What Mic Does Howard Stern Use?

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Howard Stern is one of the most legendary icons in recent radio history and it’s no wonder why so many people want to emulate his sound. With that being said, we’re going to show you how to match Howard Stern’s sound as close as possible starting off with what mic he uses. Howard Stern uses the very expensive Neumann TLM 103. This mic sounds great, but it’s not so great for your wallet. We have done some testing and have come to the conclusion that the Studio Projects B1 microphone sounds very close to the TLM 103. It is very bright and modern sounding just like the TLM 103. But, for this tutorial, we’re going to be applying processing to our TLM 103 microphone. However, the processing chain should be very similar if you are using a Studio Projects B1. Lets dive into how Howard Stern processes his sound.

Setting Up The Howard Noise Gate

The first thing we’re going to do is add a noise gate to our chain. Howard Stern is in a very professional setting with a room designed for radio so we have to try our best to achieve this sound. Adding a noise gate will help filter out a lot of unwanted noise. Howard Stern has a extreme radio DJ sound so we’re going to be quite harsh on our gate. This is one of the more extreme gate settings we have applied. We’re going with a pretty high threshold at a ratio around 5:1 and a range at 30dB. We also have a very fast attack and a fast release so we get that radio DJ sound. The goal here is to have a very fast reacting gate that is really aggressive and takes out a lot of background noise.

The Howard EQ Settings

The next thing we’re going to add is some of our Howard EQ. We believe that Howard Stern has a lot of natural bass in his voice but we also think it is being boosted. These are the EQ adjustments we made: 90hz high pass, 1.25dB boost at 300hz, and a high self at 10000hz boosting 1dB. We did this to clean up the low end and boost some of the highs. We cut out a lot of the low end that doesn’t sound very good (everything below 90hz) and replaced it by adding in 1.25dB at 300hz. It’s not an exact measurement, but it’s really not a huge deal since we’ll be boosting the low end later on with a bass plugin. Overall, this makes our sound tight, with a good amount of low end, and a nice shine on the top end.

Adding The Howard Compression

Alright, now that the EQ is done we’re going to add some compression. Mr. Stern uses a pretty heavy compression setting, so to start off, we loaded up a preset for the voice called spoken word squeeze and made some adjustments to the threshold and ratio. What you really want here is a high threshold and a fast attack. We are taking out around 4-5dB of gain at a ratio of 4:1. Our attack is at 5ms and our release is at 40ms. Keep in mind, some of these settings may depend on the source. But the overall idea is to be applying around 5dB of gain reduction at a 4:1 ratio. This will give us a really nice radio sound.

A Little Extra “Stern”

The final step for the Howard sound is to add bass boost to our chain. You may be wondering why we cut out low end if we ended up boosting it anyway? Well, bass plugins tend to add frequencies that didn’t exist in the original recording. So, essentially, we’re adding bass that never existed in the first place. And if we are going to use a bass plugin, we don’t want too much bass so that is why we used that high pass filter earlier at 90hz. This may be kind of confusing, but we found that Howard has a very bassy voice and the bass plugin seemed to really replicate that sound. It’s understandable if you don’t have a plugin for this, if you have FL Studio the plugin is free. We’re sure you can find very similar plugins for free online if you look around. But, don’t fret, if you really need more bass you can always boost that 300hz EQ band that we created even higher at 3dB or 4dB.

Is That It?

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Congratulations! You replicated Howard Stern’s sound! This one was a bit more complicated than some of the other radio personalities that we covered but we believe that we came very close to his overall sound signature. Whether you like him or not, we believe we can all agree that Howard Stern has a great sound. We hope you learned something about Howard Stern’s sound! Buy Howard Stern’s mic here and buy our alternative mic here. And, check out our other news stories here.

Thomas Shelby – Editor/Audio Engineer

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