The Sphere L22 microphone system from Townsend Labs signals the dawn of a new era in microphone modelling, combining a custom built dual channel microphone with matching DSP plug-in available in all major formats. Together the Sphere system models the characteristics (including transient response, harmonics, proximity effect and three-dimensional polar response) of the most sought-after large-diaphragm condenser microphones with amazing accuracy, and allows selection of different mics and patterns even after tracking.
To capture the directional and distance information the Sphere microphone has two back-to-back capsules with independent analog XLR outputs. With a conventional microphone that has a single output it is impossible to capture any of this directional or distance information. Sphere allows for changing the polar pattern after recording, changing the mic type, filter, proximity, axis, and various other settings by using the Sphere plug-in to process the two channel audio. In other words, you can Re-Mic your tracks long after they were recorded.
In order to have consistency across all Sphere mics, the tolerances have to be extraordinarily high for the plug-in to have it’s intended effect. Typical condenser microphone circuits are not especially consistent, partly because they use discrete components, such as FETs, which have a relatively high degree of variation. Even with careful matching and selection of components to minimize variation, this can still be an issue. The Sphere microphone uses a precision op-amp based circuit to achieve high linearity and consistency, as well as low noise. Sphere uses relatively expensive 0.1% resistors to ensure the gain matching between channels is within a small fraction of a dB. In addition to that, Townsend Labs are intensively hand-testing every single microphone before it’s packaged up ready for a user. Now that’s quality control.
Some of modelled microphones include:
For many, the 47 is the ultimate vocal mic. Rumor has it that Frank Sinatra would not sing without his. The specimen we modeled is an original 47 with a fully brass K47 capsule with a mylar diaphragm and a VF-14 tube.
Released in 1953 the C12 is another iconic mic which has a gorgeous high-end sheen and sparkle, due to the uniquely designed CK12 capsule. It’s a great choice for lush, breathy vocals, without overly accentuating sibilance.
The 67 is a very unique and wonderful mic that tends toward warm, yet without sounding dull. We modeled a mid-1960s version. It really shines on distorted guitar amps where it can reduce harshness while maintaining detail.
Although the M49 used the same capsules as the U47, it has a number of “enhancements” which give it its iconic and distinctive sound. The center position on the pattern knob is approximately cardioid, but often the pattern was dialed in a little more exactly to get the best cardioid pattern possible. The model uses this “best” cardioid position.
The Sphere Linear model provides ruler-flat frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz, as well as an extremely smooth and well controlled off-axis response. A first of its kind, for a directional microphone.
Other Models Include:
LD-251, LD-800, LD-87, SD-451, RB-4038, DN-57
Hear the Sphere L22 in action