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Old September 6th, 2005, 05:40 AM   #1
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So, what's the deal with ribbon mikes?

What's the advantage with these mikes? And
how come not very many of them are made
anymore? I noticed they're not cheap.
And do I understand right that you've got
to be cautious when buying them used?
Do you pro guys here still use ribbon mikes?
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Old September 6th, 2005, 09:36 AM   #2
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Would not recommend . . .

Ribbon mics are VERY fragile, but do give a warmer tone to vocalists - they are a good microphone to have if you are doing a lot of band/vocal recording, but are generally considered too fragile for use outside of a studio setting. One drop or good bump could damage the microphone.

The reason why you don't see them anymore (or rarely) are because that they are sooo fragile and expensive. A Good condenser microphone will hold up better under field conditions, and give most people great sound quality.

If I was you - I wouldn't recommend buying one unless your in a band and wanting to record vocals, and even then I would hesitate - a tube microphone can give you similar "warm" tones that the ribbon mics can.

Ryan
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Old September 6th, 2005, 09:40 AM   #3
 
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Not only are ribbon mics expensive and fragile, they can wear out fairly quickly too. Imagine having a strip of tin foil that you tighten and constantly blow air on and off. Eventually, it will wear out at one of the contact points. My first really bad/ fired experiences was when I was working at SoundStream more than 20 years back. I put a Beyer ribbon on a kick drum. Two kicks, it was destroyed. I wasn't really fired, I did have to pay 200.00 plus for the repair though. When you're 18, all you know is that this mic sounds great on certain things....so, I expensively experimented.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 04:09 PM   #4
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I have an RCA 44, which has a nice warm sound. I haven't figured out what to use it for because they're kind of lacking in the upper range. But it sure looks cool.
Bruce Yarock
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Old September 8th, 2005, 07:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Largent
What's the advantage with these mikes? And
how come not very many of them are made
anymore? I noticed they're not cheap.
And do I understand right that you've got
to be cautious when buying them used?
Do you pro guys here still use ribbon mikes?
1. They have a certain sound; not very bright. Best used on edgey sources like sax, banjo and bag pipes.

2. Not cheap.

3. Used or new, they can easily be damaged. Never blow into one.

4. You can also blow one out by plugging it into a mic input with phantom power turned on.

5. Yes some do. I have an RCA 77DX and a Beyer M160. Haven't used them in years.

You need a really good preamp like a Amek Neve 9098 or Jensen Dual servo 990.

Ty Ford
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Old September 9th, 2005, 07:45 AM   #6
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So they are dynamic mics, not requiring power?
Connection is 3-pin XLR?
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Old September 9th, 2005, 05:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
I have an RCA 44, which has a nice warm sound. I haven't figured out what to use it for because they're kind of lacking in the upper range. But it sure looks cool.
Bruce Yarock
Trumpet and flugel horn :)
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Old September 9th, 2005, 06:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Largent
So they are dynamic mics, not requiring power?
Connection is 3-pin XLR?

Yes they are dynamic mics. The principle is simple. An metal ribbon attached across a magnetic field. When the ribbon is moved by sound, electricity is generated my the motion of the ribbon as it moves through the magnetic field.

There is only ONE ribbon mic I know of that uses Phantom Power. Royer makes it and they use the phantom power to power a small amp circuit in the mic to increase its output.

DON'T plug a ribbon mic into a mic input with the Phantom turned on. .You MAY blow the ribbon. Also, don't blow into the ribbon mic. The ribbon is very fragile.

Ribbon mics, in general, are not as sensitive as dynamics or condensers.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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