Pro Audio Files

The Big List of Microphone Shootouts

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “get it right at the source.” Besides capturing a solid performance, microphone choice and placement is key.

Some engineers have an unhealthy attitude (or bias) toward microphones. For some, It’s like being hypnotized by a “signature” series instrument. Sorry, but buying one is NOT going to make you instantly sound like your musical hero. Yes, your idol may have used one specific mic on his voice, but it was his voice. Your “holy grail” mic is going to respond differently to every source. Also be weary of choosing mics based on luxurious price-tags. A less expensive mic with thoughtful placement can often provide fantastic results if given the chance.

I love finding mic shootouts online. It’s a quick & easy way to get familiar with how different mics respond to a single source. These comparisons bring microphone characteristics to the (audible) surface, which is valuable ear training.

Here are some great mic shootouts for your perceptive pleasure:



Acoustic Guitar:



    Saxophone Playlist:

    Drum Playlist:

    (via @BenPeilow)

    Please share any other mic shootouts in the comments below!

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    Dan Comerchero

    Dan Comerchero

    I’m Dan, Founder of The Pro Audio Files and Quiztones ear training apps. I’m probably checking Instagram if you want to say hi.

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    • Oh great list. Too bad I almost don’t want to listen to any of it because it’ll just make me sad to not have access to all those mics…

    • I posted a wildly contrasting comparison: MXL R144 ribbon vs. AT 4050 on a female soul vocal:

    • Katie Quinton

      This is a pure blind test over the renowned Neumann U87 vs the Rode NT1-A.
      Both microphones were plugged with equal cables to the pres of a Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56. All setting were the same and the performance was captured simultaneously.

    • Joe Smith

      love the idea of a comprehensive list of mic shootouts, but frankly this list is poor….the first 2 are for spoken word only, the last 2 don’t exist, and the rest are only comparing 2 mics. wish you would update this page, again a great idea (you could start with the big one sweetwater did, although that isn’t a blind test and therefore for my money worthless, as confirmation bias dominates… but many would probably find it interesting)

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