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Sweetwater's Virtual Mic Shootout Condenser Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #91
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DougS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate View Post
Hi guys, just want to make one correction. The Slate VMS One preamp will still be available through dealers a la carte as a special order. Basically, we broke up the VMS bundle so you can buy just the mic, just the preamp, or both individually. Most dealers will stock the mic but likely not the preamp. But it will be available for those who want it. Sorry for the confusion, as our strategy regarding this situation had a few twists and turns so it may have confused some people.

To get the most accurate sound of the mics we modeled, the VMS Preamp (which will also be available on our upcoming interface VRS8) should be used, however, a high quality flat preamp will still work very well as Lynn finely demonstrated with the Millenia preamp.

Lynn thanks again for this fun comparison, and thanks everyone for taking a listen and commenting.

Cheers,
Steven
I'm then assuming the software is/will be available separately - is that correct?
Old 1 week ago
  #92
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brockorama's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Townsend View Post
It looks like that text is from the Sweetwater website. To clarify stereo recording is done by rotating the Sphere L22 mic 90 degrees and using the "Sphere 180" plug-in. This produces a coincident XY recording with a 180 degree capsule arrangement. It is even possible to have different mic models on the left and right channels, using the Sphere 180 plug-in.

For more information see the "Stereo Recording" chapter in the Sphere Hardware and Software Guide, which can be found here:
https://townsendlabs.com/support/user-guides/

Thanks I will check that guide.
Old 1 week ago
  #93
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Mark D.'s Avatar
 

In this and almost every test I have heard the results are similar. Each mic does some emulations better than the others. The original usually "wins" in lacking the slight smear the digital copies have, in those emulations. It is hard to describe. Finally, in every case, the stock sound of the emulating mics beat every digital emulation the same mic produces. They are obviously all great mics with the focus on being as accurate as possible to facilitate the best starting point for emulation. By intent or by a complete accident, they did what mic manufactures did decades ago, seeking to make the most accurate mic. Not one that is "warm" or "colored" or whatever. Their stock sound lacks that smear and in some cases sounds better than the real mics they are compared to, ie. newer and better hardware tech.

What I found is, like most microphones, certain voices sounded better / worse on different mics. One mic that was gold on a male rap voice might fail on a rock female vocal for example while a different rock female vocal may work with it. It goes back to what we've always known. The source matters most, and capturing as best possible and having a great match of mic character at the recording stage (without or before any emulations or FX)is how you do it. All things equal, the Townsend wins on having so many other ways to manipulate the sound (mono / stereo, proximity, polar position, etc.). Though it costs more and is rather large compared to the others. I found Slate's smaller microphone and its emulations on instruments worked better because there is less individual variance for recording instruments.

A mic know to work great on guitar amps or on snare drums will time and again, even with different guitar rigs and drum sets. It's not so easy with the voice, however. I know how complex their modeling tech is on the mics, but to me, aside from that slight smear in the sound, the main differences sound a lot like EQ (like minimum phase, accounting perhaps for that smear) ultimately. I'm reminded of ITB FX that try to emulate old gear and how I usually prefer the ones built up from the ground to be as good as possible vs. "sound like" something else. 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.
Old 1 week ago
  #94
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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 1 week ago
  #95
Gear Nut
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 1 week ago
  #96
Here for the gear
 

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 1 week ago
  #97
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 1 week ago
  #98
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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 1 week ago
  #99
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latweek's Avatar
 

Cool.

Analog vs. Digital in under 100 posts.

Old 1 week ago
  #100
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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 6 days ago
  #101
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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 6 days ago
  #102
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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 6 days ago
  #103
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 5 days ago
  #104
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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 4 days ago
  #105
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 4 days ago
  #106
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 3 days ago
  #107
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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 2 days ago
  #108
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; 2 days ago at 10:25 AM.. Reason: Same reason we ALL have for editing. Duh?
Old 18 hours ago
  #109
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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; 38 minutes ago at 04:52 PM..
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