In December 2014 we got together to perform a controlled microphone test using 3 professional voice actors, 1 script and 23 mics. We setup these mic’s in a specific spot with 1 fabric pop filter and a measure of distance that remained the same from actor to mic. All mic’s were tested in an identical location in a serial fashion (1 after the next).

The aim of this test was to get a clean and measured sound from a variety of mic’s and vocal styles. To perform this test we opted to eliminate the most variables we could from the equation. We chose 1 script for the entire test, we measured the distance from actor to mic in each recording pass, we chose the same XLR cable, mic pre (Focusrite ISA – very transparent), same spot in room and of course, same actors. In post we RMS leveled each file in Pro Tools to -22 as to eliminate voting based on volume changes. No processors or final mixing was done. All presented files have been exported from Pro Tools as MP3 at 256kbps MONO at 44,100 kHz.

Attendees included audio engineer’s Mike Varela (me) and George Whittam (Edge Studio). And actors Rebecca Davis, Casey Lewis, Victor Huzvar.

Microphone Test
Group Mic Brand Mic Model Mic Price Actor File
1 Sennheiser 416 1000 Casey
1 Sennheiser 416 1000 Rebecca
1 Sennheiser 416 1000 Victor
2 Charter Oak E 700 1000 Casey
2 Charter Oak E 700 1000 Rebecca
2 Charter Oak E 700 1000 Victor
3 Charter Oak S 700 750 Casey
3 Charter Oak S 700 750 Rebecca
3 Charter Oak S 700 750 Victor
4 Audio Technica AT 875r 150 Casey
4 Audio Technica AT 875r 150 Rebecca
4 Audio Technica AT 875r 150 Victor
5 Audio Technica AT 3035 125 Casey
5 Audio Technica AT 3035 125 Rebecca
5 Audio Technica AT 3035 125 Victor
6 Manley Reference Cardioid 2700 Casey
6 Manley Reference Cardioid 2700 Rebecca
6 Manley Reference Cardioid 2700 Victor
7 Mojave Audio MA 201 FET 700 Casey
7 Mojave Audio MA 201 FET 700 Rebecca
7 Mojave Audio MA 201 FET 700 Victor
8 MXL Harlan Hogan VO1a 300 Casey
8 MXL Harlan Hogan VO1a 300 Rebecca
8 MXL Harlan Hogan VO1a 300 Victor
9 Neumann TLM 49 1700 Casey
9 Neumann TLM 49 1700 Rebecca
9 Neumann TLM 49 1700 Victor
10 Neumann TLM 67 2400 Casey
10 Neumann TLM 67 2400 Rebecca
10 Neumann TLM 67 2400 Victor
11 Neumann TLM 102 700 Casey
11 Neumann TLM 102 700 Rebecca
11 Neumann TLM 102 700 Victor
12 Neumann TLM 103 1000 Casey
12 Neumann TLM 103 1000 Rebecca
12 Neumann TLM 103 1000 Victor
13 Neumann U 87 3200 Casey
13 Neumann U 87 3200 Rebecca
13 Neumann U 87 3200 Victor
14 Oktava MC012 – Hyper 300 Casey
14 Oktava MC012 – Hyper 300 Rebecca
14 Oktava MC012 – Hyper 300 Victor
15 Rode NT1a 250 Casey
15 Rode NT1a 250 Rebecca
15 Rode NT1a 250 Victor
16 Rode NT2a 400 Casey
16 Rode NT2a 400 Rebecca
16 Rode NT2a 400 Victor
17 Rode NTG 3 700 Casey
17 Rode NTG 3 700 Rebecca
17 Rode NTG 3 700 Victor
18 SE X1 200 Casey
18 SE X1 200 Rebecca
18 SE X1 200 Victor
19 Shure KSM 44 800 Casey
19 Shure KSM 44 800 Rebecca
19 Shure KSM 44 800 Victor
20 Shure PG 42 200 Casey
20 Shure PG 42 200 Rebecca
20 Shure PG 42 200 Victor
21 Shure SM7b 3inch Dist 350 Casey
21 Shure SM7b 3inch Dist 350 Rebecca
21 Shure SM7b 3inch Dist 350 Victor
22 Shure SM7b 6inch Dist 350 Casey
22 Shure SM7b 6inch Dist 350 Rebecca
22 Shure SM7b 6inch Dist 350 Victor
23 Sterling ST 51 99 Casey
23 Sterling ST 51 99 Rebecca
23 Sterling ST 51 99 Victor

You can download the source files here.

WAV || MP3 @ 256