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Ribbon Mic Mini-forum

Member for

17 years 5 months
Hi all;

I'd like to start a sane, professional, civil discussion on the state (and spate) of ribbon mics out there available today. It seems like every time I turn around, there's a bunch of new ones availabe - some brands I've just started hearing about, some even newer than that.

In no particular order, and no particular model, I'd be interested in reading about folk's experiences with these, including bang for the buck, reliability, real-world results, preamp issues, etc. etc. (Anything is fair game, as long as your statements are provable or at least based on something tangible. Gut reactions are OK too, but no needless bashing or trash talking! Hahaha)

I've just come across some brands like Shiny Box,Cascade, (seem to have a competitor to the SF-12 going on, too!) Tripps-Crowly, and many other newcomers I can't recall at the moment. (Add your favorite here; seems like every time I look at ribbons for sale on Ebay, there's yet another strange new brand popping up.)

I'm sure a lot of these have at least something of a far-eastern heritage, let alone country of origin, but I always keep an open mind.

How about you? Any favorites? Dogs? Good experiences, bad ones? Mainly, I'd like to know the real-world difference between the big guys and the new upstarts. They can't all be as good as they claim, yet I'm sure there's actually a lot of very good and quite usuable mid-level new ribbons out there.

Anyone?

Comments

Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Wed, 02/21/2007 - 12:29
RE

I purchased an Apex 210 as well and so far, what I have tried with it has sounded pretty good to my ears. I would agree that it definetely ads some colour to the sound, but it is a nice colouring IMO. I haven't used it for any orchestral recording and whatnot, so I don't know how well it performs in that regard. Micing a guitar amp with a SM57 and the 210 provided a really fat sound with the SM57 picking up more of the treble and the 210 giving it a bit of a fuller sound with more of the mids and low end. I've done some scratch track vocals with it and they sounded really good as well and it seemed to suit the singer's voice quite well. It works good as either a room mic/overhead/kick drum mic (with proper placement) for drums. I don't have anything to compare it to in the ribbon mic department since it is the first one I have used, but I am enjoying it's uniqueness in my mic "locker" thus far. On a side note, I have actually been pretty suprised and happy with the results I have achieved from all of the Apex mics I have purchased.

Have a good one,
Wyatt

Member for

17 years 6 months

ghellquist Wed, 02/21/2007 - 12:39
OK then. I´ll put up what it sometimes sounds like. SF24 + Sound Device 722. This is a rehearsal and someone is talking in the church. Mics are far back. It is a rehearsal and I am somewhere there playing trombone.
http://hem.bredband.net/trombonisten/SF24.mp3

You can hear the very distinct positioning in the stereo picture. Sorry but the soloist far to the right.

Different church, different music, same orchestra though (nominally, it is project by project). Same setup of mic + recorder.
http://hem.bredband.net/b121263/freude.mp3

Note that only purpose was to document, actual recording was with quite a few more mics.

Day after freude above. Different church. Several other mics used, this is only the SF24 as main mic. (Millennia HV3 + Lavry Blue). Sorry for lower quality of mp3 encoding.
http://hem.bredband.net/b121263/freude2.mp3

All of the recordings has something talking for them, but none of them really are useful to my ears.

Gunnar

Member for

16 years 11 months

mdemeyer Wed, 02/21/2007 - 23:32
Made some simultaneous recordings last weekend with an M160/M130 MS pair (AEA TRP) and Schoeps MK4 and MK21 close pairs (Hardy M1) on string quartet and violin/piano works. Live concert without a good sound check, so the recordings are not ideal :( , but I'll post samples this weekend for comparison anyway. I was planning to do MS (Beyer) vs MS (Schoeps) comparisons, but decided I wanted a little different sound from the Schoeps on this one.

Stay tuned...

Michael

Member for

17 years 5 months

JoeH Thu, 02/22/2007 - 01:14
All of the recordings has something talking for them, but none of them really are useful to my ears.

I would have to agree with you there, Gunnar. Don't get me wrong, these are lovely recordings, but I can hear what you're talking about, along with a few things of my own that I noticed.... I do think, though, that this is a wonderful start to a solid centerpiece of a recording. Soloists, etc. do need a helping hand in some areas.

Overall, though, the detail is quite wonderful and warm, of course. I just don't think they're enough, by themselves for this sort of thing. Nothing seems overloaded or overpowered, though, and that's always a good thing. Things seem to sit well in their place, but again, I'm sure there are things you'd want to adjust (soloists, choir, brass, etc.) and this pair of SF-24s alone are not doing the job. (Nor would one expect them to, in these kinds of situations...)

All in all, though, I'm really enjoying what's being offered in this mini-forum. Hope to hear more from folks!

Member for

16 years 11 months

mdemeyer Fri, 02/23/2007 - 22:42
As promised (or perhaps threatened :wink: ) here are some recordings of the Beyer M130/M160 mics as an MS pair (using some Schoeps mics as a comparitive reference) to give people a feel for them as a main pair. This is not a scientific comparision, given the differences in pattern, setup, etc., but I think it does show the character of these fairly reasonably priced, and well established ribbons.

These recordings were made at a chamber music concert. Two of the selections are for violin and piano and the third for string quartet. Both sets of mics were on the same stand, effectively in the same position relative to the performers.

The Beyers were run through an AEA TRP preamp with gain at 74db. (I'll let you form your own opinions about the noise floor of this setup. I think it's fine for this purpose.) The Schoeps were CMC5 bodies with MK4 or MK21 capsules (as indicated) run into a Hardy M1 at 44db gain. Both mic pres were feeding a 4-channel Benchmark AD2404-96 A/D. No processing other than decoding the MS (as needed in software) and conversion to MP3. Levels are reasonably matched, but not perfectly.

[I am posting both MP3 and some MP3Pro files. Let me know if you all can decode MP3Pro, since they are quite a bit smaller...]

Tchaikovsky, Melodie, Opus 42, No. 3

Schoeps MK4, 60 degrees at 21 cm

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Beyer M130/M160 MS

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Grieg, Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Opus 45 (Second Movement)

Schoeps MK21, 60 degrees at 21 cm

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Beyer M130/M160 MS

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Brindel, Music for Strings #3 (String Quartet Version)

Schoeps MK21, 60 degrees at 30 cm

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Beyer M130/M160 MS

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The Tchaikovsky and Grieg are played by different musicians - same piano, different violin.

Comments always welcome.

Michael

Member for

17 years 8 months

Cucco Tue, 02/27/2007 - 06:11
I haven't done a direct comparison between the two, but I never hesitate to use the Beyers along side the Schoeps. In the case of the the clip I posted above, I did actually run a Schoeps CMC6 MK4 beside the beyer on the soprano's voice. We both agreed that the beyer was the clear winner on her voice.

I think it's always a matter of choice and differences.

Member for

19 years 11 months

Davedog Tue, 02/27/2007 - 15:58
Please forgive this infidel for hijacking your wonderful thread...I'll only be a moment....

Just a quick comment on the under-the-piano-micing that J mentioned earlier.......(yes yes I know this is a ribbon mic thread....okay, my M500 died years ago and I was too dumb to have it repaired!)....For definition and better frequency response under the piano, try a PZM. We had one mounted to a piece of plexi-glass and I gotta tell ya, it filled all the holes the other mics on top left open.

Thanx for your kindness.....back to your program........davedog

Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Thu, 03/08/2007 - 21:18
Beyer M130

Jeremy,

In the piano/vocal recording clip you posted, where was the M130 placed relative to the vocalist? How close? I enjoyed the sound of that clip you posted - very nice.

Does anyone else like the M130 ??? What do you end up using it for?

I've used the M160's before with drums and really enjoyed them. They've been able to zoom right in on a drum kit when there is a lot going on on-stage...

best,

-dave

Member for

16 years 2 months

RemyRAD Fri, 03/09/2007 - 01:09
jazzbutcher, I love my M130 and 3 M160's. I generally use my M130 as the side microphone of an MS pair. Sometimes, I'll use it like I use the other figure of 8 microphones I have and enjoy that kind of pick a pattern for certain applications. It's the same microphone as the M160. That's why they suggest it for use in an MS pair.

They are particularly eloquent for jazz and fine arts classical recording. Great on jazz guitar amplifiers. Marvelous for drum overheads. Great on female vocalists! Fabulous on violins, violas and cellos. I always use a foam pop filter when recording vocalists. Much safer. Can't really use the nylon embroidery loop screens for live shows.

Plus, these particular ribbon microphones have more of that older "RCA 77" like ribbon sound. Not as bright or condenser like sounding as the Royer's, which are great but I don't really think they sound like ribbon microphones? To me they sound more like condenser microphones. So I haven't purchased one yet as I have plenty of condenser microphones.

Ribbon crazy
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

16 years 1 month

IIRs Fri, 03/09/2007 - 03:24
I also love my M160 & M130 mics!

I use them as a stereo pair for recording choirs, and sometimes as drum overheads.

Individually I love them for certain types of guitar sound, and certain types of female voice.

Often when I record vocals with my usual LDC I put up one of those ribbons as well and use it to feed the reverb: it makes the verb sound really warm and natural!

Member for

17 years 8 months

Cucco Fri, 03/09/2007 - 05:49
Re: Beyer M130

jazzbutcher wrote: Jeremy,

In the piano/vocal recording clip you posted, where was the M130 placed relative to the vocalist? How close? I enjoyed the sound of that clip you posted - very nice.

Does anyone else like the M130 ??? What do you end up using it for?

I've used the M160's before with drums and really enjoyed them. They've been able to zoom right in on a drum kit when there is a lot going on on-stage...

best,

-dave

The 130 was placed about 4 feet in front of the soloist and slightly lower and angled up.

I use 130/160s all the time.

I love them as a M/S spot in orchestra woodwinds. I'll also use them on larger choirs where gain issues aren't a concern.

Member for

16 years 1 month

IIRs Sat, 03/10/2007 - 02:22
rfreez wrote:
Often when I record vocals with my usual LDC I put up one of those ribbons as well and use it to feed the reverb: it makes the verb sound really warm and natural!

wah! thanks for that tip, never heard of it before but sounds just right :)

respect,

As far as I know I invented it!

8-)

Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Sun, 03/11/2007 - 08:31
M130

Remy, IIRs, Jeremy,

Thanks for the info on the M130. I've just never had a chance to try one out, but it sounds like I need to at some point. I keep wanting to try some M-S, but somehow it keeps falling by the wayside - I need to make time for it.

I too love ribbon mics and enjoy my 4038's and RCA mics a great deal. I've also been getting a lot of use out of the R88 for drums, percussion and horns recently.

I'm tempted to try out that new pre-amp from AEA as well - sounds like that thing is pretty quiet!


-dave

Member for

16 years 11 months

mdemeyer Sun, 03/11/2007 - 15:23
Dave,

Re: the noise of the AEA mic pre, the tracks I posted earlier in this thread give a direct comparison (using an M130/M160 pair in MS) vs. Schoeps CMC5 into a Hardy M1. It's a live concert setting (chamber music), and I think the noise is not an issue if the sound is to your liking.

I like the AEA a lot.

Michael

Member for

17 years 5 months

JoeH Wed, 03/14/2007 - 07:41
Jazzbutcher: if you haven't tried the TRP yet from AEA, you should check it out. (Full disclosure: I just reviewed it for MIX magazine, coming out next month or shortly thereafter...I can comment more after its out.)

I love the thing, and it's taught me more than ever: good ribbons need good pre's. They're nothing worth using without a good preamp. I hated to send it back to AEA (couldn't afford it - yet), but I'm planning to get one as soon as my finances improve. (Got an R84 that I luuuuuv, and it's fine with my Grace pre with the ribbon setting, but I still prefer the gain with the TRP.)

Member for

15 years 8 months

Robak Mon, 03/19/2007 - 09:43
Hi, ribbon users. Can anyone of you identify this Beyer? It looks like an old M260 but it has a M-S switch (Muzik-Sprache, I guess). It might be M310 but model number is unreadable. I can't find any info on M310. I got it with original cable but on the preamp side there is a (not original) mono jack (TS) but I guess this mics output could be symmetrical. I need some technical info. Can you help?

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