Townsend Labs Sphere™
Townsend Labs Sphere
Absolutely stunning in every respect. This mic is brilliant out of the box, but when coupled with the UAD modeling plugins, (I broke my bank and bought all three UAD mic modeling suites, but I don't give a hoot after hearing these beauties). Thank you to Chris and Eric at Townsend for their genius and creativity in creating this. I only dreamed about even trying to hear what I sounded like on a "real" 87, but this gives me the full experience - plus many, many more... it is insane. For $1,500 you are literally investing in a mic locker that would set you back over a $100K, if you were actually lucky enough to find them in usable condition. This is the democratization of music production at its best. Is $1,500 expensive? It's all relative to what you're getting, and for this beauty (and the treasure trove of sonic options it unlocks), it's essentially a giveaway!
I'm a total tech novice and I was nervous of being actually able to use it, but let me tell you, it works so seamlessly and flawlessly with the UAD system, that a well-behaved and responsible child could figure it out in seconds. Unbelievable.
I had a question about one aspect of the system and so I emailed the Townsend support website. Well, the inventor and owner of the company, Chris Townsend himself, emailed me personally within ten hours with the answers I needed. I have never had the actual owner/CEO of a company interact with customers like that. Brilliant service and support from Townsend Labs. Support this company because they are truly doing it for music - it is a creation of love for all of us who cannot begin to afford tends of thousands of dollars on the "actual" mics. I promise you, these emulations (from the included Townsend Labs, to the UAD Ocean Way and Bill Putnam collection) will leave you breathless.
It's a wonderful change！
It is fun to be able to experience the characteristics of various microphones. Since I do not have an expensive microphone, I can learn which microphone the vocal voice is suitable for.
It really is that good.
This mic and plugin is great, everyone that I’ve recorded with it has been immediately impressed. It has really exceeded my expectations, and it’s great how clear the mic sounds, so much so that I am hearing more detail than I’ve heard with other mics. The mic emulations sound great and the tweak-ability is very nice. Prior to getting the Townsend mic/plugin I had purchased a Manley Core preamp ($2000) and it was nice but what I really wanted was something that gave me options for the tone of the vocals that I am recording but the hardware preamp that I bought didn’t give me enough options so I ended up taking it back and I got the Townsend mic instead and now the tones that I’m able to get for vocals are seemingly endless. The best thing about it is that I don’t have to commit to any settings and it is very easy to switch mic models on the fly to experiment with what works best for each vocalist. With this mic/plugin I’m able to reject some room sound from the vocals, which is awesome. This mic is a definite must have item.
This thing is nuts - buy one.
Even makes my kids sound pro.... this thing is terrifying.
Just what the title says. In shock.
Different mics, polar patterns, proximity, etc while remaining in your chair. Great sound and very flexible!
This plug-in (and the Ocean Way collection. As well) is just incredible when used with the Townsend mic. Really does replace an extensive mic collection.
Wow! Exceeds all expectations!
This microphone and software seemed too good to be true, but they both exceeded all my expectations after just a few sessions. It feels like I must’ve spent a fortune on a priceless collection of the top vintage microphones; instead, I paid for one quality mic, that can accurately reproduce countless amazing microphones. I would say this is now a “must own” for anyone that can afford it.
Great sounding plugin. The new models are fantastic, as are the old ones. I don’t know how close these models are to the real, deal but the system sounds fantastic to me. Took me a few days to really get it dialed in, but once I did, I was pretty blown away.
This takes mics to the next level. After using the Sphere for a while now (as one of the first indiegogo contributors), I can truly say that I never want to record vocals or guitars or anything else with a traditional mic again (not my C800g or C12, etc.) -- why, when I have so many options post-recording with the Sphere? It feels like a quantum leap forward, and any other mic, a thing of the past. Not to mention, in conjunction with the Apollo, tracking is a joy, being able to monitor and audition any of the models on the fly with no latency. I didn't think I'd be utilizing the stereo recording much, or even the different polar patterns, but I am, and having the flexibility is incredible. The ability to be able to monkey with the proximity effect is invaluable, especially for matching overdubs. Can't wait for more and more models. And the Ocean Way collection is unbelievably good.
work of genius
this really transforms and gives real bang for your buck with regard to your current mic collection. have nearly everything at a click of a button with amazing results.
Flat Out Brilliant Product
Picked up a Sphere L22 earlier this year and am blown away with the level of technology and the quality of the emulations that this hardware and software provide. The future truly is now. The emulations sound top notch and the often overlooked ability to adjust patterns, proximity, axis, etc even after the fact put it over the top. Then add the ability to also use one unit as a single stereo mic (and still do all of the above) puts it in the way beyond in terms of technological advances. Very forward thinking and I have to agree that this technology is indeed a game changer as others have stated. The key thing here that I haven't seen a lot of talk about (yet) is even if you completely put aside any of the mic emulation part of this product it's still an absolutely brilliant piece of tech that's worth the price of admission.
Near instant gratification!
First thing, I recorded my own vocals with the C-12 model - instantly loved the mid presence and high-freq shimmer (w/o the cheap harshness of low priced mics) - it'll definitely be my go-to mic model until I fine the time to audition other models and settings. Next, used the Sphere 180 for a stereo B3/Leslie track, with the U67 model. My reaction was Wow.. and.. Done! To leave room for procrastination(!) while mixing, I've been recording two stereo tracks - one dry (except for the Unison pre, for which I've been happily using the UAD Neve 1073), plus one track with the mic model printed. So far so good - I've had no big desire (and little time) to revisit the dry tracks and try new settings, though I'm looking forward to giving the system a full shakedown. The best part: I find the Sphere helps quicken the recording process - being able to choose mic models based on what my ears tell me.. and so far have had very little second guessing.
Is this the beginning of a totally new concept in Microphone Technology & Modelling ???
I honestly think so . Having played around with the Sphere L22 and software for nearly a week now all my doubts have vanished into thin air :-) This is undoubtedly a game changer. A very BIG Thank you to Townsend Labs for producing such an awesome Mic that captures the smallest acoustic details. This with the Mic modelling software and the UAD plugins & Unison technology I finally have a setup that really does produce awesome results.
Astounding for vocals and VOs
The L22 system is amazing, both for singing and VOs. Beautiful models of classic mics. But for me, the best features are things like being able to combine two mics into a unique sound. I also love being able to work with polar patterns not always available on the original versions of the mics to sculpt the sound. Oh, and did I mention all of that can be done while you track OR afterward? Amazing. When you're budget permits, get this system. It'll be a foundational addition to your studio.
Just what the doctor ordered!!!
Had been contemplating buying the Sphere or the Slade VMS for awhile and finally took the plunge and got the Sphere because of the twin capsule. What an incredible buy! This mic renders my small collection of mics obsolete. Believe me, the flexibility this mic offers with its plugin is astounding.
This mic system is Awesome and highly recommended. Love the Coles 4038 on overheads.
We record tons of vocals every day and used to use a competitors virtual microphone system for more then a year. After getting the Sphere mic up and running and using the Unison technology and realtime UAD plugins in the console, we were floored by the sound, the quality and the close to zero latency. It sounds great, it just works, it is truly a game changer!!!
Hardware Geek's Heaven
I've been a voiceover guy and hardware geek since 1982. Long have I dreamt of a mic closet loaded with high-end morsels of audio goodness, and long have I deferred to the realities of "real life's" costs. When the Sphere L22 was launched, I pre-ordered based solely on its promise. Today (January) I finally got everything set up, with the L22 running through an apollo twin duo (even though I've had the mic since July). Holy soundwaves, Batman! I sat for hours evaluating combinations of mic models and "go to" rack chains, courtesy of UAD plugins. I finally settled on the LD-47K model with some favorite old-school eq and compression gear--at least for my baseline narration setup. Other work will provide more opportunities to play, so I probably need to refocus on my time management skills... Townsend's hit a huge homer with the Sphere L22. My primary hardware is now just the Sphere, the twin duo, and a Macbook Pro--and I can carry the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars of gear in a backpack. But I'll probably never let it leave the studio!