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Cheap Ribbons? Ribbon Microphones
Old 2nd January 2007
  #1
Gear nut
 
bachconnelly's Avatar
 

Cheap Ribbons?

Honestly guys, here is where I want the no bull **** answer... Are cheap ribbons going to sound anything like more expensive ribbons, OR, are they going to at least out perform many cheap condensers and moving coil dynamics. I have access to an RCA BK5a, but I would like to own a ribbon myself and have been looking at the NADY line of mics as well as the beyerdynamic cheap ribbons. Any suggestions are welcome and "don't buy those.. they sound like crap" is a perfectly acceptable answer.


D-
Old 2nd January 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
PhilR's Avatar
 

A cheap ribbon won't sound like an expensive one. But generally they're very useable.
Old 2nd January 2007
  #3
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worm's Avatar
 

i heard a sontronics sigma through a chandler tg2 once and it sounded really nice. had a kinda rustic vibe to it.

im considering getting one.
Old 2nd January 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 

cheap ribbons will get you acquainted with the ribbon sound, enough to point out the major differences between condenseos and ribbons. but it really depends on what you want to use them on. for quiet sources (solo acoustic guitars, etc.) the cheap ribbons suck. however, i think the beyers are great (not really cheap, about $600). start with them if you can afford it. they will definately put you close to the much more expensive ribbons.

bill
Old 2nd January 2007
  #5
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

I've got a shinybox 46C (modded Nady style with better transformer) a Beyer M160, and a AEA R92. For me, the Shinybox sounds the most natural. The Beyer sounds a little bright, and the AEA sounds midrangey. But the midrange works in a mix, and the Beyer is useful when you want presence without fizz on top. I would think the top of the line Shinybox would be a good place to start. Definitely stay away from the stock Nady, which kinda sucks - at least compared to the Shinybox. And keep in mind that ribbons are figure 8 pattern, (except the Beyers) so you have to be aware of what's on the back side of the mic, which is not that big of a deal unless you're tracking a group live and have other instruments in the room.
Old 2nd January 2007
  #6
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Jimbo's Avatar
mods

There are three main things that make a ribbon mic sound good or bad
- The ribbon motor
- The housing
- The transformer

With a cheap ribbon, you can easily alter the latter two, but you are stuck with the ribbon motor.

For $70 you can drop a Cinemag transformer into a Shinybox 46 mic. For about the same price you can use a Lundahl, but it's not a drop-in replacement -- this is what I did.

For a very small amount of elbow-grease you can modify/remove the blast shields in the cheap ribbons, opening them up sonically.

Grab a cheap Nady or other, and start modifying it. Removing the blast protection will make the biggest difference, and won't cost you a dime.

- Jim
Old 2nd January 2007
  #7
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Jimbo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan View Post
I've got a shinybox 46C (modded Nady style with better transformer) a Beyer M160, and a AEA R92. For me, the Shinybox sounds the most natural. The Beyer sounds a little bright, and the AEA sounds midrangey.
I would like to hear more about the 46 vs the R92. How do they compare on acoustic git and other acoustic instruments.

Is yours one of the newer 46mx types or the original -- I have the original.

Thanks,

- Jim
Old 2nd January 2007
  #8
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celticrogues's Avatar
 

Hey Dan,
I got a pair of the Cascade Fathead ribbons for Christmas - they are about $150 ea like the nadys.
I like them a lot so far - I've only tried them on voice and acoustic guitar so far but I am a fan. They are pretty rich and warm sounding. I am going to be doing elect guit and hopefully drums soon so Ill let you know how that goes. And I'll have them up at school if you want to hear them.
Cheers,
-Mike Fowler
Old 2nd January 2007
  #9
Gear nut
 
bachconnelly's Avatar
 

alright all.. how about these Cascade mics with the Lundahl Transformer in them? They are shipping them now.. they are twice as expensive but what do you all think about the sound? Pretty good? Thanks guys.



Nice to see you on here Mike! ha ha BTW
Old 3rd January 2007
  #10
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Protools Guy's Avatar
 

Beware of quality control of cheap ribbon mics like Octava.

My suggestion: save your money and get a Royer 121.
Old 3rd January 2007
  #11
Died for gear
 
Goliath|Audio's Avatar
 

Most ribbon mics will suck when you don't give them enough gain and match the impedance properly. In this case, buy what ever the hell you want because it is going to sound pretty close to the same.
Old 3rd January 2007
  #12
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
I would like to hear more about the 46 vs the R92. How do they compare on acoustic git and other acoustic instruments.
Is yours one of the newer 46mx types or the original -- I have the original.
Thanks,- Jim
Mine says 46mxc. It's definitely more natural sounding. The AEA has a pronounced midrange bump, but it sounds great in a mix. I mainly use the AEA in conjunction with a 57 on guitar cab. I did try it on acoustic slide guitar, but also used a modded Oktava 319, and needed to add some 319 in the mix for presence. I suspect the shinybox might have been a better choice on that session, but I keep thinking because the AEA cost more, it must be better. (Better for some things, but not all things, is what I'm finding out.)
Old 3rd January 2007
  #13
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Protools Guy View Post
Beware of quality control of cheap ribbon mics like Octava.
Oktava are "back in business" so to speak, the Guitar Center "no QC" issue has been resolved and we have had excellent luck with the line. A couple years ago Oktava deserved to be bashed about this, but they are not only putting out consistently good product now but introducing new mics even. GC pushed them for lower prices lower prices lower prices (ie Wal Mart) and the quality suffered greatly.

Oktava are now divorced from Guitar Center so to speak, and selling smaller amounts of mics through smaller / boutique dealers.

The Oktava ML-53 is damn nice, good presence to it.

For a bit more top end out of a ribbon, the CAD Trion7000 is excellent.

Both of these mics are well ahead of the $99 ribbons out there. Many of those are plain "flubby" on the low end.

Beyond them your next step up is AEA, Crowley & Tripp etc in my experience as far as micrphones that deliver depth and smooth response.

We finally have the Avant ribbons showing up this week so should be able to report back soon. They are priced around the CAD and also have a really interesting look to them. Made in China, Avant is reporting it is their own tweaked design though.

My $0.02

War
Old 3rd January 2007
  #14
Lives for gear
 
uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Here are some really short clips of a Martin 000-15S guitar, miced from a foot away aimed at where the neck meets the body. Pre was Sytek clean channel on 10, into BL modded 2408 set at +4, with the gain boosted in Cuemix software, putting the input level of the 2408 closer to -10. The gain was the same on dynamics and ribbons, but backed off considerably for the 2 condensors. I used an AEA R92 ribbon, Beyer M160 ribbon, Shinybox 46c ribbon, and just for reference, threw in a SM57 unidyne model and a AT4050, with a modded Oktava 319 and Heil PR40 following in the next post. (The interface would only let me upload 5 files max.) I'm not a guitar player, so I don't need a critique of my technique.
Attached Files

R92.mp3 (178.6 KB, 1513 views)

SB46c.mp3 (178.6 KB, 1373 views)

M160.mp3 (178.6 KB, 1504 views)

4050.mp3 (178.6 KB, 1316 views)

57.mp3 (178.6 KB, 1297 views)

Old 3rd January 2007
  #15
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Oktava modded 319 and Heil PR40, from the same batch.
Attached Files

319.mp3 (178.6 KB, 1148 views)

pr40.mp3 (178.6 KB, 1243 views)

Old 3rd January 2007
  #16
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan View Post
Oktava modded 319 and Heil PR40, from the same batch.
Out of the Ribbons, I favored the Beyerdynamic the most. The Heil sounded the most balanced. Great mic.

Thanks for the clips.
Old 3rd January 2007
  #17
Lives for gear
 
YUGA's Avatar
 

New Chinese Ribbons

New models are available in Japan now.
http://www.alpha-mode.co.jp/alphamode/alpha.html
Attached Thumbnails
Cheap Ribbons?-rm3.jpg   Cheap Ribbons?-rm4.jpg   Cheap Ribbons?-cm1.jpg  
Old 3rd January 2007
  #18
Gear maniac
 
needlz's Avatar
 

hahaha... wunderbar. any idea how much the royer clone on the left is selling for?
Old 3rd January 2007
  #19
Gear maniac
 
needlz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IPLayHamers View Post
Out of the Ribbons, I favored the Beyerdynamic the most. The Heil sounded the most balanced. Great mic.

Thanks for the clips.
I dug the beyer too.
Old 3rd January 2007
  #20
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YUGA's Avatar
 

from left to right, 31,368yen, 36,632yen and 22,947yen.
the right one was a condenser made by the same company.

$1 = 119yen
Old 3rd January 2007
  #21
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CrankyRayHanky's Avatar
 

Thumbs up

I have that royer clone, the RM3. It was selling on Ebay new for $140-175, before this US dealer decided to liquidate and blow them out for $100 a piece. I haven't seen them anywhere in a couple of weeks.

I sent the mic to my mod guy, who said he was unable to upgrade due to size descrepencies; however, he did note that the mic was an exact design of the royer 121 and was astounded as to how they could get away with it.

I grabbed the mic hoping it to deliver on modern high gain Gibson Marshall crunch tones. Having experience with the Royers a couple years ago, my memory of the tone is pretty damn close. I would imagine that the royer's superior-ness would shine on more delicate applications, but considering the price and the results, I am one happy crunching guitar player.

I'll report back after I take my RM3 to a shootout with the Royer.....in fact I bought a second one since!
Old 3rd January 2007
  #22
Here for the gear
cheap ribbons

I`m ashamed to say, I`ve got one a those "cheap" Nady`s,and, it works great.Not a 1000. dollar Mic, but you can`t really go wrong(unless you apply phantom power)
Old 3rd January 2007
  #23
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YUGA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyRayHanky View Post
I have that royer clone, the RM3. It was selling on Ebay new for $140-175, before this US dealer decided to liquidate and blow them out for $100 a piece. I haven't seen them anywhere in a couple of weeks.

I sent the mic to my mod guy, who said he was unable to upgrade due to size descrepencies; however, he did note that the mic was an exact design of the royer 121 and was astounded as to how they could get away with it.

I grabbed the mic hoping it to deliver on modern high gain Gibson Marshall crunch tones. Having experience with the Royers a couple years ago, my memory of the tone is pretty damn close. I would imagine that the royer's superior-ness would shine on more delicate applications, but considering the price and the results, I am one happy crunching guitar player.

I'll report back after I take my RM3 to a shootout with the Royer.....in fact I bought a second one since!
CrankyRayHanky,
Thanks for the input. Looking forward to the shootout!
Old 5th January 2007
  #24
Gear nut
 
Tommy Fobia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyRayHanky View Post
I have that royer clone, the RM3. It was selling on Ebay new for $140-175, before this US dealer decided to liquidate and blow them out for $100 a piece. I haven't seen them anywhere in a couple of weeks.

I sent the mic to my mod guy, who said he was unable to upgrade due to size descrepencies; however, he did note that the mic was an exact design of the royer 121 and was astounded as to how they could get away with it.

I grabbed the mic hoping it to deliver on modern high gain Gibson Marshall crunch tones. Having experience with the Royers a couple years ago, my memory of the tone is pretty damn close. I would imagine that the royer's superior-ness would shine on more delicate applications, but considering the price and the results, I am one happy crunching guitar player.

I'll report back after I take my RM3 to a shootout with the Royer.....in fact I bought a second one since!
Scary stuff.

I wonder what brand name they go by in europe...

I'd love to get my hands on one, especially for that price...
Old 5th January 2007
  #25
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by-tor's Avatar
 

I have a karma ribbon. I loved it on guitar.....Until it broke after a very loud marshall recording day! =) I need to send it in for repair.
Old 6th January 2007
  #26
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MadGuitrst's Avatar
The PR-40 sounds awesome.
I liked the At4050 next (and like the AT4033 evenr more on AC, even though I hate it on vox).
Next up was the Sm57
Then the MK319.
Then the Beyer
The Shinybox
and the Royer came in dead last for me.
Old 6th January 2007
  #27
Gear addict
 
Arsene's Avatar
 

this one looks pretty royerish too, don't you think?
Attached Thumbnails
Cheap Ribbons?-rsm3_l.jpg  
Old 6th January 2007
  #28
Gear addict
 
Arsene's Avatar
 

cant find the rm3 on eBay anymore... it really looks cool tho... I wonder if it sounds the part
Old 6th January 2007
  #29
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Chris's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arsene View Post
this one looks pretty royerish too, don't you think?
I have one that looks exactly the same. It is an Alectron HRM-10 that homerecording did a group buy on. I got it for like $60.

Can someone expand on the removing the 'blast shield' from above? I'd like to mod my mic if possible.
Old 11th January 2007
  #30
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Just did a full band session tonight, which include a guitar player through a Princeton. Tried the Beyer M160 - not phat enough. Thried the Shinybox 46 C - still not phat enough. The AEA R92 won. - even though the AEA R92 lost the acoustic guitar shootout in an earlier post. Just goes to show ya - many mics for many different uses. (The Heil PR40 saved my butt on kick drum. God, what an awful sounding kick that guy had, at least until I pulled out the D112 and stuck the Heil in there.)
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