Top 9 Mic Plugins 2022 (Waves, UAD, Antares, IK Multimedia…)

Top 9 Mic Plugins (Waves, UAD, Antares, IK Multimedia...) | integraudio.com

For today’s installment, we will look at the top 9 microphone plug-ins for 2022 for an assortment of areas.

Whether it is for improving the character of a microphone while recording, helping you find that touch of magic that makes a recording shine, or taming the unfavorable aspects of a signal, plug-ins can be an affordable godsend for those unable to afford hardware counterparts.

And based on the plug-ins we’ll be looking at today, they can offer aids that wouldn’t be possible for many engineers using what they have at their disposal. Today’s list covers a few microphone plug-in bases, from iconic microphone modeling to preamps to automatic mixers. And hopefully, there will be one for you here.

However, most of today’s plug-ins fall into the mic modeling category. Microphone modeling uses short recorded samples, called impulses responses, to process audio to emulate the sound of a microphone.

Top 9 Mic Plugins 2022 For Various Purposes

1. Waves The King’s Microphones

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Have you ever wanted to sound like royalty? Because Waves’—with the help of Abbey Roads Studios—have added a touch of royalty to their catalog with the King’s Microphone digital audio processor.

Waves The King's Microphones - Top 9 Microphone Plugins (Waves, UAD, Antares, IK Multimedia...) | integraudio.com

Waves The King's Microphones - Top 9 Microphone Plugins (Waves, UAD, Antares, IK Multimedia...) | integraudio.com

The plug-in offers recreations of three microphones used by the royal family during the 1920s and 30s for public addresses. Thankfully, today the historical microphones are looked after by The EMI Archive Trust.

And after being repaired by Abbey Roads Studio’s in-house microphone technician for use during scoring and dialogue for The King’s Speech film, intrigue took hold, and the concept for the plug-in was born.

Waves The King's Microphones - Top 9 Microphone Plugins (Waves, UAD, Antares, IK Multimedia...) | integraudio.com

In a nutshell, The King’s Microphone is a filter that recreates the tone and characteristics of the King George V carbon microphone, the King George VI dynamic microphone, and the Queen Elizabeth dynamic microphone.

Key Features:

  • Three Microphone Models
    Overall, the plug-in creates that iconic early 20th-century radio tone. However, each microphone model caters to a different frequency range. The King George V has a higher tone, the King George VI has a mid-range focus, and the Queen Elizabeth has a warmer, low tone. If used in parallel with a dry signal, it can offer that bit of character needed to give your audio an interesting coloration.
  • Distance Control
    Each model offers three positions: close, ambient, and natural.
     Close emulates the microphone’s response from 5cm away to make use of the proximity effect for a warmer tone, ambient emulates the response from 40cm away for a spacious tone, and natural offers a clean emulated response that has no added coloration.
  • Gain & Trim
    You can adjust the input level of the plug-in manually using the gain dial, or the plug-in can automatically adjust the level using the trim button. The trim option does automatically adjust as you alter the gain setting.

Compatibility:

The plug-in supports Windows 10 and higher and Mac OS 10.15 and higher, both 64-bit only. Also, it supports VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

If you are looking for a filtering plug-in for achieving a unique and timeless sound, then Waves’ The King’s Microphone is for you. It’s simple and easy to use but adds the kind of character you would be hard-pressed to obtain without serious elbow grease.

Related Reading:

20 Best Waves Plugins 2022 For Mixing, Mastering & Producing

2. IK Multimedia T-Racks Mic Room

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

IK Multimedia T-Racks Mic Room - Top 9 Microphone Plugins (Waves, UAD, Antares, IK Multimedia...) | integraudio.com

Similar to Antares’ MicMod, IK Multimedia’s Mic Room is a microphone modeling plug-in that allows you to adjust the tone of your recording to emulate the tone of another microphone.

Compared to MicMod, Mic Room offers a modest selection of microphones for modeling. However, it does perform just as well. Outside of the modeling and tone controls, the plug-in.

In addition, if you are an apple user, you can use the software on the go since IK offers an app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Key Features:

  • Selection of Modelled Microphones
    Up to 20 microphones are available for modeling. The mobile version only includes 9 of those 20 without any additional purchase. However, the mobile app is free. The 20 microphones offered include microphones from AKG, Electro-voice, Neumann, Shure, Royer, and others.
  • Proximity & Saturation Control
    Besides filtering the tone according to the chosen microphone, you can control how much bass boost occurs through the proximity dial. You can also saturate the signal to add more harmonics to the recording for a grittier or brighter tone.
  • iRig Support
    Mic Room is designed to be paired with IK Multimedia’s range of iRig microphones and other IK microphones and interfaces. So if you are a musician on the go, it can be a handy tool.

Compatibility:

The plug-in supports Windows 7 and higher and Mac OS 10.15 and higher, both 64-bit only. Also, it supports VST 2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Like MicMod, IK’s Mic Room is a great option for streamlining the mixing process by filtering audio quicker to find that ideal tone within a mix. However, this plug-in is by no means a shortcut. If the audio you are working with isn’t recorded well, Mic Room won’t fix it.

Related Reading:

Top 6 IK Multimedia Plugins For Various Categories 2022

3. UAD Bill Putnam Mic Collection

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

UAD Bill Putnam Mic Collection - Top 9 Microphone Plugins (Waves, UAD, Antares, IK Multimedia...) | integraudio.com

Source: Universal Audio

Created for Townsend Labs Sphere L22 microphone, the Bill Putnam Mic Collection plug-in allows you to emulate the vintage sound of over a handful of iconic microphones used by engineer Bill Putnam Sr., “the father of modern-day recording.”

Bill Putnam was the engineer responsible for capturing some of the most renowned artists of the 1940s and 50s, including Elvis Presley, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, and more.

Besides emulating the tone of a host of great vintage microphones, the plug-in also allows you to shape the tone before or after tracking by adjusting the emulation’s polar pattern, axis, and proximity. In addition, you can mix in a second emulated microphone for various mixed tones.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable Polar Pattern
    Since the Sphere L22 mic captures sounds three-dimensionally using its dual capsules, you can sculpt the tone in various ways. You have nine different polar patterns to choose from to shape the tone, so depending on whether you’re looking for the openness of a bi-directional or Omnidirectional pattern or the closeness of a cardioid pattern, you have it all at your finger-tips.
  • Axis-Response
    Using the axis-response control, you can color the tone, negate bleed, or compensate for room coloration or phasing issues. The axis-response dial dictates whether the signal is processed as if received from on-axis or up to 180° off-axis.
  • Proximity Effect
    The low-frequency tone of the emulated signal can be adjusted in real-time using a distance and EQ control within the proximity effect section of the plug-in. You can use this to adjust the low-end tone before recording without having to move the mic or artist around the booth to find the perfect spot.

Compatibility:

The plug-in supports Windows 10 and higher and Mac OS 10.14 and higher, both 64-bit only. Also, it supports UAD, VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

The Bill Putnam Collection plug-in for UA hardware and interfaces offers the tones of a few vintage and well-used microphones from AKG, Neumann, RCA, Sennheiser, Shure, Sony, and Telefunken. Its capabilities are great for capturing variety with less effort.

The only real limitation would be that the UAD Bill Putnam Mic Collection is exclusively for the Sphere L22 and accompanying UA hardware. But would it be able to perform just as well otherwise?

Related Reading:

Top 14 UAD Plugins 2022 For Mixing, Mastering & Production

4. AudioThing Speakers (Mic & Speaker Simulations)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

AudioThing Speakers - Top 9 Microphone Plugins (Waves, UAD, Antares, IK Multimedia...) | integraudio.com

Speakers, by AudioThing, transforms your audio to emulate the textures and characteristics of a variety of loudspeakers and microphones. From the piezo pickup of a 1960s dial-up telephone to megaphones to the child-like sound of a toy microphone.

Whether you’re mixing audio for film or music, filtering sounds in creative ways can make a large impact on the entertainment value of the audio. And, outside of recording those sounds in real life, some may be unable to create the sounds and tones they need to bring life to a project.

Enter digital emulation software, specifically Speakers. The plug-in offers a vast library of modeled speakers and microphones for you to process your audio through. In addition, it includes an FX chain, routing options, and background noises to add to your audio.

Key Features:

  • Modeled Speakers
    You have access to fifty-six speakers for filtering your audio. The speakers range from toys and handheld consoles to Bluetooth speakers to radios, tape recorders, and even an intercom. The modeled speakers are great for capturing a variety of lo-fi sounds.
  • Modeled Microphones
    As for the modeled microphones, you can select from thirty-four microphones to process your audio. Akin to the speakers, the microphones also focus on filtering audio using unique low-fidelity models, which include a CB radio, vintage ribbon microphones, the 60s & 70s telephone, and even a plastic toy microphone.
  • Built-In Effects & Processors
    Outside of being able to control the filtered sound’s pitch, echo time, echo feedback, and mix of the dry and wet signal, you can use a variety of distortions, a compressor, and a synth-style filter to shape the tone.
  • Routing
    The plug-in’s routing order is customizable, so you can control in what order of processors your audio passes through the plug-in.  

Compatibility:

The plug-in supports Windows 7 and higher and Mac OS 10.9 and higher, both 64-bit only. Also, it supports VST2, VST3, CLAP, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

If you are looking for a plug-in to help you achieve grittier, lo-fi sounds, then Speakers is for you. It’s unique, and it’s wonderful. In addition, it has a place in any sound designer’s bag of tricks.

Related Reading:

The 10 Best Multi-Effect Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

5. Antares Mic Mod EFX

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

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MicMod EFX is an update to the Antares Microphone Modeler plug-in released in 2000. MicMod is ready to help you find the tone you’re looking for with a new look and an updated library.

Microphone modeling hasn’t always garnered the best response from engineers. However, with the right mindset stepping in, they can be a useful tool. If you’re looking to make your cheap, horrible-sounding microphone perform like the best microphones on the market, you will be disappointed.

The plug-in offers a wide range of selectable microphones that have all been modeled by Antares. In addition, should you be unable to find your microphone within their library, you’ll have the option to choose a generic mic type.

Key Features:

  • Range of Modeled Microphones
    Mic Mod features one hundred and seventeen microphone models for both the source and the modeled microphone. The models range from vintage classics like the Neumann U47 to standard studio workhorses like the Shure SM57 or AKG D112.
  • Microphone Parameters
    Should your chosen mic model offer an adjustable polar pattern or low-cut filter, you can opt to use them with your modeled microphone. And you have the same options for source microphones so that Mic Mod can consider these adjustments when modeling the tone.
  • Proximity Control
    Alongside the low-cut filter and polar pattern controls, you have a dial for adjusting the microphone’s proximity to the source. By dialing in the proximity, you can adjust how much the low end is accented in the tone.
  • Tube Saturation
    On top of being able to control the overall tone through mic selection and various additional parameters, you can mix in the sound of a modeled analog tube preamp. For example, you can use the saturation to achieve a warmer tone at low levels, add more harmonics for a slightly brighter tone at mid settings, or add a distorted tone at high settings.

Compatibility:

The plug-in supports Windows 10 and higher and Mac OS 10.14 and higher, both 64-bit only. Also, it supports VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Antares’ MicMod may market itself as a plug-in that makes the mics you own sound like the microphones you wished you owned, but in reality, it streamlines the filtering process to achieve various tones easier within a mix.

If your recording sounds bad, MicMod won’t be able to improve the quality magically. However, if your recording is good, it can help you find that sound that makes it sit well or pop within a mix.

Related Reading:

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 2022

6. Townsend Labs Sphere 

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

UAD Townsend Labs Sphere Plug-In

The Sphere microphone plug-in by Townsend Labs is a companion to their Sphere L22 modeling microphone. Using the modeling mic, you can emulate the sounds of many rare or expensive professional microphones using just a single mic.

The Sphere L22 microphone was designed to capture an unbiased, almost clinical recording that could be molded according to microphones selected within the Sphere plug-in. In addition, because of the mic’s design, you can adjust various virtual parameters to emulate real-world situations.

These virtual parameters include adjusting the polar pattern, the axis-response, proximity, and filtering options like a highpass filter and a pad switch.

Key Features:

  • IsoSphere
    Should you use a mountable isolation booth while recording, Sphere allows you to compensate for any coloration introduced to the signal using the IsoSphere. IsoSphere allows you to select the type of isolation booth and the distance. It then uses polar pattern correction to maximize the amount of isolation while minimizing coloration for better recordings.
  • Polar Meter
    The plug-in offers a unique meter for tracking the chosen polar pattern and where the signal is positioned within that pattern. A standard polar pattern graph displays the pickup pattern in blue and the incoming sound’s pattern in yellow. Based on what it displays, you can identify how to adjust parameters to introduce more or less bleed or coloration based on the position or distance of the microphone.
  • Off-Axis Correction
    The plug-in offers distance and correction mode controls to minimize coloration introduced by sound captured off-axis. You can adjust the distance of the sound from the microphone to maximize rejection. And you can choose between four off-axis correction modes: free-field, diffuse-field 1, diffuse-field 2, and auto. Each balances accuracy and rejection in its own way.

Compatibility:

The plug-in supports Windows 10 and higher and Mac OS 10.14 and higher, both 64-bit only. Also, it supports UAD, VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

The base plug-in for the Sphere L22 Microphone can be a great, cheaper alternative to amassing your microphone collection. Instead of multiple physical microphones with their characteristics and requirements for maintenance and care.

You can have multiple modeled microphones while only needing to use one microphone. The tonal accuracy of the modeled microphones isn’t perfect, but it is close enough that you may find yourself checking to see if you aren’t using the real thing… sometimes.

7. UAD Ocean Way® Microphone Collection

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Ocean Way Microphone Collection Plug-In

Universal Audio, alongside Townsend Labs, has expanded upon the collection of microphones available for modeling by the Sphere L22 modeling microphone.

Now, you can emulate twelve additional vintage tones hand-picked from Ocean Way’s mic locker. The twelve additional microphones offered include a variety of rare microphones many engineers would never have the opportunity of using.

Couple this with the Sphere L22’s plug-in features, and you have a studio aid that could make your recording life easier.

It is by no means the audio recording Holy Grail, but it is a good alternative to spending thousands, or hundreds of thousands, on microphones that you may potentially never use.

Key Features:

  • Included Microphones
    The collection is made up of solely vintage microphones from the likes of Neumann (what rare collection would be complete without the U47?), AKG, a Sony prototype, RCA, and the predecessor to the studio workhorse, Shure’s SM57. So if you’re looking for a variety of warm and smooth microphones, this collection is for you!
  • Filtering Options
    The plug-in has filtering options for each microphone to remain true to the inspirations. The types of filtering available depend on the microphone selected but include a highpass filter to compensate for the proximity effect and a pad switch. However, the pad switch has been designed only to impart a tonal characteristic created by the mic and doesn’t affect the L22’s sensitivity or the output level.

Compatibility:

The plug-in supports Windows 10 and higher and Mac OS 10.14 and higher, both 64-bit only. Also, it supports UAD, VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

If you own the Sphere microphone or are looking to dive into the world of modeling microphones, UAD’s Ocean Way Microphone Collection is a great addition to the stock Sphere plug-in.

And it can be great for getting your hands on the tones produced by prized microphones.

8. Waves Dugan Speech (Mix Multiple Live Mics)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Waves Dugan Speech - Top 9 Microphone Plugins (Waves, UAD, Antares, IK Multimedia...) | integraudio.com

With the help of Dan Dugan, Waves have brought Dugan’s Automatic Mixing controllers to the digital world with their Dugan Speech plug-in.

In a nutshell, Dugan Speech automatically adjusts the gain for a host of connected microphones for easier mixing at spoken-word-based events.

Using Dan Dugan’s patented voice-activated process, the software adjusts microphones in real-time to maintain a balanced live mix—using a variety of processors— while minimizing noise and feedback.

Unfortunately, the plug-in is exclusive to Wave’s live mixing hardware, the eMotion LV1 live mixing console, and the SuperRack system, designed to be a versatile plug-in rack for live audio processing.

Key Features:

  • Channel Weight
    You can adjust each microphone’s priority within the mix. The weight control allows you to define the importance of one microphone over another by dictating the gain structure for each microphone within a group.
  • Microphone Grouping 
    Channels can be assigned to groups to manage mutes and overrides within a mix smoothly. Managing multiple microphones for dialogue can be an unpredictable juggling act. The groups make it easier to section microphones and control them together rather than separately.
  • Global Controls
    The Global Controls section provides a one-stop shop for activating/deactivating the Dugan Speech plug-in, resetting all channels, and muting/overriding channel groupings. In addition, should you need to switch scenes within your eMotion device, it offers a Recall Safe function that will leave your Dugan Speech settings unmarred.

Compatibility:

The plug-in supports the eMotion LV1 Live Mixer and Waves’ SuperRack plug-in rack.

Summary:

If you are doing live sound for dialogue-based events— whether for television, talk shows, expos, conferences, or film—Waves’ Dugan Speech will make your work easier! As long as you have the Wave system that supports it.

9. Analog Obsession PREDD (FREE)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Analog Obsession PREDD - Top 9 Microphone Plugins (Waves, UAD, Antares, IK Multimedia...) | integraudio.com

Unlike other products on today’s list, PREDD by Analog Obsession is a mic preamp plug-in designed to emulate the vintage sound you would achieve from Chandler Limited’s REDD.47 microphone preamp.

The REDD.47 was a standalone hardware unit created so recording enthusiasts could get their hands on the technology responsible for capturing an iconic era of music: Abbey Roads Studios circa 1959 – 1968.

Outside of the added 10dB high-frequency boost control, you can expect a faithful digital creation of a timeless piece of audio hardware. And best of all, it’s free to download from Analog Obsession’s Patreon Page.

Key Features:

  • Gain Compensated Parameters
    The -20dB pad switch, +52dB voltage gain dial, and the +/- 5dB fine gain control are fully gain compensated, so the signal’s strength remains level throughout the plug-in’s signal chain.
  • Built-In HPF
    The plug-in features a highpass filter that can attenuate frequencies between 30Hz and 180Hz. Unfortunately, the slope at which it attenuates these frequencies isn’t documented.
  • Mic/DI Switch
    The plug-in emulates the effects of the preamp/DI switch found on the original hardware inspiration. The Mic position offers the traditional preamp function designed to elevate a mic level signal, whereas the DI position, traditionally, sends the signal through the unit’s tube for amplification. For PREDD, the signal’s tone is adjusted to emulate these effects.
  • Oversampling
    Should you have the processing power to spare, PREDD does offer an oversampling function. Once engaged, the oversampling finely evens out the tone. The smoothness becomes more apparent at high gain levels.

Compatibility:

The plug-in supports Windows 7 and higher and Mac OS 10.9 and higher, both 64-bit only. Also, it supports VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Having this plug-in for free borders on being criminal. PREDD will be a welcome addition to anyone’s plug-in library if they are looking for a software preamp. However, I recommend you try it even if you aren’t looking for one. It offers a smooth tone that can help your audio pop within a mix.

Related Reading:

How To Use Preamp Plugins? (On Guitars, Vocals, Bass & Drums)

Top 9 Preamp Plugins 2022 (For Vocals, Guitars & More!) + Free Preamps

Conclusion

If you are looking for more tonal options when recording or mixing there are options available that don’t involve more—potentially budget-breaking—hardware devices. Antares, Analog Obsessions, IK Multimedia, and Waves provide helpful plug-in options (with Mic Mod, PREDD, Mic Room, and The King’s Microphones) to filter your recordings.

Adding to the microphone modeling train, if you are open to investing in both the hardware and the software, Universal Audio and Townsend Labs offer a potential one-stop treasure trove of tonal options with their collection of plug-ins for the Sphere system. 

If you are a live engineer looking for a hand with adjusting levels at events involving speech or dialogue, then Waves’ has come to the rescue. Their Dugan Speech plug-in is the helping hand you need.

And lastly, AudioThing’s Speakers plug-in is great for anyone working with film audio in need of a plug-in that allows you to emulate the tone of sound from various everyday devices. 

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