Why Most 'Mic Shootouts' Are Fundamentally Flawed

I never listen to sound samples, and never in my life would I evaluate microphones that way. Not even for clients who beg me. 

 

1. Sound samples recorded with MP3 or other lossy formats obliterate the subtle characteristics we cherish in a good microphone- characteristics we reward by paying disproportionate financial premiums for that last bit of quality. 

 

2. The intended audience is never present when these 'shootouts' are made. For all we know, totally different mics, preamps, cables, distances were used that may favor one mic over the other, regardless of a mic's true merit as recording tool in a real-world working environment.

 

3. Here is the most overlooked and biggest flaw of shootouts - a flaw so big, it will render any comparison between two or more mics pointless and inconclusive: to loine up several mics at the same exact distance from the sound source. 

We see pictures of totally different microphones with totally different sensitivities and timbres being meticulously positioned so that their capsules were aligned within millimeters, sometimes with lasers (!) - all in service to the illusion of scientific objectivity.

Who would place an SM58 and a U47 at the same distance from the singer? Proximity effect, even among condenser microphones, is so pronounced that a 2" adjustment in distance to the sound source may double or half a mic's low end transmission. 

There is science and then there is misapplication of the scientific method...