Common Audio Sphere DLX and LX Evaluation: Skilled High quality

The house recording revolution has come. From low cost and inexpensive audio interfaces and software program to the rocketing abundance of USB microphones in the Zoom period, there isn’t a motive why you’ll be able to’t make chart-topping singles in your bed room. (See: Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell.) It’s straightforward to get audio high quality that is adequate, however now high-end firms are aiming to assist common musicians get true studio high quality at house.

The most recent Sphere DLX and Sphere LX modeling mics from Common Audio ask a easy query: What in case you may have nearly each well-known microphone obtainable at your fingertips in a single, sub-$1,400 machine?

Plug in these stereo mics to any audio interface, open up the software program, and also you acquire entry to tens of 1000’s of {dollars} of modeled microphone sounds, and even the flexibility to vary them post-record. It’s been a sport changer in my small mission recording studio, and one that can make next-generation indie rockers sound cleaner and extra dialed-in than ever. You possibly can even use a mannequin of the Eilishes’ personal Neumann, although you could be dissatisfied to understand that expertise is the principle motive they sound so good.

On the Mic

The Sphere is available in two sizes and costs, the cheaper LX and dearer DLX, each of which come inside well-engineered delicate circumstances. (You possibly can stack them, however they don’t seem to be going to outlive successful with a baseball bat.) You get two mounts within the DLX case, a daily one and a shock one, and only a non-shock mount within the LX case. The bigger DLX will look instantly acquainted to those that have tried the Townsend Labs Sphere L22, one other modeling mic that got here out a couple of years in the past, and for good motive. UA purchased Townsend Labs, utilizing its tech to recreate the outdated mannequin and create the smaller LX sequence for extra budget-conscious people.

Common Audio has made every part from mic preamps and compressors to microphones over the previous 24 years. Like every part the corporate makes, these mics feel and appear like they’re designed for skilled use, with stable steel enclosures and a stunning match and end. The principle distinction between the 2 is the scale. The smaller and extra inexpensive Sphere LX simulates lots of the similar mics as its larger brother, however it lacks 18 mic fashions included on the bigger mic. You get 20 mic fashions on the smaller LX and 38 on the DLX.

{Photograph}: Common Audio

Each are stereo microphones that document via the back and front of a customized 1-inch stereo capsule. On their very own, they’re extremely transparent-sounding mics; that is partially what permits the mic’s plug-in software program to research and emulate basic microphone polar patterns, tone, and many others. Each are powered by 48-V phantom energy, with white LEDs that mild up the capsule when the mic is plugged in and energy is on–a cool impact that I haven’t seen on different mics of this type. It makes you are feeling just like the capsule is asking to your mouth.

The one draw back to the mics being stereo is that these do take up two channels of your audio interface. If in case you have a smaller interface, you’ll have to trace vocals and some other devices at totally different instances. Not an enormous deal, however value noting for these with solely two mic channels.

Recording Sphere

The mics are principally Photoshop for mic alternative and placement. You possibly can decide what mannequin of mic you want. Anybody who has hung round knowledgeable recording studio will instantly acknowledge many, if not nearly all, of the microphone fashions included contained in the Sphere’s plug-in controller. The whole lot from basic Neumann fashions just like the U47 and U67, to extra trendy mics just like the Shure SM7B and Sony C800G, can be found. There may be even a choice of ribbon microphones, which might be tremendous useful on horns or for a classic sound.

You possibly can decide mics after recording too. You put in the plug-in, set it up on a stereo channel of your digital audio workstation, and select which mic you need to use and the way. You possibly can all the time change it later, offered the audio was recorded by the Sphere mic to start with. The plug-in works with each main piece of audio recording software program, from Garageband to skilled requirements like Professional Instruments, which makes it nearly foolproof.

Not solely are you able to alter the particular mic, you’ll be able to even alter the polar sample, which is the “lens” of a mic that controls the route from which the mic information, whether or not that is tightly in entrance or an omnidirectional recording. You possibly can even use mics in methods the unique mannequin wouldn’t enable; I preferred utilizing a mannequin of a classic RCA ribbon mic in a tighter configuration than the classic mic would enable in actual life. I get a lot much less bleed from surrounding devices. It’s also possible to alter the gap from the mic, the place generally you may get too many pops from “p” sounds or sibilance from “s” sounds.

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