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Moving ribbons on location?

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by hughesmr, May 23, 2007.

  1. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest

    I'm about to plunge into getting an AEA R88 for location work solely (classical acoustic etc). I've long been a condenser user but wondered if anyone takes special steps to move their ribbons to location. Dealing with things like hitting bumps on the road, general road vibration, etc. Any horror stories or suggestions for safe transport and usage on site?

    I know about keeping them vertical as much as possible....
  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I transport both my SF24 and the two Coles 4040's in sealed pelican cases and not worry too much about bumps. Ribbons are fragile, but not that fragile.
  3. multoc

    multoc Active Member

    The new CAD ribbons are wonderful, the John Legend FOH swore by them, and they were very rugged I was shocked!!! But they sounded wonderful and appeared to be working just fine, I know my response doesn't pertain to your question but it's something to think about if you don't want to risk your R88
  4. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    My two ribbon horror stories of relevance:

    1) While recording an organ recital at Sydney Town Hall, I had an SF12 mounted on the winch cable. A piece of fishing line was used to pull it about 3m forward of its vertical hanging position, towards the pipes. When it was time to pack up, an eager assistant cut the fishing line before lowering the mic, leaving it to swing in a 6m arc above our heads and well and truly out of reach. The wind pressure was too much and ironed out the ribbons. (Like many, this winch cable has a weight on the end to keep it hanging straight, which also makes a fine pendulum...)

    2) I once lent my SF12 to a *friend* for use on a concert recording, and explained that because it had a relatively high output impedance, the resulting sound was very dependent on the preamp it was plugged in to. This *friend* decided to test the mic's output impedance by applying a multimeter across the pins of the XLR. End of mic... When the good folks at Royer repaired it, they sent me pics of the damaged ribbons - not a pretty sight.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yikes Simmo!
    After all that, do you continue to keep friends or assistants?

    I'd find creative uses for the remaining parts of the Royer and use it to inflict physical pain or discomfort to the offender.

    I did personally make a giant mistake once and fortunately did not damage the ribbons. I had to get a pair of ribbons up FAST and I had a LOT of distance to cover and a lot of cable to run. I grabbed the pair and ran. About half way through the sprint a moment of "OH SH!T" came over me.

    Fortunately, the ribbons were not damaged or stretched by the incident, but I certainly pay more attention to how I handle the mics.

    As for transporting them from to and from the venue - I don't think they are *THAT* fragile.
  6. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Ah... friendship and education are both worth more than a microphone or two!

    That's got to be another entry in the cold shivers department! Last year I was demonstrating something using a Shure SM57, which I continued to hold in my hand for quite a while after pointing it appropriately at a snare drum. As I was talking, one of my students asked, "Should you really be doing that?".

    "Doing what?"

    I had been holding the 57 for so long that I began absent-mindedly flipping it in the air and catching it while talking, just as I do with whiteboard markers during lectures. Hmmm...

  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Simmo, I like your SM57 story. But of course, you could probably pound nails in with that mic and it'd still work ok. One of the reasons why they're so popular, and robust!

    I don't have any ribbon mic horror stories (yet!) but I do practice some special safety measures with my AEA R84. The rare times that it does go out on location work, the edict is: NO ONE touches it or even plugs it in, except for myself. (The running gag is that if something bad DOES happen to it, I can then beat myself up about it.)

    This way, I handle putting the mic on the stand (has to be a big one), bracing and/or sand-bagging it (for when I'm using it on big brass sections, etc.) and last but not least: I personally trace the mic cable from the console out to the mic, making dead-sure there's no phantom power being applied to it.

    Kind've reminds me of that moment in Spinal Tap, when Nigel is showing off his guitar collection and says: "No, don't even LOOK at that one...." :wink:
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I do have a quick "OH SH*T" ribbon story...

    I just picked up another SF12 after my initial trials weren't as positive as I had hoped (likely due to my own inadequecies). I found it to be kinda funny, but it included a Beyer mic clip. On the package, it actually states something to the effect of "We're including this clip so that we can say we included a clip, but don't really use it. Instead, purchase our better clip ($250) or the AT clip ($50)." (Paraphrasing of course.)

    Anyway - I had a friend of mine coming over with a decent guitar, so I wanted to try out the SF12 against some other mics.

    So...instead of digging through my truck to find my AT shock mounts, I just figured "oh well, the stock clip should work just fine." So, I mounted the mic to the clip that came with the mic. As I got to the control desk and pulled up the gain, I heard my friend exclaim "OH SH*T" - then I heard...."THUMP, THump, Thump, thump...." I ran back in to the tracking room and opened the door slowly (so as not to throw a massive burst of air into the room from the door) to see the mic hanging from the cable and banging the mic stand.

    Apparently, the mic just popped out of the Beyer clip and flopped down.

    I ran a couple tests on it and it's fine, but of course I wasn't happy.

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