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What's your tips to avoid noise with Ribbon microphones Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 29th July 2017
  #1
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laperlestudio's Avatar
What's your tips to avoid noise with Ribbon microphones

I've been using ribbon a lot (RCA D77X, AEA 88,84,44, Coles, etc.)
But when I use them for vocal or background vocal, or all kind of source with less power, I tend to get certain noise from it. Mostly because I have to cranck the pre all the way up, even with the Cloud Filter.

How did was that possible to not get a ton of noise on the Elvis records and all?...
Old 29th July 2017
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laperlestudio View Post
I've been using ribbon a lot (RCA D77X, AEA 88,84,44, Coles, etc.)
But when I use them for vocal or background vocal, or all kind of source with less power, I tend to get certain noise from it. Mostly because I have to cranck the pre all the way up, even with the Cloud Filter.

How did was that possible to not get a ton of noise on the Elvis records and all?...
I was looking into ribbon microphones lately and a common theme was low output. Looking farther into the issue I learned that there are preamps specially designed to work with ribbon microphones. An average microphone preamp has about 55dB gain, the ribbon microphone preamp (that I was looking at) has 81dB gain. Also those preamps have better impedance matching that is reflected in less signal loss at the input.

Since you are in Montreal, I suggest that you visit 'Studio Economik' they have AEA preamps that are build for your microphones.

Rob
Old 29th July 2017
  #3
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Brian Campbell's Avatar
 

AEA TRP (The Ribbon Pre) or AEA RPQ both great preamps for ribbon mics.
Old 29th July 2017
  #4
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laperlestudio's Avatar
I will look at those pre for sure. But I do use really good preamp, Neve 1073, Millenia, Vintech, Api, undertone, etc. AEA preamp are fairly recent, ribbon have been around a looong time.

What were they doing to keep the signal as clean as possible?
Old 29th July 2017
  #5
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MickeyMassacre's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by laperlestudio View Post
I will look at those pre for sure. But I do use really good preamp, Neve 1073, Millenia, Vintech, Api, undertone, etc. AEA preamp are fairly recent, ribbon have been around a looong time.

What were they doing to keep the signal as clean as possible?
The millennia should bre more than enough clean gain for a ribbon. When was the last time they were serviced?
Old 29th July 2017
  #6
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ribbon microphones and noise

the Millenia two channel pre-amplifier is well regarded.
however, the published EIN is either a lie or the test is cheating.
"Noise (60 dB Gain, 10 Hz - 30 kHz, Inputs common) -133 dB EIN"

note that there is no published specification for input impedance.

if we were to disregard the terminating input of the vintage Langevin AM16,
it would present itself as manifesting an EIN of excess of -132, clearly NOT possible.

back in the day of Elvis,
input impedance of the tube mic preamps employed
(RCA and Langevin), measured surprisingly high.

their EIN is around -129 dBu,
which is better than a 1073 or API 312.

in summary, am questioning how "quiet" the listed preamps actually are.
Old 29th July 2017
  #7
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emrr's Avatar
The biggest noise factor with any older ribbon can be the cleanliness (lowest possible resistance) of the ribbon clamp.

I use ribbons with 40 and 50dB preamps all the time, and don't find a problem. Quiet sources, well, yes, easily a problem overcoming the laws of physics.

Reality was those consoles back then had 100+ dB go gain combined with big passive bus losses, and noise floors not a whole lot better than 15 IPS tape with no NR. And they were recorded to 15IPS tape with no NR. Either of those noise floors may be objectionable to us in a new recording, but hardly noticed in the context of an old one.
Old 29th July 2017
  #8
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DougS's Avatar
 

Grace M101 in ribbon mode has worked well for me.

Maybe checkout Cloud Microphones products - they makes some innovative products that are designed to work with your existing preamps. This one goes between your preamp and the mic - it boosts gain and allows you to dial in impedance to optimize the sound from your ribbon mic so you can combine it with the flavor of your existing preamps.

Cloudlifter Z – Cloud Microphones

Disclaimer: I don't own any Cloud products but they are highly regarded.
Old 29th July 2017
  #9
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chet.d's Avatar
 

I think an ideal would be to use a pre with an EIN of -129db (or less like -127) "first" & then, hit a tube compressor or eq after.
I know that for me, I plan to try the Integer RMP2 asap for this task (w/ a Samar MF65 feeding it).
Old 30th July 2017
  #10
Fetheads & Cloudlifters are cheaper ways to do it. Both have an effect on the sound in a negative fashion. The Fethead being noisier to my ears. There are also cheaper homemade versions on ebay. I have a couple of the AEA TRP pre's now though and they do sound great. You can then chain them to colour pres at low input if you want more vibe.
Old 30th July 2017
  #11
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sdelsolray's Avatar
 

What's your tips to avoid noise with Ribbon microphones?

Use phantom powered ribbon mics and quiet preamps.
Old 30th July 2017
  #12
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john caldwell's Avatar
Use them on loud sources and with quiet preamps. The noise does not arise from the ribbon mic.
Old 31st July 2017
  #13
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andersmv's Avatar
 

Even with the best ribbon mics and preamps, there's going to be noise (Especially if you're doing quieter acoustic stuff). My biggest "tip" would be to use it in appropriate places and appropriate songs. I included a video below that I did a few months ago. The client wanted to do a "one mic" style of recording, but didn't have the band with him and wanted to do all the parts. Based on the style of music and a few arrangement ideas, I showed him some of the AEA One Mic videos and suggested that we do our own unique take on that. We found a good location for the mic in the middle of the room and left it there for every part. We did our best not to tweak levels with each take, if something was too loud he played quieter or moved further away from the mic. If we wanted something panned, he had to move to one side of the room (You can see that the drum set was all the way back in a corner and he's playing with his hands). In theory, that is probably what it would have sounded like in the room if there were 5 versions of him.

The biggest concern when doing this was of course noise from all the tracks of ribbon mic that would be going on at once towards the middle of the song. Even with the R88 going through the TRP, that noise adds up. We did some interesting things to cut down on the track count. For instance, there was an electronic beat he wanted playing behind the real drums. We fed that through the two guitar amps in the room and mixed in the beat while he was playing the real drums and balanced it, so that's all one stereo track. He wanted to do a lot of backing vocals by himself so I recorded them all separately and then summed all those tracks through the amps in the room, so all his backing vocals are one track of the mic recording them all mixed together on the amps. In the quiet parts at the beginning, it's just 2 stereo tracks of the AEA. That way, not really hearing a lot of noise. At one point, I think there's around 8 R88 tracks going at once, but there's so much going on in the song you don't notice the added noise.

All that to say, just recognize that noise is a consideration when using ribbons. Just plan accordingly so that it will not be noticed!


Last edited by andersmv; 31st July 2017 at 10:06 AM..
Old 31st July 2017
  #14
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john caldwell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
Even with the best ribbon mics and preamps, there's going to be noise (Especially if you're doing quieter acoustic stuff). My biggest "tip" would be to use it in appropriate places and appropriate songs...
And your example illustrates just that. Path noise in the quieter moments fits the style well here, and the denser segments mask noise, cumulative at it may be. Nice.

Last edited by john caldwell; 31st July 2017 at 01:53 AM..
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