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Old 31st August 2009 , 03:36 PM
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Default Quick microphone shootout against SE Titan

Given the interest in the end-of-line deal on the SE Titan (and typically, I bought one before the price dropped a further 40 - Doh!) I thought I'd do a quick shootout with it against some more common microphones, at least one of which you may already have yourself.


The mics I recorded are:
  • SE Titan MkI
  • Rode NT2a
  • Rode NT1a
  • Rode M3
  • AKG C1000s
  • AKG Perception 150
  • Shure SM58
  • Sennheiser Blackfire 521
The SE Titan and the Rode NT's are large diaphragm condensers. The M3, C1000s and Perception 150 are small diaphragm condensers. The SM58 and 521 are dynamics. For anyone unfamiliar with the Sennheiser Blackfire 521, it is essentially the same as a Sennheiser MD421, but without the bass roll-off switch.

Each was setup on a stand using a suspension mount (where possible) in front of an SE Electronics Reflexion filter in the middle of my control room (with only partial acoustic treatment - an absorber cloud above my mixing position). The mics were run through my hand-built FiveFish SC-1 preamp (DIY Preamp - FiveFish SC-1 kit build blog) as I thought this was probably the least coloured preamp in my collection. This was fed to a balanced line input on my DM3200 desk and from there via Firewire into Cubase. There is no processing whatsoever on the recordings. All I did was to optimise the gain for each particular microphone (and use phantom power for the condensers).

For anyone interested, a screen grab of the project showing the waveforms is below (click the thumbnail).

For the 2 LDC mics, I recorded each of the three available patterns, Cardiod, Figure 8 and Omni. On each microphone, I had any available pads or bass roll-off switches in the off position i.e. no pads and no filtering. I only resorted to using a pop filter in front of the 2 dynamics and the AKG Perception 150 (which was extremely sensitive to plosives).

Now the all important bit, here are the recordings... though note, they are 320kbps MP3 files to save on my bandwidth!

SE Titan Cardioid
SE Titan Fig8
SE Titan Omni
Rode NT2a Cardioid
Rode NT2a Fig8
Rode NT2a Omni
Rode NT1a
Rode M3
AKG C1000s
AKG Perception 150
Sennheiser Blackfire 521
Shure SM58

Attached Images
File Type: jpg C5-MicShootout.jpg (101.0 KB, 14 views)
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Last edited by Dave Boulden; 1st September 2009 at 09:49 AM. . <
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Old 31st August 2009 , 11:51 PM
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I delved straight for the AKG 150 and then the Titan, mainly because I have the 150's and Im considering the Titan.

You can hear the 150's getting quite edgy, which is a tradeoff of being small diaphragm. That said, from the little I've used them I've found them to be pretty sharp overall. It works really well on some material, but less-so on others. It's easily remedied with a bit of EQ to tone it back a bit, but its something you have to be aware of.

The M3 sounds a tad more neutral, but that could be down to the phrases used to test it. Sounds with 'Pe' in them tend to have very strong plosives. The M3 and 150 sound fairly identical on 'pattern'.

Interestingly, The C1000s picked up more reverb then the others. Even the Rode in Omni mode sounds like it picked up less reverb (altho a tad more general noise).

Good work Dave
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Last edited by EdRyan; 31st August 2009 at 11:56 PM. . <
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Old 1st September 2009 , 12:03 AM
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The Perception 150s really struggled with the plosives... they were the only condenser I had to use a pop-shield with.

The unexpected result for me was how extremely "voiced" the SM58 is compared to the 521 or even the condensers.
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Old 1st September 2009 , 10:45 AM
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Yep, you can hear the SM57. It's not a good sound in this instance.
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Old 1st September 2009 , 10:55 AM
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What surprised me was how "compressed" it sounded in comparison... but it's all down to its internal voicing, I added no extra processing at all.
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Old 1st September 2009 , 08:59 PM
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Dave- this is an really informative post . It's quite hard to find examples of mics performing in the same setup.
Love the brightness and air on the Rode mics - I have used an NT1A for the last 5 years and have been happy with the results.
Having bought the SE titan on Friday for 234 - I have to say I am unsure how suitable it is to my particular (bass baritone) voice. It has an unusual quality as others have commented on and I guess time will tell if its a mic I'll use much - initial impressions are very mixed. It did sound good on acoustic guitar though.
After listening to the shootout my preference would be Rode NT2a. The SM58 was alarmingly coloured. The Titan would be in the bottom half for my money - literally in my case.
Given that DV247 don't offer any sort of refund on mics I guess I'll find out what the Titan does well.
Interesting post - makes we realise how much I like Rode mics.
Thanks again Dave
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