How we test

Testing gear is a delicate thing. If levels don’t match, or the position of one microphone differs too much from another one, the results are flawed. That’s why we take meticulous care of our testing process.

For microphone comparisons, we use digitally controlled preamps of manufacturers like Sound Devices or RME that allow us to set the gain control as precisely as possible.

In addition, our preamps are neutral and have a consistent sound throughout all their channels.

When comparing several microphones simultaneously, it’s crucial that they are as close to each other as possible.
If we test one mic after another (with sinus waves or in front of Bass amps or Guitar amps), we ensure that the positions are exactly the same every time (down to the mm).

Only ribbon microphones often allow more tolerance in this regard due to their constant Fig-of-8 pattern throughout the entire frequency spectrum. That’s why they can have a bit more distance from one another.

Matching levels precisely is an absolute necessity for one to judge the results. For example, if you listen to sound samples in different volumes, you’ll likely prefer the loudest piece. This “louder = better” phenomenon is what we avoid to ensure an equal and fair comparison.

At Gear & Sound we match the loudness of each sample by hand so that all the levels are the same. Besides adding a bit of digital gain, no other signal processing is used, except if stated otherwise.
If the sound of two microphones differs too much (one has a strong bass response, another is much louder in a higher frequency area) we usually match the levels at 1 kHz.

Request your own test

If you have any requests, questions, or suggestions, please reach out and write us at gear(at)

You can also benefit from our services and order a tailor-made comparison test. This offer is open to private people as well as manufacturers.
Simply let us know which microphones you want to hear in comparison, or even send us your own model.

Thanks to our network of music producers and musicians, we got an excellent pool of different microphone models for comparison:

Condenser Microphones

• AKG C12
• AKG 414 TL-II
• AKG 414 B-ULS
• AKG 414 XLS

• Austrian Audio OC818
• Austrian Audio OC18
• Austrian Audio OC16
• Austrian Audio OCC8

• DPA 4060 (Miniature)

• Microtech Gefell M221
• Microtech Gefell M930Ts
• Microtech Gefell M940
• Microtech Gefell MV225

• Neumann Gefell CMV 563
• Neumann Gefell MV 690

• Neumann KM 53
• Neumann KM 54
• Neumann KM 56
• Neumann KM 74
• Neumann KM 83
• Neumann KM 84
• Neumann KM 86
• Neumann KM 184
• Neumann KMS 105
• Neumann MA-1
• Neumann M 49
• Neumann M 149
• Neumann TLM 102
• Neumann TLM 103
• Neumann U 47
• Neumann U 47 fet
• Neumann U 67 (old and new)
• Neumann U 87
• Neumann U 89
• Neumann USM 69

• Oktava MK115
• Oktava MK117
• Oktava MK102
• Oktava MK-012

• Schoeps CMC1 / CMC6 / CMC 5
• Schoeps MK 4 / MK 41 /
• Schoeps MK 21 / MK 2S /
• Schoeps MK 8

• Sennheiser MKH 20
• Sennheiser MKH 30
• Sennheiser MKH 40
• Sennheiser MKH 416
• Sennheiser e965

• sE Electronics SE8

• Vox-O-Rama Type 47
• Vox-O-Rama U 49

Ribbon Microphones

RCA 44 BX ribbon microphone

• Bang & Olufsen BM3
(serviced by Xaudia)
• Bang & Olufsen BM5
(serviced by Xaudia)
• Bang & Olufsen BM6
(serviced by Xaudia)

• BBC Marconi AXBT

• Beyerdynamic M130
• Beyerdynamic M160
• Beyerdynamic M260
• Beyerdynamic M360

• Coles 4038
• Coles 4040

• Extinct Audio BM9
• Extinct Audio Black Ops

• Melodium 42B
• Melodium Type R
(serviced by Xaudia)
• Melodium RM6
(serviced by Xaudia)

• Nohype Audio LRM-2
• Nohype Audio LRM-V
• Nohype Audio SRM-1 (Stereo)

• Oktava ML-19
(serviced by Xaudia)

• Philips 9559

• RCA PB-90
• RCA 44BX
(serviced by Xaudia)

• Røde NTR

• Royer 121

• sE Electronics VR-1

• Siemens Ela M25

Dynamic microphones​

• AKG D12
• AKG D112

• Beyerdynamic M55
• Beyerdynamic M88 (old & new)
• Beyerdynamic M100
• Beyerdynamic M201 (old & new)

• Electro-Voice RE20

• Grundig MD-200

• Melodium 75A

• Sennheiser MD21
• Sennheiser MD211
• Sennheiser MD409
• Sennheiser MD421
• Sennheiser MD441
• Sennheiser MDS-1
• Sennheiser MK4 (USB)

• Shure SH55 Series II
• Shure SM7B
• Shure SM57
• Shure SM58
• Shure 520DX

• Western Electric 618A


• AEA RPQ 500
• AMS Neve 1073 LB
• API 512c
• Electrodyne 501
• Lorenz V241
• Neumann 476B
• Siemens V276
• Sound Devices Mix-Pre II
• TAB V76
• TAB V376

Extinct Audio Black Ops microphone

What is Gear & Sound?

We love music gear and test how it sounds.
Here you’ll find reviews, sound samples, unboxing pics, and videos of recording equipment like microphones, preamps, headphones, etc.
We also write about legendary mics and interview great people.
Read more about How we test.

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