Townsend Labs Sphere™
A limitless mic locker using advanced microphone modeling.
When paired with the Sphere microphone (sold separately), the Townsend Labs Sphere Precision Microphone software plug-ins give you unprecedented access to the rich, three-dimensional sounds of the finest microphones in recording history.
The Townsend Labs Sphere Precision Microphone System is the first mic modeler to capture proximity effect and off-axis polar response — the essential elements to accurately capturing the rich detail of rare vintage microphones. So you can track instruments and vocals using hallowed microphone sounds from Neumann, Telefunken, AKG, and more* — in real time using any Apollo interface.
*All trademarks are property of their respective owners and used only to represent the microphones modeled as part of the Townsend Labs Sphere L22™ Precision Microphone Software.
Now You Can:
Track through your Apollo and easily audition and record through vintage microphone sounds with no latency
Change the proximity effect and polar pattern in real time or at mixdown
Reduce bleed, room coloration, and feedback — before or after tracking
Record in stereo with different mic models on the left and right channels
Included Mic Models
Included Mic Models
LD-47K (Neumann U47)
LD-49K (Neumann M49)
LD-67 (Neumann U67)
LD-87 (Neumann U87)
LD-12 (AKG C12)
LD-414 US (Later-period AKG 414 w/ nylon capsule)
RB-77DX Satin (RCA 77DX)
DN-12A (Vintage AKG D12)
DN-421N (Sennheiser MD421N)
LD-251 (Telefunken ELA M 251)
LD-800 (Sony C800G)
RB-4038 (Coles 4038)
See All Included Mic Models ›
Take a Listen
“Using Sphere technology with Apollo, I can commit to the sound on the way in. At the touch of a button, I can fine-tune my mic selection, polar pattern, proximity, axis, and other settings, before I hit record.”
– Joe Chiccarelli (Jason Mraz, Beck, The Strokes, Morrissey)
“The open natural sound of the Sphere mic is quite impressive. Add the emulation software, and it becomes even more powerful. A great new tool for the mic locker!”
– Vance Powell (Jack White, The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs)
September 18, 2019
What a Difference!
This is the bee's knees! So many options and the sound quality is exceptional. Very Pleased with the Townsend Sphere and UAD.Read More
September 10, 2019
Super soundRead More
September 5, 2019
Amazing Mic Modeler...Townsend Labs Is The Best
Since using this UAD Plugin with the Townsend Lab Sphere L22, my recordings have come out amazing. I'm able to go through an entire mic locker to tailor the mic to the voice talent, and...Read More
August 30, 2019
..new game changer
I'm absolutely impressed by the product, the Sphere L22 with the plugins is amazing. i wonder why UAD didn't come up with the idea to integrate different preamps emulations into the Sphere...Read More
August 14, 2019
10/10 Incredible Mic
The Sphere Mic package is literally the only expensive microphone worth owning at this point. The modeling is so advanced, so accurate, and so good sounding that there's no point in buying...Read More
N. Jensen Stilborg
July 25, 2019
I really dig this. I own some of these mics and the emulation is killer. Highly recommended.Read More
Included Mic Models
A commissioned model of a current production SoyuzⓇ 017 TUBE large diaphragm microphone, created in partnership with Soyuz. It’s a modern classic that is 100% hand-built in Tula, Russia. Popular uses include vocals and acoustic instruments.
Created in 1947, Neumann U47 has stood the test of time as the ultimate studio mic. Extensively used by The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and countless others, only about 6,000 of these mics were produced. The Neumann U47 analyzed for this model has a fully brass capsule with a screw-mounted mylar diaphragm and a genuine VF14 tube.
The Neumann U49 employs the same capsule used in the U47, but the response of the U49 is slightly smoother and less colored. The U49 also uses a Telefunken AC701 tube instead of the VF-14 used the 47. The LD-49K model is based on a Neumann 49c, which was likely manufactured in the early ’60s and has a U47 capsule with a screw-mounted mylar diaphragm.
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.
The Neumann U67 is a unique and wonderful mic that sounds warm without sounding dull. It shines on distorted guitar amps where it can reduce harshness while maintaining detail. The LD-67 model is based on a mid-’60s version with an EF86 tube and its high-pass filter and pad switch settings are fully modeled.
After the Berlin Wall fell, a warehouse was found with Neumann U67 parts on the East German side of the border. In 1991 a limited production of U67 reissues were made from these new-old-stock parts.
The Neumann U87 was brought to market as a replacement for the U67, even though it sounds quite different. The LD-87 model is based on a mid-’70s version with a split backplate capsule which sounds slightly different than a modern 87. The high-pass filter and pad switch settings are also fully modeled.
The LD-87 TK model is based on a Neumann U87 modified by Tracy Korby. The modification extends the 87's response at both the low and high end, giving it a more modern sound but without accentuating sibilance.
The LD-12 model is based on the iconic AKG C12 from the ’50s, faithfully capturing its gorgeous high-end sheen and sparkle. The LD-12 is a great choice for lush, breathy vocals without overly accentuating sibilance.
The LD-251 is based on the Telefunken ELA M 251 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.
The LD-800 model is based on the legendary Sony C800G. The 800G 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.
The original AKG 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. The LD-414 Brass is a perfect choice for drum overheads, snare drum, and acoustic guitar.
In the late ’70s, the AKG 414 began using a new capsule with a nylon mounting ring. 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.
The LD-414 US is based on one of the most ubiquitous condenser microphones of all time, the later-period AKG 414. The mic uses essentially the same nylon capsule as the later production AKG 414 EB, so the sound is quite similar although a bit more neutral.
The LD-414 T2 is based on a newer AKG 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 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 that we’re all so familiar with. The 416 also enjoys wide popularity in broadcast, tv, and film location sound.
The SD-451 is based on the AKG 451 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 two 75Hz and 150Hz high-pass filter options are also modeled from the original.
The RB-4038 model is based on the Coles 4038 ribbon mic originally developed in the mid-’50s by the BBC and manufactured by STC (Standard Telephones and Cables). It excels on drum overheads and 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.
The classic RCA 77DX is an iconic, a multi-pattern ribbon that has graced the desks of many famous personalities, including David Letterman and Larry King. Countless musical legends, such as Bing Crosby, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Johnny Cash, have also recorded with a 77. Wonderful for recording brass instruments, this mic is typically used with cardioid or figure-8 pattern, but the full complement of patterns from the original is provided.
The RB-77DX Umber model is substantially darker and smoother than the RB-77DX Satin model, and works well on brighter, more strident sources.
Introduced in 1965, the Shure SM57 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 SM57.
Based on the Shure SM7A, the same mic Bruce Swedien used to record Michael Jackson's vocals on Thriller, the DN-7 model captures the magic that has allowed it to hold its own with some of the best condensers ever made. The DN-7 is based on the "A" version, and 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.
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. 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.
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 later 12E version has an XLR connector on the bottom of the mic.
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 include vocal duties for Pink Floyd's Live at Pompeii concert video.
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 100Hz 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.
The DN-421B is based on a current production black 421 which has a slightly brighter and modern sound than earlier incarnations.
DN-421N is based on a classic beige 421 from the 1960s. It has a slightly warmer sound than current production 421s. 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.
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 421s.
*Townsend Labs Sphere plug-in requires the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 microphone. All trademarks are property of their respective owners, and used only to represent the microphones modeled as part of the Townsend Labs Sphere software.
Precision Sphere L22 microphone (sold separately) and the Sphere UAD plug-in model iconic large condenser microphones
Access to some of the most prized microphones of all time, including the U47 (with VF14 tube), U67, M49, and C12
Realtime UAD Processing with Apollo interfaces with extremely low latency (approx. 1.6 ms round trip at 96 kHz)
Polar Pattern Modeling emulates the three-dimensional response of target microphones
Select mic type, polar pattern, proximity effect, and other settings before or after tracking
Phase coherent mixing of multiple virtual mic models from the same physical microphone before or after tracking
Record in stereo using one Sphere L22 mic and even use different mic models on the left and right channels
Townsend Labs Sphere
What a Difference!
This is the bee's knees! So many options and the sound quality is exceptional. Very Pleased with the Townsend Sphere and UAD.
Amazing Mic Modeler...Townsend Labs Is The Best
Since using this UAD Plugin with the Townsend Lab Sphere L22, my recordings have come out amazing. I'm able to go through an entire mic locker to tailor the mic to the voice talent, and that's before adding amazing UAD Plugins like the Neve Preamps. You will not regret this purchase! Never to be the same again!
..new game changer
I'm absolutely impressed by the product, the Sphere L22 with the plugins is amazing. i wonder why UAD didn't come up with the idea to integrate different preamps emulations into the Sphere plug-ins, or possibly to develop and offer "Spehre Preamps" as an additional plugin for them?
So that you can combine the emulated Legend Mics with the corresponding Preamps.
That would be Next Level! And a real box-office hit in terms of sales.
10/10 Incredible Mic
The Sphere Mic package is literally the only expensive microphone worth owning at this point. The modeling is so advanced, so accurate, and so good sounding that there's no point in buying other microphones that cost more. The plugin itself is awesome, and gives the user plenty of flexibility to choose the perfect mic to match the take. You don't have to know what mic sound best on what, just flick through them and decide as you go what sounds good to your ears. Furthermore, the plugin allows you to make non-physical microphones, such as a ribbon microphone with a hyper cardoid pattern. I used this yesterday to record some vocals, and they sounded beautiful, and the mic had plenty of rejection so we got an extremely low noise floor. Would really recommend this to anyone who need a microphone over literally any other product.
N. Jensen Stilborg
I really dig this. I own some of these mics and the emulation is killer. Highly recommended.
An excellent mic locker in one mic
I know that the Townsend Sphere will not appeal to those who wish to be tied down to Universal Audio equipment, but it is ultimately worth the price. I record in an office at home with little sound abatement. You would not know it. I can get better sound than a Neumann TLM 103. The mic is very sensitive, so if you have a snoring pug in the adjacent room, you'll need to close the door. Microphone placement is important. That said, the mic is very quiet (virtually no self noise). With the Townsend mic and software and a UAD Apollo or Arrow interface, you'll be very, very impressed.
Best Mic in My Cabinet - and a Great Value for the Price
After familiarizing myself with the mic the night before, I had my first chance to test out the mic, during a VO session yesterday.
In a word, the mic sounds absolutely STUNNING—blows my Gefell UMT 70s out of the water. It is at least comparable to, if not better than, my Peluso 2247LE, which I sold a while back, for fear of the antique tube eventually needing to be replaced for a second time.
I am seriously considering retiring the Gefell and getting a second L22! The mic models that Townsend Labs provides via UAD, as well as the Ocean Way Mics collection sound great too—and are really just the icing on the cake. The ability to change mic positions and swap out mics in a stereo set-up after recording is a game-changer!
The personalized letter in the box was a nice touch. What can I say—I am a fan. Keep up the great work UAD and Townsend Labs!
Future of Microphones!
I thought it couldn’t get better than UAD products for my small project studio, then I tried Townsend Labs, Sphere L22 microphone. From the UAD Townsend, Bill Putnam, & Ocean Way collections, you have access to all the mics you could ever dream of and more! The adjustments you can make to the proximity, polar patterns, etc., It's the future!
The ability to create the legendary sound and charisma of the recording industry’s iconic microphones is a real value. Being a composer and instrumentalist I can use a U47 like Rudy Van Gelder used on many of the most famous jazz records on sax, or pull up a RCA 44 Ribbon mic like John Williams may have used on his Oscar winning film scores for flute.
Finally, if you need customer support, you can expect extraordinary service from everyone at Townsend Labs from the owner, CEO, on down. Overall experience in one word, Amazing! I Expect nothing less from UAD for them to partner with Townsend Labs. First Class all the way. Thank you both!
Those two words in the title say it all. This is a game changing piece of technology. Coupled with the Sphere hardware. Having all those microphone sounds at your disposal is an incredible boost to your creativity. The plugins work seamlessly and the possibilities are endless.
R. Lumpkin II
A Must Buy for Apollo users
The Townsend Labs Sphere microphone is basically the UA Apollo of microphones. The mic is incredible and the emulations give me and my clients the feels! I’m pretty skeptical of many things, so I did my own personal test with a U-47 and Manley Voxbox. Then I used the Sphere U-47 and Manley plug-in. OMG.....gold!! After setting this mic up, I haven’t used any other mics in the vocal booth. And the ease of use is great. I love being able to switch between a 47,251, and 87 with just a couple clicks of a mouse. It saves time and lets me dial in a great sound in seconds. If you record audio and use an Apollo, it should be mandatory that you use this mic. It has literally opened up some new sonic opportunities for me, and just sounds great.
Townsend Labs L22 Microphone pairs perfectly with my Apollo 8P and X8p interfaces
I've been a Townsend Labs Sphere L22 owner for the past year. I started with the original mic set that came with the L22 in May '18. It has proven ideal for tracking a percussive "deep tissue" acoustic guitarist over the past months. The L22 perfectly captures his Martin D-28 and J-40 guitars.
Right off the bat, my mind was completely blown by the versatility offered between the modeled mics, powerful polarity options beyond the polarity options of the original mics, the L22 running as two different mics in stereo, and the ability to alter the proximity via Sphere! To be able to to track the two channels, and then later while mixing, to decide which mic is the best for that vocalist, instrument etc. Townsend has implemented some amazingly great science, but it still seems like super cool futuristic magic! And then a few months later, Townsend added more mics to the core collection for free!
I was so impressed by the L22 and Sphere, and Sphere180, that I bought the Oceanway mic collection, and later the Putnam collection. So now I have a dream mic cabinet with tons of amazingly beautiful modeled classic mics Realistically, I could never afford to find, much less buy, these original stellar mics.
So last week I learned I will be working on a larger recording project in July, and it was clear it was time to buy a second L22. Thank you Chris and Erik for developing and supporting such a fantastic mic and killer software!
Solid Mic - SUPER happy :)
Can't say it enough. This mic is incredible. On it's own it sounds great, the modelling options are just a massive bonus! The ability to play with the proximity affect is super useful as well. Saves me lots of EQ work down the road. Highly recommended!
I would pay for these....glad they are free!
I own both the Ocean Way and the BT collections. Although the expansion packs do add a lot to the Sphere collection, I always reach for the 4038. In all projects I have done so far the 4038 always does the trick.
For a nice and clean sound - like in classical music recording - the Default Linear/Direct and the variety of the AKGs are a must!
Very glad we have a very solid starting package like this.
All you need.
Hands down the most versatile mic I have ever owned.
Such a gem of a mic
I fell in love with your concept right away, because I was an Apollo Twin user. I have never owned an expensive mic, so this was perfect for me.
I was one of the early buyers before all the reviews came out.
I love it, and so do all the singers that sing in my studio.
I normally track with modeling U47 into Neve 1073, then a touch of LA3 (all virtual) and it works great!
When I have female vocals I sometime use OW 12#2.
I have nothing but praise to give you very fine mic. :)
A Post Production Workhorse
I don't know how many other post audio people are aware of this product but as far as I'm concerned anyone recording in post is going to want to give it a try or better yet, own an L22 Mic System and at least one of the other UA bundles of mic models outside the stock set of plugins.
I've had mine since the very early days of its release and have used it in a variety of ways, including recording two hosts performing voiceover using the mic's two capsules. I am able to replace or adjust the mic models after the fact, as well as automate things like proximity effect and off axis correction. It's not only "handy" to try out multiple different mic models on the same person or sound design element after the fact, it's actually very educational. I actually found one very famous person sounded best on a 57 model. The Bill Putnam Jr and Oceanway Collections add other levels of quality and the access to emulations of so many venerated microphones has me toying with my sounds long after the producer has left the studio.
Being able to widen or narrow the polar patterns of the various mic's means being able to correct for roominess in a recording or just add a little air. I find I really like recording sound effects with this system because I can even use it in stereo.
I's a marvellous marriage of software and hardware.
I sold my U87 and Peluso P12 after hearing the plug-in demo and purchased the Sphere Microphone System; the LD-U87 and LD-12 models both capture the fundamental difference in these two microphones, to my ear, thus for me it was an easy choice. The Sphere System is an amazing tool and I have learned more about different mic models and what makes the models so subtly different in the right ways for different sources, something that would have cost a small fortune in a lot longer timeframe. The different mic models allow you the opportunity learn and thus tweak the fundamental characteristics of a microphone setup after the fact when working to "fit" a source into a mix. I still own other microphones however when I purchase another microphone it will be a Sphere because I then will have just that many more modelled mics to choose from and that much more flexibility and options for my recordings.
This is an amazing system. It is the future for sure. I now have all of the classic mic sounds I wanted in one system for a fraction of what I would spent on just the 2 mics I was looking at. Customer service has been top notch as I learn all that this amazing microphone can do. I am anxious to dig deeper as I have only scratched the surface of what this thing can is capable of. Don't wait buy it now and enjoy it with confidence. Thanks Chris for an amazing accomplishment.
BEST $1500 YOU WILL EVER SPEND!
I can’t recommend the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 enough! I own 3 of them and It has been a total game changer for us at Gurari Studios. It integrates perfectly into the UA system with its low latency monitoring and the ability to commit or not. I own or have used many of the microphones modeled and they are spot on! I’m particularly fond of the Bill Putnam collection. My studio specializes in critical/high end classical recordings and we have been using the L22 since it first came out back in August of 2017 on everything from narrations on documentaries to opera singers, strings, piano, etc. Every client has been BLOWN away by the results! The ability to choose a microphone, polar pattern, adjust axis, and off axis correction after it has been recorded is a total game changer. With Opera singers, every note counts…No more wasting time setting up multiple microphones and having them repeat phrases to find the right mic. Just audition all the models after the fact and pick the mic and polar pattern that suits your needs. When recording opera singers, I tend to use a modified M/S array. I put one L22 in stereo handling the sides and the other L22 in mono typically with a figure 8 pattern handling the middle. I tend to make the sides ultra-wide (using the provided software) and then fill in the center with the mono mic. This gives me incredible depth and “air” to the sounds which is very desirable in classical music. Also, because the SPL can be so high at times (especially from coloratura and dramatic sopranos) that it can cause distortion at the diaphragm, but with the ability to turn the mic in stereo with the diaphragms pointed to the sides, it rarely ever distorts. The ability to automate and rotate the axis also helps create more “air” in the sound when they hit those ear shattering high notes. The L22 is one of the most important pieces of gear we own and we own A LOT of gear.