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Sphere Mic Descriptions

Learn about the microphones modeled in your Sphere Mic Collection plug-in.

In this article

Large Diaphragm Mics Hybrid Mics Custom Mics

LD-47K

Created in 1947, the 47 has stood the test of time as the ultimate studio mic. It has been used extensively by the Beatles, Sinatra, and countless other major artists. Only about 6000 of these were produced, so demand far exceeds the supply of this iconic microphone. 

The 47 employs a Telefunken VF14 tube, which is also extremely rare. Production of the tube ceased in 1958, and even at its peak, was never made in large quantities. Even moderately used VF14s in otherwise good condition can command astronomically high prices.

The specimen we analyzed for the LD-47K model is an original 47, which has a fully brass 47 capsule with a screw mounted mylar diaphragm, and of course, with a genuine VF14 tube.

LD-49K

The 49 employs the same capsule used in the 47, but the response of the 49 is slightly smoother and less colored due to the tapered headbasket. The 49 also uses a Telefunken AC701 tube instead of the VF14 used in the 47.

The LD-49 model is based on a 49c, which was likely manufactured in the early 1960s and has a 47 capsule with a screw mounted mylar diaphragm.

It is the first remote controllable multi-pattern microphone and allows for continuous pattern adjustment. 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 LD-49 model uses this "best" cardioid position when the plug-in is set to cardioid.

LD-67

The 67 is a unique and wonderful mic that tends toward warm, yet without sounding dull. It really shines on distorted guitar amps where it can reduce harshness while maintaining detail.

The LD-67 model is based on a mid-1960s version with an EF86 tube. The particular 67 that was modeled is "warmer" sounding than others we have heard.

The high-pass filter and pad switch settings are fully modeled. In many older microphones the pad switch, in addition to lowering gain, can change the frequency response and overall sound considerably. Filter position 1 models the high-pass switch. Position 2 models the pad switch. Position 3 models the case in which both high-pass and pad are enabled.

LD-67 NOS

After the Berlin Wall fell, a warehouse was found with "67" parts on the East German side of the border which was previously unknown to the West German side of the company. In 1991 a limited production 67 "reissue" was released made from these new-old-stock parts.

In theory, this production batch is no different than earlier versions. However, the mic we modeled sounds distinctly different from others we've listened to. The LD-67 NOS model sounds brighter and more "modern" compared to the original LD-67 model.

LD-87 Vintage

The 87 was brought to market as a replacement for the 67, even though it sounds quite different. While some prefer the sound of the 67, the 87 can work beautifully in many cases.

The LD-87 model is based on a mid-1970s version with a split backplate capsule which sounds slightly different than a modern 87.

The high-pass filter and pad switch settings are fully modeled. In many older microphones the pad switch, in addition to lowering gain, can change the frequency response and overall sound considerably. Filter position 1 models the high-pass switch. Position 2 models the pad switch. Position 3 models the case in which both high-pass and pad are enabled.

LD-87 Modern

In 1986 the 87 was updated to have lower noise and higher headroom. In production for almost 35 years, this 87 has become a defacto standard for broadcast, voice-over, and many other applications. Our LD-87 Modern model, based on this current production model, is slightly brighter and more modern-sounding than the LD-87 vintage model.

The high-pass filter and pad switch settings are fully modeled. In many older microphones the pad switch, in addition to lowering gain, can change the frequency response and overall sound considerably. Filter position 1 models the high-pass switch. Position 2 models the pad switch. Position 3 models the case in which both high-pass and pad are enabled.

LD-87 TK

The LD-87 TK model is based on an 87 modified by Tracy Korby of the now defunct Korby Audio Technologies brand. The modification extends the 87's response at both the low-end and high-end giving The LD-87 TK has a more modern sound but without accentuating sibilance. Some might argue it's what an 87 should have been from the beginning.

LD-103

The LD-103 model is based on the modern industry standard 103 microphone which is now a classic in its own right. Has a nice presence peak in the 8 kHz to 12 kHz region.

LD-12

The LD-12 model is based on an iconic microphone from the 1950s that has a gorgeous high-end sheen and sparkle, which is often a great choice for lush, breathy vocals, without overly accentuating sibilance.

The unique sound is largely due to its specially designed capsule, which is one of the most complex and intricate large diaphragm condenser capsules ever made and exemplifies craftsmanship and precision engineering. Most modern versions of this capsule bear little resemblance to the original, partly because it is not cost effective to manufacture for today's market.

LD-251

The LD-251 model is based on a classic Austrian made microphone built for export to the US which has a 6072 tube and an original fully brass capsule.

The 251 is one of the rarest and most highly regarded microphones of all time. It is the go-to vocal mic for many A-list artists, including Beyonce.

LD-800

The LD-800 model is based on a more recently designed Japanese microphone which has become a classic in its own right. The 800 is often the perfect choice for a modern pop or hip-hop sound and is the go-to microphone for countless big-name artists, including Mariah Carey.

LD-37A

The LD-37A model is based on a classic 1950s Japanese tube microphone which has been used by countless icons, including Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Hendrix. Compared to other condensers, it's known for a warmer, smoother sound, which can be good for taming sibilance and harsh high-end, yet still has enough "air" in the upper register to avoid sounding dull. It's a favorite choice for drum overheads and toms for many engineers, but also excels on vocals and electric guitars.

The 37 supports non-directional (omni) and uni-directional (cardioid) patterns which are both included in the LD-37A model. The mic has a four-position high-pass filter, which is mapped to the plug-in's Filter knob. The "M (Music)" position is essentially flat and the "M1 (Music 1)", "V1 (Voice 1)," and "V2 (Voice 2)" settings provide progressively more bass attenuation.

LD-37P

The LD-37P model is a lesser known FET version of the 37A Japanese tube microphone. The 37P is slightly brighter than the 37A. It can be an excellent choice to freshen up source material that is a bit dull sounding.

The 37 supports non-directional (omni) and uni-directional (cardioid) patterns which are both included in the LD-37P model. On the original, the pattern is adjusted by mechanically adjusting the capsule using a slot on the back of the mic, which is unusual.

The mic has a four-position high-pass filter which is mapped to the plug-in's Filter knob. The \"M (Music)\" position is essentially flat and the "M1 (Music 1)", "V1 (Voice 1)," and "V2 (Voice 2)" settings provide progressively more bass attenuation.

LD-BV1

The LD-BV1 is based on a boutique German mic that has garnered a devoted following. The particular mic we modeled is a Klaus Heyne Edition owned by the recording engineer Billy Bush. The mic was used by Shirley Manson (Billy’s wife) to record The World Is Not Enough theme song for the Pierce Brosnan era James Bond movie. Of course, the serial number of this mic is 007.

LD-414 Brass

The original 414 with a brass-ringed capsule is one of the greatest studio mics of all time. It uses the same CK12 capsule as the legendary C12, although just about everything else is completely different from the electronics to the body design.

Even though so much of the design is different, the use of ostensibly the same capsule gives it much of the same flavor as its predecessor. It has the same gorgeous high-end sheen and sparkle of the C12 but with a little more heft in the low end. The mic can be a fantastic choice for drum overheads, snare drum, and acoustic guitar.

LD-414 Nylon

Somewhere in the late 1970s, 414 production switched from using the CK12 capsule to using a new, much cheaper to manufacture capsule with a nylon mounting ring (sometimes said to be Teflon). The sound of these capsules are different and much of the high-end sparkle of the CK12 disappeared with the new capsule. While many people prefer the sound of the older capsule, the nylon version has a more neutral response which can work well on many sources.

Surprisingly, this change was done without any indication to the customer. The model number and outward appearance of the mic stayed exactly the same, even though under the hood the mic was very different. The only way one could tell they were getting a different capsule was to open the mic up or shine a bright flashlight through the grille.

LD-414 US

The LD-414 US is based on one of the most ubiquitous condenser microphones of all time, which hit that sweet spot of price to performance right at a time when the number of professional and project studios were growing enormously. The mic uses essentially the same nylon capsule as the later production 414 EB, so the sound is quite similar although a bit more neutral. 

LD-414 T2

The LD-414 T2 is based on a newer 414 variant that was designed to recreate the sound of the old CK12 brass-ringed capsule but using a modern "nylon" style capsule. While it is a good sounding mic, it never got all that close to duplicating the sound of the original 414s with CK12s. The sound is a bit "scooped" with less midrange compared to the previous versions. The mic was one of the first 414s that used a transformerless circuit which did reduce distortion figures somewhat but was not universally accepted as an improvement in sound.

One of the most notable uses of this 414 variant is recording Chris Martin's lead vocals on most Coldplay albums.

LD-563

The LD-563 is based on an iconic East German bottle microphone from the mid-1960s. When set to cardioid, the model is based on an M7 capsule. When set to omni, the model is based on an M55k capsule. And in figure-8, the capsule used is an M8. The 563 with the M7 capsule is an absolute favorite for recording vocals, but it's not a one-trick pony. It has also found much use as a room mic for drums and many other applications.

LD-017T

This Soyuz SU-017 TUBE is a large diaphragm mic with a distinctive bottle design. Although it has a K67 style capsule, its sound is more reminiscent of a 47 but with enhanced high-frequency extension. Soyuz is a relatively new boutique Russian mic company that has quickly built a following with high-profile artists and engineers, including:

Sylvia Massy (Johnny Cash, Tool and System of a Down)
"After 25 years, my vintage Telefunken U47 has been pushed to the back of the mic closet. The Soyuz SU-017 is now my first choice for vocals, acoustic guitar, or any other musical priority."

Rik Simpson (Grammy winning producer/engineer, Coldplay)
"I tried a mic shootout between five top-end mics, vintage and new. The Soyuz [SU-017] came out on top; it is lush and big, warm, yet also has a wonderful presence that is in no way harsh. A winner!"

SD-451

The SD-451 is based on a modular end-address small diaphragm condenser mic which has become an industry standard. The full complement of capsule options are modeled, so you have all the flexibility of the original.

The omni pattern option in the plug-in models an omni CK2 capsule. With a cardioid setting, the cardioid CK1 capsule is modeled. For hyper-cardioid and figure-8 settings, the CK3 and CK4 capsules are modeled.

Intermediate patterns are available that are basically equivalent to mixing the sound from two capsules at the same point in space. The two 75 Hz and 150 Hz highpass filter options are modeled from the original.

SD-416

The SD-416 is based on an industry standard shotgun microphone, commonly used in the studio for voice-over and ADR duties. It is the go-to mic for that big voice-over sound in Hollywood-produced movie trailers we're all so familiar with. The 416 also enjoys wide popularity in broadcast, TV, and film location sound.

The 416 has also found some interesting uses in music production. According to producer/engineer Jack Douglas, he used a 416 from several feet away to record Steven Tyler's voice on early Aerosmith albums.

Keep in mind, the SD-416 model is only designed to model the on-axis response of the microphone and not the full polar pattern. Instead, this model has a generic super-cardioid pattern, which is less directional at higher frequencies than the original. This also means that the model is more forgiving when the talent moves off-axis, so in the studio this can be a benefit.

RB-4038

The RB-4038 model is based on a ribbon mic originally developed in the mid-1950s by the BBC and manufactured by STC (Standard Telephones and Cables). One notable thing about this mic, besides its sound, is how amazingly heavy it is, primarily due to its very large magnet. Luckily, with Sphere that is not an issue.

An application where this mic really excels is drum overheads. Its inherent high-frequency roll-off and large proximity effect are sometimes a liability at close distances, but at typical drum overhead distances it can have just the right balance.

RB-77DX Satin

The RCA 77DX is one of the most iconic microphones of all time, and has graced the desks of many famous personalities, including David Letterman and Larry King. It's also a multi-pattern mic, which is atypical for a ribbon. Selecting different patterns is achieved by physically moving an acoustical "labyrinth" which is partly why it has such a unique sonic signature.

Countless musical legends, such as Bing Crosby, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, B.B. King, and Johnny Cash have been recorded with a 77. It can also work wonderfully for recording brass instruments. The mic is typically used with cardioid or figure-8 pattern settings, but the full complement of patterns from the original are provided.

RB-77DX Umber

The RCA 77DX is one of the most iconic microphones of all time, and has graced the desks of many famous personalities, including David Letterman and Larry King. It's also a multi-pattern mic, which is atypical for a ribbon. Selecting different patterns is achieved by physically moving an acoustical "labyrinth" which is partly why it has such a unique sonic signature.

The 77DX is known for having a wide manufacturing variability, so some of these mics sound quite different from each other. We measured many 77s to try to find the best, and we narrowed it down to two. The RB-77DX Umber model is substantially darker and smoother than the RB-77DX Satin model.

RB-121

The RB-121 is based on a R-121 ribbon microphone with a fixed figure-8 pattern. The 121 set the standard for modern ribbon mics and has become a classic in its own right.

This mic is unique in that the rear side of the figure-8 pattern is brighter than the front. It’s a good option when the standard sound is a little too dark. The easiest way to achieve this alternate sound is to set the Axis control to 180 degrees.

RB-160

The RB-160 is based on a vintage 1960s era M160 microphone. The mic has a hyper-cardioid polar pattern which provides excellent off-axis rejection. Notably, a pair of M160s were used to record the drums for "When the Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin.

DN-57

Introduced in 1965, the 57 is very likely the best selling studio microphone of all time. It can be a particularly good option when blended with other mics, such as ribbons and large diaphragm condensers, to achieve an overall more balanced sound. The DN-57 model is based on a recent production 57.

DN-7

The world-renowned recording engineer Bruce Swedien made great use of this mic to record Michael Jackson's vocals on the album Thriller. For many use cases, this mic holds its own with some of the best condenser mics ever made. The model is based on the "A" version.

When the Axis control is set to 180 degrees, the model emulates the mic without the windscreen installed. Some recording engineers prefer this sound and permanently remove the windscreen.

DN-20

The DN-20 is based on an industry-standard large-diaphragm dynamic microphone used on applications ranging from broadcast and voice-over to kick drum. This microphone is often a go-to choice for spoken word applications due to its nice presence boost with a sharp high-frequency dip to minimize sibilance.

Proximity effect is well controlled due to the dual-ported design, which produces a more consistent bass response regardless of distance from the source.

The filter switch on the mic body provides an optional 'bass-tilt down' reducing the response by about 4.5 dB below 400 Hz.

DN-409N

The DN-409N is based on the earliest version in the 409 line of microphones. It has slightly more coloration than the newer ones and works well on many sources, including electric guitar and vocals.

Notable uses of the 409N are vocal duties for Pink Floyd's Live at Pompeii concert video.

DN-409U

The 409 is an all-around great mic, but it especially shines on electric guitar. It has a smooth top end, particularly for a dynamic mic, and the low-end response below about 100 Hz is greatly reduced which can help instruments and voice sit nicely in the mix.

This version is from the 1980s. The 409 is no longer in production and it sounds quite different, and arguably much better than modern incarnations, such as the 609 and 906.

DN-421N

DN-421N is based on a classic beige 421 from the 1960s. It has a slightly warmer sound than current production 421 mics.

The 421 is unusual for a moving-coil dynamic microphone in that it has a large diaphragm. The larger diaphragm gives it greater low-end extension compared to typical dynamic mics, which makes it more suitable for recording bass instruments.

It's a favorite on kick drum for producers and engineers like Joe Barresi, John Leckie, Peter Henderson, and Toby Wright. This mic is also very commonly used for toms (e.g. Tool's "Undertow") and a wide range of other percussion. It's also Sylvia Massy's favorite bass amp mic. With its workhorse status, it’s still used in every outside broadcast kit for TV and radio engineers in Europe.

DN-421S

The DN-421S is based on one of the first 421 versions with a script logo. It has a slightly more colored sound than other 421 mics.

DN-421B

The DN-421B is based on a current production black 421 which has a slightly brighter and modern sound than earlier incarnations.

DN-12A

The DN-12A model is based on a dynamic microphone from the 1950s which has gained wide use as a kick drum mic for its very unique tonal qualities. Producer/engineer John Leckie (Radiohead, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd) usually uses a 12 model (sometimes combined with a 421) for kick drums. This earlier version of the mic has a swivel mount and an external XLR cable.

The filter settings in the model are designed to complement this mic and can be used to achieve a more modern kick drum sound. The Proximity EQ control adjusts the amount of bass resonance in the model and is an easy way to dial in exactly the right sound.

DN-12E

"The DN-12E model is based on a dynamic microphone which has gained wide use as a kick drum mic for its very unique tonal qualities.

The filter settings in the model are designed to complement this mic and can be used to achieve a more modern kick drum sound. The Proximity EQ control adjusts the amount of bass resonance in the model and is an easy way to dial in exactly the right sound.

Sphere Linear

"The Sphere Linear model provides a ruler-flat frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, as well as an extremely smooth and well controlled off-axis response. A first of its kind, for a directional microphone.

Sphere Diffuse

The Sphere Diffuse model provides a flat frequency for the case when the sound waves are coming in equally from all directions, such as occurs when recording highly reverberant sound. This mode is particularly useful for room miking and other cases where the majority sound is coming from off-axis. This diffuse field response is a first of its kind for a directional microphone.",

Sphere Direct

The Sphere Direct option provides the direct output of the Sphere microphone with no modeling applied. You can still adjust all of the other controls, including Pattern, Axis, and Proximity.

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