As anyone who’s ever played in a band before knows, there are times when you play a song and its just magic. Everyone plays their parts with precision, and the feel is undeniable. The problem for many bands (even some of the great ones) is that they can never seem to capture that same feel when it comes to recording in the studio. Enter the ZYLIA ZM-1 multitrack microphone and software, which can now not only capture that performance, but separate each instrument out on its own separate track from that single microphone.
The ZYLIA ZM-1 uses an array of 19 omnidirectional MEMS microphones to capture audio. MEMS (microelectro-mechanical systems) is a new technology that’s basically a microphone fabricated on a silicon wafer. In other words, it’s a mic on a chip that provides a digital output with no A/D conversion necessary. As a result, the ZM-1 isn’t connected like a normal analog mic – you connect it directly to your computer via a USB cable. All recording is done at 48kHz/24 bit.
The real secret sauce is in the ZYLISA Studio software, however. First you calibrate the microphone by having each instrument play for 8 seconds. This is enough for the software to understand where the instrument is positioned in relation to the mic. After all instruments and vocals are calibrated, the band simply plays as normal. The software allows you to do a rough stereo mix in that you can alter the instrument volume and panning, but you also have the option to export each individual instrument track to your favorite DAW. The software works on Mac OS, Linux and Windows platforms, and also features presets for surround or ambient recordings (5.1, 7.1 and more).
There’s also a ZYLIA Studio PRO version, which is a VST/AU plugin that gives you access to spatial filtering and signal separation directly within a DAW. ZYLIA Basically, Studio PRO transforms the ZYLIA ZM-1 into an unlimited number of virtual microphones.
The ZYLIA ZM-1 is currently in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign that makes it available for $349 ($599 planned retail). The Pro version is available for $549 ($899 planned retail). You can read more on it’s funding campaign page, or watch the video below for more details.
Keep in mind that this package is not intended to replace normal multitrack recording or record making, and ZYLIA isn’t advocating that. It’s for making a quicker and better demo, and it looks like it’s succeeded with that very well.