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A ribbon microphone is a type of dynamic microphone that uses a thin aluminum, duraluminum or nanofilm ribbon placed between the poles of a magnet to generate voltages by electromagnetic induction. Ribbon microphones are typically bidirectional, meaning they pick up sounds equally well from either side of the microphone.

Due to their bidirectional pick-up pattern, ribbon microphones are often used in pairs to produce the Blumlein Pair recording array. In addition to the standard bidirectional pick-up pattern, ribbon microphones can also be configured to have cardioid, hypercardioid, omnidirectional, and variable polar patterns.

Royer Labs is a microphone company that many consider to be one of the foremost manufacturers of ribbon microphones. The reasons most often cited for this opinion is that Royer has combined the traditional warmth of vintage ribbon microphones with the strength of modern materials, even though all traditional materials, such as pure aluminum, are still used for the ribbon. While older ribbon microphones had a great sound, the ribbons were weak and would break easily. Royer microphones, however, are strong enough to be placed in front of electric guitar amps, a placement that certain older ribbons could not have weathered.
DAvid Royer designed his first ribbon microphone in 1997 and started the company that bears his name one year later. When that first microphone, the R-121, was released, it received positive reviews from all the major recording magazines. The company continued to innovate, and was the first to develop a phantom powered ribbon microphone, and a tube-ribbon microphone.

Royer microphones have been used on many instruments. Sound engineers have had good results when recording classical guitars, drum kits, pianos, woodwinds, and electric guitars. Users of Royer microphones include Carlos Santana, Herb Alpert, Steve Albini, Ross Hogarth, and Ed Cherney.

More on ribbon mics to be continued...