Beyerdynamic M160 for solo violin?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by not_heifetz, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. not_heifetz

    not_heifetz Guest

    Would this be a good mic for recording solo violin? I can't help but notice all the glowing praise for this mic lately. Is it really as exceptional as people make it out to be, or is it just because ribbons are "in" right now? Thanks.
  2. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I've used the 160 for violin soloists in concerto situations pretty regularly. If you have the gain in your preamps or a short enough cable run, it can work pretty well.

    There is a lot of praise here for the mic, but like all ribbons, it is of somewhat limited use. When they work well, I think they're great, but I really dislike them on many sources as well (especially brass instruments and piano- I much prefer other ribbons for these).

  3. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I recently AB'd it against a Coles 4038. On this particular instrument, the Coles won hands down.
  4. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    The 4038 is probably one of my favorite ribbons out there. I love them on trombones and trumpets, especially. I've also had great results with them on various strings (especially cello).

    Every ribbon has its own character- the ones with longer elements (Royer, Coles, etc...) seem to have a bit more in the mid range and a bit smoother top end. That little bit of grit in the sound of the Beyer can be fantastic- just not for everything. Heck, in the listening examples on my website, Example 5 used 160's on the sax section, Example 6 used them for the violins, and if I remember correctly Example 10 used a few in the woodwind section...

  5. not_heifetz

    not_heifetz Guest

    Thanks guys. Are there any other unidirectional ribbon mics on the market?

    BTW...Ben, I really liked your website. Very attractive and well thought-out.
  6. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    I haven't used the Beyer ribbons, but I've used the Royers, RCAs, AEAs and Coles enough to say that I quite like the sound of ribbons on strings - especially violin, and especially if you want or need to get close.

    I don't think it's fair to say that ribbons are 'in' right now, because it reduces them to a fashion item when, in fact, they are a fundamental tool. It is probably better to say they are no longer 'out', because these days we have better technology (in the microphones, in the preamps and in the recording mediums) to really appreciate and benefit from what they have to offer.

    As with condensers and dynamics, ribbons have their own unique range of tone colours and recording solutions that the engineer can apply when necessary. A microphone kit without at least one good ribbon is somewhat incomplete and limited as far as I'm concerned... :shock:
  7. not_heifetz

    not_heifetz Guest

    You are absolutely correct, I choose my words poorly.
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I think this is a completely valid and worthwhile statement. As a matter of fact, that is the reason for my choosing the Beyer line.

    IMO, the Royers are priced such as to make you feel as though you SHOULD use them everytime you fly a mic. The AEAs are GREAT mics, but IMO, limited in their application due to their sizes. The Beyer, in my case, is a great combination of sound, price, form-factor and flexibility.

    I'm curious though Dave - what did you feel made the Coles better than the Beyer? (I like the 160 when the violin is soloing with an orchestra or other. For strictly solo violin or violin with piano, I often lean towards my Schoeps. They pick up the subtle nuances without getting too strident (provided your placement is good). In the Schoeps line, I go for the CMC6 MK4

  9. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    The violinist was extremely bright and scratchy, so much so that I felt the nedd to mic the underside of the violin. The coles was significantly more round.
  10. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member


    Come on now... the Beyer is much more round (at least the sphere end) than the Coles! :lol:

    I'm getting an M160 this week. It will be my first venture into ribbon-land. :) Will probably try it on a flute recital this Sunday.

  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mmmm....flute and ribbon - dangerous combination. Too quiet (need LOTs of gain on the preamp) and possible wind destruction on the element. Better to use the ribbon on the piano in that case.

  12. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member


    Was not expecting to be that close (to risk wind damage), especially in a concert situation. But certainly appreciate the warning.

    How fragile is the M160? How cautious do I need to be with it? :?

  13. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    With flutes and ribbons you have to be pretty close.

    As for how careful - there is no way to be too careful wth a ribbon.

Share This Page