Every microphone, recorder, and even microphone cable have their own sonic flavor. Although they don’t have to be expensive, “You get what you pay for” generally applies.
The only way to find out what sounds accurate is to:
- try out as many microphones and 96kHz/24-bit recorders as possible. I would start at the $300 range.
- listen to those recordings on the same server the original tracks were played from. In my case, the Innuos ZENith SE Mk.2.
- Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to make as many comparative recordings as possible.
- Shuffle these recordings, take some listening notes and see which characteristics aligned with your direct-from-system notes – if any. For example, if I’m not hearing much of a difference between the Furutech DPS-4 and High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate – there’s something wrong.
- Pick the recording gear and software that makes those characteristically differences more consistent and apparent.
- Upload to YouTube with the audio portion uncompressed. If you upload in AAC or other forms of 320kbps, it’ll be transcoded at YouTube (not good).
This is what I’ve done for this audiophile power cable comparison. And the results were quite surprising. Comparing the lossless local recording (100GB file) to the YouTube recording, there’s a loss in transparency, higher noise floor, and a slight coating/veil. The details, groove, and rhythm also aren’t as clear. But, as you’ll hear, many of the traits were preserved and audible.
As far as equipment, I’ve settled on a Zoom H6 recorder and Rode Stereo VideoMic X. Having a 96kHz/24-bit recorder made more of a difference than I expected. And the Rode microphone was able to capture nuances and subtleties that many microphones under $500 weren’t able to. I’m also in the middle of building my own balanced “audiophile” microphone cable.
If you have any recommendations on recorders or microphones, please let me know in the comments. Help me, help you. 🙂