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Slate Releases the Blackbird Microphone Expansion Pack for VMS Condenser Microphones
Old 24th January 2019
  #1
Slate Pro Audio / Slate Digital
 
Steven Slate's Avatar
 

Slate Releases the Blackbird Microphone Expansion Pack for VMS



SEE LAUNCH VIDEO: YouTube

John McBride’s Blackbird Studios in Nashville, Tennessee is known for having one of the world’s largest collections of recording gear, including 1,400 vintage and modern microphones. Recently, McBride personally hand-picked the five very best vintage tube mics for the Blackbird VMS expansion pack. This pack features the 47 that George Massenburg called “the finest 47 I’ve ever heard,” as well as a 251 serial #584 , which has previously been reserved exclusively for John’s wife, recording artist Martina McBride. With the Blackbird VMS Expansion pack, VMS users will gain instant access to the exact tone of five of the very best vintage tube mics in the world!

VMS users can purchase Blackbird Mics RIGHT NOW for an intro price of 50%, just $99 (reg price $199). Offer ends in 14 days.

PURCHASE HERE: NAMM 2019 - SlateDigital

We will be posting tons of audio demos of these incredible mics over the next few days, and you can hear them at the show #15902 North Hall.

Cheers,
Steven
Old 24th January 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
ToneKontrol's Avatar
 

Are these only any good if you're singing in the dead of night?
Old 24th January 2019
  #3
Slate Pro Audio / Slate Digital
 
Steven Slate's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToneKontrol View Post
Are these only any good if you're singing in the dead of night?
Haha! We modded it to sound good in the dead of morning and afternoon too!

Cheers,
Steven
Old 24th January 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
These mics are amazing! The Slate virtual mic collection just keeps getting better!

Congrats Team Slate!
Old 24th January 2019
  #5
Gear Nut
 

demo?
Old 24th January 2019
  #6
What are the other 3 mics offered in this pack?

Congrats on another great mic pack release Steven!!
Old 24th January 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 
jjboogie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason View Post
demo?
A bunch of demo videos are about to be released soon. Steven I think is getting in a nap first. ;-)
Old 24th January 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by kp2020 View Post
what are the other 3 mics offered in this pack?

Congrats on another great mic pack release steven!!
47
251
12
67
49
Old 24th January 2019
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjboogie View Post
A bunch of demo videos are about to be released soon. Steven I think is getting in a nap first. ;-)
actually I meant demo as in demo code to try this pack out if you already have an ML1.
Old 24th January 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
 
jjboogie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason View Post
actually I meant demo as in demo code to try this pack out if you already have an ML1.
Oh my bad. I have never seen demos from Slate. It's either you buy or not. I thought you meant sound clips.

I just bought it. I like it.
Old 24th January 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

I need to demo this immediately!

I would prefer to check out the models for myself using my own gear before deciding whether to buy or not, while the price is right... considering that these models are already covered by the previous mic collections, it's going to come down to personal preference for me.
Old 25th January 2019
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

While I am sure they sound incredible given the pedigree of folks involved, as a VMS owner that owns all packs I'm kinda wondering why literally all of the 5 Mics here are already covered by previous packs? I'm sure with so many mics available at Blackbird one could have picked some proper rare freaky ****?
Old 25th January 2019
  #13
Gear Head
 
Lord_Bafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mannymac View Post
While I am sure they sound incredible given the pedigree of folks involved, as a VMS owner that owns all packs I'm kinda wondering why literally all of the 5 Mics here are already covered by previous packs? I'm sure with so many mics available at Blackbird one could have picked some proper rare freaky ****?
Same boat here. I not sure if I want to spend the money to have 5 more mics that I already have. I would definitely have to demo them first.

Also, why does every pack have to have only tube mics? I am surprised there have been no U87's, 414's, etc.

Yes, tube mics are cool and the word tube is good for hype, but sometimes I don't need a tube stage added to every mic. I just want it to sound like the regular version of the mic.
Old 25th January 2019
  #14
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mannymac View Post
While I am sure they sound incredible given the pedigree of folks involved, as a VMS owner that owns all packs I'm kinda wondering why literally all of the 5 Mics here are already covered by previous packs? I'm sure with so many mics available at Blackbird one could have picked some proper rare freaky ****?
The Blackbird mics have a different tone and colour to the same models in the other packs. You’ll know whey you use and hear them. They are outstanding.
Old 25th January 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord_Bafford View Post
Same boat here. I not sure if I want to spend the money to have 5 more mics that I already have. I would definitely have to demo them first.

Also, why does every pack have to have only tube mics? I am surprised there have been no U87's, 414's, etc.

Yes, tube mics are cool and the word tube is good for hype, but sometimes I don't need a tube stage added to every mic. I just want it to sound like the regular version of the mic.
Steven has already stated that they are working on other packs that don’t include tube mics.
Old 25th January 2019
  #16
Slate Pro Audio / Slate Digital
 
Steven Slate's Avatar
 

Hi guys! I can completely understand how offero g the same mic models could be confusing to someone not quite familiar with vintage Mics. The obvious question is, won’t these mics sound the same as the stock mics?

But the answer is that these vintage microphones are so unique and age so vastly different from each other, that two mics of the same brand often sound nothing alike.

In this case, the Blackbird Mics sound nothing like any of the stock mics.

The Blackbird 47 has a different low mid saturation, different upper miss, and different top end detail than what is currently in the VMS. The 251 is airier, slightly smokier in the upper mids, and has less low mids. The C12 sounds nothing like the stock one, having smoother highs and flatter lows.. it’s worth the price alone imo. The 67 Is beautifully dark and yet still present. The 49 is probably the closest to the stock 49 but it has more air and slightly more depth in the Low is beautifully dark and yet still present. The 49 is probably the closest to the stock 49 but it has more air and slightly more depth in the Lows.

I will get a demo for people next week.

Steven
Old 25th January 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
 
TS-12's Avatar
Another 47 and another 251... really

Last edited by TS-12; 25th January 2019 at 05:19 AM..
Old 25th January 2019
  #18
Slate Pro Audio / Slate Digital
 
Steven Slate's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TS-12 View Post
Seriously ? Another 47 and another 251... really
If you go to Blackbird, they have dozens of 47s and 251s. Now why would he do that? Why not just have one of each or a pair? It’s because these mics are as unique as fingerprints.

Most of the engineers there know certain characteristics of each of the serial numbered mics so they know which one to use for each situation because again, they sound different!

The moral of the story is, they sound different. Also it should be noted, that vintage Mics sound different!

In conclusion, we’re not foolish enough to believe that customers will pay money for the same thing. The blackbird pack has five of the finest renditions of a 47, 251, 49, 67, and 12 that you will ever hear and it is the reason that people travel all across the world to record at this studio. With this pack you are getting the cream of the crop.

Thank you for the comments!

Steven

Last edited by Steven Slate; 25th January 2019 at 01:43 AM..
Old 25th January 2019
  #19
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate View Post
I will get a demo for people next week.
Excellent.

Having more of something similar isn't at all a bad thing when it comes to mics if it's a sound that really catches your ear personally, which is why I seriously want to demo them in my own studio environment with the artists I'm currently working with right now. Looking forward to it.
Old 25th January 2019
  #20
Gear Head
 
Lord_Bafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate View Post
Hi guys! I can completely understand how offero g the same mic models could be confusing to someone not quite familiar with vintage Mics. The obvious question is, won’t these mics sound the same as the stock mics?

But the answer is that these vintage microphones are so unique and age so vastly different from each other, that two mics of the same brand often sound nothing alike.

In this case, the Blackbird Mics sound nothing like any of the stock mics.

The Blackbird 47 has a different low mid saturation, different upper miss, and different top end detail than what is currently in the VMS. The 251 is airier, slightly smokier in the upper mids, and has less low mids. The C12 sounds nothing like the stock one, having smoother highs and flatter lows.. it’s worth the price alone imo. The 67 Is beautifully dark and yet still present. The 49 is probably the closest to the stock 49 but it has more air and slightly more depth in the Low is beautifully dark and yet still present. The 49 is probably the closest to the stock 49 but it has more air and slightly more depth in the Lows.

I will get a demo for people next week.

Steven

Steven,

Demos would be great. That's what convinced me to try VMS int he first place (VMS Experience session). It's not that some of us aren't familiar with vintage mics, it's just without hearing the difference between the previous models, we're not sure if this is where we want to continue to invest. No two vintage Marshalls sound the same either, but I'm only going to buy so many amps, or perhaps a better example would be Kemper profiles (or maybe TH-U ) before I decide to invest in other pieces of gear. Especially without hearing examples. A Youtube video comparing the Blackbird models with the stock models would be very cool. A demo to try them on our previous recordings would be even better.

I've been impressed with the mics and VMS so far. When our dealer asked about why we were buying them, I told him I wasn't afraid to put the VMS next to a drummer (unlike our expensive, vintage mics). So far, I've been happy with the results.

Looking forward to more new models in the future.
Old 25th January 2019
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TS-12 View Post
Seriously ? Another 47 and another 251... really
Let the pi$$ing and moaning begin. Between this kind of crap and the whining about the huge dilemma surrounding the expenditure of (coffee money) $99, I marvel that vendors even bother to post.

Consider the premium many are willing to pay for a "matched" pair of mics. Ever wonder why?

How many times have you heard someone say "I would never buy a guitar online"? Why do you suppose that is? I own 5 Strats. Each is unique, yet they all say Stratocaster.

With vintage gear, in particular, the ethos behind Slate's latest offering should be obvious. Did you even read his post immediately preceding yours? I think he spelled it out pretty thoroughly.

Agree with him, or not. Buy it, or not. No one is forcing you. "Seriously"....
Old 25th January 2019
  #22
Lives for gear
 

I just bought an ML-2 so hopefully you’ll be expanding those mics as well! (I also have an ML-1 - totally bought into VMS, but need a U87 model to compare to my real one).
Old 25th January 2019
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

While it would certainly be cool to have some emulations of mics not already covered, I am excited about the new 251, 12 and 49 models.
Old 25th January 2019
  #24
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soapmak3r View Post
While it would certainly be cool to have some emulations of mics not already covered, I am excited about the new 251, 12 and 49 models.
Those 3 models will be my main focus too as soon as we get to demo them next week.

If I end up liking the 47 and 67 in comparison to the ones from mic pack 3 that would be consider a bonus.
Old 25th January 2019
  #25
Here for the gear
 

I was skeptical at first, but I took the dive. Honestly, i'm blown away. Every one of the mics sounds great.

I tend to use EQ and CS lift to get my vocals where I wanted them, but I've stripped all that away with these mics. They seem inherently pleasing, yet each has it's own character. I'm sure with more testing I'll find my favorite, but I can see why these are some of John McBrides's favorites.

I'm a male baritone and ended up jumping between the 37a and the 44 in the previous packs. I'm really pleased with the sound of my voice on the BB 47 and 251, which is a big change from stock versions which I don't like on my voice at all. Very, VERY happy customer here. Great job to Steven and his team.
Old 25th January 2019
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by traiven3d View Post
I was skeptical at first, but I took the dive. Honestly, i'm blown away. Every one of the mics sounds great.

I tend to use EQ and CS lift to get my vocals where I wanted them, but I've stripped all that away with these mics. They seem inherently pleasing, yet each has it's own character. I'm sure with more testing I'll find my favorite, but I can see why these are some of John McBrides's favorites.

I'm a male baritone and ended up jumping between the 37a and the 44 in the previous packs. I'm really pleased with the sound of my voice on the BB 47 and 251, which is a big change from stock versions which I don't like on my voice at all. Very, VERY happy customer here. Great job to Steven and his team.
Oooo, now I'm VERY curious! I have to wait until tomorrow, but I'm a baritenor -- so I also have a lower voice than a lot of my singing friends with much higher voices. I personally like the 800 and 800M on my vocals the most because I love a bright, poppy tone and never really enjoyed the stock Neumann mics all that much in the collection (though the 47 and thicker mics can work really good with layering vocals together), so it's exciting to see what another deep-voiced singer thinks about them
Old 25th January 2019
  #27
Lives for gear
 
CaptainHook's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TS-12 View Post
Seriously ? Another 47 and another 251... really
I just brought these Blackbird emulations today. To reiterate what others have sound, take a look at these plots - by these alone you can tell they won't sound the same.

When people say they like a certain vintage mic, most often they like that particular UNIT.

If anyone wants me to process some audio they have from an ML-1 for comparison to the classic tubes versions, I'm happy to do that.


Blackbird 47 Freq:


FG47 Freq:


FG47 MK11 Freq:


Blackbird 251 Freq:


FG251 Freq:



And just to look at something different, some THD sweeps:

Blackbird 47 Freq:


FG47 Freq:


FG47 MK11 Freq:


Blackbird 251 Freq:


FG251 Freq:
Old 25th January 2019
  #28
Lives for gear
 

For $99 it’s a no brained IMHO. Especially when we already know what the tech is capable of. I feel like the models will only get better as they do more. The MK-II models were a nice step up from the MKIs.
Old 25th January 2019
  #29
Slate Pro Audio / Slate Digital
 
Steven Slate's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainHook View Post
I just brought these Blackbird emulations today. To reiterate what others have sound, take a look at these plots - by these alone you can tell they won't sound the same.

When people say they like a certain vintage mic, most often they like that particular UNIT.

If anyone wants me to process some audio they have from an ML-1 for comparison to the classic tubes versions, I'm happy to do that.


Blackbird 47 Freq:


FG47 Freq:


FG47 MK11 Freq:


Blackbird 251 Freq:


FG251 Freq:



And just to look at something different, some THD sweeps:

Blackbird 47 Freq:


FG47 Freq:


FG47 MK11 Freq:


Blackbird 251 Freq:


FG251 Freq:
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! We really appreciate it! And as you said it really shows you how unique these mics are, even if they are the same model of microphone.

When my personal U47's tube died (nuvister version), simply putting in a new tube completely changed the sound entirely, and I've never really liked it since.


Quote:
Originally Posted by traiven3d View Post
I was skeptical at first, but I took the dive. Honestly, i'm blown away. Every one of the mics sounds great.

I tend to use EQ and CS lift to get my vocals where I wanted them, but I've stripped all that away with these mics. They seem inherently pleasing, yet each has it's own character. I'm sure with more testing I'll find my favorite, but I can see why these are some of John McBrides's favorites.

I'm a male baritone and ended up jumping between the 37a and the 44 in the previous packs. I'm really pleased with the sound of my voice on the BB 47 and 251, which is a big change from stock versions which I don't like on my voice at all. Very, VERY happy customer here. Great job to Steven and his team.
Thanks so much!!

Cheers,
Steven
Old 25th January 2019
  #30
Lives for gear
 
TS-12's Avatar
Wow I learn something new almost every day.
Those graphs show huge differences.

So whenever people refer vintage mics saying like “that vintage u47” ,
Instead they probably should be saying “that vintage u47 serial#092 on 2/17/1992 @ humidity 48% at 457 Hollywood blvd... ” )))
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