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Slate Digital VMS Virtual Microphone System Reviews

4.5 stars based on 42 customer reviews
Questions about the Slate Digital VMS Virtual Microphone System?
Questions about the Slate Digital VMS Virtual Microphone System?

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  • from April 27, 2020

    So far so good

    Haven't had the time to really test but what I have recorded has came out pretty clean. Another slate product that has left me wowed!
  • from Texas December 5, 2019 Music Background:
    , beats, rhymes, life.

    Wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t have it

    Wasn’t really interested in emulating a particular mic, just needed a good microphone to get quality performances out of. The ability to change between emulations is fantastic however. This was the right choice
  • from August 10, 2019 Music Background:
    Engineer, Producer

    Thoughts on the VMS From a Complete Skeptic

    I've used a lot of great microphones over the years. M49, U47, U67, ELA M 251. I'm very familiar with the sound and character of these microphones, especially the 251.

    When I first put this system up, the first thing I realized is that the microphone without any processing at all sounds great. Its clean and clear. Just what you would want from a good LDC. But when I finally put the VMR up and loaded the 251 Tube mic into my session, I honestly couldn't believe my ears. From the top to the very specific midrange that only the 251 seems to handle in a particular way, it was "the sound." When I kicked in the Blackbird 251, I knew immediately it would be a very long time before I put up any of my other tube mics.

    This is the real deal people. I don't know any other way to put it. And being able to literally shootout a microphone's sound during tracking and even after is a paradigm shift that will change your workflow for the better. This is from a person who has been recording for over 30 years.
  • from Lake havasu city March 8, 2018

    5 stars

    IN LOVE! Everything I needed in one.
  • from Holly Springs, NC February 3, 2018 Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Bonafide So Far

    5 star for the price and delivering As Advertised in terms of Mic character.

    I've compared the emulations to an SM7B and a U47 clone and the characteristic of the emulation changed to match the character of those mics. The SM7B, being exact, was pretty darned scary cool.

    I did have a bug creep up for a few months messing with the emulations (growing pains or incompatibility with my DAW, Reaper, IDK) but it's fixed now and it's a very useful system.

    It can sometimes be sibilant on your vocals, so I move the mic sideways. The Neumann mic emulations seem to be tube, not condenser. Slate doesn't want to compete with on-going manufacture mic-sales. Which is a bummer.

    I have a U87 and when I compare the 2, I can get easily musical results from both. The FG800 and 251 emulation are brighter in a way I like and so compared to the U87 are not as clear, nor 3D or musical, but this could be that the Slate Microphone is not the exact same Polar Pattern and can ONLY do a type of Cardiod. These things should take a 1/2 point away, but for $, to get quite usable tones, changeable AFTER recording is so revolutionary they've earned the 5 star.

    I'm still deciding if I want the variety or can just make use with my U87, but I think for real studio (big and small) you can help clients save money by reducing recording time and choosing emulations in-the-mix.

    Last thing, the Mic might be middle-of-the-road, but as a stand-alone no emulation it's a neutral not bad at all mic. The preamp is also middle road (ie perhaps each in the $300-400 chinese made market range) I think the power supply connection is a weak link on the VMS ONE preamp. Not the best fit, so don't wiggle that unit around a lot.

    Bottom Line: Revolutionary idea, Bang-for-the-buck and I would like them to release the ML-2 1/2 condenser mic already (it's been a year since announced, grrrr)
  • from Kent, WA January 29, 2018

    Detroit, stand up

    Yo...I'm so happy I paid off this microphone and don't have to worry about it ever again. People will say stuff left and right, just like they do with everything. Foam, acoustics, you need this or you need that. Don't do this but do that. Those types of things you'll find in many pro audio forums but here you will find the truth.

    This microphone is a gangster. You will feel very happy with your results I promise.
    Do yourself a favor and buy one.
    Having many different mics via software is a brilliant idea.

    Enjoy.
  • from November 19, 2017 Music Background:
    Music Producer/Engineer

    Killer Sound

    I don't own any vintage U47s or 251s to compare this to but the sound of this mic is top notch and the variety it provides with the included software makes this product worth much more than its price tag. I bought it with vocals in mind but it also excels at acoustic guitars and pretty much anything i've thrown in front of it over the past few weeks. My personal favorite mic it models is the 251- it just sounds so musical! I find it difficult to imagine anyone regretting this purchase, seems like the future of audio to me.
  • from Fort Lauderdale, FL October 24, 2017 Music Background:
    Musician, recording engineer

    Spot on

    Steven did it again... awesome system
  • from Egoextravaganza Studios Rochester NY September 1, 2017

    Slate Digital VMS System

    The Mic and the pre all on it's own are both great.Combined with the software from slate designed for the VMS it's fantastic.Recommend no matter what you own or your budget is it is a great addition . If your on a tight budget it's a no brainer.
  • from August 23, 2017

    Everything They Say It Is

    I have owned a Neumann U87 and an Avalon AD2022 preamp for about six years so I have gotten to be quite used to recording with excellent mics and preamps. I thought I would give the VMS a try because I liked the idea of being able to select which mic sounds best on a singer's voice after the recording is done, and also because I use a lot of Slate Digital plugins and I absolutely love them so I thought this would be worth giving a try. After comparing my U87 through my Avalon with using the VMS with the preamp plugins that come with it, I decided I would sell my U87 and my Avalon in favor of keeping this. In my test I found the quality of the sound to be the same as my U87, and I love the variety of sounds I can get from this. I then recorded a full song with the VMS and I am very, very happy with the results.

    Does it sound EXACTLY like all the mics they emulated? I've never actually used the exact mics that it emulates (it doesn't emulate a U87 like the one I have) but from what I've seen in comparisons it sounds so close it isn't worth worrying about. The main thing is that it sounds FANTASTIC and there is a noticeable difference from one mic emulation to the next. So many people complain about certain plugins that they don't sound exactly like the real thing they're emulating, but when it sounds close and it sounds great then I think it is just being petty. So what if a plugin isn't a perfect 1:1 replica of a hardware unit that costs several thousands of dollars? Same thing here. I'm not saying that it doesn't sound exactly the same, I'm just saying that even if it doesn't it is so close that in the context of a mix you won't be able to tell and if anybody tells you they can they're either the .1% of the population who can or they're just trying to impress you. Nobody who listens to your music will be able to tell the difference. Most of us will never buy even one of the mics this emulates, let alone all 8 of them. So if it sounds close and it sounds great then in my book it is a winner. I love this thing.

    Pros: Sounds fantastic, convenience of switching mics after recording, super cheap compared to owning even one of the mics it models but without compromising quality.

    Cons: I will say the mic doesn't look fancy. That's not a big problem, but the logo on it looks kind of cheap and it doesn't have the same "feeling" as using my U87. But for what it costs, I can't complain.
  • from Nashville August 17, 2017 Music Background:
    Pro

    Stellar

    By far the best mic and mic's you can get for any money! Acoustic guitars and room micing is awesome and Vocals are simply the best results I've ever gotten and you can choose what sounds best for what material before tracking or after. Love it!!!!
  • from June 1, 2017

    Vms is a success

    I've recorded on a Sony cg800 and Neumann u87 but the vms blow away the cost of a 10000 Sony cg800 with all the emulations if your looking for an affordable mic that's worth 20000 with the preamp and mic for only a 1000 greatest mic deal sweet water has to offer
  • from Roseville, CA May 27, 2017 Music Background:
    Musician 17 years, Songwriter, Professional Studio, Home Studio

    Best Purchase Ever

    I Have had this thing for a few weeks now and I am absolutely blown away. So far I have tracked vocals and acoustic guitar with it. The Mic itself sounds great without any of the modeling. Once you throw the 251 or 47 on it, it really does take it to that next level. The Pre amp is great too, I have been running my American P Bass direct in to it as well as micing my guitar cab up and running my Heil PR30 into it while running the FG73. I wanted one from the day it came out, and besides the Slate Everything Bundle, it really is the most important tool in my home studio and I am so mad at myself for waiting this long to get it. Slate and his team have the absolute best customer service in the industry. I had an issue downloading the software for the VMS (my unit was missing it's code in the box). I emailed Slate's support and it was resolved in less than 10 minutes!! Happy and Loyal Slate user here. If you are on the fence... Do it!
  • from Brea May 4, 2017 Music Background:
    Recording for 20 years

    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.
  • from Garland Texas April 26, 2017 Music Background:
    Musician and Audio Engineering Student

    Everything Its said to be!

    I've never owned any of the mics that this emulates, but its awesome! If there is a voice that fits with a different mic, setting up the virtual mix rack to a different mic takes a second! It's like changing the colors of your tracks in an instant. Also, this is perfect with the Slate "Everything Bundle!" Hand in hand, they're super powerful together!

    The build is solid, it doesn't feel cheap at all, whats nice is the preamp unit is nice. I love the switches on it for powering it on, turning on and off phantom power, pad and polarity.
  • from VA April 23, 2017 Music Background:
    Drummer/ Recording Engineer

    Now I get it...

    I purchased the Slate VMS after debating approx 1year on whether to get or not. After my first recordings, I realize that this is the must-have tool in my studio now. I would give up all my other preamp/mic combos to keep this one. Unit showed up with a cracked trim piece and Slate and Sweetwater had a replacement case at my doorstep in a week.
  • from Kent, WA February 2, 2017

    Awesome

    Yes, it does wonders. Super smooth feeling and sounding as you sing into it. It takes anything you throw at it. Have a listen to my demos as they come out. Find me on reverberation. I'm not hard to miss.
  • from Syracuse, NY January 28, 2017 Music Background:
    Audio Engineer

    Incredible!

    This mic is everything they say it is. I work a studio that owns all the classic mics you could want but also has a project studio to reach clients that are looking for a cheaper product. This thing is the closest I've ever heard to the top notch quality at a fraction of the cost. It's a pleasure to work in the project studio now. Huge, phenomenal vocal sounds! Not to mention that is it killer to be able to switch between mics during/after tracking within seconds. A must have. I can't go back.
  • from Monterey, CA January 2, 2017

    Amazing Mic

    This thing just sounds great!
    What else can i say... get one!
  • from Baldwin Park, California December 12, 2016 Music Background:
    Producer

    Love the VMS

    This weekend I did a leads over dub session with 4 different singers for the Ascend Live Worship Experience. It was so convenient to track 2 males and 2 females with very different voices and be able to chose the mix that fit their voice the best. The VMS in conjunction with the VMR (Virtual mix rack) puts so many sonic possibilities at your fingertips it's truly remarkable!
  • from September 24, 2016

    Snobby Engineers Beware!

    My home studio is no longer considered "Project" caliber. This system puts the power in the hands of aspiring musicians, artists and engineer/producers. Another huge step forward for independents and away from big labels and overpriced studios! Can't wait to witness the next breakthrough Steven and the gang come up with.
  • from MA September 13, 2016 Music Background:
    engineer producer

    Blown Away

    I have some great mics, more expensive than this one (3x), but I didn't have any trouble getting great (and new to me) vocal sounds. I love the intensity slider, and the new mic models that just came out are seriously killer. the future appears to be here and its cheaper and cleaner and comes with updates.
  • from LA August 4, 2016 Music Background:
    Pop Producer

    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 blah...so...I 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!
  • from Trinidad and Tobago July 20, 2016 Music Background:
    Recording Engineer/Producer/Song Writer

    Wowweeee!!!!

    I have asked some grammy winners and grammy nominated engineers which mic they found quite useful. They said the Sony C800. I would dream of owning one and thinking of the killer sound I would get, but for USD 10000 plus taxes and duties I knew it would be some time before I got it in my mic locker. Then Slate Digital drops the VMS which they've been working on for years.

    I have all of Slate Digital's software and I know that Fabrice Gabriel and Steven Slate don't release anything unless it is killer. I also know that their support is top of the line so it was obviously easy. I looked at all the videos and reviews and I saw the Sony C800 emulation staring at me and I made the plunge. 3 microphone emulations for 1/10 th of the cost of one.

    I set up the mic and recorded. Clear sound and no distortion whatsoever. Now for the magical part. Putting on the emulations. I finally heard it. The sound...robust mids without a boxy sound. This was the FG-47 emulation. Wow. I went through each emulation and enjoyed my new palette of possibilities.

    Now, I've never heard the actual mics that the software was emulating but I knew this much... They sounded much better than The Rode K2 and other mics I own. Once you pair it with the preamps it gives you even more colours to play with.

    I have the entire VMR collection so I was able to EQ and compress to my heart's content and with other mic emulations coming I am totally satisfied. It's instant satisfaction and a massive upgrade for what you are getting.
  • from Atlanta, GA July 15, 2016 Music Background:
    Performing Artist/Studio Geek

    Pretty Impressed..

    Well, got it today. I had no problem routing it into my Apollo Twin Duo. It took a little while to make sure I was gain staging correctly and making sure the pre was in Line mode. Thirty minutes later I had a new vocal track and was down to just putting my vocal chain in place. I have to say, it sounds fantastic. The 251 mic fits my voice and after running it through the Slate Neve 1073 preamp, then through a UAD 1176 plugin, it's golden. It cuts through the mix and I did not have to do the major EQ'ing and processing I previously had to do using a Rode NT1a. It's working flawlessly in Pro Tools 12 and Studio One 3. I have seen one review state that the models had a bit of extra sibilance, but I haven't had that experience. So, yes, I'm very happy with my mic upgrade and can see where it will be very useful in matching the mic to the sound. On my budget it's nice to have great choices rather than just one dynamite mic that may only work for a few situations.
  • from Lynchurg, VA June 25, 2016 Music Background:
    Mixing & Mastering Engineer

    Doesn't Dissapoint!

    Over the past few days I have had the privilege of testing out one of the skeptics in the audio industry. I believe in analog over digital any day. However, after testing out the 3 tube mic models as well as the two preamps available with this, I am very satisfied with the quality and closeness to the originals this presents. I've used actual U47s, 251s, and C800gs frequently. For $999, it's the sound that i'm very familiar with and everything sits well in the mixes i've used it on. Great job Steven!
  • from San Diego, CA June 9, 2016 Music Background:
    Recording for a hobby for the past 5 years

    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.
  • from April 14, 2016 Music Background:
    Rock

    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!.
  • from MD April 4, 2016

    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!
  • from NH November 30, 2017 Music Background:
    Audio Visual / Session Musician

    Very very close to 5 Stars!

    It"s a very, very nice microphone. My only complaint, if any, is that the changes from one virtual mic to another is extraordinarily subtle unlike in the demo videos. It is not a drastic coloration change as it was portrayed. Regardless, it is definitely my favorite mic that I own.
  • from Syracuse New York October 26, 2017 Music Background:
    Unorthodoxed Studios NY - Owner

    Wow

    Performs! I’m getting some of the best vocals ever on my new setup! I don’t own all of the mics for comparing, and really I’m not that interested in that. Not that it isn’t important, I’m just more interested in the final product. This system delivers! I also got the plugin package to load this thing up. I’ve watched the reviews on this system for some time and finally went for it. It’s super flat - all the character comes from the software. Being able to switch the sound after the fact is my new secret weapon. You think her vocals would have cut thru better on a different mic? Switch it! Now back to mixing!
  • from California July 26, 2016 Music Background:
    Musician, Mixing Engineer, Live FOH Engineer

    VMS Software Ideas

    Others have already covered reviewing the microphone, so let's talk about the plugin software.

    To me, the VMS mic emulation plugin is very cool. Try it out on sources that you didn't record with the Slate Mic. I ran emulations of the 251 over my drum overheads that I already had recorded with a pair of Shure KSM32's and the result was great. I had a fuller, more present sound using the VMS 251. I level matched my A & B comparison so as not to fool myself with level.

    I would encourage anyone to pick up this VMS System, not just for the great mic, but for the VMS plugin and all the possibilities you could use it for. Use it on anything.
  • from Pensacola, FL June 22, 2016 Music Background:
    Professional Audio Engineer

    Exceeded My Expectations

    I had to wait a long time for this - it was well worth the wait. This microphone far exceeded my expectations. Sounds amazing - I actually shelved my C414's and use this on lots of applications.
    The mic alone by itself makes it well worth the money. Out of curiosity, i ran just the mic thru my 511 pre into a 551 EQ - MIND BLOWN at how awesome it sounded (watchout neumann)

    PROS:
    Nice heavy quality feel to the mic
    Comes with shock mount
    Sounds amazing by itself
    VMS software and mic sims sound wonderful

    CONS (half a point off for this)
    The only con is the preamp that comes with it that it's designed for, thought works great and is very flat response, the construction feels a bit cheap.

    When you pick up the mic, it feels like a quality built mic - but the included preamp, the construction doesn't feel like quality built. Overall it is an amazing system, and i am very happy i got it. worth the wait.
  • from Charlottesville April 22, 2016 Music Background:
    Vocal Music Production

    Fantastic Sound, HUGE workflow improvement

    The mic and preamp sound great, even without the software emulation - very clean and flat. With the emulations engaged, this really sounds like something special. Comparing the the u47 emulation to a Peluso 2247SE, I preferred the Slate VMS by a pretty large margin. I haven't used the original versions of the other two mics emulated here, but I can say that both emulations sound absolutely beautiful on the right voice - I've had a few clients who normally don't pay any attention to sound comment on how good they thought the vocal sounded with no other processing at all. And being able to just worry about the music while recording without having to do a time-consuming mic shootout with the artist waiting around, etc. - that's pretty great as well. I give it 4.5 stars because the preamp, while also sounding great, is a bit flimsy and is kind of awkward to integrate onto my desk - I wish there were a two channel rackmount option. But ultimately that's a small price to pay for something that really does change the way I work for the better. Thanks Slate!
  • from Miramar, FL January 2, 2018 Music Background:
    lifelong musician/technogeek

    Worth checking out

    I own a Groove Tubes MD2 tube mic and a Drawmer 1960 tube pre/comp mainly used for my own vocals. The sound is modern vintage, a very colorful combo that suits me well. Lately I've noticed harshness when recording @96K and I hoped the VMS could replace my combo. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations, but I couldn't get close to the sound I was trying to match. Granted, Slate did not model the MD2. I've only heard a few of the real mics Slate modeled, and I don't think anyone is fully qualified to comment on model accuracy if they haven't used the real mics. Also the variations between individual units has to be factored in. But having said that, there seems to be less of a difference between the different models than I would expect to hear if I was comparing real mics (if that makes any sense). It's like the character of the un-modeled system is always there, with the models throwing some color into the mix. This doesn't mean the models are unusable though. I think it's true of models in general- instrument models, reverb models, etc. A trained ear can hear subtle differences. One difference that's easy to hear is that the Slate system is dead quiet modeling tube mics, and I've never heard a real tube mic that didn't have some noise.
    To get best results, you'll have to play with the "intensity" control. The final sound may bear little resemblance to the real mic, but if it works, who cares? The mic is flat and colorless when recorded through the included preamp and played back without the modeling software. I think it sounds a lot better recorded through my Drawmer, but that ruins the accuracy of the mic models which assume the input is from the Slate preamp. Slate does include two preamp plugins that you can insert after the hardware preamp signal, but you'll still need a good comp and that's not included. Invest in a plugin like their FG116, or route the audio out of your computer to an outboard comp. After going through a complex software authorization/installation process, and after experiencing a momentary issue where the software displayed "license missing" until I rebooted, it dawned on me that if I should ever have any future software issues I'd be without a usable system because the hardware is way too clean and sterile.
    No complaints about the build quality. The Slate logo on the mic is a bit tacky and the gain knob on the preamp should have detents. It would be nice to have more than just one LED for input level. And the carry case should carry the preamp also, not just the mic.
    Caleb at Sweetwater was gracious in making the return process easy. While it wasn't right for me, the VMS might suit you if you don't already own a decent mic preamp or if you're not sure what kind of a mic sound you'll be needing. There are lots of possible variations, maybe not as many as with real mics, but enough for someone that doesn't demand 100% accuracy or someone that isn't looking for a very specific sound that it can't emulate.
  • from August 1, 2017 Music Background:
    Professional Recording Engineer

    Love the mic

    My only concern which isn't the Mics problem is that Avid got rid of low latency monitoring so now I can't use it the way it's intended without loads of latency issues. Other than that when I record and add the emulation after I am always happy with the results but I'm the type of guy who likes to commit to a sound, and until avid gets this right I'm not using this mic as much as I would like to.
  • from New York December 16, 2016

    Great Mic / Bad Logo / Awkward licensing and install process

    Excellent sounding mic from the tests I have done so far. Built very sturdily and well packaged. There's been mainly positive things said about the VMS and there are lots of video reviews and shootouts that shows what the mic is capable better than reading a written review.

    I need to point this out though. The licensing, downloading and installing process is time consuming and unnecessarily complicated. I also installed the Everything Bundle which added even more steps. You need a physical USB iLok, install iLok software, install Gobbler, activate on iLok, download through gobbler, download more stuff from the Slate website, than download other parts, make a login for iLok, login for Gobbler, login for Slate Digital, login for Drumclassroom, get different activation numbers for each of these steps, go through multiple confirmation emails... What were they thinking?

    Can't you just send your loyal customer 1 download link with 1 serial number. DONE.
    I understand this is to counter piracy, but why make the customer pay for that?

    One last thing that really bothers me is that big S logo (or $ looking logo) right in the middle of the microphone. It looks completely ridiculous, low end and it is in your face all day long. Does a logo make a mic sound better or worse? Of course not. But something like this makes the gear look cheap and makes you wonder what a questionable decision this was. I understand that it's Slate's company logo, but maybe tone it down a bit, place it somewhere else, make it black on black... It's just aesthetics and won't change the sounds and is beyond the point of most mic shoppers care about, but it matters. Easy fix: tape.

    I know my review may come across as harsh, but I really do love how the mic, preamp and emulation sounds, Steven Slate makes fantastic products and this is why despite my few complaints I gave it 4 stars. I would have given 5 stars if it wasn't for the cumbersome install process and the poor logo decision.
  • from Fort Wayne July 1, 2016 Music Background:
    Studio Owner

    Flexible

    This tech is quite amazing - there is no lack of 'depth' going through the plugs which will of course add a ton of flexibility to any project.

    There are 4 things that I would say that are weak with the hardware side of the product.

    1) The Mic Pre 'feel' is super cheap, the gain knob is flimsy and wiggles from side to side. I checked with a friend who also bought one and his is the same - the toggle switches are adequate but nothing to write home about.

    2) The Mic Pre case is cheap feeling too. I thought it was plastic but when I took a closer look it is metal but it's thinness gives the case a 'toy' like feel.

    3) The mic shock mount is also cheap and low grade.

    4) The flight case that it comes with, it only holds the mic and shock mount...but not the mic pre?? That makes zero sense to me and pretty much defeats the purpose of completely protecting the entire product.

    I get it, every manufacture needs to hit a specific price point but these 4 issues would not have increase the cost drastically and would have improved product quality substantially. Of course I don't want to over look the fact that there is R&D time with this product, especially with the software, but again it still feels like Slate cut some corners in the hardware aspect that really shouldn't have been cut for a "professional grade" product.

    Other than that, the end result in the sound quality is superb. Looking forward to a virtual mic locker of mic's that I could only dream of owning.
  • from New York October 24, 2016 Music Background:
    Professional Studio Vocalist/Producer/Entertainer

    Good, but not perfect

    This system is a lot of fun, but some of the emulations are closer than others. I've had better luck emulating some of these classic mics using moderately priced tribute mics. Most of the emulations are a bit brighter than their counterparts whether you use the intensity slider or not. The FG47 and FG269 are probably the best emulations based on my experiences and my own tribute style mics. The FG67 is way to bright and needs EQ to match a real deal U67. That said, if you want a nice color palette for your studio, you can't beat this pricing.
  • from Houston Tx June 8, 2017 Music Background:
    Studio owner and Audio Engineer Touring musician

    So far Unimpressed

    My rating for this mic is based on 3 things.
    sound - which honestly is the most important factor when selecting a mic. This mic sounds Flat, doesn't have that sheen, or high end sizzle that you'd expect from its emulations. I just did a A-B comparison with the slate vms and a Rode NTK which is an affordable tube mic that most of you are probably familiar with.The rode has more detail dimension and character sits in the mix better and handles eq and reverb way better. In my opinion the slate plug ins are kind of dull. Out of the whole bundle half of them are unusable. I only say this because this whole mic is based off of the virtual mix rack plug in. My A-B test the rode was plugged into a Universal audio Apollo pre emulating the api channel strip, thats it. On the slate side into the ultra linear pre amp, modeling every mic, to every preamp, didn't even get close to the same shimmer I was hearing from the Rode NTK and Apollo.

    Quality - the build quality wasn't what I was expecting for a $ mic. The weight is thin, the grill feels cheap, overall the mic feels Chinese made. There is not much weight to it. The shock mount is decent not as good as cheaper mics that I own. The pre has nice features and out of the whole bundle, id say its where most the money was spent. The knob which I've heard Steven boast about on a video actually feels cheap has a lot of play and wiggle to it. No indents, smooth roll. I own about 15 different types of pre amps from Ua, Apollo, api, neve, Grace, audients, to cheaper art, m-audio and presonus. This pre doest shine without the software which is the last point

    Software - the magic if you will in this whole system is the software, props to these guys for creating this and spending the time to develop such a colorful plugin. Honestly the software sounds better on other mics than the vms ml-1. The rode nt1 and ntk sound really good paired with the fg800. which in my opinion is the best emulation in the package. the 47, 87 are way to dull to use on vocals they might sound better on instruments or cabs. The main purpose of this system is to provide color and do it fast which it achieves. I am a little unimpressed by this systems Hardware, because quite frankly I could have just bought a plug in, if offered by slate, that would have added color to mics I already own at a fraction of the cost.

    Hopefully I get a chance to really use this on some other sources to see if this system is worth keeping around at the moment I know its not getting used on Vox. Im kind of timid to use this on a session knowing what I've heard from the A-B on vocal
  • from New Mexico February 28, 2018 Music Background:
    Artist

    Cheap Sound

    For all the audiophiles out there let me say upfront, I am running it through a Scarlett 2i2 and the mic is inside the kaotica eyeball.

    The eyeball tends to add some bass to the signal, but even with it on it sounded cheap. I took it off and it sounded worse. I got a better signal out of my TLM 102 through my Presonus Eureka channel strip. It might be taste, but I am willing to send you the audio files for you to confirm it yourself.
  • from CT March 13, 2018 Music Background:
    Producer, Recording/Live Sound Engineer

    Nice Mic, poor customer service (Slate Digital)

    The Mic and build quality of the components were pretty decent I would say "Prosumer" quiality. I'm a slate digital everything bundle subscriber and I recently purchased the microphone only to find out that I would have to buy the expansion bundle at an extra cost even though the everything bundle advertises " that it includes everything they make and that you will never have to worry about affording up another plug-in again "… I contacted my rep at Sweetwater He was very apologetic and is arranging an exchange for me to purchase a Neumann TLM 103. I already own a UA solo 610 so there's no point in kicking that to the side for the slate preamp.

    I was impressed with the modeling of the microphones that they used and it was nice to have the flexibility in the mix to change microphone after recording. I feel like it was a bit overpriced and the Neumann will hold its value longer.

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