I was having dinner with Allen Sides (Grammy winning mastering/recording engineer - he has recorded everyone from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson to Green Day to Meatloaf) and I was lamenting the fact that we don't really know what's on the recordings that we play back on our systems and how difficult it is for loudspeaker designers.
He told me about this app that he just released on the iTunes app store:
On the app, he has hundreds of microphones recording various instruments. For example, the sound of an alto sax, or a snare drum recorded using hundreds of different microphones. You can also hear the sound of a particular microphone when used to record various instruments.
It was designed to be extremely useful for a recording engineer seeking to pair an instrument with a microphone (and its placement), but fascinating for me as it is another take on what we hear vs what is recorded. The sound of the instrument as presented to the human ear is very different to the sound of the instrument presented to different types of microphones. Here is the opportunity to hear the difference in sound of the instrument as it is "heard" by different microphones!
It's $10, and there's no free trial version, but he said that there's a LOT of work that has gone into the app, and his secrets from over 40 years of recording. He owns over 1,600 different vintage microphones, and has a few hundred on the app, but will release more when he has them done.
Over the Audio Technica ATH-EW9 I just bought today from Big Camera, it's a real ear-opener.