New Gear/New Toys Review: Gauge Precision Instruments ECM-87 Virtual Mic Locker Bundle

Gauge Precision Instruments offers two versions of their ECM-87 microphone bundles: the ECM-87 Classic Virtual Mic Locker and the ECM-87 Stealth Virtual Mic Locker. These are microphone kits that come with either the ECM-87 or ECM-87 Stealth condenser microphones plus a microphone cloning software plug-in that emulates the tone, frequency response and character of several vintage microphones.

Tested here is the ECM-87 Classic Virtual Mic Locker that includes the silver ECM-87 cardioid (only) condenser microphone, pop filter, shock mount, carrying pouch and the ECM-87 Mic Clone plug-in software. This plug-in will process the sound of the ECM-87 mic or (or previously recorded track) to sound like your choice of any of eight of the most sought after and classic microphones.

The ECM-87 features a 1.07-inch condenser capsule and an internal low frequency roll-off switch. I started using the microphone set to "flat" with no roll-off. I recorded some narration with the ECM-87 and let the voice-over artist decide what microphone in the ECM-87 Mic Clone software he liked.

Gauge Precision Instruments ECM-87 Virtual Mic Locker Bundle Plug-In GUI
First of all the ECM-87 just sounded pretty great without doing much of anything except some compression when it was mixed with a music background track. The ECM-87 Mic Clone plug-in installed perfectly into my Pro Tools HDX rig; it features a ratio slider that controls the amount of added character for each simulation.

The M49 and C800 emulations added more warmth and sounded good at the Max ratio slider position but proved to be a little too thick and warm when mixed with the music bed. So backing the slide down to the Norm position ended up being the "sweet spot." It was great to have that kind of fine-tuning and control.

The Gauge Precision Instruments ECM-87 along with the Mic Clone plug-in works out to be a solid product for dialing in the exact mic sound you want for singers or voiceover talent.

The ECM-87 Virtual Mic Locker sells for $299 MAP.

Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine.