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Sweetwater's Virtual Mic Shootout Condenser Microphones
Old 17th May 2018
  #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark D. View Post
Some sacrifice has to be made to quality in the attempt to make something sound like something else. Better hardware and software tech means we can move beyond that, and those who can get over that need for near-miss emulations can focus on quality.
Digital gear by itself will never have the musical vibe that analog gear does. If that were the case, then studios would be switching over to digital mics by the masses. There are just certain things that ones and zeros cannot achieve without modeling their behaviour like the musically pleasing sound of analog.
Old 17th May 2018
  #92
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by rblythe View Post
Digital gear by itself will never have the musical vibe that analog gear does. If that were the case, then studios would be switching over to digital mics by the masses. There are just certain things that ones and zeros cannot achieve without modeling their behaviour like the musically pleasing sound of analog.

There truly is one in every crowd.

If this thread has taught us anything, it’s that analog can’t recreate “the vibe” of analog. So why would we expect digital to recreate it? It's a moving target that is totally subjective.

“The vibe” isn’t created by gear anyway. The vibe is captured by gear.

If you could save $100k by spending $1k, while capturing 99.9% of “the vibe” that your $100k was going to capture, why wouldn’t you do that?
Old 18th May 2018
  #93
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If you don't believe that analog gear creates a musical vibe then ask Chris Lord-Alge. He always runs his mixes through racks of analog gear. On numerous videos, you will hear him refer to his analog gear as musical. We could argue all day if gear creates or captures but there are top mix engineers like Lord-Alge who run their mixes through analog gear just for the musical vibe that they get back from it.

I do agree that digital is helping us achieve some amazing things at a much lower price point. That's why we're all reading this post in the first place.
Old 18th May 2018
  #94
Quote:
Originally Posted by rblythe View Post
If you don't believe that analog gear creates a musical vibe then ask Chris Lord-Alge. He always runs his mixes through racks of analog gear. On numerous videos, you will hear him refer to his analog gear as musical. We could argue all day if gear creates or captures but there are top mix engineers like Lord-Alge who run their mixes through analog gear just for the musical vibe that they get back from it.

I do agree that digital is helping us achieve some amazing things at a much lower price point. That's why we're all reading this post in the first place.
They run that gear through it because they like the sound, and because their experience with it lets them set it up quickly. And, frankly, because there's a whole lot of psychology involved with the "vibe" and the exclusivity of the 'classic' gear, whether it's a vintage mic, or an original outboard compressor that still has a dried booger from Roger Nichols' nose on it.

That said, if I took away CLAs analogue racks, and told him he could only use plug-ins and pro tools, I guarantee you he'd get you a mix with all the 'vibe' you could want.
Old 18th May 2018
  #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
They run that gear through it because they like the sound, and because their experience with it lets them set it up quickly. And, frankly, because there's a whole lot of psychology involved with the "vibe" and the exclusivity of the 'classic' gear, whether it's a vintage mic, or an original outboard compressor that still has a dried booger from Roger Nichols' nose on it.

That said, if I took away CLAs analogue racks, and told him he could only use plug-ins and pro tools, I guarantee you he'd get you a mix with all the 'vibe' you could want.
I love your sense of humor. CLA obviously has a workflow that works for him but I respectfully disagree with the digital vs analog argument.
Old 18th May 2018
  #96
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latweek's Avatar
 

Cool.

Analog vs. Digital in under 100 posts.

Old 18th May 2018
  #97
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DougS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by latweek View Post
Cool.

Analog vs. Digital in under 100 posts.
Not any more. Ha.

Interesting that there is less debate about whether these digital emulations capture the vintage sound vs the other threads debating whether the real U67 re-issues sounds like a real U67.
Old 18th May 2018
  #98
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MickeyMassacre's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougS View Post
Not any more. Ha.

Interesting that there is less debate about whether these digital emulations capture the vintage sound vs the other threads debating whether the real U67 re-issues sounds like a real U67.
Totally agree here.

I was blown away by the shootout, and was a bit of a nay sayer before to be blunt.

There is still something about having the right tool at the right time, and a big mic locker is the absolute answer for that. However, if you are someone at home singing and writing music, or have an arsenal of mics for "everything else" but no "go to vocal mic"... any one of these virtual mics would still be a great way to extend your pallet of brushes for less than 2 good mics.


This falls into the same camp as UAD or other good plug ins... I would rather a killer couple plugs that I can use on everything than a single good compressor and stock plugs.

I have been fortunate, and even when I have had an arsenal of killer top shelf, vintage mics, sometimes an sm7b or a at 2020 sounds "right" for a vocalist.

So, should you only have about $1500 or less and need to suit multiple vocalists or applications, I really think these mics have some merit.
Old 18th May 2018
  #99
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MickeyMassacre's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyMassacre View Post
Totally agree here.

I was blown away by the shootout, and was a bit of a nay sayer before to be blunt.

There is still something about having the right tool at the right time, and a big mic locker is the absolute answer for that. However, if you are someone at home singing and writing music, or have an arsenal of mics for "everything else" but no "go to vocal mic"... any one of these virtual mics would still be a great way to extend your pallet of brushes for less than 2 good mics.


This falls into the same camp as UAD or other good plug ins... I would rather a killer couple plugs that I can use on everything than a single good compressor and stock plugs.

I have been fortunate, and even when I have had an arsenal of killer top shelf, vintage mics, sometimes an sm7b or a at 2020 sounds "right" for a vocalist.

So, should you only have about $1500 or less and need to suit multiple vocalists or applications, I really think these mics have some merit.
As a side note, I have always found it interesting that engineers and players alike seem to have no issue when in a bind or constrained by a budget that a coil split on a PRS is "close enough" to a stratocaster/tele when needed, but a mic that can even pretend to ballpark is lesser.

My two cents...
Old 19th May 2018
  #100
My two cents: I have a Townsend and could hear clear differences between all these recordings. Consistently better to my ear is (surprise!) the L22. It's not just confirmation bias, it's something I can hear and even feel. I don't think it sounds 'just like' a U47 or U67 or 251, I think it sounds better. Not smeared, not overly bright or too thin–better!

I've been using high end tube mics my entire career and have a very good idea what to expect from them. Someone else mentioned that the classics were the best that could be produced using the best technologies, design processes, and manufacturing capabilities of the time, and I agree. Did microphone design suddenly run into an evolutionary brick wall around 1960? Nope.

Modern manufacturing provides much finer tolerances than it did then. Most agree that no two U67's or whatever sound exactly the same but good modern microphones actually do. On the back end, CAD design, modern measurement tools, the science of electrical engineering and acoustics have all evolved a quite a lot since then. Microphones like the Townsend aren't just a platform to record sound like something else did, they're beautiful expressions of the state of the art. Literally everything like cars and planes to bridges and boats have all improved over time so why shouldn't microphones?

I do like having the fundamental sound of the old stuff at my fingertips but I go well beyond that. The controls of the Sphere in particular let me do things not possible before, so I do! Instead of being stuck with the sound and function of a particular microphone I can adjust things that used to be baked into the old stuff by it's makers, and wind up with a recorded sound that wasn't even possible before.

None of that would matter if I wasn't getting better sounds than before, but I am! I'm very blessed to work with extremely talented vocalists and musicians who can also hear the difference; they sense it in their headphones and hear in their mixes something that helps them better express who they are as a performer.

I'm not missing any of the old stuff, not even a little. I've evolved too.
Old 20th May 2018
  #101
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwsmix View Post
Did microphone design suddenly run into an evolutionary brick wall around 1960? Nope.

Literally everything like cars and planes to bridges and boats have all improved over time so why shouldn't microphones?
Nonsense; everyone knows that big name engineers always use 40-50 year old passive monitors and 1970s "classic" amps for their mixes, right? Oh, wait ....
Old 21st May 2018
  #102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
Nonsense; everyone knows that big name engineers always use 40-50 year old passive monitors and 1970s "classic" amps for their mixes, right? Oh, wait ....
lol that's very true! I think a lot of that actually comes from younger engineers who hear something in "old" recordings that they aren't able to meet or beat with whatever they're using now. It would be a mistake to think that the simple act of using an older mic or processor or a crapcan speaker like an NS10 is the key to unlocking some unknowable quality of the past.

You don't need old gear (or plugins that sound like old gear), you need a time machine! If you want something to sound just like an early 1960s John Coltrane or Miles Davis record, you're also gonna need a shovel.

Conveniently lost in all of this is that a LOT of vintage analog/tube gear flat out sucked in every possible way, many microphones included.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the Sphere can handle 140db spl without folding up, even with it's emulation of a vintage mic that would blow a diaphragm if you subjected it to that. Their emulation has far more headroom downstream of the capsule than any of the originals do. It's very comforting to know that if I underestimate a singer's ability to belt out a real ear splitter, that's not going to be a problem unless I clip the A/D convertor.
Old 21st May 2018
  #103
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicianof1 View Post
I see statements like this and I have to ask, how is the sonic depth/dimension on the Townsend? I have a competing modeling mic and find that it sounds a bit flat in the mix whereas my Neumann mics jump out (in a good way) with lots of depth, and 3 dimensional, big sound. Just curious how that aspect stacks up against your mics you might have otherwise used- especially on vocals....
I don't have anything to directly compare it to right now, but I'm currently mixing a track that I produced and we used the Sphere for all the vocals, about 30 stereo tracks, and it sounds great! Vocals sit nicely in the mix, right up front where I like them without burying the track. I used a tweak of their 251 mic mixed with a touch of U47 to fill out the midrange. It's a very dense track but the vox are crystal clear without being at all shrill.
Old 21st May 2018
  #104
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Sigma's Avatar
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
Nonsense; everyone knows that big name engineers always use 40-50 year old passive monitors and 1970s "classic" amps for their mixes, right? Oh, wait ....


lol one of my monitor chains is jbl 4410 and phase linear 400 hahahahah
Old 23rd May 2018
  #105
Gear Head
 
titetrax's Avatar
I guess every industry has to have pseudo-academics to nerd out and completely miss the point of what they're supposed to be doing. I had hoped that by now we would be focused on simply making good music. I'll record into one of my ol' Cerwin Vega SPEAKERS and produce a compelling performance. Yeah, a speaker is a microphone TOO. I believe I was about 8 yrs. old when I figured that out by sticking a pair of headphones(speakers) into the mic jack and singing into the earcup.

Yeah, so...............Everybody get back to your projects. You're a capitalistic consumer and you don't need a LEGITIMATE reason to buy something. Just buy the damn thing that you're obsessing over and be done with it so you can get back to work. Trying to justify your media-programmed product greed is a waste of time. HaHa!!


P.S. For those of you that are new to audio recording and wonder what mic to buy, either go to a retailer like Guitar Center and listen to a bunch of them OR just close your eyes and pick ANY microphone. HaHa! SERIOUSLY. I happen to have a Rode NT1(the new Black one) and guess what? It miraculously records EVERYTHING I try to record!! Even my DOG!! Woof Woof!!

P.S.S Again for the newbies, spend your time learning how to properly PLACE the mic and set proper record levels. Not so much time learning how to BUY the mic.

Last edited by titetrax; 23rd May 2018 at 10:25 AM.. Reason: Same reason we ALL have for editing. Duh?
Old 24th May 2018
  #106
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The "Edge" sounds slightly more bright or edgy than the Slate mic to me,although both are excellent. I am focusing on those 2 only as far as my budget goes.

Last edited by pw2005; 25th May 2018 at 04:52 PM..
Old 1st June 2018
  #107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
lol one of my monitor chains is jbl 4410 and phase linear 400 hahahahah
Hey Mike!
Old 1st June 2018
  #108
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Sigma's Avatar
hi Lynn hope all is well..we had a SPARS past pres meeting in NYC last year and thought of you..lol help the kiddies !!!
Old 5th June 2018
  #109
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
What I got from this:

1. The SM57 sounded better than all the other mics and models.
2. 251 models are terrible.
3. Sibilence sounds the same for each mic across models.
4. The mixes in the processed versions are terrible.
5. The models don't handle the dynamic changes very well. The real mics sounded more pleasant from soft to loud in the middle of a phrase.
Old 6th June 2018
  #110
There was a warmth to the Antelope that won me over followed by the Townsend and the Slate. Very impressive technology never the less. I won't be ditching my real collection for a few years yet.
Old 7th June 2018
  #111
Gear Addict
 
rhythmic5's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSimpkins View Post
What I got from this:

1. The SM57 sounded better than all the other mics and models.
2. 251 models are terrible.
3. Sibilence sounds the same for each mic across models.
4. The mixes in the processed versions are terrible.
5. The models don't handle the dynamic changes very well. The real mics sounded more pleasant from soft to loud in the middle of a phrase.
surely this is a 0.5-1% difference between models and emulations though, right? on $70,000 PMC's, and audeze headphones I literally cannot hear an appreciable difference between the recordings to make such bold statements (this is with the raw files going into basic EQ/comp/reverb playing on top of the instrumental).
Old 7th June 2018
  #112
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmic5 View Post
surely this is a 0.5-1% difference between models and emulations though, right? on $70,000 PMC's, and audeze headphones I literally cannot hear an appreciable difference between the recordings to make such bold statements (this is with the raw files going into basic EQ/comp/reverb playing on top of the instrumental).
I can clearly hear the differences clearly through an Antelope Orion and NS10s with Bryston amp. I suspect maybe our definition of "appreciable" maybe different. No worries.
Old 7th June 2018
  #113
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSimpkins View Post
I can clearly hear the differences clearly through an Antelope Orion and NS10s with Bryston amp. I suspect maybe our definition of "appreciable" maybe different. No worries.
I hear differences too ... but to be honest I didn’t think any of the virtual ones sounded wrong or bad. I focussed pretty much on the Sphere and comparing back and forth with the originals. I think, coming from a position of having no great mics I would be happy with the Sphere. Working with it over some sessions will probably help me decide what ‘real’ mic to go for down the line, based on the models I will tend to use.

Neither real nor virtual mics are going to be writing any songs any time soon, so I’d rather concentrate on getting good song material and capturing great performances for the moment and hopefully use some of the income from that to fund some great mics... and great hardware.

Its true that some of the marketing for virtual products tends to give the impression that they should throw all the gear at Abbey Road out the back door and welcome in virtual mics, amp sims, room IR’s etc ... but thats just marketing, not to be taken seriously

Last edited by javamad; 7th June 2018 at 11:21 PM..
Old 7th June 2018
  #114
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rhythmic5's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by javamad View Post
I hear differences too ... but to be honest I didn’t think any of the virtual ones sounded wrong or bad.
I think that's what I hear too... it sounds to me like the differences are what you'd find between any high end mic and not a virtual = bad, real = good dichotomy.
Old 8th June 2018
  #115
Gear Head
Emulations can be useful, this being said;

Given the choice between using a U67 or, an emulation of one, which path would you choose? Tell the truth!


Of course there are going to be differences.

Anyone who would like to trade me their vintage Marshall Plexi for a, UAD emulation of one, just let me know, I'll be glad to purchase the emulation for you AND pay to ship the amp to California.
Old 8th June 2018
  #116
None of these guys are trying to compete with the sale of vintage mics. They are competing with each other for the lower end of the market, and also for the midrange who are faced with the decision of buying one "real" mic or a fistful of "virtual" mics.

If you've got the clientele paying the rates, you can afford the "real", and the clients will pay for it.
Old 9th June 2018
  #117
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
None of these guys are trying to compete with the sale of vintage mics. They are competing with each other for the lower end of the market, and also for the midrange who are faced with the decision of buying one "real" mic or a fistful of "virtual" mics.
Microphone prices are on a logarithmic scale: $50 is your bargain-basement; $200 your bottom end; $1000 your mid range; $2400 your upper mid; $5000 your top end; $10k and up do technically exist, but no one can hear them. (And, yeah, I know my intervals are entirely consistent - but those are the fixed-position markers on my vintage Neve Mic Price Emulator!)
Old 9th June 2018
  #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkaitkai View Post
How hard is it to simply appreciate the fact that a team of people took time out of their professional lives to provide informational material to you free of charge?
Pretty hard, since
1. It wasn't provided for or to me personally as you seem to imply
2. As I already said, it has no value to me. That's simply a statement of such shootouts in general, not this specific one, and I'm not trying to slam them in saying that, I just stated a fact. It's like if someone took time to do an in-depth study of diff brands of tractors, I wouldn't appreciate it either, because it has no value to me. If others did, good for them.
3. Not following "took time out of their professional lives" as if this was some altruistic act of charity. This is a marketing tool by Sweetwater to get people interested in their site/products. (And certainly nothing wrong w/that)

Clearer now?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
I guess the point of these modellers is to do the holy-grail stuff... where you get a mic locker full of tens of thousands of dollars of unobtanium. The "average joe" mics are not really ripe for modelling (yet) because I guess they are more accessible in the first place.
? If they're more accessible, I'd think that would by WHY they are ripe for modelling vs the other way around. But again, to each their own.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
Thankfully you can download all the files, then have someone else rename them and you can listen blind. That solves that problem.
Good point. Could you do that?

I'd just like to point out sir, that appreciation has nothing at all to do with whether something is or isn't for you,a s you put it. There is probably not a song on the radio or one that's popular that was written specifically for you, but I'm sure you can like or appreciate it for what it is.

Also, I'd disagree with your statement in saying that it has no value to you. This is only the case if you choose to be close minded to it, which it seems you are. You may not own or even wish to own any of the vintage or virtual mics represented here, and that is ok. But what if you come across a situation where having the knowledge of the details between these mics could mean the difference in you making lots of money and making pennies? Or, being afforded an opportunity and being turned down for one?

And as you stated, I'm sure that this is in part a marketing strategy for Sweetwater and their products. But that doesn't mean that there is no value to be had or taken from these comparisons.
Old 9th June 2018
  #119
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Pretty hard, since
1. It wasn't provided for or to me personally as you seem to imply
2. As I already said, it has no value to me. That's simply a statement of such shootouts in general, not this specific one, and I'm not trying to slam them in saying that, I just stated a fact. It's like if someone took time to do an in-depth study of diff brands of tractors, I wouldn't appreciate it either, because it has no value to me. If others did, good for them.
3. Not following "took time out of their professional lives" as if this was some altruistic act of charity. This is a marketing tool by Sweetwater to get people interested in their site/products. (And certainly nothing wrong w/that)

Clearer now?



? If they're more accessible, I'd think that would by WHY they are ripe for modelling vs the other way around. But again, to each their own.



Good point. Could you do that?
I'd just like to point out sir, that appreciation has nothing at all to do with whether something is or isn't for you,a s you put it. There is probably not a song on the radio or one that's popular that was written specifically for you, but I'm sure you can like or appreciate it for what it is.

Also, I'd disagree with your statement in saying that it has no value to you. This is only the case if you choose to be close minded to it, which it seems you are. You may not own or even wish to own any of the vintage or virtual mics represented here, and that is ok. But what if you come across a situation where having the knowledge of the details between these mics could mean the difference in you making lots of money and making pennies? Or, being afforded an opportunity and being turned down for one?

And as you stated, I'm sure that this is in part a marketing strategy for Sweetwater and their products. But that doesn't mean that there is no value to be had or taken from these comparisons.
Old 11th June 2018
  #120
Here for the gear
 

Check out the link below. It's a very good article on virtual Microphone technology. It answers everything you could want to know and then some.


https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews...abs-sphere-l22
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