1, 2, Mic Checka!

While I’m recovering from some particularly painful throat stuff (yaay for Amoxicillin!), I can’t do any singing. This makes me feel anxious, frustrated and a wee bit homicidal.

To distract me, I’ve been doing all the things I usually put off. One of them was arranging some of my fave mics for acoustic guitar and doing a direct comparison. I recorded to my AW2400 (using only its built-in mic preamps) with my Neumann TLM193, Crown CM-700, AKG CK 91/SE 300B and dusty, trusty Tandy PZM.

I’ve done comparisons before but not in my current studio so I wanted to see how each mic would react to the new acoustics. First, I played very repetitive acoustic guitar chords and then a bit of tambourine. Tambourine because it’s a bastard to record. It’s bloody loud but if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a clattery, clunky sound rather than a pleasing shimmer. The transients can be startling.

The results? Well, they’re pointless for anyone but me as this was a very specific test in a specific acoustic. But overall, it was AKG fourth, Crown third, Neumann second and Tandy first. The Tandy was particularly adept at the high end, producing a twinkly sheen the others didn’t. The Neumann had more body, of course, but the Tandy had the edge for me. Lovely mic for around only thirty quid when I bought it. Tandy don’t make it any more because, if I remember correctly, they licensed the design from Crown. When it came up for renewal, Crown didn’t want Tandy banging out such excellent mics for a tenth of their own prices. Ah well… the contemporary equivalent Crown PZM mic is around three hundred quid!

Back to the test…

Of course, my results must be taken with a skipload of salt. I like a very shiny, light acoustic guitar tone – I use a 0.38mm plectrum, which proper guitarists shriek at. So what I think is a pleasing acoustic sound may sound weak and tinny to you. This test is entirely subjective. But fun!

Hmmm… I wonder what they’ll all sound like through my Oram Octasonic…? đŸ˜€