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Ribbon mic mini shootout Ribbon Microphones
Old 28th November 2006
Lives for gear

Thread Starter
Ribbon mic mini shootout

OK, following on from the 'Thomann ribbon mic rocks' thread I've done a bit of a ribbon shootout. So, we go from cheap to expensive on clean guitar. Bit rough & ready but you get the idea - I'd also roll off some LF from the T-Bone & Beyer.

Here is the chain: Fender Tele - Fender Vibrolux - [mic] - Pacifica - Mytek 8x96 - Logic 7 @ 24/44.1.

Mics were T-Bone RB500, Sank modded Beyer M-160 (RCA ribbon), Royer R-121.

The Royer & T-Bone were recorded simultaneously - I did a separate take for the Beyer as I only have 2 channels of Pacifica .
Attached Files

tbone.mp3 (2.12 MB, 5768 views)

beyer.mp3 (1.84 MB, 4902 views)

royer.mp3 (2.12 MB, 5329 views)

Old 28th November 2006
Lives for gear
blaugruen7's Avatar
the thomann is way louder and clips sometimes.
lower the thomann clip around -3.5db makes it someway similar loud to the royer.
after that it still sounds good to my saxophonists ears.
Old 28th November 2006
Here for the gear

I only listened to the Royer and the tbone.

I preferred the Royer myself, clearer mids and highs, whereas the tbone seems to have more body. Both do the job pretty admirably, and for a heavier tone I'd probably go with the tbone if it suited (didn't get too muddy). But I think the Royer has the edge (unless you've been sneaky and swapped 'em round.

Still, how much is the tbone again? Might have to pick one up just for guitar...



P.S. I'm a long time lurker here, and this is my first post, so 'hello everybody!'

Last edited by Dark Fader; 28th November 2006 at 09:24 PM.. Reason: Forgot my manners!
Old 28th November 2006
Lives for gear

I find the Tbone really bass heavy\muddy on the lower end how much lf did you roll of?

Tbone with additional rolloff\Hi pass (URS N eq):
I found it to be closer to the royer in terms of overall tone\body then the beyer. (im guessing it was modeled after the royer?)

Nice playing btw heh
Old 28th November 2006
Lives for gear
nathanvacha's Avatar

if this were, say, a solo or very sparse mix, i could see picking the tbone, for anything with more instrumentation, the royer wins on its clarity. worth double mic'ing if you have the channel and both mic's, though.
Old 29th November 2006
Gear maniac
PhatStax Drums's Avatar

Nice ribbon mic shootout

Nice funky strat playing!

I have many ribbons as well. In one sense, there are two different kinds of ribbon mics: ones that are basically large-ribbon, figure-8 pattern mics (although some of these like the RCA 77, Altec 639 etc. have various methods for getting a cardioid pattern if desired), and those that are more intended for directional close-miking such as the Shure 330 and the Beyer mics.

The latter wouldn't pick up a room with as much breathing space in the sound or as much bass, of course.

I'm a drummer, and it could be that my ears are somewhat fried, although it's not like I've played heavy metal for years (hardly ever in that style, really).

To me, it seems that most of the ribbons in the first group, ones that are intended to give a faithful, more-or-less large-ribbon figure-8 pattern, all sound *roughly" the same as long as the amp load/impedance is matched well.

The Altec 639s have thinner ribbons than, say, the Royer R-121, so their sound is a bit more delicate and detailed and with a really warm silky bottom end,, however, the frequency response is not nearly as flat as a Royer. Also, the 639's transformer shielding is poor, so at times it's impossible not to have an unacceptable amount of hum from the mic. But usually changing the mic's position can fix that. A well-positioned 639 sounds delicious indeed.

This is a really nice mic test (the three Strat files).

The Beyer with the RCA ribbon sounds the best to me, offhand.

Of course, ribbons take LOADS of EQ and still sound great because they are such low-distortion entities, so it could be that tweaking the Royer for more treble would sound as good as or better.

However, a thinner ribbon element usually translates, of course, into more detailed sound.

I don't have the time to look it up now except this thread is interesting:

The Royer R-121 is built to be a more rugged ribbon mic, and (I'm 99% certain) uses a thicker ribbon than perhaps even the Nady RSM-2, and certainly thicker than say a Coles 4038 or an Altec 639. This translates into not quite as natural and stunning sound.

The Altec 639 is nice because they built it so that it can take some light outdoor wind (according to some original mic literature) which kills most ribbons (there are pictures of Little Richard singing through one at an outdoor stadium concert), however, the sound is still very detailed.

Anyway, I hope this half-conscious rambling from a drummer is perhaps somewhat helpful.

Maybe there have been many ribbon mic shootout files posted.

What I can do, if I get the time, is put the following mics through what should be pretty identical-sounding channels of my 8-channel True Audio Precision 8 mic pre:

Altec 639b
Altec 670 (not as much high end, I can tell you, but very warm sounding, great for things like making vibraphone sound vintage)
Beyer M260
Beyer M500
Nady RSM-2
Nady RSM-1
Royer R-121
Oktava's ribbon (forget the model name offhand)

and I can record a drum kit about 10 feet out, where you would get the kick drum for bass, snare and cymbals for high-end, and the whole kit for an idea of how the mics pick up an acoustic instrument (well, some might put quotes around "instrument" for a drum kit depending on the music you're into, but it does generate all frequencies, that's for sure).

One problem of course is that in that application, any ribbon mic is almost certain to need significant EQ not to sound very mid-rangy, so I could post the original files, and then files where I EQ'd to my taste to make it sound more or less "flat" to my ears.

Another problem, again, is that this all may have been done before, and how much time do I have, but it would be interesting and fun.

Another problem is that I wish I had a genuine RCA 44, or 77, or a Coles and an AEA to add to the mix, but, those are a bit too pricey for me to justify for my uses now.

One cool thing is that stereo really opens up the sound field (wow...what a painfully obvious statement) and, for the following mics, I can do a stereo recording of the drum kit as well:

Nady RSM-2 stereo pair
Nady RSM-1 stereo pair
Altec 670 stereo pair
Altec 639 stereo pair
Royer R-121 factory-matched stereo pair
Beyer M-500 stereo pair (this is a ribbon vocal mic but also good for close-miking things, would just be for comparison, would not be a great drum room mic except for perhaps a special effect)
Beyer M-260 stereo pair (I think I have the model number right here)
Oktava's ribbon model, stereo pair

Of course for this many channels I'd need to have two different drum performances recorded in order to get all channels going through the True Audio Precision 8 (sixteen channels total).

The True Audio Precision 8 has high enough input impedance to be very good on ribbon mics, and the rest of its specs come close to the "wire-with-gain" ideal (well, if you're looking for UNcolored sound):

Gain (microphone): +16 to +64 dB
Gain (direct input): -4 to +44 dB
Frequency Response (gain=40 dB): 1.5 Hz to 500 kHz (+0/-3 dB)
Maximum Output Level: +31 dBu
Maximum Input Level: +15 dBu
Input Impedance (microphone): 5.5 kOhms
Input Impedance (direct input): 2 Mohms
Noise (Rs=0 Ohms): -132 dB e.i.n.
Slew Rate: > 40 V/uS
CMRR (CMV=+10 dBu): 85 dB
Crosstalk: -130 dB
THD (+26 dBu, 100 kOhm): .0008%
Power Requirements: 120VAC, 60 Hz, 44 Watts
Dimensions (chassis):
W=17.4 in. (442 mm)
D =13.4 in. (341 mm)
H =1.74 in. (44.2mm)
Knob extension: 1 in. (25.4 mm)
Weight: 14.5 lbs. (6.6 kg)

If anyone is just dying for a post like this (the sound files) do let me know and I can try and do it, it would be fun. Otherwise (as I suspect) there won't be huge interest but I'll still try and do this when I can.

I'm just a semi-pro, half-baked drummer and recording engineer so take this all with a big grain of salt (if you couldn't tell already). My recordings that focus on drum kits if and when I get to them won't have quite the same perspective as someone who records oboes, flutes, violins, and "things like that," eh...

best to all

Old 29th November 2006
Lives for gear

Thread Starter
Cool post man. As far as I know, nobody has done a ribbon shootout (at least for a good long while). I'd definitely be interested to hear yours if you had the time.

Old 29th November 2006
Gear Guru
drBill's Avatar
Rob - I'd absolutely be interested in your shootout! Bring it on!!!
Old 30th November 2006
Gear Maniac

Looking into buying a few ribbon mics myself. This couldn't come at a better time! Go for it!!
Old 30th November 2006
Gear nut
Open Sky's Avatar

Are my ears deceiving me or is the Beyer really THAT MUCH brighter and lacking in mids and lows than the others? I wanted one, but now I may not...
Old 30th November 2006
Lives for gear

Thread Starter
I rolled off a couple of dB at 100 hz, but that was it on the Beyer. It does actually sound fantastic on any sort of distorted guitar.
Old 30th November 2006
Gear maniac
PhatStax Drums's Avatar

Will try do to massive ribbon shootout on drum kit

Hi all,

After I posted all the mics I have and the mic preamp, it occurred to me that, of course, it would be a bit of a project. I'd have to clamp all the mics that are being tested at a time, as close together as possible, etc. etc., keep track of the tracks, etc. It would have to be two passes to cover all eight stereo mic combos since I "only" have eight channels of True Audio preamp.

Or I could less mics on a pass and just have something reasonably consistent to play on the drums (I grew up "actually reading music" so I could have played a really consistent drum part, but, that's gone now pretty much).

So, yes, I'll try and get to this soon, I hope before too long. Have two-year-old twins here so it's rough to get things done.

On the Beyer, I'm not surprised it's bright and lacking in lows....they're originally supposed to be hypercardioid mics for close pickup. Proximity does compensate for it in use. I've used them for close-miking drums (when you're sure they're not going to take a stick hit) and they sound great because they're just so incredibly transient.

I like the Beyer the best for the guitar part just because of the brightness but again who knows what EQ would do to the others.

Also, with the vintage RCA re-ribbon, the Beyer probably has a thinner ribbon than the Royer and thus would pick up even more transients than the Royer does. The other mic (equivlaent to the Nady RSM-2 on this side of the brook so to speak) actually might have a very thin ribbon to, I think they say .2 microns. Not sure what the RCAs or Altecs had.

Of course, hey, I'm sure an AEA, or a geniune, well-working RCA 44, or a Coles, probably do sound significantly better than the Royer R-121 or the Nady RSM-2, but, I think that's out of the budget of this forum, certainly mine at the moment.

Well, I'll try and do this shootout of the room drum kit as soon as I can, it would be a lot of fun.

In ANY case, I personally find the sound of ribbons just to be lower distortion than other mics and so they survive through a mix, nicely. But, then again, I've sort of done all this "on spec" and by listening to records I like (fifties Elvis, old jazz recordings engineered by, say, Rudy Van Gelder, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Stax stuff) and all that is largely ribbon mics.

If I owned a bunch of nice condensers (I own some, but not a lot), who knows....

But, to me, condensers sound nice but ultimately not as natural as a ribbon, and ribbons don't generally have as much distortion.

Of course, an old beat-up ribbon won't sound as nice as a Neumann, or even a good Chinese modern condenser, now, will it....

Plus, to use ribbon mics, you have to have an operator that won't:

hot plug the mic

move it around without a wind screen/plastic bag over it

use it outside when there's any chance of wind (i.e., at any time) unless it's maybe an Altec 639, or definitely say the Beyer M-500 which is made for vocals anyway, things like that

etc etc....

I have verbal diarreah, sorry, and can't spell diahrreah offhand

but yeah, for example, the Stax drum sound, Al Jackson...those are ribbon mics

but that's why you guys are here

(I KNOW, I could have set up the mics for the shootout by now, man..!!)

Old 1st December 2006
Gear nut
Open Sky's Avatar

That drum shootout would be great, PhatStax. And thanks for your work, Recording David.

So, the M160 IS brighter? Thanks for the answers, but I guess I'm still not sure I know what you mean. I've been wanting to pick up a ribbon to capture the lower end of things, not for brightness. Unfortunately the usual ribbon suspects are so expensive, whereas the M160 seems like a good value. Not if it's that bright, though!
Old 1st December 2006
Gear maniac
PhatStax Drums's Avatar

Beyer ribbons; good bassy ribbons; Altec ribbons

I'll have to check the specs on all the Beyers. The M-160 is the expensive one that has a hypercardioid pattern, intended for close instrument pickup (where it should really really excel) and use in conjunction with the figure-8 M-130.

I don't think the M-130 is a long-ribbon mic, but I'm not sure how long the ribbon is.

To pick up bass, you can get a very good result with even the Nady RSM-2 (which I think translates directly to the T-Bone mic, I'm writing from the U.S.). A Royer R-121 will do as well (of course) but it's more expensive than this posting area is about.

And again, a good used (obviously) Altec 639 will give you miles and miles of really really sweet, wonderful, LUSH bass, as long as the mic doesn't hum, either by luck or by mic placement. I'd imagine the Coles would be great for this too but I don't know if I'll ever be able to afford one. Actually I perhaps should have (or definitely) should have gotten a pair of those rather than a pair of the Royers, but, hey, you know what? A lot of hit records were recorded on a lot worst equipment than what we now have in our sticky little fingers. Then again, it's complex, ain't it.....because some of the good old analog stuff actually sounds quite wonderful---I can't afford it, I'm just listening to the end results.

So, no, I'm pretty sure the Beyers would not be the choice for warm, silky bass pickup. They're more for directional, close miking. However, I've never had the pleasure of owning the M-130. I have .pdfs of all the Beyer mic manuals if anybody needs them. I'm not sure they make these mics any more, or do they? But eBay, of course has them.

By the way, I got one of my Altec 639s from the son of Jason Weiner, who was responsible for outfitting Chess Studios in 1958, and according to his son, the mic was used at Chess from `58 into the early sixties. But, you know us musicians and creative people...I've lost the original eBay post, and I forget exactly which 639 it is!!!! But I think I can find it again. Well, the guy did have the same last name, and was from Chicago, I have a good feeling it was quite geniune, and the eBay post had a pic of mics set up on stands in a corner between sessions, and one of them was a 639 but it's not detailed enough to tell specific features of the mic.

I should get the windscreen silk tested for DNA from Billy Stewart, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley, and Chuck Berry, since they were all recording there at that time; it could have been used as a vocal mic and/or instrument mic.

The other cool thing about the 639s is they have a wonderful omnidirectional dynamic element in them as well which is switched and phased with the figure-8 ribbon to give various cardioid pickup patterns (although nothing extremely directional, but, it is cardioid). And, by itself, the dynamic element sounds almost as good as the ribbon....very very warm, lush bass, great all around.

I'd kind of like to find a pair of 639s with fried ribbons but good dynamic elements left, because then I could use them to record outdoor gigs (just quickie stage recordings when I'm playing drums and want a momento), without worrying about The Wind in the Ribbons. I could almost see myself setting one on "dynamic" and forgetting that there's a ribbon in there. Give me a few more years. I'm sure someone's done that. Then again, they're very cool mics because the ribbon is very well shielded against wind (although I wouldn't use them outside a whole lot, I haven't really tried, but the original Altec literature says you can use them outside, I forget the exact wording).

But, they're heavy mics so you need a heavy-duty stand if you're going to need to, say, place them over a drum kit or anything other than just over the center of the stand...most modern mic stands can't handle them, plus they don't have the normal screw-in mount anyway. I use drum clamps and just clamp them to photo light stands, they're wide enough at the bass and cheap enough to use.

Again, the ribbons on those MUST be thinner than the Royers because they seem to pick up even more detail. Mind you, Royers are great, and I even find the Nadys to be quite nice. Could be I'm just an old fry-brain, but I've even done two-mic recordings of gigs (quickie to learn the tunes etc., but also to see what I can get) and the Nady RSM-1 even (a $170 or less ribbon mic) sounded really really nice, and this is listening on a good pair of headphones (Sennheisers former top-of-the-line) so I'd notice any funny stuff.

I'll definitely do this ribbon comparison, stereo recordings in front of a drum kit, but it's going to take a bit to get it together, I'm not a full-time musician or sound guy,, just haven't hit it so I can make a living at it, so it's all between the "day slave" (to quote Spirit's drummer Ed Cassidy in an e-mail to me about three years ago) and gigs and family.

figure-8 pattern, correct?
Old 1st December 2006
Gear nut
Open Sky's Avatar

Man, thanks very much. Great info. I'll investigate that Nady, since I can't afford a high end ribbon at this point. Looking forward to the drum recordings, as I am also a drummer.
Old 1st December 2006
Gear maniac
PhatStax Drums's Avatar

Yes, get a cheap ribbon mic

Yes, go for the Nady or the T-Bone or whatever it is in your neck of the slowly-turning-into-Venus (warming) planet.

I've used it to record acoustic guitar and vocal demos (actually my relative singing but he's pretty good), and hey, the Nady/T-bone really makes things sound a bit "Disney-esque" in a very nice way, as some other poster put it.

I'm sure many elitists out there would go on about how they can hear a great difference between a Nady and a Royer but I'll tell you, it's really not that significant and I'm talking about direct A/B on good Sennheiser headphones. So, how much could this possibly affect the overall product, especially if you're doing rock or blues or R&B or anything but, um, really nice, beautiful music (hee hee).

And when you throw in the money factor, sorry, but Get the Nadys. Part of that is Chinese labor I guess and that's unfortunate, and the funky things they do with currency exchange or whatnot, but most of us don't worry about that when it comes to mics, at least (if ever these days).

In the U.S. they also have an RSM-1, which is a bit smaller than the RSM-2 and has not quite as nice specs. It's something like $160(?) whereas the RSM-2 is maybe $190 on a good day(?). I CAN hear a bit of difference between the two, I think in the low-end as I recall. BUT, RIBBONS TAKE MILES OF EQ. I'd say if you can pretty easily afford it, get the RSM-2, but don't feel too bad if the RSM-1 is all you can reasonably justify at this point. It's a good ribbon mic too, in my opinion.

I might be able to do this shootout thing sometime next week. I have a gig Saturday night (with Chuck Berry's East Coast piano player although the Chuck gigs of course are getting sparser and he has another drummer that has done those for 20 years straight, not me), and family stuff and Making a Living....but I'll really try to get something out next week if at all possible.

In the meantime listen to Green Onions or Chinese Checkers or Otis Redding's Satisfaction or any of the other Stax records to see what just one RCA 44 on the bass drum and a 77 picking up the snare and hi-hat and rest of the kit, can do (if it's Al Jackson Jr. playing a Cleveland-era Rogers drum it in a modified movie theater, that is).

I was just working out for a bit so I don't drop dead (elliptical trainers are great if you're older and need one) listening to Howlin' Wolf recorded around 1962-64 and trying to figure out if my Altec 639 was in's not on the vocals...maybe on Sumlin's guitar, and perhaps really on the drums since they're so detailed sounding, even if it's an old Chess recording. But, honestly, I don't know.

You know, I was at a studio of a guy that actually has published an entire CD series, for money, comparing lots of studio equipment, and we A/B'd some REALLY cheap (like, 30-40 or something) Chinese studio mic with my Royers, but I think this was on close guitar cab, and perhaps on close drums, and it was hard to tell the difference, it really was. I know right now alot of readers might say, well, this guy has no ears, but, both me and this guy who has made many good records in the D.C. area, agreed. AND, we didnt' really try them on ambient cymbals where you REALLY hear the undistorted detail in a ribbon mic, or ambient use at all.

Suffice it to say that I think a lot of people on this board perhaps get too hung up in the equipment detail and don't spend enough energy on developing musical talent and looking for that great performance.

But, it should ALL be good so of course it's good to talk about equipment (especially if running a studio is your thing). But the keyboard player I play with occasionally (used to play with all the time, now I sub because of my family these days, hope it changes some day), points out that for many musicians, at least in rock and roll, many of the successful ones don't particularly care what microphone they're using, they're more into their music and performance.

But that's all pretty obvious and we're here because of our passion for making as good records as we can within a certain budget.

So, get some Nadys/T-bones, and have fun. BUT be sure you have a preamp with at least 1,500 ohms input impedance and, say, 60 dB gain MINIMUM. If you're recording acoustic guitar or ambient things you may well need more.

Again, the ART mic pre's are a GREAT buy for the gain and specs, as far as I've been able to find, even the $150 STEREO one sounds pretty darn nice.

I could also do a shootout between the cheaper ART preamp and the ART MPA Gold which is very nice sounding (and the True Audio) with all other things being constant, sometime.

But the best thing to do is to get clean passion on tape any way you can, then mess with it later. At least in my book, and I'm a part-time drummer and engineer, so take that at face value. I have recorded some nice music, one live tune I did (where I used my Nadys to pick up the drum kit and cymbals sort of a three-mic thing plus bass drum, so that the figure-8 ribbons were picking up both the toms and the cymbals, so no need for overheads as the stage was small and setup time limited), was picked up by an indie filmmaker off our web site and was used in credits for his film.

It WAS a horror spoof, though, but he is trying to get it distributed.

Anyway, the Nady's on the floor tom and other toms, really sounded nice and natural in the mix. The drums come through great in the mix.

In fact, here it is: Nadys (I THINK....MIGHT have been the Royers but I'm almost postiive it was all Nadys...let me look into that)

miking a Cleveland-era Rogers drum kit with coated Ambassadors on the toms

my drumming is a bit monotonous, although not bad (I tend to do the same fill over and over through the song) and I don't get the proper latin Afro-Cuban beat at the beginning. I hadn't been playign with that band very long when we did this is the lame excuse I ahd, but it works pretty well.

I think the drums ended up being relegated to a lesser mic pre than the True Audio in this recording

the other of the first three tunes on this page

were also recorded by me (hauling out my drum kit and an entire multitrack rig, enough mics to cover everything, into an alesis HD-24 (unless I was still using the Tascam DA-38s back then).

It was mixed on an analog mackie multitrack mixer and outboard cheap tube compressors, etc.

then I went to the Behringer digital deck, then it broke, so now I'm finally putting the Alesis HD-24 directly into the computer via Fireport and editing in Cubase and using Voxengo plug-ins and LOVING IT except I have no TIME.

Sorry to write War and Peace but wanted you to hear ribbons on the drums in a live recording application.

Actually, you can go here, too, my own primitive web site, everything on it was recorded with ribbon mics, pretty much or exclusively.

The guitarist on the jazz stuff on this was Eva Cassidy's guitarist

I recorded all this through the Alesis HD24 and mixed digitally by now, on the Behringer, but the Cubase stuff will sound better (but who cares, the music is pretty good, not great, but pretty good):

best to all

Old 1st December 2006
Gear maniac
PhatStax Drums's Avatar

Example of close-miking a drum kit with ribbons

This is a good one I recorded using close-miking on drums.

This is a Beyer M-500 (I'm almost certainl....sorry! or, it's an old Altec Saltshaker mic but almost certain it's the Beyer--or it could have been a Royer or Nady RSM-2) on snare (yeah, not remembering sort of negates the whole purpose here, don't it, which I could remember because the snare sounds so fat and nice, let me think about that) and the rest of the kit also close-miked with Beyer ribbons (M260, the cheaper Beyers) and M-500s, they're vocal mics but hey, they're affordable too and have a great high end for a vocal mic.

unfortunately the piano distorted a bit on the original tape

The piano was direct in

I AM sure that the cello was a Nady RSM-2, as well as the guitar amp. (equivalent to the T-bone mic....I guess the same least it has the .2 micron, 2-inch ribbon, etc.)

this was mixed on a Behringer digital mixer that has since broken so I'm using Cubase now as I mentioned

I think I used Royers as drum overheads....damn, wish I could remember.

I tried using M-500s (beyers) as overheads thinking the directionality would be good to get just the cymbals, but they ended up getting a lot of bleed from the drums in a pretty colored way (they're ribbons but since they're directional, they will exhibit off-axis coloration due to what they do to make them hypercardioid as opposed to a simple figure-8 which will have essentially NO off-axis coloration which is another extremely cool thing about ribbon mics.


Old 1st December 2006
Gear maniac
PhatStax Drums's Avatar

Go for the music

Just one other thought, because I haven't written enough yet

I checked another ribbon post in the High=End section, and a guy is asking what ribbon mic he should use to record a trumpet player, through all this really nice stuff (and one of the replies is something like "since your goal seems to be to record the trumpet in as expensive a signal chain as possible".....but then there are posters seriously debating what of the best ribbon mics to use (well, probably the Coles would sound best because it has the thinnest ribbon, it would probably pretty much sound best for everything because of that)....but, really, why worry so much about that? For all that worrying you could buy the trumpet player a nice steak dinner or something illegal (sex or drugs for example) and get a far better PERFORMANCE than whatever effect using this or that high-end ribbon would be.

Okay, the last sentence was certainly a bit over the top, but you get the point. Actually drugs never did me any good, I guess, I'm clean for 11 years now anyway.

And then they're discussing what ribbon mics have what frequency bumps and how that affects a trumpet signal.

Ribbon mics are so low-distortion and consequently take so much EQ without sounding bad, and we have 32-bit digitally-processed EQ now, how could all this possibly make that much difference?

But, that's just a half-baked drummers opinion. They're probably working on the latest Quincy Jones recording or something, and I'm sitting in my basement or recording my bar gigs.

Anyway, the Nadys are very cool in my opinion, that's enough out of me for now


Old 21st April 2007
Gear Addict
skygod's Avatar
Originally Posted by Recording David View Post
OK, following on from the 'Thomann ribbon mic rocks' thread I've done a bit of a ribbon shootout. So, we go from cheap to expensive on clean guitar. Bit rough & ready but you get the idea - I'd also roll off some LF from the T-Bone & Beyer.

Here is the chain: Fender Tele - Fender Vibrolux - [mic] - Pacifica - Mytek 8x96 - Logic 7 @ 24/44.1.

Mics were T-Bone RB500, Sank modded Beyer M-160 (RCA ribbon), Royer R-121.

The Royer & T-Bone were recorded simultaneously - I did a separate take for the Beyer as I only have 2 channels of Pacifica .

T-Bone: Brings out the "guitar wood." Very nice esp for jazz/funk as my 1st choice w/ 335/175/L5 bodystyles. Luv the vibe

Royer: Full range. Not always a good thing to capture the full range in a jazz/funk mix. But it is what it is. Luv my royers, but not all the time. My 2d choice for this material and genre.

Beyer: Too bright and I wouldn't and never use this brand for anything. Never liked the Beyer class of anything ... but thats me ...

A Designs Pacifica (full rack version and not mousebox version) is one of my Fav preamps and is the right pramp for this material. I would probably have recorded both the T Bone and Royer on separate MDM channels @ 24/96 and compressed the latter and blended it under the T-bone in certain mix passages for emphasis like a solo or sumpt'n


PS. nice touch/chops whoever did the comping
Old 23rd April 2007
Gear Nut
ARude's Avatar

Old 24th April 2007
Gear interested
kidklash's Avatar

Originally Posted by ARude View Post
I’m currently in the market for a ribbon mic and I would suggest that all interested parties check out Shinybox Ribbon Microphones and Cascade Microphones. The samples at both sites are very impressive. Check out the sample of The Disney Sax Quartet, it knocked me out! I like ribbons best for recording horns…
You might also consider the Apex series of ribbons, which appear to be the same mics that Shinybox, Nady and others are rebranding. Here's a link to a retailer that is selling them for less than $100 in the states :

Ribbon Microphones Studio, Stage, Instrumental, Microphones Hard Wired Microphones Microphones/DI boxes Audio & Sound Equipment Products from Full Compass

And no, I don't work for this outfit - I'm just a regular guy that wound up buying an Apex 205 ribbon mic from them for $82.
Old 24th April 2007
Lives for gear
firby's Avatar

The best microphones in my house are Beyer m160s. I have the shinybox 23 and an Apex 205. They both sound nice but the beyers are more refined/better. My primary use is drum overheards. I haven't put them up on anything else.
Old 24th April 2007
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by kidklash View Post
You might also consider the Apex series of ribbons, which appear to be the same mics that Shinybox, Nady and others are rebranding.
in all fairness, I believe it was nady who conceived of the chinese ribbon mic design first and had their designs rebadged without their knowledge or agreement by alctron or whatever the chinese mic company is that actually makes them. Nady claims to have designed them, and there's no particular reason not to believe him that I can think of. his were first to market also, which jives with the story.

however, apex does sell them too, same mics, rebadged as apex, and they're cheaper for sure, cheapest of the bunch other than direct buys or ebay sales. the apex 205 is a good mic period, amazing for the price, although the highs are a bit dark in certain situations.

Shinybox buys the same original alctron ribbon mics as everyone else but mods them (it's clear on their website) to have optional upgraded transformers and possibly other improvements. They do cost more, but they also sound a little bit better. Not a ton of difference, but they do improvements that are due to the mics and the price is fair for the parts and work involved.

So you get apex, nady, and many other euro-branded ribbon mics that are identical in sound and interneal components, you get shinybox which optionally can be a little bit improved on apex.

However, I use apex and am completely happy. Apex (in canada at least) is "owned" by long and mcquade musical instruments, the major semi-pro audio music store chain across our country, and it's their house brand. I don't know how apex works ownership wise in the USA but the mics are a great buy, highly recommended.

EDIT: certain of their mics are a great buy, lots of variation in models.... I'm talking ribbons as being a great buy here, specifically the 205 (more so to me than the 210 which has the same element, costs way more, is twice as big, and has much worse body and grill resonance problems that need to be modded.... IMHO).

Old 24th April 2007
Lives for gear
Michael_Joly's Avatar

Originally Posted by dkelley View Post
in all fairness, I believe it was nady who conceived of the chinese ribbon mic design first and had their designs rebadged without their knowledge or agreement by alctron or whatever the chinese mic company is that actually makes them. Nady claims to have designed them, and there's no particular reason not to believe him that I can think of. his were first to market also, which jives with the story.
This may be opening an old can of worms, but Lynn Fuston of 3D Audio pretty much determined the inspiration for the Nady RSM-2 lies inside the $1000 AEA R-84.

In this thread:
A stirring story: EQ Mag's "Chinese Connection" by Yours Truly - 3dB

Lynn wrote: "I don't know how much design time was spent on engineering the RSM-2 and I don't have reason to doubt that John Nady did make a contribution to the Chinese development of that mic. I almost hate to bring this up, but several people have commented to me (other ribbon mic manufacturers included) that the RSM-2 is a "cloned AEA R-84." The motor assemblies of the two are nearly identical. I was reluctant to believe it until I saw pictures of the insides of the two."
Old 25th April 2007
Here for the gear

apex 210

Just a quick comment about the experience I have had with the apex 210 ribbon mike. I have had two of these mikes and both of these mikes had a problem with the metal coating on the magnets peeling off and interfereing with the ribbon. So buyer beware. This mike is the same as the Nady, and others.
Old 25th April 2007
didn't mean much to me, since each one is a different playing...
Old 25th April 2007
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
This may be opening an old can of worms, but Lynn Fuston of 3D Audio pretty much determined the inspiration for the Nady RSM-2 lies inside the $1000 AEA R-84.
well YES, that's not what I meant. I was talking about the rsm-1, the first chinese ribbon mic, and how it was designed by nady, not apex or any other chinese distributor.

every mic made by nady, apex, etc is a copy of (inspired by) aea, neumann, akg, etc. That much goes without saying :-)

however nady put in the R&D money (such as it was) to make good chinese copies of those mics, so he really got screwed when the chinese manufacturer started selling them under different names without him receiving any of the profit. Obviously, he stole AEA's design completely for the rsm-2, but the rsm-1 for example is a copy of another ribbon mic (very similar to, correct me if I'm wrong, an RCA ribbon design). But still, there was money spent to come up with such a good copy.

EDIT: I suppose in a way, every LDC capsule made is an AKG or neumann design knock off, since there really are only a couple of basic designs, and they're already very similar with only center tapped versus edge tapped. AEA created a great mic with that model, it's not surprising it has been copied so closely finally. for right or wrong...

Old 25th April 2007
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by traz View Post
Just a quick comment about the experience I have had with the apex 210 ribbon mike. I have had two of these mikes and both of these mikes had a problem with the metal coating on the magnets peeling off and interfereing with the ribbon. So buyer beware. This mike is the same as the Nady, and others.
good to know. out of curiosity, how were they used, stored, in what position were they kept, what temp room and what humidity? If we know that then maybe some of us can avoid having that happen as soon as it happened to you!

Any info like that would be much appreciated. Gotta love that chinese workmanship...

Old 25th April 2007
Here for the gear

apex 210

the first mike was fresh out of the box new, under close examination you could see something was wrong. the metal foil on the magnet was separating from the magnet and was hindering the ribbons movement. I took that mike back and got another one. Same problem with the second one, though not as bad. both mikes weren't in my possession long enough to be misused or abused, stored upright regular temp humidity etc. Maybe it was just my bad luck or poor quality control. How well the mikes were treated at the store I don't know but I no longer have one.
Old 25th April 2007
Gear interested
kidklash's Avatar

Originally Posted by traz View Post
Just a quick comment about the experience I have had with the apex 210 ribbon mike. I have had two of these mikes and both of these mikes had a problem with the metal coating on the magnets peeling off and interfereing with the ribbon. So buyer beware. This mike is the same as the Nady, and others.
That's good to know. I've also heard that the Apex 210 is a bit on the tubby-sounding side.

I haven't had any technical problems with my Apex 205... it sounds fine. The only thing is that some of the funky blue paint on the side of the mount fell off, and now you can see black crinkle paint where the blue paint is missing.
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