Antares Mic Modeler

I had the opportunity to try this plug-in recently.  It originally appeared in 2000 as a TDM/Direct X but recently reappeared overhauled for Mac and PC.  It supposedly mimics the characteristics of a load of vintage mics and can be applied as an insert effect on a recorded signal.  So you can record your guitar or a vocal with an SM57 then make it sound like you used a U47 or a Royer ribbon.  Really?  Well put it this way, Antares know that very few people who fork out for it will have the mics in question to do an A/B test.  If they did, this sort of processing would be pointless.  If you have a well recorded source, uncoloured and free of room artifacts then the simulations are interesting.  You can even switch polar patterns, boost the proximity effect and add tube grit.  But turn a budget mic into a pricey classic?  Nah.  But is that the end of it?  Not quite.

Microphones is one area where Chinese competition has turned the market upside down.  Not so long ago there was virtually nothing in the sub £250 bracket worth a toss because the cost of components and labour in the west neccesitated a higher retail price, unless you were happy to turn out garbage.  Now China’s factories are in full swing, there has been an explosion in affordable mics and the quality gap between high and lower end has narrowed dramatically.  Initially the QC for mics assembled in the east was suspect (I’m looking at you Oktava) but many manufacturers overcame this by moving that part of the process to their home factory, binning sub-standard items and negotiating discounts with their Chinese suppliers.  Now the quality gap between a mic costing £200 and one costing £2000 is there but too narrow to justify the price gulf.  Only Neumann among the big names is holding out against an affordable range.  IMHO the mic comes some way down the chain in terms of creating a great recording.  Strength of the song and performance, the acoustic space, quality of the instruments played, if these are in place the mic becomes not unimportant but non-critical.  So, Mic Modeler, if you’re feeling flush is a good piece of software but be prepared to get it right at the recording stage and piss around with it a lot to get a useful effect.


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