New Microphones at AES 2014

Sunday, October 19th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

Manufacturers at the recent AES convention in Los Angeles presented a wonderfully wide array of new microphones.

Neumann’s announcement of the reissued Fet 47 stole the show, which is a pity because many worthy new microphones didn’t get the attention they deserved.

Let’s rectify that now.

iOxboom iPad Mounting System Review

Monday, September 8th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

A couple of years ago, I bought an iPad harness so I could mount the tablet near my drums. I spent no more than 90 seconds researching the purchase — only as long as it took to identify the best-selling compatible item from But the product turned out to be so poorly designed that I literally never used it. The iPad is an elegant device, very much unlike the depressingly mundane harness that, upon receipt, I immediately regretted purchasing.

Ever since then, I’ve had my eyes open for a better iPad mount. And I think I’ve just found one… (more…)

Six Ribbons, Two Voices

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

For this session of our “$1k Ribbon Mic Shootout“, we present two different male voices reading a narration. You’ll hear one voice through every mic at fixed distances (9 and in some cases also 4 inches), and a second voice at a distance selected for (subjectively) optimum results. Hear MP3s in a blind listening test below, or download the full-bandwidth audio session. (more…)

Female Vocals Ribbon Mic Shootout

Friday, July 25th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

The third session of our “$1k Ribbon Mic Shootout” features a sensational vocalist named Molly Reed. She sang a song that I believe is by Celia Cruz, called Te Busco. The downloadable session file contains audio samples at 4-inch and 8-inch working distances, and a “control” track from a Neumann U87. Read on for MP3 audio samples that you can audition blind.


Alto Sax Ribbon Mic Test

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

The sax session of our “$1k Ribbon Mic Shootout” was made possible by John Patrick Douglas, a wonderful musician who has played with dozens of jazz, classical and world music acts from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. John brought his alto sax, a 1959 Selmer Mk VI (Jody Jazz HR 6 mouthpiece, 3.5 strength Légère Signature synthetic reed), and the melody from My One And Only Love, and nailed every take.

$1k Ribbons – Frequency Analysis and Proximity Test

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

In this second installment of the “$1k Ribbon Shootout,” we’ll measure and compare frequency responses across all the mics, and listen to how each one responds to proximity. Finally, we’ll do a self-noise test.

By way of quick review, here are the six ribbon microphones included in this evaluation: (more…)

The New ($1k) Ribbon Shootout

Friday, June 13th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

A handful of exciting new ribbon microphones have come out in the past year, so naturally, I got a pair of each and staged some sessions. We pulled in a few familiar models for comparison purposes; because the new mics all fall into the midpriced ($600-$1000) tier, we limited the selection to microphones under $1000.

We’ll hear all these microphones on multiple sources over the next few weeks: drum overheads, voice, and acoustic guitar for sure, with other possibilities in the works.

Conclusion to the Giant Ribbon Shootout

Monday, May 26th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

$60,000 worth of ribbon microphonesThree years ago I put together the most ambitious microphone test I have ever done (before or since). It was called the $60,000 Ribbon Mic Shootout, because the total value of the 30 mics we tested was over $60,000. We had four engineers and five performers; we recorded saxophone, drum overheads, two guitar cabs, two acoustic guitars, and three character voices.

I spent weeks writing up the seven-part series. But I never wrote the conclusion. Until now.

ADK T-Fet Mic Review

Monday, May 12th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

ADK introduced five new high-end multipattern FET condensers last year. All five microphones use similar circuitry: a single stage JFET with an Oxford (OEP) output transformer. All five microphones offer a switchable 3-way pad and 3-way filter.

But wait — if the mics all use similar circuitry, why are there 5 of them? (more…)

Triad-Orbit Orbital Mic Adaptor Review

Monday, April 28th, 2014 | by matthew mcglynn

I hang a lot of microphones. Usually a lot at once. I’ve seen all manner of microphone mounts and clips, from the simple, to the complex, to the “what were they thinking?!?!” And at one time or another, I’ve cursed them all.

The problem, I think, is that mic mounts are generally not designed to facilitate positioning. They mount the mic to the stand, and maybe they provide mechanical isolation. But they don’t provide enough range of motion to contribute meaningfully to placement. Most have a single swivel joint that can swing the mic along an arc, but that is rarely what I reach for when I have to adjust a mic’s position. Most of the responsibility for positioning therefore falls to the mic stand. And that is unfortunate, because for fine control over a mic’s position, mic stands sort of suck. The positioning controls on a mic stand are too coarse. Furthermore, clutches slip. Boom arms sag.

Have you ever tried to fine-tune the position of two mics in an XY or Blumlein array by adjusting boom stands? Sure, it’s possible, but it isn’t pretty. Nor is it fast.

Clearly, there has to be a better way to position microphones…

And there is. We just found it. (more…)