Originally Posted by jnorman
are there any of the chinese stereo ribbon mics that you might suggest?
There is an SF12 clone called a Stellar RM-7 that can be found on ebay for $200.00. For a few hundred more, you can send it to Michael Joly and have the ribbons tweaked and upgraded transformers installed.
Brad McGowen posted this in a recent thread:
I'm glad someone mentioned this. My buddy and I bought one of the Stellar RM-7 stereo ribbons which is essentially the same mic as the Cascade X15. My friend sent his off to Michael Joly for upgrades...re-tension of the ribbons, new transformers, Evidence Audio wiring. We spent some time this weekend comparing it to the stock mic and my Royer SF12 on drum overheads and front of kit. Here's the gist of our impressions:
Compared to the SF12 the Stellar was bigger sounding with a much deeper and heavier low end. We actually ran the tracks through the Schwa Scope plugin and you could see how the Royer started to roll off about 40-50Hz. The modded Stellar kept going all the way down. The Royer seemed to have a bit of a bump at 200Hz that really gave some weight to the snare, but the Stellar had more at 60Hz so the kick seemed way bigger. Up top the Royer started to roll off and shelf at 12k-15k. The Stellars were pretty flat until about 15k, and the modded Stellar had a lot of air in comparison. However the Stellars had a slight dip around 11k. A 3dB boost there fixed this though. The modded Stellar was definitely clearer, more 3D, and more detailed than the stock. Frequency-wise the SF12 was rolled off in the extreme top and bottom and thus sounded boxier. However, what really put the Royer in a different class was the tightness of the figure 8 patterns and it's stereo image. With the Royer each part of the kit could be pinpointed across the soundstage. The Stellar image sounded a little hazy in comparison. It was like I had on the wrong prescription of eyeglasses and couldn't point to the man's nose. It also felt like I was hearing a ghost image from things getting picked up in the adjacent ribbon's rear lobe.
The ideal mic would be the bastard child of the modded Stellar and the Royer SF12.
I have some Chinese ribbons that I've modified pretty extensively and they sound excellent. I plan to buy one of the Stellar RM-7s soon and do similar mods to it. Since I will do the work myself, it won't cost all that much to check it out.