The 3D Mic CD Listening Party


In November 2000, Lynn Fuston assembled a dozen engineers, a male and female vocalist and 49 of the best vocal mics ever made at Classic Studios in Franklin, TN. These mics ranged in price from under $100 (Shure SM-57) to over $20,000 (Telefunken 251). Most were current production models, but also included some vintage classics like the Neumann U-47, U-67, M-49, AKG C-12 and more. The objective was to listen to all these mics in a carefully calibrated environment with accurate performers, allowing us to hear them side-by-side and evaluate the similarities and differences in their sonic characteristics. Never before has such an extensive (and expensive-over $150,000 in all) collection of mics been assembled for the purpose of a listening comparison. Each of the mics was level-calibrated by Dan Kennedy of Great River and run through identical signal paths (we used Grace and Great River preamps on the male and female vocalists, respectively) and the listening sequence was determined randomly by picking the names out of coffee mugs. Since the purpose was to compare the "sound" of the mics, I decided it would be more interesting if no one but the tech staff knew which mic we were hearing.So all the listening was done "blind," and we had no idea which mic was which (or its brand name or price) as we wrote down our impressions of how each sounded. We covered the control room window so we were unable to see the mics as we listened. After the listening tests were complete (it took six hours per singer), the listeners compared notes about each mic and then the identity of that mic was revealed. It was a fascinating and revealing exercise as you will discover.


The best part about this listening exercise is that you can experience it yourself in your own studio on your own monitors. The 98 performances (49 each of male and female vocal), over 70 minutes in all, were recorded through Prism AD-2 converters to a SADiE Artemis workstation at 24-bit, 88.2 kHz resolution under the watchful eye of Glenn Meadows of Masterfonics. They were pristinely downsampled to 16/44.1 and are available on 3D Audio's 3D Mic CD. This CD is the follow-up to the popular 3D Pre CDs which compared 33 preamps (over $75,000 worth) on several acoustic sources (female voice and acoustic guitar on Volume 1, male voice and snare drum on Volume 2). These CDs are available for purchase at the 3D Audio WebStore, with pictures and technical descriptions available at Even if you do not want to hear the CDs, you can see pictures of this enormous and historic collection of microphones. (The web portion is limited right now to this one page. The rest will be finished before the CD begins shipping in March 2001.)

The list of all the microphones you will hear on the 3D Mic CD is included below.


3D Audio's Great Mic Giveaway


What could be better than hearing a collection of great vocal mics? How about winning a great vocal mic? If you purchase the 3D Mic CD from the 3D Audio WebStore before midnight June 30, 2001, you will automatically be entered in a random drawing to win either a Neumann TLM-103, Shure KSM-32, Shure KSM-44 or an ADK Area 51 tube mic (each worth over $1000), or a Great River stereo mic preamp or one of several BLUE microphone cables. 3D Audio is giving these mics away as an offer of thanks for your support for this project. Each Mic CD purchase qualifies as an entry into the contest, so if you buy 3 Mic CDs your name will be entered three times. The odds of winning depend on how many CDs are sold, but they are probably better than winning $1,000,000 at McDonalds, rest assured. The winners will be announced in July 2001. If you visit the 3D Audio WebStore now and buy the Mic CD, you'll get the MIc CD for $44.95 (10% off the list price of $49.95) AND you'll get a chance of having a great vocal mic show up on your doorstep for free. Plus you'll get to hear 49 world class vocal mics as well. So order now and spread the word.


The 3D Mic CD Mic Collection includes:

ADK A-51 t.III


AKG C-12

AKG C-414


AKG C 3000B

AKG Solid Tube

Audio-Technica 4033

Audio-Technica 4047

Audio-Technica 4050

Audio-Technica 4060

BLUE Bottle

BLUE Dragonfly

BLUE Mouse

Brauner VM-1


Coles 4038

DPA 3541

Earthworks QTC-1

ElectroVoice RE-20

GT Electronics AM 62

Lawson L251

Lawson L47MP

MM 2000 "MagMic"

Manley Reference Gold

Manley Reference Cardioid

Microtech-Gefell M930

Neumann M-49

Neumann M-147

Neumann M-149

Neumann TLM 103

Neumann U-47

Neumann U-67

Neumann U-87ai

Rode Classic

Royer R-121

Sanken CU-41

Sennheiser 441

Sennheiser MKH-800 P48

Sheffield C-9

Shure KSM-32

Shure KSM-44

Shure SM-7

Shure SM-57

Sony C-800G

Soundelux U95S

Soundelux U99

Soundelux Elux 251

Telefunken ELA M-251


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updated 12:00AM CST on 1.1.2002

*All writing and content is Copyright 1996-2002 by 3D Audio Inc.