Last week I was able to spend a day in the studio with the new Edge series microphones, and after testing each microphone on a variety of sources, I was blown away. There are so many options available right out of the box and the variety of tones I was able to get from a single microphone without leaving the control room was extremely satisfying
Watch our new demo of the Antelope Audio Edge series modeling microphones below to hear them used on a variety of sound sources. Additionally, you'll be able to hear several of the different vintage microphone emulations that come with each Edge mic.
For all of the Edge microphones demos, I was using Antelope Audio’s Discrete 8 interface, with the mic plugged directly into the internal preamps, no EQ or compression was used. After an easy install of all the software needed for the mic modeling, I was able to load the AAX version of the modeling software into Pro Tools and monitor in real-time. I was even able to switch the microphone and polar pattern after the performance had been recorded.
Antelope Audio Edge Solo
The Edge Solo is a single capsule large diaphragm condenser with a cardioid polar pattern, providing a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz and dynamic range of -116 dB. It features a 6-micron gold-sputtered membrane and Antelope's low-resonance body and low-reflection head-basket for highly detailed transient response and hyper-accurate recording quality.
I started the session off by recording a vocal performance from my good friend Jake LeMond. On all my professional vocal recording sessions lately, I’ve been immediately drawn to a vintage Neumann U 67, it has all the low and high end I need with little to no EQ necessary, never too muddy or harsh and allows the vocal to sit just right in the mix. So needless to say, the first model I tried out was the Berlin 67, which is Antelopes take on a Neumann u67.
After adjusting the gain a little bit, I found a sweet spot for the performance. The first thing I noticed with the Solo was the delicacy and detail in the transient response. It picked up all the little nuances of his voice while capturing as much detail in the softer parts of the performance as it was in the loudest. That is something that you usually don’t get from a mic in this price range.
That being said, I can’t say the Solo sounds exactly like a U 67, but surprisingly it’s not too far off! I think it does a great job modeling the low end characteristic of a U 67, but it’s a bit hollow in the midrange and not quite as airy in the top end. One thing to keep in mind is that there is a $15,000 price difference between the Edge Solo and a vintage U 67. For those who want the U 67 sound, but can't afford a vintage model, the Edge Solo is for you.
For the next example, I used the same vocal performance with the Vienna 12 model, which is Antelope Audio’s take on an AKG C12. If I were to swap the vintage versions of these mics out in a session, I would typically notice a drastic difference in the tone, I didn’t really hear that when switching between the modeling software. I could definitely hear a difference between the two, but it wasn’t what I expected between a U 67 and C12. Compared to the Berlin 67, the Vienna 12 has less detail in the low end and an added bump in the higher frequencies.
In the final example, I used the Berlin M251 model, Antelope Audio’s take on an E-LAM 251. After switching from the Vienna 12 model, this time I noticed a drastic difference in tone. The Berlin M251 was similar to the Berlin 67 model, but was thicker and had more definition in the low end and midrange frequencies. The top end had a lot of presence, but was silky smooth. In my opinion, this was the winner between the three modeling mics in this shootout.
Even if you don’t use any of the modeling technology with the Edge Solo, the microphone itself has a great tone. For $695, it’s a great addition to any mic locker, a safe choice for an engineer just starting off and needs one mic to record a variety of sources.
I think it would also work great in a commercial facility or production house as an accent microphone for guitars or drums, being able to throw it up in the room and shape the tone however you see fit in the final mix.
Antelope Audio Edge Duo
The Edge Duo is a dual-membrane large diaphragm condenser microphone featuring dual XLR connections, making it capable of modeling a wide variety of microphones types and polar patterns. Same as with the Solo, it features a 6-micron gold sputtered dual-membrane and Antelope Audio’s low-resonance body and low reflection head-basket, offering top quality transient and frequency response from 20Hz - 20kHz and up to -116 dB of dynamic range.
The Solo only required a mono channel in Pro Tools. Since the Duo is equipped with dual XLR connections, keep in mind you’ll need two available microphone preamps and be recording to a stereo track.
I started the demo off by having Jake record the same vocal performance for me, this time using the Duo into a stereo track in Pro Tools. Since I started with the U 67 model on the Edge Solo, I figured that would be a good place to start and an accurate point of reference for comparing the Duo.
Right off the bat, I noticed the signal level was much healthier, this is without adjusting the preamp on the Discrete 8 where the Solo was plugged in. After making quick gain adjustments for the left and right channels, I found a sweet spot on the mic.
In comparing the tone of the vocal on both mics at the same level in Pro Tools, the Duo is much fuller with more definition in the low end and lower midrange frequencies. It was much smoother in the top end compared to the Solo, as it didn’t seem like it was hyping anything to make it appear brighter. That being said, I think the Solo was naturally more open without needing to adjust EQ. On the Duo 67 example, I used an omni polar pattern compared to cardioid on the Solo.
Using the same vocal performance I switched over to the Berlin 49T, which is Antelope Audio’s take on a Neumann M49. Right when I switched over, I could hear a drastic difference in tone. I think the Duo does a better job overall than the Solo in distinguishing the different mic models, rather than smaller areas of the frequency response changing, I could hear the overall characteristic of the microphone change.
Compared to the Berlin 67, the Berlin 49T was a bit darker and thicker in the low end. It also has more definition in the midrange, somewhere between 400Hz and 600Hz that makes the vocal seem more present, this also gives more apparent loudness without adjusting the output level in Pro Tools.
This example was set to a cardioid polar pattern and yet, when compared to the Berlin 67 example, I can actually hear more of the room tone around the microphone. I really like how open the sound of the Berlin 49T model is and could see myself using this on a professional session as a vocal mic or accent room mic for electric guitars or drums.
The last model I tried on vocals was the Tokyo 800T, which is Antelope’s take on the Sony C800. This is another mic I’m very familiar with, I've used this bad boy just about every day for three years on everything from vocals to drums.
Sony's C800 is one of the clearest mics on the planet, it has a mild hype effect where it accentuates the low and high frequencies in a smiley face curve to add more weight and presence to the source. Those effects make it the go-to mic for hip-hop and R&B vocals. With little to no processing, the vocal sits just right in the mix.
Overall, I think the Tokyo 800T did a great job on modeling those features of the Sony C800. It added a nice little bump to the low and high frequencies similar to the Sony, and kept the midrange full and smooth. I wouldn’t say the model is exactly the same as the Sony, but pretty darn close, and I’m sure with a little bit of EQ and compression, you could get in a similar territory.
Finding the right mic for an acoustic guitar can sometimes be a challenge, and sometimes you don’t realize you’ve made the “wrong” choice until further into the production or mixing process. There are so many elements of an acoustic guitar to be aware of, you often need to look ahead in the production to think what aspect needs to be accented the most. Does it need to be wide open and full? Does it need to be very percussive? Does it need to cut through a rock band and not interfere with the kick and bass? I could see the option to switch the mic and polar pattern later in the recording process with the Edge series mics as being a lifesaver.
I’ve always loved the sound of an AKG C12 on acoustic guitar. The mic is inherently bright and smooth at the same time. It does a fantastic job capturing all the harmonic overtones and percussive transients with great balance.
For the acoustic example, I played something that incorporates percussive playing, detailed hammer-ons, pull offs and big wide open chords to see what these models can do.
One of my favorite aspects of the Vienna C12 was the detail in the low end. From the first position I placed the Duo, it captured a full low end without being muddy, which is typically a battle when recording acoustic guitar. Looking at the waveform in Pro Tools, the average recording level and transients were pretty even across the board. The overall sound was smooth and natural, very similar to what it sounded like in the room.
I think there’s a mild lack in high end detail and overtone harmonics captured compared to an AKG C12, but the overall vibe is there. Using an EQ such as a Pultec EQP-1a, Neve 1073 or MAAG EQ4 could help open that top end right up.
The Neumann U 87 is a great mic for recording acoustic guitar, it’s one of my favorite choices when it needs to cut through a full band mix. It has a smooth low end that is well balanced and a mild bump in the higher midrange which helps give it that presence.
The Berlin 87 model is essentially a U 87, and I think Antelope Audio did a great job on this one. The low end was a little thinner compared to the Vienna 12, but still smooth and full. It had a touch more presence in the upper mids and high frequencies which would for sure make it cut through a band with little to no EQ. The added presence helped make the percussive transients cut through a bit more and really opened up the chords at the end of the performance.
The Vienna 414 is Antelope’s take on the AKG 414. The 414 is typically a little thinner in the lower frequencies and has a bump in the midrange. Certain models of the 414 can have (in my opinion) a thin, almost brittle top end, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when using them as room mics for drums far back in the room or near the floor.
I think the Vienna 414 is pretty spot on to a 414. It didn’t have too much going on in the low end, much thinner than the previous examples. It had a slight bump in the midrange, this would make it sit in a full band and not get in the way of the lower frequency elements in a track. The higher frequencies weren’t as present or shine as the other examples, this would leave more room for the vocals, electric guitars, snare and OH mics to shine through. I think this mic model would be a good choice on an acoustic that doesn’t need to be the primary instrument in the track, but more there for support.
Clean Electric Guitar
Just like an acoustic, a clean electric guitar can be tricky to get just right in the mix. Sometimes you might want it to be full ranged with a thick low end and shiny top end. Other times, you don’t want any low end at all and only use it for icing on the mix. Then there are the times you wish you had recorded it with a ribbon rather than a condenser so the tone is smoother across the board. With the Edge duo, you’re not only limited to condenser mic models, you can also model some of the greatest ribbon mics ever made.
Hands down one of the best microphones ever made is the Coles 4038, as it has been a tried and true standard for generations on just about any source. There’s a magic that happens when using this mic and, if positioned in the right spot, it can sound as if you were standing in the room with the performer. It has a natural quality to it that is hard to beat with a super thick low end response that is punchy and rarely muddy.
For the Duo being a condenser microphone by design, it does an amazing job at capturing the vibe of a 4038. I’m playing a jazz style finger-picking guitar in the example with a moving bass line on the lower strings and accent notes on the higher strings. I was shocked by how much detail the Duo picked up in the lower frequencies, every time I hit a note on the low E strings it gives you a little punch, but also remains balanced with the rest of the strings. Big win for the Duo to me in this example.
Another great ribbon microphone on electric guitar is the Royer R-121. It doesn’t have as much “vibe” as a 4038, but tends to be smoother across the board with not as much detail in the low end and lower midrange frequencies. Not having as much low end typically makes it a better choice for overdriven or heavily distorted guitars, but is also a good choice if you want the electric to play well with the bass without reaching for an EQ.
Just like the 4038, I was shocked at how well the Duo was able to represent an R-121. It has a bit more presence in the higher frequencies without becoming harsh. It also has less detail in the low end, which I would expect from the R-121 and that would make it sit very well in a mix with a bass or piano. It also brought out more detail in the percussive element of the performance, which would make it a good choice if this were played in a trio with no drummer.
Another one of my favorite mics on clean electric guitar is a Neumann U 67 for its natural quality across the frequency spectrum.
In this example, I really like how much you could hear my fingers on the strings, something you couldn’t hear as much from the ribbon mic models. This also brought out more natural overtones and reverb from the amp, making it a livelier performance.
This would be a great option if there was a full band playing with the electric guitar, as there’s not as much hype in the low end so it would leave space for the kick, bass or low end of a piano. The overtones and harmonics fill up the midrange of the mix and it leaves space for the higher register of the piano, room mics and the lead vocal.
The Edge Duo is priced at $1,095, which is a steal for how versatile this microphone is. Just having the ability to switch between the tone of a condenser or ribbon mic is enough to make me a believer, and it does a great job at representing the natural tone of the mic's modeling.
This would be a great mic for someone just starting off that is working on a variety of music. In a professional setting, I could see this being a secret weapon as an accent mic on just about any source, leaving plenty of options and tonal possibilities when it comes to the final mix.
Antelope Audio Edge Quadro
The Edge Quadro is unlike any other mic I’ve ever used. It’s a stereo condenser that features two large diaphragm dual-membrane capsules and a rotating head. This allows you to record advanced stereo mixing techniques with a single mic, including M/S, X/Y, Blumlein and even 3D audio.
Both heads feature the same advanced construction as the Solo and Duo with a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz with up to -116 dB of dynamic range. The Quadro features four XLR connections for controlling both capsules simultaneously and will require four available channels in your interface. This will also require two stereo tracks within your DAW.
I feel like I could’ve spent a week with this mic alone, but in the little time I was able to mess around with it, I could see how powerful and useful this could be in just about every session.
The overall tone of the Quadro is stellar, being able to combine up to four mics in a single position in front of the amp is such a great feature. I was able to shape the sound in so many different ways without ever leaving the control room. It also creates a larger than life tone when combining the two stereo tracks unlike anything I’ve ever heard before.
The electric example starts with the guitar volume rolled down a bit for more overdrive tone than distortion. The Quadro does a great job at capturing the nuances in the amp breakup as well as the dynamic in the performance. When the guitar opens up about ten seconds in, it remains full in the low end, keeps all the definition in the palm muted notes and makes the high end sing.
Within the modeling software, you are able to choose two mics for the top capsule and two mics for the bottom. In one of the examples, I used a 67 and 4038 on the top and a 47 FET and 57 on the bottom with the top capsule 90 degrees off axis. Now, I wasn’t sure if I was even using it correctly at the time, but whatever it was doing totally worked. If you are a guitar tone junky like myself, I highly recommend contacting your Audio Consultant at Vintage King and trying one out for yourself.
For this example, I positioned the Quadro in the middle of the piano and set it up to represent a Blumlein miking technique. On the top capsule, I had two 67s and on the bottom I had two 4038s. In the example, you are hearing the combination of the two.
I like the overall dark quality of the piano tone, it sounds pretty much as it does when I’m sitting there playing. The stereo image is nice in this example, but not quite as wide as I would expect if I set up two Coles 4038s for example, but a majority of the performance was done in the mid range of the piano. Wide image aside, I can tell a noticeable difference between the left and right hand and think the Quadro did a great job in capturing the overall vibe of the mics I selected.
The final example for the Quadro was on a drum overhead in a Blumlein pattern. Again, I choose to use 67s in the top capsule and 4038s in the bottom, 4038s in a Blumlein pattern are typically my go-to when recording drums.
I really love the tone the Quadro captured in this performance. The kick, snare and toms sound super fat, even more so than when using 4038s. I think this is due to the 67s being in the mix from the top capsule. The cymbals were nice and smooth just as I’d expect from a pair of 4038s.
I think this is a mic you need to spend some serious time to get to know all the little tricks it can do, but in the time I did use it, I must say it's one of the most impressive mics I’ve ever used. It's so unique in the ability to shape tone, all without ever leaving your mixing chair.
The Quadro is priced at $2,995 and is a great deal considering the variety of miking techniques and tonal options available. This is something I would for sure use on every session placed somewhere in the room, leaving endless tonal possibilities for drums or guitars in the final mix.
If you'd like to learn more about Antelope Audio's Edge series or order a modeling microphone, contact a Vintage King Audio Consultant via email or by phone at 866.644.0160