A Brave New World of Sound Capture
The Townsend Labs Sphere L22 microphone modeling system consists of a high-quality large-diaphragm condenser mic that works in concert with software that meticulously models the sonic attributes of some of the most coveted microphones ever made. The Sphere DSP plug-in even lets you change your mic selections and polar patterns after recording, accurately modeling the response of a variety of microphones, including transient response, proximity effect, harmonics, and three-dimensional polar response. The Sphere L22, a dual-capsule mic with dual outputs, enables a more thorough capture of the sound field - and also offers the option of coincident stereo recordings, even with different mic models in left and right channels, using the plug-in. The Townsend Labs Sphere L22: it's a brave new world of sound capture.
Dual-capsule microphone with dual outputs
Why does Townsend Labs use a dual-capsule microphone with dual outputs? Because it more thoroughly captures the sound field, including the distance and directional information you'd lose with a conventional 1-channel mic. This allows the Sphere L22 microphone modeling system to accurately reconstruct how different mics respond to the acoustical environment. Other mic modeling technologies may apply equalization to filter the sound from a conventional microphone - which is essentially the same as applying EQ to process a recorded signal. Sphere's three-dimensional approach captures the spatial nuance, proximity effect, and off-axis response of a broad selection of microphones including legends such as the large-diaphragm 47, 67, 87, M49, C12 and other mics like the 451, 57 and even the classic ribbon 4038. You can also use the Sphere Linear (modified to flat) or Sphere Direct (the unchanged sound of the mic) which many listeners like with no modification at all. The L22 is precision crafted and - unlike some prized vintage mics - quite rugged, handling sound pressure levels in excess of 140dB before clipping. And boasting vanishingly low self-noise of 7dB-A, well below most vintage mics, the L22 is on par with the quietest contemporary models.
The Sphere DSP software
Townsend Labs' powerful Sphere DSP software supports UAD, AAX, VST, and AU plug-in formats. You'll enjoy real-time UAD processing with Universal Audio Apollo interfaces, with ultra-low round-trip latency of approximately 1.6ms at 96kHz. This plug-in is amazing. It lets you capture the three-dimensional response of target mics, precisely emulating the polar patterns and off-axis sonic characteristics that are the keys to the unique sound of sought-after vintage models.
Unlimited flexibility - before or after recording
There's almost no limit on what you can do with the Sphere plug-in. Select your microphone type, polar pattern, and other settings before recording - and change them afterward if you wish. No more running out to your tracking room to move a mic an inch here, an inch there to minimize proximity effect. Need to punch in on a vocal, but the singer is further from the mic on the original take? No problem. Rotate the axis of the mic virtually for a more off-axis sound. Tighten your polar pattern to attenuate bleed, room coloration, or feedback susceptibility. You can make all these adjustments before or after recording. The Sphere plug-in offers a visually informative Polar Meter that dynamically displays the level and direction of signal being captured by the mic, as well as your currently selected polar pattern.
Dual Mode, for stereo recordings from one mic
The Sphere software's Dual Mode gives you the option of phase-coherent mixing of multiple virtual microphone models from the same physical mic, either during or after recording. Using the Align control, you can even adjust the relative phase alignment of the two mics. Stereo recording can be done by rotating the Sphere L22 mic 90 degrees and using the "Sphere 180" plug-in, producing a coincident XY recording with a 180 degree (opposite-facing) capsule arrangement. It is even possible to have different mic models on the left and right channels. At Sweetwater, we're amazed and delighted by the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 microphone modeling system. It's extremely effective and an excellent value that could supplant a locker full of sought-after mics.
Hear the Sphere L22 for yourself
Songwriter Seth Creekmore performed on the Sweetwater Performance Theatre stage to demonstrate the sonic options of the Townsend Sphere L22 microphone modeling system. To fully appreciate the power of the L22 mic with the Sphere plug-in, you need to try it out for yourself. Download and experiment with the 24-bit/96kHz vocal and guitar files from Seth's performance (formatted for both Pro Tools and non-Pro Tools users) by clicking here.