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
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-7 (Shure SM7B)
LD-251 (Telefunken ELA M 251)
LD-800 (Sony C800G)
SD-451 (AKG 451)
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 6, 2018
Game changer-Game changed
Contemplated for some time getting this mic now that I have it no brainer. Best sound I ever heard my artist love the warm texture coming off the different mic emulations and the fact that...Read More
September 6, 2018
Absolutely stunning in every respect. This mic is brilliant out of the box, but when coupled with the UAD modeling plugins, (I broke my bank and bought all three UAD mic modeling suites,...Read More
September 1, 2018
It's a wonderful change！
It is fun to be able to experience the characteristics of various microphones. Since I do not have an expensive microphone, I can learn which microphone the vocal voice is suitable for.Read More
July 12, 2018
It really is that good.
This mic and plugin is great, everyone that I’ve recorded with it has been immediately impressed. It has really exceeded my expectations, and it’s great how clear the mic sounds, so...Read More
July 4, 2018
This thing is nuts - buy one.Read More
June 30, 2018
Even makes my kids sound pro.... this thing is terrifying.
Just what the title says. In shock.Read More
Included Mic Models
Included Mic Models
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 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-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.
*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
Game changer-Game changed
Contemplated for some time getting this mic now that I have it no brainer. Best sound I ever heard my artist love the warm texture coming off the different mic emulations and the fact that if I need to change mics for an artist it there right on hand. Money well spent.
Absolutely stunning in every respect. This mic is brilliant out of the box, but when coupled with the UAD modeling plugins, (I broke my bank and bought all three UAD mic modeling suites, but I don't give a hoot after hearing these beauties). Thank you to Chris and Eric at Townsend for their genius and creativity in creating this. I only dreamed about even trying to hear what I sounded like on a "real" 87, but this gives me the full experience - plus many, many more... it is insane. For $1,500 you are literally investing in a mic locker that would set you back over a $100K, if you were actually lucky enough to find them in usable condition. This is the democratization of music production at its best. Is $1,500 expensive? It's all relative to what you're getting, and for this beauty (and the treasure trove of sonic options it unlocks), it's essentially a giveaway!
I'm a total tech novice and I was nervous of being actually able to use it, but let me tell you, it works so seamlessly and flawlessly with the UAD system, that a well-behaved and responsible child could figure it out in seconds. Unbelievable.
I had a question about one aspect of the system and so I emailed the Townsend support website. Well, the inventor and owner of the company, Chris Townsend himself, emailed me personally within ten hours with the answers I needed. I have never had the actual owner/CEO of a company interact with customers like that. Brilliant service and support from Townsend Labs. Support this company because they are truly doing it for music - it is a creation of love for all of us who cannot begin to afford tends of thousands of dollars on the "actual" mics. I promise you, these emulations (from the included Townsend Labs, to the UAD Ocean Way and Bill Putnam collection) will leave you breathless.
It's a wonderful change！
It is fun to be able to experience the characteristics of various microphones. Since I do not have an expensive microphone, I can learn which microphone the vocal voice is suitable for.
It really is that good.
This mic and plugin is great, everyone that I’ve recorded with it has been immediately impressed. It has really exceeded my expectations, and it’s great how clear the mic sounds, so much so that I am hearing more detail than I’ve heard with other mics. The mic emulations sound great and the tweak-ability is very nice. Prior to getting the Townsend mic/plugin I had purchased a Manley Core preamp ($2000) and it was nice but what I really wanted was something that gave me options for the tone of the vocals that I am recording but the hardware preamp that I bought didn’t give me enough options so I ended up taking it back and I got the Townsend mic instead and now the tones that I’m able to get for vocals are seemingly endless. The best thing about it is that I don’t have to commit to any settings and it is very easy to switch mic models on the fly to experiment with what works best for each vocalist. With this mic/plugin I’m able to reject some room sound from the vocals, which is awesome. This mic is a definite must have item.
This thing is nuts - buy one.
Even makes my kids sound pro.... this thing is terrifying.
Just what the title says. In shock.
Different mics, polar patterns, proximity, etc while remaining in your chair. Great sound and very flexible!
This plug-in (and the Ocean Way collection. As well) is just incredible when used with the Townsend mic. Really does replace an extensive mic collection.
Wow! Exceeds all expectations!
This microphone and software seemed too good to be true, but they both exceeded all my expectations after just a few sessions. It feels like I must’ve spent a fortune on a priceless collection of the top vintage microphones; instead, I paid for one quality mic, that can accurately reproduce countless amazing microphones. I would say this is now a “must own” for anyone that can afford it.
Great sounding plugin. The new models are fantastic, as are the old ones. I don’t know how close these models are to the real, deal but the system sounds fantastic to me. Took me a few days to really get it dialed in, but once I did, I was pretty blown away.
This takes mics to the next level. After using the Sphere for a while now (as one of the first indiegogo contributors), I can truly say that I never want to record vocals or guitars or anything else with a traditional mic again (not my C800g or C12, etc.) -- why, when I have so many options post-recording with the Sphere? It feels like a quantum leap forward, and any other mic, a thing of the past. Not to mention, in conjunction with the Apollo, tracking is a joy, being able to monitor and audition any of the models on the fly with no latency. I didn't think I'd be utilizing the stereo recording much, or even the different polar patterns, but I am, and having the flexibility is incredible. The ability to be able to monkey with the proximity effect is invaluable, especially for matching overdubs. Can't wait for more and more models. And the Ocean Way collection is unbelievably good.
work of genius
this really transforms and gives real bang for your buck with regard to your current mic collection. have nearly everything at a click of a button with amazing results.
Flat Out Brilliant Product
Picked up a Sphere L22 earlier this year and am blown away with the level of technology and the quality of the emulations that this hardware and software provide. The future truly is now. The emulations sound top notch and the often overlooked ability to adjust patterns, proximity, axis, etc even after the fact put it over the top. Then add the ability to also use one unit as a single stereo mic (and still do all of the above) puts it in the way beyond in terms of technological advances. Very forward thinking and I have to agree that this technology is indeed a game changer as others have stated. The key thing here that I haven't seen a lot of talk about (yet) is even if you completely put aside any of the mic emulation part of this product it's still an absolutely brilliant piece of tech that's worth the price of admission.
Near instant gratification!
First thing, I recorded my own vocals with the C-12 model - instantly loved the mid presence and high-freq shimmer (w/o the cheap harshness of low priced mics) - it'll definitely be my go-to mic model until I fine the time to audition other models and settings. Next, used the Sphere 180 for a stereo B3/Leslie track, with the U67 model. My reaction was Wow.. and.. Done! To leave room for procrastination(!) while mixing, I've been recording two stereo tracks - one dry (except for the Unison pre, for which I've been happily using the UAD Neve 1073), plus one track with the mic model printed. So far so good - I've had no big desire (and little time) to revisit the dry tracks and try new settings, though I'm looking forward to giving the system a full shakedown. The best part: I find the Sphere helps quicken the recording process - being able to choose mic models based on what my ears tell me.. and so far have had very little second guessing.
Is this the beginning of a totally new concept in Microphone Technology & Modelling ???
I honestly think so . Having played around with the Sphere L22 and software for nearly a week now all my doubts have vanished into thin air :-) This is undoubtedly a game changer. A very BIG Thank you to Townsend Labs for producing such an awesome Mic that captures the smallest acoustic details. This with the Mic modelling software and the UAD plugins & Unison technology I finally have a setup that really does produce awesome results.
Astounding for vocals and VOs
The L22 system is amazing, both for singing and VOs. Beautiful models of classic mics. But for me, the best features are things like being able to combine two mics into a unique sound. I also love being able to work with polar patterns not always available on the original versions of the mics to sculpt the sound. Oh, and did I mention all of that can be done while you track OR afterward? Amazing. When you're budget permits, get this system. It'll be a foundational addition to your studio.
Just what the doctor ordered!!!
Had been contemplating buying the Sphere or the Slade VMS for awhile and finally took the plunge and got the Sphere because of the twin capsule. What an incredible buy! This mic renders my small collection of mics obsolete. Believe me, the flexibility this mic offers with its plugin is astounding.
This mic system is Awesome and highly recommended. Love the Coles 4038 on overheads.
We record tons of vocals every day and used to use a competitors virtual microphone system for more then a year. After getting the Sphere mic up and running and using the Unison technology and realtime UAD plugins in the console, we were floored by the sound, the quality and the close to zero latency. It sounds great, it just works, it is truly a game changer!!!