University of Massachusetts, Lowell

UMass Lowell - Sound Recording Technology

The Audio Engineering Society


Lynn Fuston and his team at 3D Audio Inc. have created an exhaustive collection of carefully produced collections for subjective comparison. In their "3D MIC CD", they present 49 different microphones through a carefully matched production chain, with expertly consistent performances by professional male and female vocalists. The results are revealing, and presented in a standard audio CD format that includes a coded listing of tracks for the user to perform "blind" tests with. This survey uses unique performances (but each of the exact same material) at each microphone. They have also created similar evaluation CDs for Ribbon Microphones, Mic Preamps, and A to D convertors. All of the collections are still published and available through their website. has compiled numerous carefully controlled shootouts and made them available at their blog (in addition to the wealth of information available in the world's-most-extensive microphone database). Most performances are unique at each microphone, and there are also comparisons of microphones in stereo configurations, and numerous instrument and purpose specific shootouts. Some tests are available through embedded players, as videos (with high-quality audio), or downloadable ZIP folders of complete WAV files.

The tests of each microphone group using the "cupped hands technique" was taken from the 2008 article on ribbon microphones by Michael Joly also published on

Much of the methodology for this project was inspired by the careful research presented here by David Moulton and friends. Their results and analysis relative to the subjective preferences of the participants is very interesting.

Rode just released a their "Soundbooth" web interface for comparing unique performances on each of their microphones across an entire band, so the user can make careful subjective comparisons in the context of a full mix, or in isolation. The recordings were engineered and produced by John Merchant. In addition to the online interface, users can a 24 bit/44.1 khz protools session of the project to make their comparisons at the original recording resolution.

Shure corporation offers an extensive, flash-based "listening lab" with dozens of their products sampling numerous instruments and voices. Users can save and print their "favorites" from their listening experience. Samples are provided as 192k MP3's, and are generally unique performances.

Audio Technica offers samples of many of their microphones recording different sources in their online "Listening Post". While the streaming player only supports MP3's, they also make 16 bit/44.1khz .wav files available for download.

Claes Holmerup has tested of over 100 different microphones on acoustic guitar, as well as female and male solo vocals across 12 different sessions with unique performances at each microphone. Tests are presented as WAVs and MP3s that can be downloaded, or played within a browser.

The Listening Sessions provides an online collection comparing microphones, preamps, and even transformers and op-amps. Performances are unique at each microphone.

Front End Audio provides tests of various instruments between dynamic, condenser and ribbon microphones at various price points. Performances are unique at each microphone. The site also has interesting comparisons of mic preamps and outboard gear.

Soundpure has created an extensive library of equipment comparison videos including some single vocal performances across arrays of two microphones at a time.

A beloved user-group of the industry has a dedicated forum for equipment shootouts.

The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences took on their own careful and methodical test , this time using a loudspeaker to generate their source material. Very interesting and thorough methodology - valuable to the development of our own research. Unfortunately, no audio files are provided.

RealTraps and the Connecticut Audio Society took on a very interesting test of measurement microphones . No audio is provided, but frequency response graphs are.

Audio "superfreak" Randy Coppinger has carefully recorded similar performances or different vocalists in front of two microphones at a time (30 microphones in all) with revealing results. There are also interesting shoot outs for Djembe, Acoustic Guitar, and Ribbon mics.

Engineer and Musician "Slau" has a useful audio podcast, shooting out vocal microphones and explaining his reasons for doing so.

Public Radio resource has conducted two microphone shootouts, one of "handheld" (sic) mics and one of stand-mounted microphones. Both are presented "blind" with embedded players. You can click through to a coded "answer key" to determine which audio clip corresponds to which microphone. Performances are unique at each microphone.

Mike Jasper compiled an extensive comparison of small-diaphragm condenser microphones recording acoustic guitar. Some audio files are provided, but the site mostly contains his feedback on each mic tested. The original article was published in TapeOp magazine.

Jeff Troxel conducted a similar test with small-diaphragm condensers and unique acoustic guitar performances. Audio files are available for download or playback within a browser. offers a unique web interface for listening to Acoustic Guitar, Female and Male vocal samples on twelve contemporary microphones.

This is another comprehensive list of microphone shootouts that you might find useful.