Simulating Effects for Home Recording: Microphone

By Jeff Strong

As its name suggests, the microphone simulator alters your signal to make it sound like it was recorded through a different microphone than the one you used (obviously). The great thing about the microphone simulator effect is that you can have a bunch of microphone sounds available to you without buying a bunch of expensive microphones.

The only real drawback to mic simulator programs is that they don’t sound exactly like the mics that they’re trying to model. Making a $100 dynamic mic sound like a $3,000 large-diaphragm condenser mic is pretty hard, no matter how much computer processing you do.

But this is no big deal, because all you’re trying to do with a mic simulator is to expand the options that you have with a given mic. So even though the modeler can’t exactly match the bigger-buck mic, it can provide a pretty decent sound for your inexpensive mic.

The other possible drawback to using a mic simulator program is that the mic that you used to record the part in the first place may have an impact on how well the simulator sounds. Most mic simulator programs designate which mic was used to model the initial sound and which mic the simulator is trying to sound like.

For example, in the Roland V-Studios, as you scroll through the various mic simulator patches (effects), you see them listed with one mic name followed by another (“SM57 – U87,” for instance). If you want to get a sound like the second mic listed, you need to use the first mic listed.

If you use a different mic than the one listed first, you get a different sound, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s just different.