In this blind mic shootout, we give you a chance to compare three of our favorite high-end 251-style vocal microphones: the Telefunken 251E, the Bock 251, the Upton 251. We also brought in the Neumann M149 as a similarly priced control. It won’t have the same sound as a 251-style mic, but it will give you a point of comparison. First, you’ll hear the vocals dry, but you’ll also hear them with some processing and some backing guitar so you get an idea what they can do in a mix. All the mics were recorded through a Millennia HV-3R to give you a clean, pure sound, so you can really hear the nuances of each mic.

Once you’re ready for the answers, shoot us an email at, or give us a call at (919) 682-5552 (you can also reach out to us on Facebook). Every mic in this shootout is available for our Try Before You Buy demo program, so you can do some testing for yourself with no obligation to purchase. Also, please do request the hi-res audio files from us so you can tweak the audio on your own and listen without YouTube compression!

The Contenders

Telefunken 251E

Bock 251

Upton 251

Neumann M149

Why Do We Do Our Shootouts Blind?

Good question! In our own experience as recording engineers and musicians, we’ve found we have unconscious biases that favor one microphone, preamp, instrument, etc. over another based merely on preconceptions and brand associations. We’re often surprised at the results and want to present that same unbiased listening opportunity for you.

Also, we hope you request the hi res files, because YouTube compression affects the audio considerably. And, last but not least, we want to help you purchase the right gear for your exact needs and setup. This is a shootout on one specific recording application, and it can give you some great info, but the devil is in the details! We specialize in the details and are here to assist you with your choice.