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Recording Vocals with a Sphere Mic

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Getting a great vocal sound can be challenging, especially when recording in an environment without proper acoustical treatment. For this reason, a Sphere microphone with Sphere technology offers numerous features to help you get the best possible sound, whether in a professional or project studio. To record a single vocalist, you should use a Sphere plug-in. You can record two vocalists at once using a Sphere 180 plug-in (Sphere DLX and L22 only).

Using a Sphere mic in a professional studio

In a professional studio with tuned acoustics, you can use the Sphere microphone just like a normal mic. If you have already produced a great vocal sound with a conventional mic, you can just swap in the Sphere mic and select a mic model and polar pattern.

To accurately capture the character of the original mic, Sphere technology models the mic’s full polar response, including its on- and off-axis frequency responses, and proximity effect. Accurate modeling of proximity effect means the artist can work the mic in all the familiar ways: closer for a more intimate, warm sound, and further back for a brighter, more diffuse sound. 

Sphere plug-ins also offer a wide range of sonic adjustments after you track your vocal, including a wide range of mic models and polar patterns.

Adjusting proximity effect

If a mic model does not have the desired amount of proximity effect, Sphere technology allows you to change it. The Proximity control is not simply an EQ, but actually changes the mic’s proximity effect response. Using EQ can be somewhat effective, but the Proximity control is simpler and more effective.

Since the proximity effect only occurs for directional mics, this control has no effect when an omni-directional pattern is selected. Partly for this reason, there is also a Proximity EQ control that simulates the sound of proximity effect by using carefully tailored equalization at the output of the plug-in.

Adjusting mic axis

Sometimes recording engineers position a mic a bit off-axis to modify a vocal sound that is too sibilant or bright. This works because mic capsules are typically less sensitive to high frequencies entering from the side.

The Axis control lets the user model this effect without rotating the mic or shifting its polar pattern. For example, with Axis set to 45°, the frequency response of the modeled mic at 45° is used as its on-axis response.

Adjusting the room sound 

Even a studio with good acoustics may not be ideal for your recording scenario. It could be too reverberant, dry, or contain unflattering bass resonances. Repositioning the mic and/or artist isn’t practical if the track has already been recorded. With Sphere you can continuously alter the polar pattern of the mic to blend in the desired amount of room sound after the track has been recorded.

Using a Sphere mic in a home or project studio

Less than ideal recording environments, such as a typical home or project studio, often have too much (or poor quality) room ambience and reverberation that can produce flutter echoes and comb filtering. Sphere includes many features to help achieve a professional vocal sound despite less-than-perfect acoustics. It is often not practical to install or tune the acoustic treatment for a home or project studio. Acoustic treatments for a home studio can be costly, and might not appeal aesthetically to the other family members who use the space.

Setting up your mic for vocal recording

To record vocals using the Sphere mic with Off-Axis Correction enabled

  1. Set up your mic as normal.
  2. Select desired mic model/pattern.
  3. Feel free to experiment with different mic models and patterns (even after recording) once every­thing is set up.
  4. Enable Off-Axis Correction by clicking the In button so it is illuminated.
  5. Set the Pattern to hypercardioid.

    off-axis-correction-patterns-callouts.png

  6. Set the on-axis distance (On Dist) to the distance between the mic and vocalist.
  7. Set the off-axis distance (Off Dist) to the approximate distance between the mic and the walls of the room. If in doubt, 1 m is a good choice.
  8. Place a GOBO or reflection filter behind the mic to minimize rear lobe pickup.

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