ribbon mic shootout
The SF-2 was eventually released in 2012. Some don’t. The R144 is only $100 and would have been cool to see here too. Simplifying a ribbon mic’s impedance does two things: So I have a new, deeper appreciation for those top-shelf active ribbons. The bulk of the questions were about getting the best quality for the least money. Your analysis of using condensers with tape and ribbons with digital is spot on. That’s reasonable, and I can’t argue aesthetics. While at Audio Engineering Associates I had the opportunity to speak with Julian David about impedance. Different woods, different finishes, different mics. gets instantly processed by the human computer in a most un scientific way to produce great works. The AEA KU4 was one of two unidirectional ribbons in this test. But I never wrote the conclusion. Is there any possibility to compare/describe also some of the vintage mics… RCA, WE… especially I’d like to know where the russian Oktava ML-17 sits in this kind of shootout. I can;t imagine the hours you all put into this, and the number of participating manufacturers is fantastic! The JRS-34 is available in active or passive styles; ours was passive. It was called the $60,000 Ribbon Mic Shootout, because the total value of the 30 mics we tested was over $60,000. One is from Gauge USA, and the other from Bees Neez. Here are my picks in the price points from low to high. It’s a box that looks like a direct box, but it boosts your signal by 20+ db’s without adding any noise! We tried to get Oktava ribbons from Ken at Oktava USA, but he was not interested in participating. Everyone had something critical to say about everyone else’s mix. Are you seriously arguing that ribbon mics have a better high frequency response than capacitors or even the average dynamic? And the end result isn’t impressive. That’s what expensive stuff does for you. I’m grateful for this shootout and others as it’s completely demythicized ribbon mics for me. It’s not a matter of dark or bright or flat. The most important part of recording a song is the quality of the song itself and the quality of the person or people performing it. I can’t fork out $4k for a single microphone–ribbon or condenser–but I will fork out $1300 for a Coles 4038 as it’s the absolute best drum room mic I’ve found. However, the biggest surprise for me was Samar Audio. It tends to make things sound big and heavy, which isn’t always appropriate. I’m puzzled as to why someone would spend four digits on a mic that makes them sound like that. From an electronic engineering point of view this makes perfect sense. I had a lot of fun with the beyerdynamic M 130. The Coles Electroacoustics 4050 was the most versatile mic in the lineup, in that it is a separable stereo pair with a unique magnetic mounting system. Before this experience, I was not aware how directional these microphones’ figure-of-8 polar pattern really is. Transformers, particularly high ratio step-up transformers, are load sensitive. It is a dual-voice mic, with distinct front and back voices. I’ll grant you that some of the low cost ribbons sound pretty lo-fi, but you can’t judge all ribbons from the cheap ones anymore than you could say all knives are terrible because a butter knife wasn’t very sharp. The SE Electronics Voodoo VR1 is sE’s passive entry-level ribbon. The texture of a ribbon microphone can’t be duplicated by any other type. Looking forward to finding out what it is. You might as well run your tracks through a low-pass filter. Three years ago I put together the most ambitious microphone test I have ever done (before or since). Let it go. “If you’re not hearing anything above 8kHz, maybe you need a better listening environment.”. Does that mean their uniforms are better? “Even among condensers, the difference isn’t that simple, otherwise we’d need only one.”. The one mic you guys missed that I was looking forward to seeing in the test though was the Avent C-14. For historic reference? I would have liked to see the ML-52-01 in there. I have yet to find an engineer that is able to demonstrate that (what would that accomplish anyway). http://recordinghacks.com/2012/09/04/quest-for-the-ultimate-live-sax-mic-ribbon-shootout/. On YouTube, I noticed both B&H and Royer chose cello for their ribbon mic demos; I’m not surprised, since you wouldn’t be as likely to notice just how deficient these mics are in the upper frequencies with that particular instrument. In that case, some of the less expensive microphones with upgraded transformers are the best bang for the buck in my humble opinion. Still, let us know where we missed.). Fostex had a ribbon mic on the market a few years ago, but I’m not sure if it’s still available. We’ve used them on entire orchestras with ridiculously good sounding results. Ironically, I learned in the 48 hours prior to this test of two new ribbon mics coming on the market soon. Try some for yourself.”. The guys at the music shop were blown away at how natural and open it sounded. I saw it in the picture. And verily I say unto thee, there is no added noise, and you don’t have to crank your preamp! “…but you can’t judge all ribbons from the cheap ones anymore than you could say all knives are terrible because a butter knife wasn’t very sharp.”. “Included just for contrast.”. A real shame the MXL R77L didn’t make it in. Impression: The piece of equipment that allows me to record the material in the most relaxed way. Hey, I’m also curious as to the diferently-finished Woodpeckers. I now know that there isn’t any magic or voodoo to ribbon mics. Great audio OCD fun! A few mics didn’t make the photo, for various reasons: the AEA R84, the RCA KU-3A/10001, and Ryan Canestro’s Apex 210. I also couldn’t help notice the lack of Dual Medium type Ribbon mics in this test (CAD Trion 7000, Cascade DR-2, Apex 215 etc..) No Royer SF-1 either. Don’t discount ribbons too quickly. Are they from different eras? You’ve spent a crapload of money on mics that you imbue with magical properties and you’re finding it hard to accept that a more rational person refuses to bow down before your voodoo idol. There were lots of one-trick ponies, so if you’re looking for different colors to expand the palette of your existing mic collection, there are plenty here. Tough call. Surprise performer: The Apex and Cascade VIN were strong shows. No Avantone CR 14?? It will have fewer microphones, but we will hear them on multiple sources. This shootout has generated more talk about ribbon microphones in a few months than I ever expected to have over a lifetime. The Royer Labs R-101 was a standout voice microphone. Be better to yourself and better to each other. At the end of the day, no one who enjoys music cares how you made it: they just care that you did and did well. (Hint: not gonna happen. I was about to pull the plug on a Crowley & Tripp, just when they closed down… so I knew what these mics were up to, I’m just glad that Shure didn’t change anything in the design. Maybe you get them and enclose it in you testings. Follow the links for additional descriptions, photos, specs, and “where to buy” links. I spent weeks writing up the seven-part series. And, if you have never used ribbons, you have no idea how killer they are in the studio. No, they’re trying to stabilize the impedance that a preamp will see. The raw acoustic guitar and drum overhead tracks from this series of sessions sound too dark and thick, across the board. Sounds & looks fantastic. @Mike, the session happened about 10 days ago. It is a visual near-clone of the Royer R-121, made with cheap parts and sloppy tolerances. If I thought ribbon mics were special, believe me, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop 4 grand on one. I trust it more than I do you. People are using sampling rates of 96 kHz and above to record these mics that barely have a useable frequency response past 8000 Hz: why?
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