10 Best Microphone Shaping Plugins for Vocal Production | collective icon (2023)

What are the best microphone modeling plugins? This Icon Picks roundup features ten microphone emulation tools that recreate the music industry's most revered microphones.

10 Best Microphone Shaping Plugins for Vocal Production | collective icon (1)

What is microphone modeling?

A microphone is an essential tool for reachingexcellent sound recordings, be it singing, instruments or other noises. The type of microphone used can affect or degrade the sound quality of any recording.

Each microphone has its own unique and colorful character that contributes to the sound of a recording. Because of this, recording studios around the world have a variety of microphones for every situation. However, not everyone has access to the revered microphones used by professional studios. In addition, coveted classic microphones are expensive and difficult to find.

Fortunately, ongoing developments in microphone modeling have provided more affordable and accessible options. With a single hardware mic and mic emulation plug-ins, you can access a dreamlike collection of virtual mics right on your computer. Now you can transform the sonic character of any recording with authentic emulations of the world's most renowned microphones. Why pay $16,000 for an AKG C12 mic when you can have dozens of high-end mics at your fingertips for a lot less?

Advantages of microphone modeling

Microphone modeling plugins also have a number of benefits. For example:

Cost: Affordability is the main reason for using a modeled microphone instead of the original hardware. It takes a lot to build a personal microphone collection that fits the needs of your projects. Also, most vintage microphones are expensive and hard to find.

Convenience: Microphone emulation plug-ins allow you to quickly listen to multiple microphones even after recording. Imagine recording a track with one microphone and then realizing that another would have been a better choice. With modeled microphone plug-ins, you can switch presets to seamlessly hear a new sound. You can also use mic modeling plug-ins in a live performance to achieve that high-end mic sound you would never consider on tour.

flexibility: Plugins can provide more options and features than hardware microphones. For example, some microphone modeling plug-ins allow you to change the microphone type, polar pattern, and other microphone properties even after recording!

reliability: Microphone modeling systems do not require maintenance like many older microphones. A new microphone model system is also less delicate and easier to replace if damaged than a vintage vacuum tube microphone.

1. Townsend-Labors | Sphere L22 Mikrofonsystem

10 Best Microphone Shaping Plugins for Vocal Production | collective icon (2)

The Townsend Labs Sphere L22 Microphone System accurately recreates the characteristics of the most desirable large-diaphragm condenser microphones. Access over 30 authentic emulations of the most revered microphones of all time.


The Sphere system consists of a high-resolution two-channel microphone and the included Sphere Precision Microphone plug-in from UAD. Together they accurately model the response of each microphone model, including transient response, harmonics, proximity effect, and three-dimensional polar response. You can also change microphone type, polar pattern, placement, and other microphone properties before and after tracking.

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2. Digital Board | Virtual microphone system

Slate Digital's VMS Virtual Microphone System is a hybrid microphone and preamp modeling system. The system includes the ML-1 microphone, two vintage preamp emulations and VMS microphone/preamp modeling software. You can mix and match precise models of coveted microphones and preamps to find your taste.

In addition, VMS offers a wide range of iconic microphone models, from the coveted classic tube to the modern ultra-fidelity condenser. Expansion packs are also available that offer even more coveted microphone emulations.

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3. Antilopen-Audio | Edge-Modeling-Mikrofone

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Antelope's unique mic modeling starts with edge mics. These mics offer the signature sound of some of the most sought-after mics. Couple them with the included microphone emulation plugin and you have the ultimate virtual microphone cabinet.

The Edge family consists of four high-quality large-diaphragm capacitors:

  • go edge:The first bus-powered microphone with mic modeling. Capture the character and character of rare and expensive vintage condenser microphones. Edge Go also comes with 11 vintage microphone models and 20 high-quality effects to treat your recordings.
  • Edge-Solo: Reproduces the authentic sound of legendary cardioid microphones. Combined with the microphone modeling plugin, it allows users to emulate some of the world's most famous microphones.
  • Edge-Duo: Captures vocals and instruments with impeccable clarity, depth and detail. Independent outputs from the capsule's dual diaphragms allow for next-level modeling and full control over pickup patterns, even after recording. It's the perfect starting point for emulating a variety of timeless studio microphones.
  • border area: Antelope Audio's most advanced modeling microphone. This stereo microphone has two large double-diaphragm capsules and a rotating head. It also offers four independent processing channels. This enables stereo techniques such as M/S, X/Y, Blumlein and even 3D sound.

The Edge family also features an ever-growing library of stunning vintage mic emulations. Expand your dream microphone cabinet as new emulations are released.

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4. Antelope-Audio | Verge Modeling Microphone

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(Video) Vocal Production & Editing Ft. Antelope Audio Edge Mic

The Verge Modeling Microphone gives you access to some of the most respected small diaphragm condenser microphones. Its transparent response and high SPL excel at capturing brass, drums, piano, strings and acoustic guitar.

However, when combined with the included mic emulation plug-in, the Verge takes on the personality of some of the best small diaphragm mics on the market. Each microphone emulation also delivers stunning detail and realism without the need for additional hardware.

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5. Gauge | ECM 87 virtual microphone lock

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The ECM-87 Virtual Mic Locker emulates the tone, frequency response and character of iconic vintage microphones. This microphone modeling system uses a cardioid condenser microphone and includes the Mic Clone plug-in to emulate eight microphones from Neumann, AKG and Sony.

In addition, Gauge Precision Instruments offers two versions of its ECM-87 microphone packages: the ECM-87 Classic Virtual Mic Locker and the ECM-87 Stealth Virtual Mic Locker. These kits come with the ECM-87 or ECM-87 Stealth cardioid condenser microphone and the Mic Clone plug-in that emulates the vintage microphones.

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6. UAD | Ocean Way Microphone Collection

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The Ocean Way Microphone Collection plug-in expands the capabilities of Townsend Labs' acclaimed Sphere L22 microphone system. This microphone modeling kit gives you access to Grammy Award-winning engineer/producer Allen Sides' acclaimed microphone collection. Capture the authentic sound of 12 vintage microphones with ultra-accurate emulations from Neumann, Sony, RCA, AKG and more.

The Ocean Way Microphone Collection plug-in also requires the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 condenser microphone (sold separately).

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7. UAD | Bill Putnam's microphone collection

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(Video) My Top 5 Plugins you NEED for Mixing in 2021

The Bill Putnam Mic Collection plug-in also works with the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 microphone. This microphone modeling plugin adds nine vintage microphone emulations from Bill Putnam Sr.'s acclaimed collection. Access legendary microphones from Neumann, RCA, AKG and more.

Plus, these mic emulations combine the classic tones of the legendary mics used by Bill Putnam to track Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and more. They also faithfully model the transient response, harmonics, proximity effect, and three-dimensional polar response of the original microphones.

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8. UAD | Townsend Labs sphere

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Townsend Labs Sphere Precision Microphone Plug-Ins give you access to over 30 emulations of the most award-winning microphones in recording history. This microphone modeling set accurately captures the rich detail of renowned microphones from Neumann, Telefunken, AKG and others.

The Townsend Labs Sphere plug-in requires the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 condenser microphone (sold separately). Together, this microphone modeling kit delivers impressive accuracy and sound quality. It even accurately models the response of each microphone, including transient response, harmonics, proximity effect, and three-dimensional polar response.

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9. IK-Multimedia | Microphone

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Mic Room is a microphone modeling tool for IK Multimedia's T-RackS. The plugin puts at your fingertips a world-class collection of over 20 vintage and contemporary microphones. Access a variety of dynamic, condenser, and ribbon mic models. There are also some unconventional and very creative models.

This mic modeling module also allows you to "re-mic" your physical mics to make them sound and perform like some of the most desirable mic models. In addition, Mic Room offers a selection of sound shaping tools that you can use to enhance your recordings.

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10. Antares | Mikrofon-Mod-EFX

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(Video) UAD Capitol Chambers — 5-Minute UAD Plug-In Tips

Mic Mod EFX is the microphone modeling tool that models over 100 legendary microphones. Liven up your recordings with vintage mic emulations from Neumann, Coles and more, as well as modern boutique mics. Just tell Mic Mod EFX which mic you are using and which mic you want to emulate. The Mic Mod EFX reproduces the subtle sonic characteristics that make each microphone unique.

Mic Mod EFX also gives you control over options specific to each microphone emulation. Each option results in the same sound effect produced by the actual hardware microphone. The plugin also features a tube saturation control to add the final touch of perfection.

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What microphones make your voice sound better? ›

  • Shure SM7B. The best vocal mic – it was good enough for MJ. ...
  • Aston Microphones Spirit. The best of British engineering. ...
  • AKG C414 XLII. Versatility and very high quality are order of the day. ...
  • Shure Super 55. One of the best vocal mics for the stage. ...
  • Rode NTK. ...
  • Shure SM58. ...
  • IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio. ...
  • AKG C636.
20 Oct 2022

What is a microphone emulator? ›

Mic Mod EFX is the microphone modeling tool that models over 100 legendary microphones. Liven your recordings with emulations of vintage mics from Neumann, Coles, and others plus modern boutique microphones.

What is a modeling microphone? ›

A modeling mic is designed to emulate many different microphones. For example, with a modeling mic you would first record the singer. Then, instead of physically swapping out different mics, you would virtually choose which mic you wanted to emulate by using a plugin inside the DAW.

What is a virtual microphone? ›

A virtual microphone is any one of the thousands of predetermined locations that is a spatial point in three-dimensional space that the array can specifically focus on.

How do I make my mic sound professional? ›

Seven Tips That Will Make Your Microphone Sound Better When Recording
  1. Turn off anything noisy in the room. ...
  2. Keep the microphone OFF your desk, if possible. ...
  3. Keep your microphone with its back turned towards any noise source. ...
  4. Keep your microphone within a few inches of your mouth.
24 Sept 2020

How can I make my mic sound like a pro? ›

How To Make Your Mic Sound Better
  1. Use Quality Cables.
  2. Use A Quality Low Distortion Preamp.
  3. Listen To The Sound Source Before You Mic Up.
  4. Learn What Your Mic Sounds Like.
  5. Find The Best Mic Placements On The Stage.
14 Feb 2022

What are the 5 types of microphones patterns to use during a production? ›

Don't pick the wrong mic! Find out when to use certain microphones by learning these six essential microphone pickup patterns.
  • Omnidirectional. Perfect for: interviews, moving subjects. ...
  • Cardioid. ...
  • Hypercardioid (Mini-Shotguns) ...
  • Supercardioid (Shotgun) ...
  • Lobar (Unidirectional) ...
  • Bidirectional (Figure 8 Pattern)
11 Jan 2016

What is the 3 to 1 rule for placing microphones? ›

This rule deals with minimizing the audible phasing problems when summing several microphones to mono. The rule states that the source-to-microphone distance of numerous microphones should be three times the distance between the sound source and the nearest microphone.

What are the three types of mics? ›

There are three main microphone types:
  • Dynamic Mics.
  • Condenser Mics.
  • and Ribbon Mics.

What is cactus mic? ›

The Cactus is a multipattern, large-diaphragm tube microphone. A switch on the power supply provides nine selectable pickup patterns, from omni to figure-of-8. The mic's capsule is Blue's B7 design (available separately in a lollipop-style head for Blue's various Bottle mics).

What does putting a sock on a microphone do? ›

A sock can work as a DIY mic pop filter and save you some money because you can use one that you already have around the house. The trick is that you need a thin sock that won't drown out your voice.

What is a windscreen mic? ›

​ ​​​​The foam or fur cover of a microphone is called a windscreen. A windscreen protects the microphone diaphragm from gusts of air. Without a windscreen, wind or breathing can cause loud pops in the audio signal. Windscreens break up gusts of air before they interact with the microphone diaphragm.

How do I make my mic sound better with EQ? ›

Don't go overboard, 6-7dB is probably near the maximum you'll want to adjust in any EQ adjustment. This value can also be negative! Remember, bringing down the bass is, in effect, boosting your mids and highs, giving a more crisp sound if you feel the mic is “muddy” or “muffled.”

How can I make my mic louder and clearer? ›

How To Make Your Mic Louder?
  1. Increase Microphone's Sensitivity.
  2. Increase Microphone's Input.
  3. Change Microphone Volume Using Settings.
  4. Boost Volume Using The Control Panel.
  5. Give apps permission to use your mic.
  6. Update your drivers.
  7. Use a microphone-boosting app.

How can I make my sound more professional? ›

10 Ways to Make Vocals Sound Modern & Professional
  1. Top-End Boost. ...
  2. Use a De'Esser. ...
  3. Remove Resonances. ...
  4. Control the Dynamics with Automation. ...
  5. Catch the Peaks with a Limiter. ...
  6. Use Multiband Compression. ...
  7. Enhance the Highs with Saturation. ...
  8. Use Delays Instead of Reverb.
5 Jan 2017

How do you make audio sound realistic? ›

How to record high-quality audio
  1. Value your listeners. Podcasts and blogs are similar. ...
  2. Invest in the right microphone. You knew this one was coming. ...
  3. Use a microphone stand. ...
  4. Find a great place to record. ...
  5. Speak near the microphone. ...
  6. Set up a pop filter. ...
  7. Select an audio interface. ...
  8. Record separate tracks.
20 Jan 2021

How do I test my microphone quality? ›

To test a microphone that has already been installed:
  1. Make sure your microphone is connected to your PC.
  2. Select Start > Settings > System > Sound.
  3. In Sound settings, go to Input and under Test your microphone, look for the blue bar that rises and falls as you speak into your microphone.

What mic do most producers use? ›

  • Microphones for vocal production are the absolute first piece of contact in the recording chain. ...
  • Blue Yeti or Rode NT USB. ...
  • Rode NT1A. ...
  • Shure SM58. ...
  • Shure SM7B. ...
  • Neumann TLM 103 or Neumann U87. ...
  • Mojave MA-200. ...
  • Telefunkin u47.

Which polar pattern is best for vocals? ›

The most commonly used polar pattern for recording vocals is cardioid, which is more sensitive to sound arriving from the front of the mic than the back. Cardioid mics have the advantage of reducing ambient noise; however, they will also colour the sound more than an omni-directional design.

What microphones do most studios use? ›

Condenser microphones are considered the most versatile studio microphones and can be used to record essentially any instrument. They are somewhat more fragile and sonically sensitive than dynamic mics, and they require a small electrical current to operate, so they are less popular in the live setting.

Which mic is used by professional singers? ›

Shure SM58 Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone

The Shure SM58 is easily the industry-standard live vocal microphone.

What makes a mic high quality? ›

A microphone's frequency response refers to the range of frequencies, from low to high, that a microphone will pick up. This range is referred to by its lowest and highest frequencies, measured in hertz. A microphone with a frequency response range of around 80 Hz to 15 kHz would make a good choice for a vocal mic.

What mic is used in Hollywood? ›

The microphone type that is often in use are lavalier microphones. These are usually called “LAVs” or “body mics”. Lavaliers attach to an actor's clothing, usually the lapel.

How far should mic be face? ›

Keep the microphone element about 1 to 3 inches away from your mouth. Point the front of the microphone toward your mouth. Don't talk into the side of it. Be careful not to move the microphone or your head suddenly.

What is the best distance for a microphone? ›

A good rule of thumb is to have the mic positioned about 6-12 inches away from your mouth. As you get closer to the mic, an increase in low frequency response can occur, causing your voice to be overly bassy.

How close should you sing to a mic? ›

The most common mistake is holding the microphone too close or too far from the mouth. This can result in your singing sounding muffled and distorted or too distant or no vocal sound at all. To avoid distortion, the mic should be held no closer than 2 to 3 inches from their mouth during normal singing.

Which microphone quality is best? ›

  1. Blue Yeti X. Best Microphone for Streaming. ...
  2. HyperX SoloCast. Best Budget Microphone for Streaming. ...
  3. Shure MV7. Best Higher-End Microphone for Streaming. ...
  4. HyperX QuadCast S. Best Microphone for Gaming. ...
  5. Rode PodMic. Best Microphone for Podcasting. ...
  6. Elgato Wave 3. ...
  7. PowerDeWise Lavalier Microphone.
4 days ago

Which mic did Michael Jackson use? ›

Known as the Shure SM7, Michael used this mic the most on his first few albums, including Thriller. It is an industry standard used for music recordings as well as for broadcast radio and TV.

What is the most famous microphone? ›

The Shure SM58 is the most popular live vocal microphone on the market today. The status of the SM58 has made it iconic and has inspired many clones.

Which type of microphone is usually the most accurate? ›

Condenser Microphones

Because there is no heavy coil on the back of a condenser mic's diaphragm is can follow the sound waves' pressure variations much more closely than a dynamic mic can, making it the most accurate kind of microphone.

Is a dynamic or condenser mic better for vocals? ›

Condenser mics are more sensitive and have a wider frequency response and dynamic range. So for recording quality, yes, they are better. What are condenser microphones best for? Condenser mics are best for the studio recording of vocals and acoustic instruments.

What are the two most common microphones used in sound? ›

Though there are plenty of differentiating factors between microphones, they are typically divided up by transducer type. The two most common types, then, are dynamic and condenser, though there are plenty of other types and subtypes: Moving-Coil Dynamic. Ribbon Dynamic.

What kind of microphone picks up sound from all sides? ›

Omnidirectional Microphone Pickup Pattern

These microphones pick up sound equally from all directions. The sound is picked up in a circular pattern so that the front, sides, and back of the microphone can pick up sound clearly.

Is mono or stereo better for microphone? ›

On-camera microphones are often best used in a monaural configuration to record dialogue. A boom is even more desirable. A stereo mic would be used for ambiance. A stereo recording on video creates more of a sense of place, or a listening environment, than a mono mic can.

What are the 3 types of mic? ›

Each of the three primary types of microphones—dynamic microphones, condenser microphones, and ribbon microphones—has a different method for converting sound into electrical signals. All three have the same core construction, though.

What are the three main mic types? ›

Types Of Microphones – Condenser, Dynamic, And Ribbon. There are three primary types of microphones. Those include cardioid, dynamic, and ribbon microphones. Ideally, they all work the same but are designed to capture different elements.

What type of mic is most sensitive? ›

Condenser microphones usually have much higher sensitivity than dynamic mics. Typical values are 8 to 32 mV/Pa or –42 to –30 dB re 1V/Pa.

What microphones does Justin Bieber use? ›

What Microphones Does Justin Bieber Use? “I use various microphones to record him, such as the Sony C800G, Telefunken ELAM 251, Neumann U47, or Neumann U67.” What we say will have a direct impact on how we hear it. I feel at ease using it.

What are the 6 types of microphones? ›

  • 9: Carbon Microphone. " Carbon microphones are some of the oldest microphones. ...
  • 7: Dynamic Microphone. " Dynamic microphones are common at live shows. ...
  • 5: Ribbon Microphone. " Ribbon microphones sometimes used today when audio engineers want a "vintage" sound. ...
  • 3: Condensor Microphone. " ...
  • 1: Crystal Microphone. "
1 Sept 2021

Which mic does Billie Eilish use? ›

Neumann TLM 103 Condenser Microphone.

Which is the most common mic pick up pattern? ›

Popular dynamic mics like the Shure SM58 use a cardioid polar pattern. Recording from a single direction in a small circular pattern helps prevent sound bleed. The cardioid microphone pickup pattern is one of the most common and works perfectly as an all-around solution to voice recording.

Should my mic be mono or stereo? ›

Stereo microphones have two microphone elements, and are designed to give you a wider, more immersive sound field than mono microphones. A wide pickup pattern is preferable for most live events and when shooting outdoors.


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