Ribbon microphones

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
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Ribbon microphones

Post by milsabords » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:07 am

Ribbon microphones are different from condenser microphones especially by the internal sensor. the capacitors use a membrane while the ribbon microphone is provided with an extremely thin aluminum sheet folded accordion (otherwise the operating principle would be inoperative elsewhere).
In a single ribbon microphone there are few elements, there are magnets, folded aluminum sheet, an output transformer, and that's it. and it works .
some of these pickups include in the body a condenser circuit playing the role of pre-amp requiring phantom power, but suddenly the purity of sound can be debatable, it is often an artifice. manufacturers.
others include a pre-amplification tube stage (John Peluso pickups for example) which increases the price. but the sound can be excellent also with these Peluso especially because it ensures the quality of its productions.
the interest of the ribbon is the natural rendering of the source, there is no or little hump of presence in the medium (accentuation of a part of the medium) and this can make the voices soft (less aggressive than 'with condenser microphones) and above all we will notice that listening will not be tiring in the opinion of many listeners who work on headphones.

the sensitivity of these pickups is not huge if they only have their passive output transformer. That said ; the good quality transformers allow a level of output well enough to be able to directly connect this type of microphone in a compact recorder like zoom, tascam, etc ... with a placement at 45/80 cm of the instrument.
most of these microphones have an "8" directivity, they take forward front and back with a "positive" and "negative" side.
therefore the investment is important. it is necessary to make several headphone tests on the ears, and in addition it is better to have a room whose acoustics are not too bad. and finally ; we can not use them on stage or at a low volume level, otherwise there will be feedback.

big advantage for the capture of classical guitars flamenco or folk, we will have less over-shine (sibilance) in the medium and the heat of his. (in the case of well-designed quality microphones). moreover, in the mix I only edit the bass most of the time, the rest is fine or does not require abrupt corrections. on the other hand I have to clean the background noise of the three fans of the two computers that are in the room where I record. (with software plugin). the background noise of the microphone is very low by cons and does not pose a problem.
I found for my part ribbon microphones of excellent quality without being overpriced. but I do not know all the models of each brand except for name. I invested according to my means by relying on helpdesk electronics in which a whole section is devoted to a French site of musicians - the largest site in France - in this case; audiofanzine.
their advice was valuable because I bought the microphone kit (6 welds to perform), but you can buy it pre-mounted for a little more expensive.

a trick to evaluate the thickness of the pleated ribbon itself which is in the body of the microphone: the comparison with the hair.
Thus, the average diameter of fine hair is about 70 microns, which is also written as follows: μm. the thickness of the aluminum which constitutes the ribbon is from 2.8 μm (microns) to 1.2 μm (microns) according to the microphones of this type at this manufacturer in particular where I ordered ..
the ribbon is made of pleated aluminum foil, twenty times thinner than a hair !! so avoid shocks and especially drafts otherwise the tape could tear. you have to take care of it, that's it. and avoid using outdoors if there is wind.
for the taking of his voice, it takes a filter anti-pop. (6 to 20 euros approximately on ibé.). I have a comrade who has a studio and he uses a pair on the folk guitars. on the french guitar site a person who bought one was surprised by the quality (see directly on the site on page 4) and audiofanzine several people have bought on the occasion of a Christmas promo, the opinions are more mixed but nothing negative either.
since this promo, the transformers of this brand have been improved and its longitudinal. they go back without forcing into the body of the microphone.

I have a more natural sound, more faithful and better to say better with this microphone with a dpa 4011 tl (very expensive that one) on the guitar in proximity.
in remote concert I used the DPA on the other hand during a party where I did not play guitar.
I invite any investor to study this suggestion of ribbon microphones as they have brought me the sound I've been waiting for a long time.


on the images, for example I show two ribbons quite similar but the rm-6 is smaller and thinner. the sound is more faithful and the microphone is more sensitive, output level higher than the rm-5 which is more colorful.
in addition to the rm-6
the white wire that surrounds the ribbon and magnets reduces flow loss and reduces distortion. which makes the rm-6 superior in all respects compared to rm-5.

but on a pickup of electric guitar amp a rm-5 may be interesting for its more marked color.
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Re: Ribbon microphones

Post by guit-box » Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:13 am

I like ribbon mics a lot for classical guitar. Condenser mics are impressive on first listening to most people because of the brightness, but the sound can be harsh. The problem today is that most manufactures of home audio interfaces with mic preamps are designed for high output condenser mics--so the preamps are low gain. To get a decent high gain preamp that is suitable for low output ribbon mics is costly, so it's not like you'll save any money using ribbon mics because you'll have to buy an expensive preamp. Unless you're going to build one of those too. :-)
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Re: Ribbon microphones

Post by milsabords » Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:32 am

I do not know all the ribbon mics on the market, but I can tell you that the RM-6 has a sufficient output level to be used directly with a normal sound card or even a compact recorder. there is another guitarist on the French forum who has one on my advice, he is delighted, and he does not have a specific external preamp.

this may not be the case for all ribbon microphones, moreover the rm-5 of the same manufacturer has a lower output level. the ruabn being bigger and the transformer different too.
the passive transformer of the RM-6 is very powerful. the rm-6 does not require phantom power. it is a very realistic microphone compared to the source without shine like condenser microphones, without excess brightness.

so you have to learn about the output level if you have to buy a ribbon microphone. igor burdukova's biv-1s provide a low output level that has been offset by the addition of an optional capacitor preamp. but it's an artifice, its microphone is not as good as the rm-6, and it's heard right away.

if you have preamps, they will bring gain and possibly a musicality or a particular coloring. in fact a good preamp only exacerbates the qualities of the microphone. Obviously if you can have at least one (mono channel) around 1000 euros, the sound is better in all respects of course.

I deposited a tune recorded with rm-6 on the English site a few days ago besides. the problem here is that the sound card is not very top level. an appolo uad card would do it better and twist the sound less.
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