Guitarist Yuri Liberzon called to arrange a video shoot and we got to talking about microphones. Yuri has a pair of Oktava mk012 modded by Michael Joly at OktavaMod and he wanted to see how they stacked up to a real pair of Neumann km84’s, which we use here for the videos we shoot. So rather than stop there we decided to compare a bunch of pairs of small-diaphragm condenser (SDC) mics. In the end we used Yuri’s OktavaMod mk012’s, a pair of Neumann km84’s, a pair of Neumann km184’s and a pair of AKG 451’s with ck28 capsules (rather than the much more common ck1 capsule which most people associate with the 451). And since we could, we decided to use Segovia’s Ramirez that he owned and played from 1969-1981, and which is part of the Russell Cleveland Collection.
In the playlist below we haven’t identified the mics. All were recorded using Apogee’s Ensemble interface mic pres (ApogeeDigital.com). Rather than attempt to mount all 8 mics at once (and therefore deal with the slight discrepancy in mic position between the pairs) we did four takes of Yuri playing a bit of Scarlatti and a bit of Capricho Arabe – one take with each pair using the exact same placement for each recording.
The audio has no eq, no reverb and no compression (i.e. no processing of any sort except for normalizing). We attempted to match gain as closely as possible during tracking and simply normalized the files.
Take a listen and let us know which recording you like best and why (or if you don’t hear any discernible difference), and we’ll post the results at the end of the month to see which pair wins.
N. B. – We understand that this is not a very scientific test. We tried to control for as many variables as possible, but really we’re just doing this for fun to see how big the difference between the various pairs of mics really is under more or less real-world circumstances.
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