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Townsend Labs Sphere L22 - What is your experience?

MHP

Audio Engineer & Producer
There are quite a few "Which microphone should I use for..." threads in this forum but not much information yet about the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 that promises to reproduce the characteristics of some legends like U47/67/87, C12 & C800G.

The technical concept of the L22 seems to be sophisticated and the possibilities in the mixing process are vast so it could be the Swiss army knife for my recording studio.

Since it is quite an investment I would like to hear from current L22 owners about their experience and if it is worth the money.
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
Current L22 owner/user here, and I can't say enough good things about it.

First off, even without the software it is a very nice microphone. It leans towards uncolored, neutral, accurate - which is not always flattering, but it is a great starting point.

When you add in the software it becomes even more remarkable. And that's before you start playing with the models. There are so many cool tricks you can do with just the basic controls, change the proximity effect by changing the effective distance, change the angle between microphone and subject, and so on. You can even make stereo recordings with a single microphone, and they sound quite good.

Which brings us to the models.

I do not own all the microphones they modeled, but I've at least used most of them. It is my opinion (worth exactly what you paid for it) that the models are accurate, which is to say it is well within the realm of possible that the specific microphones modeled might sound like their models. It is all about the overall character of the microphones, or at least it appears to be.

Some are subtle, the differences between the L22 and the target model being subtle. Some are remarkable. One of the more stunning examples is the Coles 4038. The SM-57 is a bit of a surprise too.

I consider the L22 to be one of my smartest purchases.

If you have specific questions fire away.
 

Anders Wall

55°28'54"N 13°30'44"E
I'm with Bill here.
Amazing mic, and the models are great.
I also have a few of the modeled mics and they are close in sound.
But, thing is, my Neumann's, AKG's... they all sound different even thought the are the same model.
Believe it's all about degration of components, capsule etc.

So, with the L22, it's more of a general feel of the modeled mic.
It will never look like a vintage u47 or 251, but it does sound like one.
And in a blind test, I don't think one would be able to pick the one from the other.

I've tried other modeled mics and the Townsend stod out as the best mic with the most "true" modeled sound. Software is great, never had a issue when using it.

Cheers,
Anders
 

Virtuoso

Active Member
I got one of the very first ones back in March 2017 and I wouldn't use anything else now. It's very easy to use and the results are super high quality. The ability to change so many facets of the recording AFTER the fact is very useful. You don't really need the add-on packs as it already comes with a great selection, but there are some nice models in the Ocean Way collection.

There are high quality sample files (either as wav files or specific DAW sessions) on the Townsend website that you can download and try out with the plugin for free. That should give you a good idea of the potential.

https://townsendlabs.com/support/downloads/
 

MPortmann

Member
I'm with Bill here.
Amazing mic, and the models are great.
I also have a few of the modeled mics and they are close in sound.
But, thing is, my Neumann's, AKG's... they all sound different even thought the are the same model.
Believe it's all about degration of components, capsule etc.

So, with the L22, it's more of a general feel of the modeled mic.
It will never look like a vintage u47 or 251, but it does sound like one.
And in a blind test, I don't think one would be able to pick the one from the other.

I've tried other modeled mics and the Townsend stod out as the best mic with the most "true" modeled sound. Software is great, never had a issue when using it.

Cheers,
Anders
Great to hear about the Townsend model mic system. I’ve been eyeing this and wish there was a demo to try out here in LA. It seems like this is a step up in quality and realism from the Slate VMS system? Good for UAD users? Thanks for any feedback and any comments you have on other model mics you might have tried out.
 

Anders Wall

55°28'54"N 13°30'44"E
Great to hear about the Townsend model mic system. I’ve been eyeing this and wish there was a demo to try out here in LA. It seems like this is a step up in quality and realism from the Slate VMS system? Good for UAD users? Thanks for any feedback and any comments you have on other model mics you might have tried out.
When I got the L22 it was the only mic that did stereo.
I also have digital controlled preamps so calibration is really easy.

You should check out this —>
https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/virtual-mic-shootout-sound-samples/?id=LBpSB1UJDFEPTggJVglbRQYJCVQD&utm_content=article1-button&utm_source=insync&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20180609

Be sure to download the session/files
:)

There is good in all mics, I didn’t like the ecosystem of some of the other.
Like, the need to buy extra hardware to use modelling features.
I also like that you can change proximity with the L22, use that feature now and then.

Best,
/Anders
 

Virtuoso

Active Member
Good for UAD users?
I use it with an Apollo. The only thing to bear in mind is that it requires two inputs and tracks, which is how it manages to do the post facto proximity/polar pattern magic. Both channels need to be set identically and should not have distortion, so the order of plugins is important if you want to use the character of a Unison plugin like the Neve 1073.
 
OP
MHP

MHP

Audio Engineer & Producer
When I got the L22 it was the only mic that did stereo.
I also have digital controlled preamps so calibration is really easy.

You should check out this —>
https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/virtual-mic-shootout-sound-samples/?id=LBpSB1UJDFEPTggJVglbRQYJCVQD&utm_content=article1-button&utm_source=insync&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20180609

Be sure to download the session/files
:)

There is good in all mics, I didn’t like the ecosystem of some of the other.
Like, the need to buy extra hardware to use modelling features.
I also like that you can change proximity with the L22, use that feature now and then.

Best,
/Anders
Thanks for the link to the Virtual Mic Shootout!
As an engineer I very much appreciate the technical approach in this shootout to get an objective and unbiased comparison between the originals and their virtual mates. With the audio files everyone can blind test on his own (I recommend the HOFA 4U+ BlindTest for that) or feed the spectrum analyser to find out the differences.

I also appreciate the feedback from wst3 and Virtuoso, the more I read about the L22, the more it climbs to the top of my wish list for 2019...
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
One more thought - it is not a "cheap" microphone. But if you compare it to the cost a pretty much any other large diaphragm microphone it isn't terribly expensive. And as I mentioned earlier, it is a darned good microphone on its own. The software just makes it better.
 

IvanP

Senior Member
I have it and I'm absolutely in love with it.
Specially if you are as useless as an audio engineer as I am, you can correct almost any deficiencies in you mic positioning and my far from perfect Live Room.

I also showcased the plugin the other day to another composer and he said that it's by far the plugin that has impressed him the most.
 
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