Sound City Studios Manual

Get the authentic sound of the world's most famous rock & roll studio. 

Produce music in one of the most famous recording studios in history — including the room, mics, iconic console, and outboard gear — as heard on classic records from Nirvana, Metallica, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Rage Against the Machine, and more.*

Add the vibe and character of this legendary space to your drums, guitars, vocals, synths and more — right in your own bedroom or home studio.

  • Place your drums, guitars, vocals, and more inside Sound City Studios' famous Studio A 
  • Transform your sources with a collection of vintage hit-making mics
  • Sculpt perfect guitar tones with expertly placed cabinet and mic setups
  • Get the authentic tone of an iconic '70s custom British console, including 3-band EQ and inline compression, based on the legendary Sound City Studios' desk 
  • Smash your tracks with Sound City Studios' collection of analog outboard gear including "secret weapon" Dolby A-style effects,** 1176 limiting, and more
  • Put your sources in Sound City Studios' lush-sounding reverb chamber

*Use of artist names does not constitute official endorsement of Sound City Studios software.

**Product names used herein are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way affiliated with Universal Audio, Inc. These name(s) are used solely to identify products studied in the creation of the sound models found in Sound City Studios.

In this article

 


 

Operational Overview

Sound City Studios is a complete studio in the box, designed around the popular "re-mic" studio trick: Blast the room with your pre-recorded tracks over loudspeakers to transform your sound. The plug-in takes this re-miking concept much further. You can recreate specific Sound City Studios recording setups, with an array of mics that can be dragged to new positions. The plug-in replicates the radiating energy patterns of specific sources such as drums or piano, for unmatched sonic realism and was voiced using real Sound City Studios multitrack recordings, spanning the entire history of the studio.

Sound City Studios includes much more than modeled room sound. The entire audio path of the plug-in captures the tonality of Sound City Studios' famous console. The plug-in integrates tools and effects that were used at Sound City Studios, including features of the original console, outboard gear, and reverb chamber. Master Effects can be quickly enabled and disabled from Studio View, and effects can be reordered by dragging. 

Sound City Studios is built on the famous studio trick of "re-miking" the room for all-new sounds

Modes

Sound City Studios offers two modes of operation. It can be used as a "Re-Mic" processor when full immersion within Sound City Studios' studio space is desired, or in a traditional Reverb workflow using send/return paths mixed with dry signals.

Re-Mic

Use Re-Mic mode to mix through Sound City Studios. Re-Mic mode entirely replaces your recordings with Sound City Studios' complete room and microphone characteristics. Re-Mic mode retains the source-to-mic "direct path" component, a crucial part of every microphone's unique sound. For more information, see Understanding Re-Mic mode.

Reverb

Use Reverb mode to mix Sound City Studios with existing recordings. Reverb mode works as a short reverb effect by artificially removing Sound City Studios' source-to-mic "direct path" component of the mics. With Reverb mode, only the "halo" of the studio's early reflections and decay are heard. For more information, see Understanding Reverb mode.

Views

The Studio, Mixer, and Master Effects views present you with different ways to interact with the mics, level controls, and audio processors. The controls within each view are described later in this guide.

Studio

Studio View

In Studio View, you can make immediate changes to the studio sound. See Studio View for details.

  • Choose Re-Mic or Reverb mode
  • Choose from a variety of sound sources such as drums, guitar, vocals, and more
  • Choose from extensive microphone options
    • Enable Close and Room mics and adjust their levels
    • Drag mics to reposition in the room
    • Adjust mic type, polar pattern, and on/off axis
  • Show/hide Mixer and Master Effects Views the sidebar
  • Quickly toggle the Room (and mixer), Equalizer, Dynamics, and Chamber effects

Mixer

Mixer view allows you to adjust levels, balance, and other mix settings for the microphone channels, and to adjust the master controls. It also provides Predelay and Mix controls in Reverb mode. See Mixer View for details.

Mixer View

Master Effects

Master Effects view allows you to adjust settings for three post-mixer effect modules, including EQ, dynamics, and chamber, and to adjust the master controls. In addition, you can rearrange the order of the effects modules by dragging. See Master Effects View for details.

Master Effects View

Equalizer

Sound City Studios features a three band, semi-parametric EQ module as found in the studio's recording console. See Equalizer for details.

Dynamics

Sound City Studios includes an easy-to-use dynamics module that gives you access to a range of venerable outboard and console dynamic processors. See Dynamics for details.

Chamber

In addition to the studio room, Sound City Studios' reverb chamber can be mixed into the output signal. See Chamber for details.

 


 

Quick Start

Use this section to quickly get started using Sound City Studios. 

Insert the plug-in

Load the Sound City Studios plug-in on a DAW track or bus. Sound City Studios works great on stereo tracks or submixes. For example, you can place the plug-in directly on a stereo drum track, or you can place the plug-in on a stereo submix bus, and then route the outputs of several other tracks to that bus track. 

Sound City Studios opens in Studio View. Studio View allows you to quickly and easily make changes to the overall operating mode, the source and mic selections, mic channel levels, mic settings, and mic distances, and to open the other plug-in Views.

Choose a mode

Choose Re-Mic mode to replace your entire audio signal with Sound City Studios' room, mics, and processors. For more information, see Understanding Re-mic mode

Choose Reverb mode to mix Sound City Studios in as a reverb effect, while preserving your dry sound in the mix. For more information, see Understanding Reverb mode.

Choose a Source

At the top of the screen, hover over a Source Category, then click a source from its menu. The bar below the active category is highlighted. Many source types and room positions are available. 

Toggle Room and Effects on/off

At the right side of Studio View, you can toggle the Room, EQ, Dynamics, and Chamber on and off independently. When any module is disabled, processor usage is reduced. 

Adjust mics

At the bottom of the screen, you can choose from up to three mics or mic pairs for each mic position: Close, Room 1, and Room 2. Click a mic to select it. The bar above the selected mic name is highlighted. Try the different mics to get an idea of their sounds.

Move mics around

Drag a mic to move it in the room. A custom cursor appears when hovered. Mics can move closer to the source, further from the source, or both. Overhead mics move up and down. Some room mics have fixed positions and cannot be moved.

Adjust mic levels

Below each mic, a slider allows you to quickly adjust the mic level for each mic or mic pair. 

Change mic polar patterns or mic axis

Some mic options have selectable cardioid or omnidirectional polar patterns. Try each polar pattern to hear how it changes the sound. 

On Guitar cabinet sources, you can choose to place the Close mic on-axis or off-axis. Try both axis choices to hear how they change the sound. 

Mix the Mics

Sound City Studios includes a fully featured mixer for the three mic channels. To open the sidebar and show Mixer View, click the Mixer icon within the view select area on the right side of the Studio View screen. 

For each mic channel, you can adjust the microphone distance, apply cut filters, invert polarity, mute/unmute, and set output level. You can also time-align the mic channels. In the master section you can mono sum, swap the left and right channels and adjust master output level. In Reverb mode, you can add predelay, adjust the reverb mix (when used as an insert), and enable Wet Solo (for send/return use on an aux bus). For more information on these settings, see Mixer View controls.

 

Adjust Master Effects

Sound City Studios includes three effect modules that you can use to further process your sounds. 

To open the sidebar and show the Master Effects, click the Master Effects icon within the view select area on the right side of the Studio View screen. 

Enable and adjust the Equalizer

Toggle EQ with the IN button. Adjust the Low, Mid, and High bands to taste with the EQ gain and frequency controls. For more in-depth information, see Equalizer controls.

Enable and adjust Dynamics

Toggle Dynamics with the IN button. For quick adjustments, select the processor type then adjust the Amount and Mix controls to taste. For more in-depth information, see Dynamics controls.

Enable and adjust Chamber reverb

Toggle the Chamber with the IN button. Adjust the Amount control to add more or less reverb. For in-depth information on the Chamber control, see Chamber controls.

Select a preset

Sound City Studios includes many presets designed to work as excellent starting points. Click the Preset area to search, filter, and choose presets from the Preset Browser. For more information on managing presets, go here. Factory preset descriptions are available here.

 

 


 

Studio View

Studio View presents a full visual representation of the studio, with the Source, the studio configuration, and the placement of the mics. The positions of the source and the active mics are shown within the room.

Studio View

The locations of the mics within the room are determined by the selected source and the microphone Distance parameters. 

Note: Mics that are muted are not shown in Studio View.

Studio View Controls

Studio View controls are always available whether the Mixer or Master Effects are shown.

Tool tips

To show informational tool tips, click the ⓘ at the lower right side of the plug-in screen. When highlighted, informational text is displayed as you hover over items in Studio View. 

Mode

Sound City Studios offers two modes of operation: Re-Mic and Reverb. Click a mode control to activate the mode. The current mode is illuminated.

For details about the differences between these two modes, see Modes overview

Re-Mic

Re-Mic mode entirely replaces your recordings with Sound City Studios' complete room and microphone characteristics. Re-Mic mode retains the source-to-mic "direct path" component, a crucial part of every microphone's unique sound. Predelay and Mix are not available in Re-Mic mode.

Important: For the intended design results and to minimize phasing when Sound City Studios is in Re-Mic mode, exercise caution to ensure the original dry signal is not mixed with Sound City Studios' processed output, as phase issues may occur. If you want to preserve your original dry source, use Reverb mode instead.

Reverb

Reverb mode works as a short reverb effect by artificially removing Sound City Studios' source-to-mic "direct path" component of the mics. With Reverb mode, only the ambience of the studio's early reflections and decay are heard. Due to the inherent nature of the Sound City Studios design, changes to the microphone Distance and Gain settings are less audible in Reverb mode than in Re-Mic mode. Predelay, Mix, and Wet Solo are only available in Reverb mode.

Source

A variety of audio sources, and their natural radiating patterns, were modeled for Sound City Studios. An audio source's placement within a room influences the energy of sound waves throughout the room. Therefore, the active source can have a significant impact on the sound in the room.

Note: Although all placements are optimized, any type of audio can be used with any source selection. Experimentation is encouraged. 

Choosing your source

To change the active source, hover over the Source category (Drums, Acoustic, Guitar, Vocal, or Ensemble), then select the desired source setup from the drop menu. The mic selections and recorded positions are displayed in the Studio View, and the bar highlights the selected category.

When you choose a Source, the mic options and positions return to their expertly curated default settings.

Note: This selection does not change the mixer's Filter, Polarity, Mute, Balance, or Level settings.

Source loading progress

When you select a new source, the source bar flashes while the plug-in updates the algorithm. Algorithm loading is displayed whenever the Source, Mic Select, Mic Distance, or Mic Polar Pattern controls are modified. The complete effect of these control setting changes are not heard until the display stops flashing. Sonic artifacts and/or additional host CPU usage may occur while the algorithm is updating. 

Note that source changes take longer than microphone changes to update. Other parameter changes are subject to shorter updates and are not reflected in the display. See Loading time and audio effects for related information.

Microphones

The microphone channels each have their own set of controls. Close mics are closest to the source, while Room mics are further from the source, to capture more room sound. Not all microphones are available for all sources, and some mics have different features than others. For a list of available microphones and their descriptions, see Available microphones.

Tip: Vocal Solo features two Close mic channels and one Room microphone channel.

Dragging mics to adjust Distance

You can adjust microphone Distance by dragging mics. To drag mics, hover over the mic you want to adjust. The mouse cursor changes to a double arrow. Drag to reposition the mics. This is the same adjustment as changing the Distance control in Mixer View. 

Note: Some mics may be offscreen, and cannot be selected to adjust their distances. Hiding the Mixer or Master Effects sidebar may reveal these mics. 

Mouse cursor when dragging mics

 

Mic controls

The mic controls are at the bottom of Studio View.

Mic selection

Select among the mics used for each channel within the mic selector footer. The selected mic type is highlighted. Hover over the microphone names to reveal mic images, and click to change the active microphone. The number of available microphones per channel, and their placements in the room, differ for each source.

Mic levels

Below each mic, a slider allows you to quickly adjust the mic level for each mic or mic pair. This is the same adjustment as adjusting the faders in Mixer View.

Mic polar patterns

You can switch some mics between cardioid and omnidirectional (omni) patterns. To change a mic's polar pattern, click the polar pattern you want to use. Cardioid patterns are more focused and produce a tighter, directional response, while omni patterns capture more room sound and produce a less directional image.

Mic placement (on or off-axis)

When you select a 4x12 or 2x12 cabinet in the Guitar category as the source, you can place the Close mic on-axis or off-axis. On-axis mics capture more of the brightness and edginess of the speaker, and off-axis mics capture a smoother, darker sound.    

 


 

Mixer View

Mixer view allows you to adjust levels, balance, and other mix settings for the microphone channels, and adjust the master output controls. When in Reverb mode, it also provides Predelay, Mix, and Wet Solo controls.

Mixer View

To open the sidebar and show the Mixer, click the Mixer icon within the view select area on the right side of the Studio View screen, or click the triangle ( < ) to show the sidebar with the Mixer or Master Effects section. Click the active view icon or the triangle again ( > ) to hide the sidebar.

Mixer View controls

The microphone channel strip controls are available in Mixer view. 

Distance knob

Distance varies the length between the microphones and the source. This is the control that adjusts when you drag mics in the room. This is the same adjustment as dragging the mics in Studio View. The available ranges and default values for Distance depend on the Source and Microphone settings. You can move some microphones towards the source, and some away from the source. Others can be moved in both directions. Still other microphones are in fixed positions. The Distance label below the knob indicates the distance in feet from the source position, and when a mic is FIXED.

Distance display

The Distance display shows the distance from the source to the microphones, in feet. If a mic channel is fixed, the Distance display reads FIXED. Fixed position mics are specialized setups placed near studio surfaces for specific audio results. When a mic channel is aligned, this label reads ALIGNED. For symmetrical mic pairs (those with mics nearly equidistant to the source), the display is an average of the two mic's distances. For asymmetrical mic pairs (those with significant distance differences) the display value is based on the mic nearest the source.

Tip: To return to the default value for the current microphone pair, click the DISTANCE text label.

Align button

When microphones are aligned, the sonic character of their placement in the room is maintained, but the time delay between the source and the microphones that occur in the physical realm is programmatically eliminated. To toggle microphone alignment on a channel, click the "clock" button below Distance. 

For additional details about this feature, see Aligning microphones overview. For related information, see Latency.

Cut filters

Independent High Cut and Low Cut filters derived from Sound City Studios' console can be enabled on each microphone channel. Click the switch to toggle the filter state. The cut filter frequency varies among the sources and channels. See Cut filter values for the filter values.

Polarity invert

This switch inverts the polarity (phase) of the microphone channel. Polarity may be useful when more than one microphone pair is enabled, but may be used creatively as well. See Phase considerations for related information.

Mute

The Mute switch disables the microphone channel so it is no longer heard. Click the switch to toggle the mute state. When a channel is muted, the mute switch is illuminated, and the mics are hidden in Studio View. In Studio View, the microphone enable button is unlit when a channel is muted.

Tip: To quickly solo any microphone, Shift-click any Mute button in the Mixer, or any Enable button in Studio View. The selected mic channel is un-muted and the other mic channels are muted.

Balance

Balance sets the mic channel's position in the stereo panorama. When the plug-in is used in a mono-in/mono-out configuration, this control is locked in the center position.

Tip: To quickly return to the center position, click the BALANCE text label. Click the L or R labels to pan hard left or right.

Gain Faders

These faders control the volume level of the microphone channel. The gain range is from off to +10 dB. Gain is at unity when set to 0. This is the same adjustment as dragging the mic level sliders in Studio View. 

Tip: To quickly return to the 0 dB (unity) position, click the associated "0" text label at the fader's unity gain position. Click any fader label to jump to that value.

Bypass

Bypass disables the mixer, all microphones, and the overall contribution of the room's sound. The button is lit red when the room and mics are disabled. This parameter is expressed as Room enable in Studio View. Microphones are removed from the studio when the room is bypassed. 

Tip: Use Bypass to process only with the Master Effects of Sound City Studios. The Master fader remains available when bypassed to adjust the plug-in's output level.

L/R Swap

This switch reverses the left and right channels at the output of the mixer. L/R Swap is useful for changing the perspective from the audience position to the performer position. 

Note: L/R Swap changes the output of the main room only. The Master Effects signals are not swapped.

Mono

Sound City Studios can be used in a mono-in/mono-out, mono-in/stereo out, or stereo-in/stereo-out configuration. The left/right stereo outputs of the mixer are summed to mono when the Mono switch is engaged. When the plug-in is used in a mono-in/mono-out configuration, this control is always engaged and the left/right output channels are summed.

Note: The Mono switch changes the output of the main room only. The Master Effects (for example, the Chamber) remain in stereo.

Master Fader

The Master fader controls the volume level at the output of the plug-in. The gain range is from off to +10 dB. Gain is at unity when set to the zero position.

Tip: To quickly return to the 0 dB (unity) position, click the associated "0" text label at the fader's unity gain position, or click any fader label to jump to that value.

Mixer View Reverb mode-only controls

These controls are only available when the plug-in is in Reverb mode. In Re-Mic mode, these controls cannot be adjusted.

Note: These controls adjust the main room sound only (the Chamber effect has its own controls).

Predelay

The amount of time between the dry signal and the onset of the reverb is controlled with this knob. The range is from 0 to 125 milliseconds. Predelay is cumulative with the inherent microphone delays.

Mix

Mix is used to set the amount of ambience when the plug-in is used in a track insert, versus a send/return configuration. The control determines the balance between the original dry signal and the processed signal.

If Wet Solo is enabled, this control is unavailable. 

Wet Solo

Wet Solo puts Sound City Studios into 100% wet mode. When Wet Solo is on, it is the equivalent of setting the Dry/Wet knob value to 100%.

Wet Solo defaults to On, which is optimal when using Sound City Studios in Reverb mode in the "traditional" reverb configuration (placed on an effect group/bus that is configured for use with channel sends). When Sound City Studios is used on a channel insert in Reverb mode, deactivate this control to adjust the Dry/Wet mix.

This control uses a logarithmic taper to provide increased resolution when selecting lower values. When the knob is in the 12 o'clock position, the value is approximately 15%.

 


 

Master Effects View

The Master Effects view of the plug-in can be used to apply EQ, dynamics, and ambience from Sound City Studios' reverb chamber. 

Master Effects View

To open the sidebar and show Master Effects, click the Master Effects icon within the view select area on the right side of the Studio View screen, or click the triangle ( < ) to show the sidebar with the Mixer or Master Effects section. Click the active view icon or the triangle again ( > ) to hide the sidebar.

Working with Master Effects

  • To show Master Effects, click the Master Effects icon at the right of the plug-in screen. When shown, the Master Effects expand into Studio View, and when hidden, Studio view returns to full size.
  • To enable any effect, click the IN button to toggle the module on/off. A module is enabled when its button is lit. 
  • When a module is toggled off (IN button is unlit), Sound City Studios uses less processing power. 
  • To toggle an effect module in Studio View, click its related icon. 

Reordering Master Effects

To reorder the effects, drag a Master Effect module to a new position. Hover over the bottom title strip of the module. A custom up/down cursor will appear. Drag the effect module to the desired position.

 


 

Equalizer

The Equalizer module allows you to adjust the frequency balance of the output from the mixer. 

Equalizer controls

Gain

The gain for each equalizer band is adjusted with the upper knob. Rotate the control clockwise to increase the gain, or counter-clockwise to reduce the gain.

Tip: Click the + or - labels to adjust the gain in 1 dB increments. 

Frequency

The equalizer low shelf, mid band, and high shelf frequencies are specified with the lower knob.

To set the equalizer band frequency, rotate the knob or click the frequency text label.

Band Band Frequencies Gain Range
Low 35 Hz, 60 Hz, 110 Hz, 220 Hz ±15 dB
Mid 350 Hz, 700 Hz, 1.6 kHz, 3.2 kHz, 4.8 kHz, 7.2 kHz ±20 dB
High 10 kHz, 12 kHz, 16 kHz ±20 dB

 


 

Dynamics

The Dynamics module allows you to process the output of the mixer with six dynamics processors that were available at Sound City Studios. 

Dynamics controls

Amount

Amount adjusts the gain reduction, expansion, or other dynamic effects applied to the signal. Add more of the effect as you rotate the knob clockwise. 

Type

Rotate the switch or click the processor's text label to select the dynamic processor type. 

Dynamics module Details
Encode Classic Sound City Studios trick using the Dolby A noise reduction system where the processor is engaged on input only. Creates a unique multi-band expansion effect similar to later "exciter" technology.
Air Also known as the "stretch mod," disables the two lower bands of the Dolby A noise reduction system to create an airy, hyped mutli-band expansion sound often applied to vocals and solo instruments. Use the Mix control to blend in the effect.
Crush A modified version of the Dolby A noise reduction system converted to single band, for an aggressive yet transparent room crush effect with a 4:1 compression ratio.
Gated Places a gate effect in front of the Crush compressor for gated room effects. Note that the gate is not affected by the Mix knob setting. Set Mix to 0% for gate-only effects.
Bus Sound City Studios' diode-based console compressor, with a gentle 2:1 ratio and multi-stage auto release. Useful for transparent bus compression, solo vocals, or anywhere you don't want to hear the compressor working.
1176LN Classic UA 1176 FET limiter at 20:1 ratio, with progressively faster attack and release settings as Amount is increased.

 

Mix

Controls the mix of the source signal with the dynamic processor's signal for parallel wet/dry effects. Rotate the knob clockwise to blend in more signal from the dynamics processor.

SC Link

Provides Linked (Stereo) or Unlinked (Dual Mono) dynamics sidechain operation.

  • When SC Link is Off, the L/R dynamic processors are unlinked, and the amount of compression that occurs is completely independent for both channels, for creative effect. If one channel has higher signal peaks than the other channel, the left-right stereo image may shift.
  • When SC Link is On, the L/R dynamic processors are stereo linked and the amount of dynamic processing is always the same for both channels. This setting prevents left-right shifting of the stereo image at the output that can occur when one channel has higher signal peaks compared to the other channel.

Tip: Click the text labels to switch the SC Link settings.

SC Filter

The SC Filter (sidechain filter) options allow you to filter the input signal to the dynamics detector, to control the dynamics process across the frequency range. This three-way switch has the following settings:

  • Tilt (left) – Applies a 3 dB/octave linear filter, for a low to high shift in the dynamic response to the signal across the frequency range. 
  • Off (middle) – No sidechain filter is applied.
  • Low Cut (right) – Applies a 12 dB/octave low cut filter at 150 Hz to minimize low frequency detection and reduce "pumping" with bass-heavy content.

Tip: Click the images to switch the SC Filter settings.

 


 

Chamber

The Chamber module allows you to mix in the return from Sound City Studios' reverb chamber. The natural response from the Sound City Studios chamber is represented by the Long setting, but we also include four shorter "beyond reality" settings for increased flexibility.

Chamber controls

Mics

The Mics switch allows you to choose one of three modeled mic pairs in the reverb chamber:

Mic Description
KM84 Spaced small-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphones with excellent transient response and crisp high-end detail.
R121 Modern classic figure-8 ribbon mics in a Blumlien arrangement provide a natural frequency balance to Sound City Studios' chamber.
RE50 Spaced omnidirectional dynamic broadcast mics with a wide reach and natural frequency rolloff. 

Amount

Adjusts the amount of chamber return signal, from 0–100%. 

Decay

The Decay switch includes five positions, from Long to Short. Move the switch to adjust the decay. 

Tip: Click the text labels (and in between the text labels) to switch between the five decay lengths. 

Predelay

Predelay sets the amount of time before you hear the chamber return signal. Rotate the knob to set the predelay amount. The range is 0–250ms. 

Tip: Click the 0, 50ms, or 250ms text labels to set Predelay to those values.

Width

Sets the stereo width of the chamber return signal. Rotate the knob to set the width from 0% (mono) to 100% (fully stereo). 

Tip: Click the 0, 50, or 100% text labels to set the Width to those values.

 


 

Description Lists

Available microphones*

Microphone* Description
77DX An iconic figure 8 pattern ribbon mic, presented in mono — the 77DX is an American classic found on sessions throughout Sound City Studios' history.
C12 This beloved German condenser is an early large diaphragm design providing a clear and present sound, employed here for mono cardioid use cases.
C24 Sound City Studios' stereo C24 condenser features a quad large diaphragm design, with fantastic off-axis response, used widely in Sound City Studios for stereo omni.
C414 The compact and versatile C414 large diaphragm condenser descended from the tube C12, a studio staple at Sound City Studios since the early '70s.
U67 U67 tube large diaphragm condensers are best known for warm and smooth tonality, and are often used as wide stereo pairs at Sound City Studios. On a close miked cabinet, the vintage U67 condenser provides large diaphragm punch and detail with its cardioid pattern response. 
KM54 The KM54 tube amplified, medium diaphragm cardioid features a nickel capsule that provides maximum on-axis sensitivity and vintage tone.
KM84 A studio staple small-diaphragm condenser microphone, the KM84 has incredible transient response and imaging, perfect for capturing fine sonic details.
M160 The M160's double-ribbon design adds vintage vibe when placed right up to the grille on the Cab sources in Sound City Studios, useful both on or off axis.
SM57 This dynamic cardioid studio workhorse has been a staple of guitar cabinet recordings for more than 50 years. The SM57 features a familiar bass roll-off and mid-range presence.

*Microphone names are all trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way affiliated with Universal Audio, Inc. or Sound City Studios. These microphone names, descriptions and images are provided for the sole purpose of identifying the specific microphones studied during Universal Audio's sound model development and to describe certain microphone sound qualities and performance characteristics.

 

Cut filter values

Source Close Low cut Close High Cut Room 1 Low Cut Room 1 High Cut Room 2 Low Cut Room 2 High Cut
Drums: Live / Tight / Corner 45 Hz 10 kHz 70 Hz 8 kHz 70 Hz 8kHz
Guitar: 2x12 and 4x12 Cabinets 70 Hz 8 kHz 160 Hz 6 kHz 160 Hz 6 kHz
Vocal Solo* 70 Hz 10 kHz 70 Hz 10 kHz 160 Hz 8 kHz
All other sources 70 Hz 10kHz 160 Hz 8 kHz 160 Hz 8 kHz

* Vocal Solo has Close 1, Close 2 and Room Mics

 


 

Factory Presets

The factory presets* capture ideal microphone selections and placement positions for each source. Sound City Studios presets are available in the UAD Toolbar's preset manager. Presets are tagged, so you can easily find presets designed for Re-Mic and Reverb mode, as well as FX-Only presets which bypass the Room and use the effects only.

As a starting point, presets tagged Flat enable only a single mic setup, with the mixer zeroed out and all effects disabled. Use these presets to build up a sound based on a particular source setting. 

Choosing presets differs from simply choosing different Source and Microphone selections. The presets are designed to provide excellent starting points for customization, and as an easy way to quickly get a great sound.

Note: Some presets use Master Effects only, with the Room disabled. When you load such a preset, no microphones appear in the Studio View. 

Preset Description
1176 Gobo Snare Heavy compression creates an explosive snare sound
A Bangin' Drum Room Heavy compression on mics balanced for a close yet roomy feeling, makes for a huge drum sound
Acoustic - Live Starting point for roomy acoustic instruments
Acoustic - Piano Starting point for piano
Acoustic - Tight Starting point for tighter acoustic instruments
Acoustic Guitar Ambience - Live Mono and stereo mic configurations add liveliness but maintain a focused acoustic guitar tone
Aggressive Bass Space Apply to synth basses to accentuate aggressive higher frequencies while keeping sub frequencies "in your face"
Airy Horns Based on 1976 horn section recordings, use in parallel to add space to thin horns
Articulate Group Vocal Add stereo ambience to a group vocal while maintaining clarity
Attitude Cab V - Gobos Add classic 2x12 cab tone and attitude to "no cab" with a tight space
Background Vox Air Based on recordings from 1976, add Air encode and Chamber reverb to lift background vocal stacks
Ballad Strings Add vibrancy and space to string or orchestral recordings
Bass DI to Cab Grinder Based on 1979 rock bass DI recordings, add amp grind to a flat bass track
Beefy Elec Piano Based on late '70s DI electric piano re-miked through a guitar cabinet and processed with Encode compressions and air
Beefy Stereo Guitars Re-Mic config for a stereo guitar bus. Uses PA speakers with gobos, for guitars that were originally recorded through speaker cabs. Maintains stereo width, great for hard panned or double-tracked guitars. EQ'd to tame the low end on the 414s and subtle bus compression for "glue"
Big Piano Based on late '70s piano tracks, re-miked with 414s and a ribbon 77DX for cut
Big Rock Drum Room Hyped room tone with 1176LN compression adds impact and energy for great rock drums
Big Wide Pads Room mics add stereo width while Air encode and Chamber add plenty of brightness and a long tail for ethereal pads
Bizarre Love Gate Gated Chamber sound inspired by thwacky gates on '80s synth-pop hit
Blues Horns Transforms flat, close-miked horns to moody and lively brass
Breathy Lead Vocal Based on recordings from 1976, Air encode in parallel brightens up softer vocal passages
Bright Acoustic - Gobos Add brightness and roominess to guitars or any acoustic instrument
Bright Female Vocal - Live Subtle room tones and brightening EQ add character and ambience to vocal tracks
Brightzilla Uses Chamber to emulate a 480 plate
Buildings Room through the Chamber creates the sound of an outdoor, as if surrounded by high-rise buildings
Chugging Electric Guitar - Live Add beefiness to rhythmic electric guitar
Clapper Add brightness, depth, and liveliness to claps
Classic Rock Vocal Add subtle room tone to vocal recordings to place the singer in front of the band
Clean Room Only uses Room 2 mic, keeping the room tone out of the way of the original signal
Clear Lead Vocal Two close vocal mics and Air encode work to lift vocal front and center, with stereo ambience for a naturally clear sound
Comeback Chamber with long pre-delay
Crushed Live Snare Heavy compression and chamber add grit and space to snare
Crushed Pepper and Honey Parallel crush and sweetening EQ with no Room. Use on drum bus or master bus for lots of character
Dead Kick Fixer Based on recordings from 1976, adds Air encode to help light touch and boomy kick drums cut through the mix
Dirty Amp Clav Based on late '70s rock sessions, use to make a DI clavinet dirty and punchy
Dirty Blues Shag Based on baffled and tight original recordings from 1974, add thickness to drums with reduced reflections
Dirty Vintage Drums Ideal for adding liveliness to very dry, close-miked drums or tight samples
Disco Strings Classic string ensemble sound with close and room mics
Dobro Lol Blues Based on baffled and tight original recordings from 1973, add depth to dead drums and space to guitars
Drum Bus Live Live Re-Mic config for stereo drum bus, great for combining recorded tracks and samples into a single multi-miked kit. Subtle EQ cleans up room boxiness and Crush dynamics enhance the room mics
Drum Slam Dunk Three-mic configuration time-aligned with gobos creates tight, punchy low end with detailed mids and highs highlighted by Crush dynamics
Drums - Corner Starting point for drums in the wood corner
Drums - Live Starting point for drums with open space
Drums - Tight Starting point for drums with gobos
Dulcimer Ostinato - Gobos Acoustic space tuned for adding room and liveliness to dulcimer
DX Bass Room Subtle enough to enhance percussive bass sound while maintaining punch
Early Blue 90s Based on 1991-92 sessions, uses slightly compressed room mics for drum ambience
Electric Sitar Space Add dimension and ambience to sitar recordings
Electronic Snare Ambience Everything aligned in order not to skew transients, and just enough compression to make the snare pop
ElectroRoom Thick room that will beef up an 808
Elong Gate Yep... a long gate
Ensemble - Horns Starting point for horns
Ensemble - Strings Starting point for strings
Feel My Heat Vocal Beautiful presence and subtle space for any vocal
Firework Show Uses pre-delay on both the Room and the Chamber to simulate the long, bouncy reflections of a firework show
Flat n Dry Mono Vocal Fixer Upper Add life and sparkle to a dry flat, vocal, with Air encode and a medium Chamber for stereo width
Folk-Soul Vocal - Live Clean and vibrant vocal sound with subtle room tone
Forgot the Room Mics Reverb mode setting adds stereo room mics to close-miked drum kits. Also great for samples, e-drums, or anything else recorded without a dedicated room mic
Frozen Acoustics Encode adds dynamic sparkle and fast transient compression. Use for finger-picked acoustic guitars a la Keith Olsen
Full Kit on a Send - Corner Send your drum bus to this preset for open, natural and musical room tone from the wood corner
Full Kit on a Send - Gobos Send your drum bus to this preset for open, natural and musical room tone with gobos for control
Full Kit on a Send - Live Send your drum bus to this preset for open, natural and musical room tone in the live room
Funky Horns Make your horns shine with this multi-mic setup that adds depth and character
Gang Vocal Adds dimension and character to group vocals
Gate the 808 Based on early Chicago House trick to make an 808 sound bigger, when most producers could not afford sample-based drum machines
Gladiator Chamber Thick compressed chamber through the mics
Glassy Air Acoustic Based on recordings from 1976, Air encode in parallel adds glass and jangle to dark acoustic tracks
Gospel Dom Vox Based on early '70s choir tracks with room chamber for cathedral or hall type ambience
Group Choir Vocal Room and Chamber adds space and texture to group vocals
Group Vocal Pads Room tone widens the stereo field and adds dimension to sustained vocal pads
Guitar - 2x12 Live Starting point for DI/no cab electric guitar with a 2x12 in the live room
Guitar - 2x12 Tight Starting point for DI/no cab electric guitar with a 2x12 and tighter room
Guitar - 4x12 Live Starting point for DI/no cab electric guitar with a 4x12 in the live room
Guitar - 4x12 Tight Starting point for DI/no cab electric guitar with a 4x12 and tighter room
Guitar - PA Live Starting point for electric guitar in the live room
Guitar - PA Tight Starting point for electric guitar with tighter room
Guitar Diver n Holy Piano Based on early '80s heavy-metal sessions, guitar cabinets were placed where the piano usually sits. Use with pre-recorded tracks to blend in the wood corner ambience
Guitar Solo Thickener Accentuated midrange adds presence and character to guitar solos
Intimate and Round Corner Kit Close mics add character and subtle space ideal for drums
Krushed Drum Knots Based on metal recordings from 2001 with crushed room mics added to drums
Languid Strings A blend of close and room mics adds beautiful space for strings or other acoustic instruments
LCR Wide Rock Guitar Based on 1979 rock guitar recordings where mics are spread across the stereo spectrum, use to add width to mono rhythm guitars
Lead Guitar Ambience Re-mic config for lead guitars recorded through a speaker cab. Uses PA speakers without gobos. Best as an insert on mono tracks, but also works on stereo buses without hard panning
Live and Bright Drum Room Room mics and Air encode add sparkle and depth to any drum recording
Live Guitar Tracking Room Based on rock recordings where multiple mics were used to create a wide spread. Use with "no cab" guitar tracks
Memphis Style Horns Add dimension and classic soul character to horns tracks
Mighty M Cab - Live Huge 4x12 cab tone with gentle console compression for "no cab" guitar tracks
Mono Guitar C12 - Live Two mono C12s add close, roomy tones to acoustic guitar recordings
Mono Piano Space Apply to mono piano recordings for beautiful stereo width and space
My Big Drums Drums in the corner with heavy Encode processing, adds lots of character to dry kick drums
Organ-ic Room Complements a B3 organ and Leslie sound
Parallel Vocal Ambience Reverb mode setup for lead vocals creates subtle space around the vocal and adds presence from parallel Encode dynamics
Percussive Piano Based on late '70s piano tracks with Encode compression and air, and Chamber patched in for reverb
Pizz Strings Beautiful texture and space complement plucked stringed instruments
Plucked Acoustic Guitar - Gobos Tight acoustic space ideal for plucked guitar or stringed instruments
Plucked Synth Space Adds "thwack" to synths
Power Chord Guitar - Gobos Tight room sound thickens and focuses heavy guitar tones
Punk Rock Cab V - Live Perfect for adding depth and classic tone to aggressive and rebellious heavy guitar recordings
Real Jazz Piano Add instant vibe and realism to any piano recording
Real Slap Pre-delay on the room mimics the real world response of an echo slap back with diffusion
Rich Female Vocal - Live Classic ribbon mic captures clean and present female vocal with subtle room tone
Rock Piano Classic piano room tone and texture with 1176 compression
Rockabilly Ribbons Based on 1990 Americana sessions, uses ribbon mic in the wood corner for extra punch
Sa Squash Compresses the Chamber to make the tail as long as possible
Sax-Fest Chamber and compression add big room tone and space to saxophone or other brass recordings
Scoring Stage Shorter, darker chamber to simulate rooms like Trackdown and Teldex
Seventies Background Vocals Re-mic config for stereo background vocal bus. Lots of Air encode compression, for classic '70s background vocals. Maintains stereo width well, great for hard-panned vocals
Sizzler Lots of Air and nothing else, use where you would normally use OTT for sizzle
Smooth Jazz Piano Room-heavy mic blend adds beautiful ambience and space to dry piano
Sound City Studios Snare - Corner Classic Sound City Studios snare drum tone heard on countless records in the wood corner
Sound City Studios Snare - Gobos Classic Sound City Studios snare drum tone heard on countless records in the room with gobos
Sound City Studios Snare - Live Classic Sound City Studios snare drum tone heard on countless records in the live space
Stereo Clean Guitar Air n Verb Encode brings out air and jangle in clean electric guitars, and Chamber adds ambient width
Stereo Drum Machine Punch Sidechain-filtered Crush compression brings out kick while compressing snare and toms for punch and depth
Stop Draggin Drums Reverb mode settings based on the 1981 session with U67s placed across "woody" wall to add thick air to drums and band playing live in the room
Stop Draggin Guitar Lead Room Reverb mode setting based on the 1981 session, recreating the roomy lead guitar sound. Use with a miked guitar track
Stop Draggin Guitar Lead w2x12 Room Re-mic mode setting based on the 1981 session, recreating the roomy lead guitar sound. Use with "no cab" guitar track
Strummy Acoustic Space - Live Add depth, dimension, and presence to acoustic guitars
Super Tight Room Just the close mic for tight ambience
Sweet R&B Corner Kit Asymmetrical mic placement adds beautiful space and texture to dry drums
Synth Bass Space Maker Add stereo width, depth, texture and character to a mono synth bass
The Classic Standard room mics setup great for drums, guitar and more, a great starting point
Thick Acoustic Space - Gobos Classic Sound City Studios recording setup creates ambience and space for any acoustic instrument
Thick Shag Based on baffled, tight original recordings from 1974. Adds thickness to drums without heavy reflections
Tidy M Cab - Gobos 4x12 cab with tight room tone and console compression adds width and liveliness to "no cab" electric guitar
Tight High Electric - Gobos Width, depth and character perfect for electric guitars
Toronto Strings Based on early '70s string tracks with added depth from room mic and parallel chamber
Twelve String Acoustic - Live Add natural width and dimension to lifeless acoustic guitars
Upfront Uses Encode to replace OTT and add thwack
Upright Bass Place Add organic texture and stereo width while accentuating finger-picking and fret noises
Vocal - Group Starting point for group vocal
Vocal - Solo Starting point for solo vocal
Vocal Choir BVGs Close stereo and hard-panned room mics retain width, with a mono room ribbon front and center for warmth, topped off with Air compression
Vocal Choir BVGs 2 Close mono condenser mic keeps presence front and center, wide room mics retain width, topped off with Encode compression
Wet & Present Vocals Re-Mic config for lead vocals, embraces the sound of the room while keeping the vocals on top of the mix with a healthy dose of Encode, great for indie rock vocals
Wide Cross Room Warmth Uses a U67 in the middle of the room panned left, and another in the back corner panned right for a wide spread. Plenty of Crush compression, a healthy low cut and boosted midrange warmth, great on all instruments
Wide Drum Corner Compressed and hyped drum room adds plenty of width
Wide-2-Narrow Wide room mics and a long mono chamber create dynamic and interesting movement in the stereo field, great for staccato instruments
Yacht Rock Piano Roomy mics and Chamber reverb add vibe and space, while maintaining clarity for piano

*Product names used herein are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way affiliated with Universal Audio, Inc. These name(s) are used solely to identify products studied in the creation of the sound models found in Sound City Studios.

 


 

Technical Overview

Sound City Studios reinvents ambience processing with UA's proprietary Dynamic Room Modeling technology, an exclusive combination of signal processing and advanced measurement techniques. Eclipsing standard convolution reverbs — which can only provide a static snapshot — Dynamic Room Modeling opens up the full spectrum of the studio's ambience possibilities. 

Specifically, Dynamic Room Modeling models the unique radiation properties of various sources, as recorded through a selection of microphones that can be repositioned in the room, in real time, by simply dragging. This technology allows you to immerse your tracks in one of the world's most famous recording studios, with an unparalleled level of sonic realism. 

Ideal mic selections and placements are provided in Sound City Studios, along with a detailed package of Sound City Studios' console and outboard effects — the exact room and setups used to record some of the biggest acts of all time. 

Sound City Studios is sonically superior in terms of overall model accuracy and dynamic customization to any previous room modeler.

Modes overview

Sound City Studios offers two modes of operation: Re-Mic and Reverb. These modes process signals in fundamentally different ways. 

For additional details about Reverb and Re-Mic modes, see Understanding Re-Mic mode and Understanding Reverb mode.

About recorded sound components

Whenever a sound source is recorded in a naturally reverberant space, there are three primary sound components (shown below) that are captured by the microphone.

  • Direct signal – This is the sound path that travels directly between the source and the microphone, without any reflected sounds from the walls, floor, ceiling, and objects.
  • Early reflections – These are the still-distinct individual reflections that are reflected off the walls, floor, ceiling, and objects before reaching the microphone.
  • Late field (aka reverb tail or ambience) – This is the indistinct "wash" that decays over time, that consists of all reflections in the room. The tail is usually considered the main component of reverb.

Understanding Re-Mic mode

Re-Mic mode is a tool for "replacing" the original dry audio signal.

In Re-Mic mode, Sound City Studios essentially plays your recorded tracks through virtual sources placed in the room, then captures them with an array of ideally-placed microphones. The processed signal captures the sonic signature of the studio, the source and its radiation patterns, and the microphones with more accuracy and realism than is possible with generic impulse response players or other reverb processing.

Using Re-Mic mode

Use Re-Mic mode to mix through Sound City Studios. Re-Mic mode entirely replaces your recordings with Sound City Studios' complete room and microphone characteristics. Re-Mic mode retains the source-to-mic "direct path" component, a crucial part of every microphone's unique sound. Predelay, Mix, and Wet Solo are not available in Re-Mic mode.

The illustration below shows how to configure the Re-mic workflow in a DAW. In this example, all the drum outputs are routed to a submix bus instead of the main outputs. Sound City Studios is inserted on the submix bus return, and the plug-in is configured in Re-Mic mode. Note that effect sends are not used in this configuration.

In Re-Mic mode, the dry/wet Mix control is not available, so the original dry signal does not stack or "phase" against the modeled direct component signal. Instead of an effect bus return (or mix control), the desired ambience is adjusted with the studio, source, and microphone selections, along with microphone placements and their relative levels.

Note: Because Re-Mic mode is the complete recorded signal, the plug-in output is inherently louder in Re-Mic mode.

DAW signal routing with Sound City Studios in Re-Mic mode on a drum submix

 

Understanding Reverb mode

Use Reverb mode to mix Sound City Studios with existing recordings. Reverb mode works as a short reverb effect by artificially removing Sound City Studios' source-to-mic "direct path" component. With Reverb mode, only the ambience of the studio's early reflections and decay are heard. Predelay and Mix are available under Reverb.

Using Reverb mode

The illustration below shows a traditional auxiliary effect bus send/return configuration in a DAW. In this example, Sound City Studios is inserted on the effects bus, the plug-in is configured in Reverb mode, and the Wet Solo control is enabled (100% wet). Individual reverb amounts are set with the send control for each individual channel, and the overall reverb amount is set with the bus return fader.

Tip: This configuration conserves CPU resources when the same effect settings are desired for multiple channels, instead of using multiple copies of the plug-in on individual channels.

Sound City Studios can also be used on individual tracks as with any plug-in. In this case, adjust the track's reverb amount with the Mix control.

DAW signal routing in Reverb mode using a traditional effect send/return configuration

 

Dual-mode (Re-Mic and Reverb mode) example

The illustration below shows how to use both Re-Mic and Reverb modes with two instances of the plug-in, combining the workflows of the two previous examples. The illustration combines a drum submix being used for Re-Mic mode, while a send/return routing is being used for guitar and vocals in Reverb mode.

DAW signal routing with two Sound City Studios plug-in instances.
Re-Mic mode on the drum submix, Reverb mode for guitar and vocals

CPU usage

Sound City Studios' processor usage is reduced when any module (Room/EQ/Dynamics/Chamber) is disabled. To preserve CPU, disable any modules you are not using. 

Sound City Studios microphone details

In addition to the studio room acoustics, the microphones used in the development of Sound City Studios are a significant contributor to the tonality and fidelity of the plug-in.

Sound City Studios contains nine different types of microphones, in various combinations of single mics and pairs. Additionally, some of these microphones can be switched between cardioid and omnidirectional polar frequency response patterns. 

Polar patterns

Available mic selections change with each source setting. For some mic selections, you can change the polar response between cardioid and omni. In Studio view, you can see the polar patterns of the mics that are currently active. 

In simplistic terms, omni microphones are equally sensitive to sound pressure levels from all directions, while cardioid microphones are more sensitive to sound from the front of the mic and less sensitive to sounds from the rear of the mic. Figure-8 microphones are equally sensitive at the front and rear of the mic, but less sensitive at the sides. The result of this is more room tone from omni and figure-8 mics, and more directionality from cardioid mics. Experiment with the different types of mics and polar patterns to find the sound that works best for your source.

On-axis and off-axis mics

When using a 4x12 or 2x12 Source from the Guitar category, close mics have the option of on-axis or off-axis placement. On-axis placement gives a brighter, more present and direct sound. Off-axis placement gives a darker sound with less of the "edginess" of the speaker cone and a smoother, less peaky response. 

Note: You cannot change polar patterns for the 4x12 or 2x12 mics. 

Close, Room 1, and Room 2 mic positions

Up to three microphone setups are available for each Source, with various combinations of single microphones and microphone pairs. Each microphone or microphone pair can be active simultaneously for creative sonic blending. Close mics are closest to the source, while Room 1 and Room 2 mics are further from the source, to capture more room sound. You can freely adjust mic distances for most mics by dragging the mics in the Studio view. 

Note: The Vocal Solo source has Close 1, Close 2, and Room mic channels. Close 1 and Close 2 have fixed positions. 

Independent controls

Each microphone or microphone pair has its own set of controls that can be independently adjusted. The individual microphone controls are Selection, Distance, High Cut Filter, Low Cut Filter, Polarity Invert, Balance, Mute, and Level. For details about how to operate these controls, see Microphones.

Generally speaking, the closer the microphones are to the source, the less room ambience is captured by the microphones, so room microphones will tend to have more ambience (sound more "live") than close microphones

Note: Just as in the physical realm, there can be signal phase interactions when using more than one microphone simultaneously. For details, see Phase considerations.

Mic positions

The microphone placement positions within the studio rooms were designed in consultation with Sound City Studios alumnus Bill Drescher and historical reference documentation. Changing the microphone positions can vary the distance, height, and stereo width of the microphone placement, depending on the microphone or microphones selected. 

Distance

The distance from the microphones to the source can be dynamically adjusted using the Distance controls, or by dragging the microphones in Studio View. Just as when recording with microphones in the physical realm, the mic-to-source distance can have a significant impact on the sound that is captured.

The room will sound tighter and more present when mics are closer to the source; conversely, the room gets "bigger" when mics are further from the source. Sound City Studios modeling includes the proximity gain and increase in low frequencies that occurs in the physical realm; the signal can become noticeably louder as microphones are moved closer to the source.

Aligning microphones overview

When recording a sound source, there is an inherent delay between the source and the microphone. This delay is the time it takes for the sound waves to physically travel from the source to the mic (see About recorded sound components). The further the mic is from the source, the longer the delay time.

When a microphone pair in Sound City Studios is aligned by clicking the Align button, the inherent mic delay is artificially removed so the sound source "reaches" the mic instantaneously, without changing the mic position's tonality. This setting is useful when the source audio signals need to remain time-aligned, or simply for their own physically-impossible sonic effects. This feature has the same result as adjusting track timing manually in a DAW. 

Removing the source-to-mic delay can be especially useful in these scenarios:

  • If a source is recorded with a distant room mic, it will play back later in relation to sources that are close-miked. Typically, you can compensate for this delay in your DAW by manually shifting the track forward in time so it aligns with the other instruments. With Sound City Studios, aligning the mics removes this delay automatically.
  • When the microphone pair is distant from the source, the additional microphone delay can be problematic for performers when tracking while monitoring through the plug-in. Aligning the mics reduces this monitoring latency.

Tip: The most realistic room emulations are recreated when this delay is retained (aligned off). This is because the inherent source-to-mic delays provide important auditory cues that our brains use to interpret the acoustic space.

Illustration of Distance Delay. When set to Aligned, distance delay time is eliminated.

Acoustic balancing

All rooms have time and frequency-dependent resonances that impact the loudness and sonic balances within the room. Microphone selection and placement and the audio source positions change these resonances and balances as well.

The acoustic response of Sound City Studios is iconic, but still subject to these real acoustic principles. Because the plug-in accurately models the sound sources and microphone positions, certain combinations of sources, mics, and distances may cause the level balances to seem too quiet or too loud, or not perfectly centered in the stereo field. Some mic configurations in Sound City Studios are not symmetric by design. As you would in the real world, you can use the mic Gain, Balance, and Polarity controls to compensate for these imbalances or for creative control

Phase considerations

When recording in the physical world, it is possible for phase issues to occur when more than one microphone is used on a source. The sonic characteristic of "phasing" (comb filtering) results when frequencies that are being captured by more than one microphone are emphasized because they are summed (signals in phase) or de-emphasized because they are canceled (signals out of phase).

Phase issues resulting from the use of multiple microphones can usually be reduced by adjusting the placement of the microphone(s), or inverting a microphone's polarity.

Phasing with Sound City Studios

We worked hard to make phasing a non-issue with Sound City Studios. However, if you do encounter phasing, simply moving a microphone or changing a mic channel's polarity will usually provide excellent results. Phasing is generally not an issue in Reverb mode due to removal of the microphone direct component.

Important: Phasing can occur if you mix unprocessed tracks with the same tracks processed through Sound City Studios in Re-Mic mode (for example, by routing a send to an aux track with the plug-in). For illustrations of proper DAW routing in Re-Mic mode, see Using Re-Mic mode and Dual-mode (Re-Mic and Reverb mode) example.

Latency

Sound City Studios is subject to increased latency compared to other UAD plug-ins. The increased latency may be noticeable when tracking through Sound City Studios if the plug-in is in Re-Mic mode and/or on individual tracks in Reverb mode. 

Therefore, when tracking live performances while monitoring through Sound City Studios, we generally recommend using it in Reverb mode in a typical send/return configuration, where the additional time-based effect latency will not affect the monitored performance.

Tip: Latency can be reduced further by aligning mics.

Loading time and audio effects

When certain parameters are changed, Sound City Studios Studio's modeling engine is updated and numerous recalculations are performed by the plug-in.

While these recalculations happen quickly, they are not instantaneous. Sonic artifacts may be audible, and CPU usage can increase, during these recalculations.

DAW automation limitations

Load time and/or sonic artifacts during algorithmic recalculations may be an impediment if controls are modified with DAW automation during mixdown. To prevent such artifacts, avoid adjusting these specific Sound City Studios controls with DAW automation during mixdown:

  • Source
  • Mic selection
  • Mic distance
  • Mic polar pattern
  • Mic orientation (on/off-axis)
  • Mic Align setting
  • Mic low and high cut filters
  • Mic phase
  • Mic channel mute
  • Mic channel balance
  • Mic channel level faders
  • Plug-in mode (Re-Mic or Reverb)

If you require DAW automation for Sound City Studios controls, it is recommended that only static snapshot automation (instead of continuous automation) be used for the above parameters. Additionally, static snapshot automation should be used only when the signal being processed is not audible. For example, automate only between musical phrases.

 

Product names used herein are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way affiliated with Universal Audio, Inc. These name(s) are used solely to identify products studied in the creation of the sound models found in Sound City Studios.

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