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Good Sub-$500 Ribbon Mic For Electric Guitar? Ribbon Microphones
Old 12th March 2016
  #1
Here for the gear
Good Sub-$500 Ribbon Mic For Electric Guitar?

I'm in the market for my first ribbon mic and would like to get something decent...the best I can find for less than $500. I've combed the forums and the common recommendations seem to be:

-Oktava ML 52
-Avantone CR14
-Fathead 2 -w- lundahl upgrade
-BeyerDynamic M160 (from the used market)

I'm sure there are others I'm missing. I keep reading so many contradictory opinions that I'm not sure how to proceed. The goal is to record kick-ass guitar tones from my cranked up Marshall plexi and Fender amps. I already have the usual assortment of dynamic mics, but I'm looking to explore the different flavors a decent ribbon mic can bring to the table. Any recommendations?
Old 12th March 2016
  #2
Mines stock but I love my Fathead. Haven't used the others though so can't comment on those..
Old 12th March 2016
  #3
Gear Addict
 
zohomoho's Avatar
 

SE X1R is really good.
Old 13th March 2016
  #4
There is a Russian guy selling ribbon mics on ebay. They are really cheap and sound really good, with quality transformers, I would compare the sound to Lundahls. Within your budget you could buy two:

Good Sub-0 Ribbon Mic For Electric Guitar?Montigomo R1A Ribbon Russian Microphone with Amorphous Transformer | eBay

The only downside is it takes a couple of weeks at least to get the mics, but well worth it IMO. He has sound samples you can check out. I'm pretty sure these mics can handle higher SPLs.

I bought the same type of mic, (but the stereo version) from this guy for even cheaper -- $200! He was selling the single mono mics for $100.

Good Sub-0 Ribbon Mic For Electric Guitar?http://www.ebay.com/itm/321951456359...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

But he doesn't seem to be selling at the moment, you could contact him and ask. Both sellers have excellent feedback. The stereo ribbon I'm using for a room mic and I couldn't be happier with it... and I've owed RCA BK-11, B&O, Royer, etc.
Old 13th March 2016
  #5
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
I have stock Fathead and Fathead II mics, and they're indistinguishable. One of the best mics for the money out there. I also have a Beyer M160, but unfortunatley, I haven't had time to put it through it's paces yet. I'm a huge Beyer fan. The M500 is also a great ribbon mic. I've used it on vocals, guitars, and some percussion.

In general, the thing that a ribbon mic does that's really special is the smooth, natural sounding high end. They tend to be dark, but also EQ easily due to the evenness of the response. The Fatheads and the M500 all do that beautifully.
Old 13th March 2016
  #6
If you are looking for the low-end giant killer, you may want to get the APEX 205, It is inexpensive and brings all the ribbon qualities to the game and all the disadvantages of a ribbon, thought in my experience it is pretty durable having dropped one of mine and it still sounds the same as its identical twin. Works great on a guitar cabinet and voice and .....
Old 13th March 2016
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
I have stock Fathead and Fathead II mics, and they're indistinguishable.
They're the same mic, or were.. The II just has a larger body.. Although the front page of the website says they come stock with Lundhal transformers now (the product page still has options for stock/Lundhal though). This must have just happened a couple days ago cause I was just on there looking at the Vin-Jets 2 or 3 days ago and that announcement wasn't there. That probably just shot the price of one up to around $400.
Old 13th March 2016
  #8
Here for the gear
Thanks for the input, everyone.

Regarding the Fatheads, I found this YouTube ribbon mic shootout:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUoGBE3AvzU

The Fathead 2 with the Lundahl transformer sounds brighter with more clarity than the stock transformer to me. I guess I'm leaning towards this one, unless something higher-end that would come in under $500 used would be an improvement.
Old 13th March 2016
  #9
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
They're the same mic, or were.. The II just has a larger body.. Although the front page of the website says they come stock with Lundhal transformers now (the product page still has options for stock/Lundhal though). This must have just happened a couple days ago cause I was just on there looking at the Vin-Jets 2 or 3 days ago and that announcement wasn't there. That probably just shot the price of one up to around $400.
Looks like it's a "New" Fathead II, shipping in April, and the body has been redesigned. Why that's not a Fathead III, I don't know.
Old 14th March 2016
  #10
Great ribbon for $400

My vote is for the sEVR1. Great Reviews everywhere worth look imho
Old 14th March 2016
  #11
Lives for gear
Always liked the samples from the NoHype Audio LRM-2 (or LRM-1) with or without Lundahl upgrades and the Cascade Vin-Jet (with or without Lundahl upgrade). Also heard great things about the SE X1r and thee DIYRE (Bumblebee) RM-5.
Old 14th March 2016
  #12
Gear Addict
 

I've been very happy with the Golden Age Active Ribbon.

http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Age-Pro.../dp/B0050DIHAC

One nice thing about it, for a ribbon that needs phantom power, it works with standard preamps.

Has a bit of a subtle saturated quality.
Old 14th March 2016
  #13
JAT
Lives for gear
At the low end of the market I haven't found any huge differences. I'm sure some - esp. the designers, can hear them. But for the average home musician I wouldn't think there is that difference. I'm happy here using the sub-$100 MXL. Of course, it is going through a nice Portico strip, which helps.

If it was me I'd get the Byer, which is a great brand. But really, any of them should sound great on an electric guitar if your preamp will drive it right.
Old 14th March 2016
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Get the fathead and be done with it. For guitar cab you want to capture mids, and short ribbons give that to you. Long ribbons like Apex 205 and Vin Jet are super cool, but they will give you more bass than you need.

Beyer M160 is at least twice the money and it's not figure of 8, which I rather like.
Old 14th March 2016
  #15
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cheu78's Avatar
Thoman tbone rb500 is pretty cool on gtr cabs.. VERY inexpensive.. sounds just right ime.



Cheu
Old 14th March 2016
  #16
Gear Addict
 
BurnStudios's Avatar
 

you cant go wrong with a fathead and a 57 together on a cranked cab.
its my go to setup for hard rock and metal.
https://www.reverbnation.com/burnstudios/songs
Old 14th March 2016
  #17
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nightchef's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fndrbndr View Post
-BeyerDynamic M160 (from the used market)
Don't overlook the M160's cheaper sibling, the M260, if you can find one. It's less versatile than the M160, but I find its frequency response is tailor-made for electric guitar--rolled-off low end with a subtle, sweet midrange lift.
Old 14th March 2016
  #18
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Brian Campbell's Avatar
 

I've been using these as spot mics on acoustic guitars also room mics in Blumlein. Super bang for the buck. Recording Tools MRP-01
Good Sub-0 Ribbon Mic For Electric Guitar?MRP 01 Profi Bändchen Mikrofon Mit Achter Richtcharakteristik Studio Recording | eBay
Old 19th March 2016
  #19
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jpgerard's Avatar
You need to, ideally, rent or borrow as many as you can before buying anything. Most Chinese ribbons should sound "good" assuming they were assembled properly which seems to be rare these days. Since you have a decent budget, please consider a used AEA or Royer... a new Beyer 130 might just be in your budget, a 260 will definitely be in your budget and you won't have any of the issues encountered with badly QC'ed, imported ribbons. At the end of the day though, it's a matter of taste which is why you need to bring as many ribbon mics in your room in front of your amp to try before actually buying (or keeping) one. I have a couple of friends who love their rock bottom priced Tbone ribbons. I know someone who loves his although it came with a stretched ribbon - but he won't have it fixed for fear of losing its trademark sound! beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Old 21st March 2016
  #20
Lives for gear
I'll add Cascade Gomez, and CAD 7000 with an Oktavamod.
Old 22nd March 2016
  #21
Gear Addict
 
erosconpollo's Avatar
You might look at the Shiny Box offerings, as well.
Old 23rd March 2016
  #22
Gear Addict
 

I think that the best option is a cascade with lundahl transformer.(fathead or vinjet).vinjet has longer ribbon and it has extendend freq.response...it is also suitable for vocals etc..
Old 23rd March 2016
  #23
Gear Addict
 
Mr. Wilson's Avatar
 

This...https://www.gearslutz.com/board/diy-...s/rm-5-g14070/

I have 2 ... both recently rehabbed by Artur in Latvia. These are awesome on many things and his recent updates have made them even better. One of mine has a custom Cinemag trafo, of course it lives up to the rep and the other is using his own DIY trafo which is outstanding. I currently have both on a Blackface Fender Princeton Reverb and A/B-ing them thru a AEA 500 series pre I can't decide which one I like better... it's a draw. BTW I have other ribbons and one of them a Royer 101 is a fave along with the RM-5s. Those 3 cover all the ribbon bases I need.
Old 23rd March 2016
  #24
Here for the gear
 

beyer m160 is great and natural sounding! also use them on drum overheads sometimes.

..sontronics sigma is also great but darker. really nice for really dark and really warm guitar sounds.
Old 23rd March 2016
  #25
Lives for gear
Did you notice JP never even tried to plug his ribbon mics, he's a class act! His LRM-2 should be tried out as its so imexpensive yet on the samples I've heard, it's great.

I have also wanted an RM-5.
Old 27th March 2016
  #26
Here for the gear
 

I threw together a quick comparison of the NoHype Lrm1 with Lundhal transformer and an SM58(head basket removed). There's also the file with both combined. I'm still relatively new at micing cabinets but tried to get them as close together as possible and near the center of the cone.
Gibson SG 61 reissue -> '65 Ampeg Gemini I (a little reverb on) with a Devi Ever Hyperion thrown in -> Logic Pro.

Like I said this was quick and not perfect but should give some idea.
Attached Files

lrm1andsm58.mp3 (1.14 MB, 3870 views)

LRM1_Lundhal Test.mp3 (1.14 MB, 3865 views)

SM58 Test.mp3 (1.14 MB, 3834 views)

Old 27th March 2016
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Eric Dahlberg's Avatar
 

The NOS Audio Panther MK2 is $249 and has a discrete JFET active circuit:

www.jrrshop.com/nos-audio-panther-mk-2

Old 28th March 2016
  #28
I have a Fathead II, and love it.

I prefer stock over the Lundhal upgrade. That sounded edgy and less natural to me. Better to just lift the top end a bit with a decent EQ, if you need it. Great value.
Old 28th March 2016
  #29
Lives for gear
That NOS Audio Panther Mk2 looks great value, especially as they are selling it right now with a free SM57.
Old 31st March 2016
  #30
I would go for the Beyer m160. It is a great mix and works well on a number of different sources. It sounds really good to me a foot or two back from an amp. Nice and natural. I don't know if I would put that one right up against the speaker though. I have had a few crap out on me. I feel like they are a little more delicate than some other newer ribbon models. Or maybe it's just because they get used on every session.
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