Townsend Labs Sphere L22 by royalmusik
First off, this mic is a beast in its own right. Without the emulations, this mic is smooth and silky, like a u87 top end, but mostly new age u47 in the mids. Worth nearly double the price for its pristine sound. What made me fall in love with it is that I wanted a U47 and a C800g, but I had U87 money. I went on the hunt of my life searching for mics that emulated, Warm Audio, Beesneez, Slate VMS, and many, many more. I came across 3 mics that promised all those emulations and more, Antelope Edge, Slate VMS, and Townsend Labs Sphere L22. I was already deeply invested in UAD. I love the unison pres so much that I dumped my 1073 and manley voxbox (plus I needed to be more mobile) in favor of the unison version. People say it's only 90% there. Truth is it's 100% there, but only has the exact flavor of the actual model it emulated and no 2 pres sound exactly the same. I digress...Let's get back to the mics!
Antelope mic sounded good, really good, but was lacking a few
models that I'd hoped for like the c800g & 414 (both of which are now available). It also lacked body on all the warmer emulations and I wasn't about to change platforms. I wasn't a fan of Antelope and didn't feel that their edge lineup would last for decades to come. Plus, without the emulations, this mic sounds cheap. Next, the Slate VMS had a great body and matched most emulations very close, except for the top end, which was brittle, especially on the C800g and U87. Plus, I didn't like using their preamp and the mic just doesn't sound the same without it. Enter the Townsend labs Sphere L22. I was skeptical for 3 reasons, it was at least $500 more than its rivals and I didn't think it would sound $500 better, it wasn't actually made by Universal audio (although I knew of Erik Papp's accomplishments well), and they recommended taking the preamps out of Unison and placing them after the Sphere plugin. It took me auditioning this mic everyday for 2 weeks to truly make me a believer. I thought my ears were fatigued or I needed to change monitors. This mic matches 99% of its emulations dead on. Top end, bottom end, mid body, polar patterns, on axis, off axis, impedance, saturation, all of it! I don't now how they did it or what kind of alien technology that Chris & Erik have gotten their hands on, but this is quietly the best microphone on the market and when the veterans either stop their skepticism or die, this mic will become the industry standard right next to the apollo's legendary status. I've had 3 engineers who have used these mics for over 15 years day in and day out, listen to dry vocals and mixes of the actual and the emulations and 23 out of 25 times, they picked the L22 over the original. I've had it for almost 2 years now and I've not pulled another mic from my mic locker in that time. My mobile rig consists of this mic, my apollo twin quad, k240s, ATM50x