How is Sphere™ technology different from other microphone modeling technologies?

Sphere™ technology consists of an extremely high precision dual channel microphone, the L22, which when paired with proprietary DSP algorithms can accurately model the response of a wide range of mics, including proximity effect and the three-dimensional polar response. In contrast, other microphone modeling technologies apply EQ to filter the sound from what is essentially a conventional microphone. This is fundamentally no different than using EQ to process a recorded track.

Instead, the Sphere microphone captures the soundfield more completely, including directional and distance information, that is lost when using a conventional single channel microphone. With this additional information, it becomes possible to reconstruct how different microphones respond to the soundfield.

This allows the user to record while using, say, an 87 set to cardioid and then for mixing switch to a 47 in omni mode. This is not simply EQing the recording to attempt to approximate the difference. Instead, it actually changes the polar pattern and other characteristics of the microphone directly. Practically speaking this allows you to Re-Mic the audio, as long it was recorded with the Sphere microphone.

It also has many other great features that go beyond straight modeling that are not possible with other technologies. For example, it’s possible to directly adjust the amount of proximity effect of the mic, not with EQ, but by actually changing how the mic responds to different sources. Also, Off-Axis Correction allows the user to obtain a much more accurate polar pattern compared to other directional microphones, which can greatly reduce off-axis coloration.

It is also possible to make stereo recordings with a single microphone with a back to back cardioid configuration. You can even have different mic models on the left side and the right side, which is great for recording acoustic guitar where the soundhole side of the mic is typically extra boomy.

Other features include:

  1. Axis Shift - The user can virtually rotate the axis of the mic to give a more off-axis sound
  2. More Polar Patterns - It is possible to select polar patterns not available with the original microphone, because the modeling can synthesize intermediate patterns.
  3. Simultaneous Mic Models  - It’s possible to do phase coherent mixing of multiple virtual mic models from the same physical microphone.
  4. Flat From 20Hz to 20kHz - If the user so desires, it is possible to create a microphone with an essentially flat response.
  5. Polar Meter - The plug-in has a very cool Polar Pattern Meter, which dynamically displays the direction and level of sound being picked up by the microphone.
  6. Lower Noise - The microphone hardware has a self noise level which is well below most vintage microphones and comparable to many of the best modern microphones.
  7. High SPL Handling - The microphone can handle 140dB SPL

This only scratches the surface of what is possible. For more information see the Sphere Technology Whitepaper, the Sphere User Guide, and this introduction video.