Slate Digital VMS Virtual Microphone System

Mic/Preamp Modeling Hardware/Software Hybrid System with Large-diaphragm Condenser Mic, Preamp, and Plug-in Suite - Mac/PC AAX, AU, VST
Slate Digital VMS Virtual Microphone System image 1
Slate Digital VMS Virtual Microphone System image 1

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Slate Digital VMS Virtual Microphone System
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Your Virtual High-end Mic Locker

What would you pay for a locker full of coveted, mint-condition vintage microphones and high-end modern classics? While you're calculating that, we'd like to tell you about an alluring alternative. The Slate Digital VMS Virtual Microphone System includes an extremely transparent microphone, a sonically neutral preamp, and Slate's amazing VMS microphone/preamp modeling software — and it puts a world-class virtual mic locker in your recording rig at an amazing price. Everyone here at Sweetwater is very excited about Slate Digital VMS. Use it on your next project, and you will be too.

Like owning a locker full of high-end mics

Very few recording engineers ever get to own all the microphones or preamps they'd like to have, but with the Slate Digital VMS Virtual Microphone System, getting your hands on the sounds you want has never been as easy or as affordable. The system includes the ML-1, an extremely transparent large-diaphragm condenser microphone, and the VMS-ONE, a sonically neutral preamplifier. This delivers a coloration-free signal that, when routed through Slate's VMS microphone/preamp modeling software, gives you a mouthwatering selection of microphone models ranging from coveted tube classics (the FG-47 and FG-251) to a modern ultra-fidelity condenser (the FG-800). Slate's Virtual Preamp Collection includes the FG-73, modeled after a legendary British discrete solid-state console preamp; and the FG76, modeled after a classic vintage tube pre.

Choose your ideal signal path

Setting up for a vocal overdub session? How would you like access to a coveted German large-diaphragm condenser mic from the early 1960s? No problem. Why not pair that with the channel strip preamp from a classic '70s British console? Done. Using advanced physical modeling and state-of-the-art digital signal processing techniques, this hybrid microphone and preamp modeling system gives you access to virtually any signal-path tone you can imagine.

Breakthrough hybrid modeling: the key to VMS

The system includes the extremely transparent ML-1 large-diaphragm condenser microphone, which is completely devoid of coloration. The sonically neutral VMS-ONE Linear Preamp ensures minimal coloration, giving you a clean slate for preamp modeling. The VMS plug-in software lets you completely change the tonal characteristics of your recording, even after the fact. Choose from a massive collection of classic vintage mic and preamp models, as well as unique models for advanced recording techniques. You can re-create countless iconic recording chains most engineers can only dream of getting their hands on!

Slate Digital VMS Virtual Microphone System Features:

  • Hybrid microphone and preamp modeling system
  • Gives you access to virtually any signal-path tone you can imagine
  • The ML-1, an extremely transparent large-diaphragm condenser mic
  • VMS-ONE, a sonically neutral, super-linear microphone preamplifier
  • VMS plug-in software, with a collection of classic mic and preamp models
  • Software requirements: Mac OS 10.7 and above; Windows 7 and above
  • Requires an iLok2 or iLok3 (not included) for authorization

Additional Media

Studio Microphone Buying Guide
Studio Preamp Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Microphone Type Condenser
Polar Pattern Cardioid
Diaphragm Size Large
Software AAX, AU, VST (iLok2/3 required)
Power Source VMS One preamp
Color Black
Connector XLR (mic); 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" TRS (VMS One outs)
Manufacturer Part Number VMS

Customer Reviews

Based on 23 reviews
Write your review

For the price buy a few of these

I saw the new small diaphragm mics (ML-2) at NAMM a month or so before I got this. I remember walking by the Slate booth and laughing at the concept they had. Someone who I was recording later was telling me how good these mics were. First of all, I own a Vintage M49 I used to own a Vintage U47 and a C800. I also own 32 channels of mic-pres like 1073, API, Avalon, Telefunken, Millennia Media etc. So, I come from the thought of you get what you pay for. I still use real guitar amps (with 3 mics usually) because they sound better than plugins. I was really skeptical of this mic. Especially because you have to use their preamp. I usually track with one of my 1073 to a compressor then to the DAW. So, using their mic to their pre with no compressor was a bit of a change to me. But I was like well I will give it a shot. So, Slate does not have a M49 model (they have one coming out in a few months). So, I compared my M49 to the Slate u47. The M49 and the U47 are very similar sounding microphones. Both in the 10k price range. My M49 to a real 1073 pre and their U47 with their pre with the 1073 software sounded almost identical. The Slate actually sounded a tiny better there was no noise compared to my M49. Chop the vocals up so the noise of my M49 goes away and you are looking at pretty much the exact same sound. Even after this is was a bit skeptical. I would still set the mic side by side with my M49 or similar mic when tracking vocals. Every time I would still choose the Slate though. The thing that is really great about this mic is the ability to change the mic later. You can get your vocal chain all set up in your DAW and swap the mics as you are mixing the song. The mic model I think sounds good while tracking is not always the mic I use during mixing. This mic is also great on room guitar cabs and room drum mics. This mic was so cheap I bought a second one soon after the first one I got.
Music background: Recording for 20 years

I'm not a big "review" guy...

My main mic is (was?) a Sony C800G. One day I started getting "the noise" where I could tell something wasn't right with it. Come to find out...this is NOT an easy product to have repaired. Not only price wise, but having to send off for weeks and not knowing and blah run across a demo video of this mic and was quite impressed and ordered the little bugger. I use essentially the same chain I own in hardware all in the virtual mix rack now. At the end I will typically replace the slate neve eq with the UAD one, as I think it still has a little more gusto...only necessary for lead vocal. The other 2 mic models are equally as stunning. The mic itself is extremely flat (and very usable in it's own right!) and the pre is just simple and WONDERFUL. Everything is so clean. Dirty it up in the box. Not sure when the c800 will be fixed... I looked at this as a temp solution at first...but dear lord we've come a long way. I don't know Steven, but the passion he emotes when explaining his products and the excitement I can feel coming off of him with every detail is very becoming. So excited to see what he and Fabricio(?) come up with next and looking forward to other mic models. I'm half asleep or I'd drone on and on for days. Just great. Congrats!
Music background: Pop Producer

New Generation of Audio Equipment

Slate Digital's Virtual Microphone System is one huge leap toward a new frontier of hybrid audio engineering equipment. Combining high end hardware with meticulously designed software, VMS isn't opening a door to a new frontier, its kicking that door down. $999. Let that sink in. Let me state upfront that I do not have firsthand experience with any of the specific emulations included. I cannot tell you whether or not this microphone can completely replace your vintage u47, your C800G, and your 251. (But honestly, even if it is 1:1 identical, why would you replace those microphones?) But I can tell you that for under $1k, you get 4 high end microphones. (Yes, even the Slate ML-1 by itself is a good microphone, just very flat!). There's also plenty of evidence from professionals that the emulations are at the very least, eerily close to the real thing. The FG47 is full and round, with a nice big bottom. Fat everything. The FG800 is modern and airy, crisp and shiny. The FG251 is well balanced, smooth, and compliments just about anything well. You also get 3 high end preamps. (A 1073-like that NAILS the neve flavor, a v76-like that sounds just as stellar, and the VMS One itself which is an amazingly clean, linear pre-amp.) Now it doesn't just stop there. You can use the software on anything. The preamps are actually available as plugins from Slate. The VMS One also takes line level inputs, so you can run other signals through it. THERES MORE MICROPHONES COMING FOR PURCHASE TO USE WITH THIS. (We know so far of the C12 and u67. There's also a mystery third microphone yet to be revealed in that same update.) If you absolutely cannot stand monitoring through DAW (since VMS requires the plugin), you can still monitor the ML-1 live and it sounds good! Has a modern, high end sound. Take the time to get to know each microphone. I would even recommend revisiting your current microphones before using this one. Just so it can really blow you away with its sound quality, and allow the versatility and variety of tones to click. The shockmount is sturdy, the microphone is nice and heavy and big, it comes with a decent case, and no frills packaging. The value of this, not just microphone, but virtual microphone system, is absolutely absurd. $999. Not only am I going to go on the record and state: This is now a must-own for not only engineers/artists on a budget, but almost everyone. But I'm going to go a step further and say that we are witnessing an absolute paradigm shift in modern audio engineering equipment. My only complaint is that the preamp is so light its borderline too light! Haha cables tug on it and it stands up!

Just amazing

Just got my VMS working with my RME UFX... NO latency problem at all. Man.... this mic sounds so great even without the emulations. But with the emulations is just fantastic. I´ve been waiting 2 years for this product. Yes... I`m a Slate believer since day one I tried their products. This mic is revolutionary. Can Believe just costs $ 999.00. No doubt... get it if you can!.
Music background: Rock

This mic is the real deal. It sounds incredible.

Just like many people I was skeptic, at first. I receive one of the pre-orders and these guys have done it again. I've sold a mic that cost 3 times more and I feel I've gotten a huge upgrade. Now I am also selling my preamp, no need for it. Between this and the AXE FX II, I've gone completely into virtual recording mode. Can't wait to combine the two.
Music background: Recording for a hobby for the past 5 years

Sweetwater Advice

Daniel Vranic

I've used Slate Digital's VMS Virtual Microphone System alongside real 251s, U47s, and 1073s coupled with high-end outboard preamps, and I can wholeheartedly say this microphone knocks it out of the park. The emulations are scary close to the real mics, and I'm happy to recommend it to anyone, whether they record in a bedroom or a venerated commercial studio in LA or Nashville.
See also: Condenser Mics, Slate Digital, Slate Digital Plug-ins: Utility, Slate Digital Condenser Microphones, Slate Digital Preamps