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Making of Sweetwater’s Vocal Mic Shootout

Making of Sweetwater's Vocal Mic Shootout
Making of Sweetwater's Vocal Mic Shootout
Hi, I’m Lynn Fuston, and I’m the manager of written content at Sweetwater. Before I came to Sweetwater, I spend 40 years in Nashville as a recording engineer. For me, the biggest challenge in the studio was always finding the right microphone. The problem is, there’s so many microphones that you can read about them, you can research them on forums, but you don’t have a chance to hear them, and you never really know exactly what they sound like.

With the vocal mic shootout, we setup 50 microphones in Sweetwater Studio A so we could record male and female vocals under rigorously controlled conditions.

To truly compare microphones in a fair and unbiased manner, you have to control all the variables.


We tried to be very scientific in the way that we setup these microphones. There’s so many things that impact the sound of a microphone. Everything from the positioning of the microphone in the room, the height of the microphone, to the distance to the microphone diaphragm, but the biggest factor in comparing microphones in calibrating the levels.

We calibrated these microphones to within plus or minus 0.1 dB.

[female vocals]

Our goal was to make it easy for you to compare the sound of these 50 microphones. For convenience, you can listen to ten second previews of all of these microphones at

For best results, we recommend downloading the high resolution files. For Pro Tools users, we’ve provided a complete 24, 96kHz session. If you use another DAW, you can download a folder full of all of the high resolution files, and load them into your own session. This allows you to compare the sound of the microphones in the comfort and familiar monitoring environment of your own studio.

I was amazed at the differences I heard among the microphones, and I’m sure you’ll find the comparisons equally revealing. Setting up and calibrating 50 microphones side by side is a tremendous amount of work, but it was also a lot of fun. I hope you enjoyed the Sweetwater Vocal Mic Shootout. If you have questions about these mics or any other microphones, call your Sweetwater sales engineer.



Since 1979, Sweetwater has been committed to giving music makers the ultimate shopping experience. Whether it’s our helpful advice - personalized to you. A free 2-year warranty on nearly everything we sell, our knack for fast, free shipping, our almost “obsessive” attention to detail, the free tech support or the sweet way we say “thanks.” These are just a few of the many reasons why more musicians get their gear at Sweetwater than anywhere else. So whether you’re buying your first guitar or building your dream studio, get your gear from a place you can trust, from people that care.