 KB, 6106 views)

Old 9th May 2012
  #8
Gear Addict
I prefer the SM7b in all these snippets, unless I'm looking for a much darker vintage sound in which case I'd pick the RE20 (although I don't have one). RE20 sounds a little like a ribbon on these (guess it's the fat 150-400Hz and soft treble)
Old 9th May 2012
  #9
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I prefer Mic2 by a slight margin.
Old 9th May 2012
  #10
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Mic 2 sounds like the sm7

Mic 1 the RE 20

They sound similar which is expected. The sm7 has more proximity effect.
Old 9th May 2012
  #11
Gear Nut
 
foge's Avatar
At a guess mic 2 sm7, mic 1 re20.

I was under the impression the Re20 doesn't suffer from the proximity effect so surely the results will vary greatly with distance. With the SM7 there will be a bass tip as you get closer where as there won't with the RE20.

However you have the mic in front of you so you would be a better judge of that. Both lovely mics.

Geoff
Old 9th May 2012
  #12
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Well I'd have to say the RE20 is Mic # 1, and has a more linear sound to it which I would expect...whereas the SM7B has a bit more of that upper mid presence thing happening and proximity effect too. Of course the SM7B has the EQ switches which can be used if desired, to boost the mids or cut the bass.

War
Old 9th May 2012
  #13
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thepilgrimsdream's Avatar
 

1 is the RE20
2 is the SM7
Old 9th May 2012
  #14
Lat time I did one of these things I was dead wrong!LOL
1. RE 20
2. SM7B
Old 9th May 2012
  #15
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Side by side and close may not be the best way to shootout. The sweet spot for the sm7 is very small and it's directly in front of the mic and as close as you get to it.
Old 9th May 2012
  #16
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Hey thanks for doing this test! As my sig says, WAVs often speak louder than words, and goodness knows there's enough pseudo-authoritative waffle about the differences between these two mics on this Forum from people who haven't used either!

There's something weird going on with the guitar samples. In the first set of files I felt E and F were easy to tell apart and I feel I can hear something of the SM7B in sample F, so I'd say the RE-20 is sample E. To be honest in the second set of files I can't tell them apart so easily - need to clean my ears out probably.

I was surprised by how in the vocal tests they sound pretty similar, and by that I mean it's not like I would lose sleep about using either take in a mix and I suspect that in reality moving the mic position is probably going to make a bigger difference to the final sound, and a good engineer could get 'keeper' results from either.

Mic 2 seems a bit more mellow - perhaps that's the RE-20 but other more experienced ears seem to reckon that's the SM7B! Dunno - I only have one of these two (SM7B).

The other thing about these open shoot-outs is a form of expectation bias, whereby the minute anyone publishes a response it influences all subsequent responses. Gearslutz is full of classic examples of this - the epic ART vs Great River thread being one!
Old 9th May 2012
  #17
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EV676's Avatar
The "modern" interpretation of a large diaphragm dynamic would be the Heil PR-40.

I'd love to hear that mic against the 20 and 7B.
Old 9th May 2012
  #18
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warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EV676 View Post
The "modern" interpretation of a large diaphragm dynamic would be the Heil PR-40.

I'd love to hear that mic against the 20 and 7B.
Hi there, we have the Heil mics, Shure dynamics, and an RE20 among many other dynamic mics in our Clipalator to hear. Almost every single dynamic in the Clipalator was tested all at once, take after take, to keep things fair. It was one of the more focused sessions we did, as we were also introducing close mic'ing of drums etc where it made sense.

War
Old 9th May 2012
  #19
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Ragan's Avatar
 

Three cheers for the Clipalator. :thumbup:


I reference that thing all the time.

Sent from my ADR6300 using Gearslutz App
Old 9th May 2012
  #20
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matskull's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Hi there, we have the Heil mics, Shure dynamics, and an RE20 among many other dynamic mics in our Clipalator to hear. Almost every single dynamic in the Clipalator was tested all at once, take after take, to keep things fair. It was one of the more focused sessions we did, as we were also introducing close mic'ing of drums etc where it made sense.

War
Thanks for the clipapator, I use it all the time too, its a good reference.
Also thanks the the op for the shootout, curious to see the results.
Old 9th May 2012
  #21
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thepilgrimsdream View Post
1 is the RE20
2 is the SM7

The vocals were very close for me, but with the guitar, 1 feels like the 20.
Old 9th May 2012
  #22
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kerouac's Avatar
I preferred Mic #1 on everything but the screamed vocals. It seemed like it was a little more even, but Mic #2 gave the screamed part a little more edge. So I'm guessing #1 was the EV and #2 the Shure?
Old 9th May 2012
  #23
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Hey thanks for doing this test! As my sig says, WAVs often speak louder than words, and goodness knows there's enough pseudo-authoritative waffle about the differences between these two mics on this Forum from people who haven't used either!
Thanks for the kind words. I agree with your comment about "pseudo-authoritative waffle" (come to think of it, I might have had one of those for breakfast). There is a lot of hype about both of these mics, and many have strong opinions about them.

BTW, I looked at your concern about the guitar clips. I went back and double checked them to make sure I posted 'em right. I can definitely say I did. I can hear the difference although it is subtle. That being said, both are very usable (although I'm more of a condenser guy when it comes to acoustic guitar).


Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
The other thing about these open shoot-outs is a form of expectation bias, whereby the minute anyone publishes a response it influences all subsequent responses. Gearslutz is full of classic examples of this - the epic ART vs Great River thread being one!
I couldn't agree with you more. I wanted people to listen to these files blind, so as to not be influenced by a pre-existing bias for either mic. Of course there is no "right" or "wrong" answer about which mic is better - they're just different.
Old 9th May 2012
  #24
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basmartin's Avatar
I prefer GTR 2, loud voice 1 and normal voice 1. Less midrange resonance on those.
Old 9th May 2012
  #25
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Well I'd have to say the RE20 is Mic # 1, and has a more linear sound to it which I would expect...whereas the SM7B has a bit more of that upper mid presence thing happening and proximity effect too. Of course the SM7B has the EQ switches which can be used if desired, to boost the mids or cut the bass.

War
BTW, I didn't mention this, but the switches were in the FLAT positions on both mics for this test.

... and oh yeah, thanks for bringing us the clipilator too!
Old 10th May 2012
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli_W View Post
I prefer the SM7b in all these snippets, unless I'm looking for a much darker vintage sound in which case I'd pick the RE20 (although I don't have one). RE20 sounds a little like a ribbon on these (guess it's the fat 150-400Hz and soft treble)
How do you know which one is the SM7b?

Seems like most of us believe that #1, the brighter mic is the RE20.
Old 10th May 2012
  #27
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I agree that #1 would be the re20 and #2 the sm7, and I prefer the clearer sound of the re20, although it might have been interesting to hear them in the context of a mix..
Old 10th May 2012
  #28
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
I wanted people to listen to these files blind, so as to not be influenced by a pre-existing bias for either mic. Of course there is no "right" or "wrong" answer about which mic is better - they're just different.
I realise you've posted blind samples and indeed this eliminates some expectation bias, but I was more referring to the additional type of bias whereby, for example, the first 30 posters all identify X as Clip A, which instantly means subsequent responders are not really starting with a clean slate of opinion.

I also agree with you that a lot of folk seem to have difficulty distinguishing between the (scientific) exercise of identifying/describing differences between clips and the (artistic) exercise of expressing a preference. It's amazing how often the answer to the question "Can you tell the difference between A or B" comes back as "B is clearly better" (usually after 90% of respondents have said the same and/or B is revealed to be 10x the price of A)! Once again, as my sig says, words like 'best' and better' should be banned from descriptions of sonics on the forum!

What would go a long way towards separating the sheep from the goats would be an online Gearslutz ABX tester - something I suggested ages ago in this thread.
Old 10th May 2012
  #29
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Mic number 1 seemed to be a bit more linear, smoother sounding and easier to listen to. I'm hoping it's the RE20.

Dennis
Old 10th May 2012
  #30
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popmann's Avatar
Very interesting...I couldn't pick which was which. I expected I could...number one sounded mostly better, IMO. The loud voice exception to that it not close to volume matched, is it? 2 was just markedly louder with more room.

It's funny that I couldn't stand the re20 on my voice...love the sm7....here, 6 of one--even though I immediately prefer one, not by some huge margin...although, honestly also not placed in a mix, which is the only way I audition vocal mics.
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