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Stellar RM-3 inbound - any opinions on this mic?
Old 9th March 2010
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Stellar RM-3 inbound - any opinions on this mic?

Hello all,

I've just recently purchased my first ribbon mic, a CAD Trion 7000. Prior to receiving this mic I'd never had occasion to record with one. I was quite surprised with just how great this mic sounds on guitar cabinets! I picked up the 7000 cheap - under $100 so the risk was minimal. Mine appears to have well tensioned ribbons with just the slightest sag on each (have not done any frequency testing yet - I may eventually out of curiosity).

On to the subject of this post: I wanted to give one of the Chinese single ribbon mics a go (one using the Cascade Fathead type ribbon motor) and found a new Stellar RM-3 (the Royer 121 look-alike). I should have it in hand by weeks end. I wasn't able to find much about these mics here so I thought I'd check to see if anyone is using them. Any opinions on this mic?

Thanks
Old 9th March 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
jproc's Avatar
I have a pair of the RM-3's and they get used during almost every session I do.

Check the ribbon tension, and you should be good to go...

They perform well on a variety of sources - I've use them on guitar cabs, drum overheads, as stereo room mics, etc...
Old 9th March 2010
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jproc View Post
I have a pair of the RM-3's and they get used during almost every session I do.

Check the ribbon tension, and you should be good to go...

They perform well on a variety of sources - I've use them on guitar cabs, drum overheads, as stereo room mics, etc...
Thanks for the reply! If I like what I hear I may well pick up a second to use them occasionally as a stereo pair. Not a difficult decision at $100 each.

Thanks again!
Old 10th March 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaj View Post
...found a new Stellar RM-3 (the Royer 121 look-alike). I should have it in hand by weeks end. I wasn't able to find much about these mics here so I thought I'd check to see if anyone is using them. Any opinions on this mic?

Thanks
There's a good possibility the Stellar RM-3 is still shipping with the Royer-patented offset ribbon design. The early Nady RSM-3 mics that shipped in a wooden case have this feature. The mics were later changed to a symmetrical ribbon placement by the vendor to avoid Royer patent infringement.

The offset ribbon placement allows for higher SPL handling on one side (the side where the ribbon is closer to the sound source) and for slightly brighter response on the reverse side. The symmetrical-placed ribbon version still sound great - just doesn't have those two features.
Old 10th March 2010
  #5
Have any clips of these on overheads? Been real curious about that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jproc View Post
I have a pair of the RM-3's and they get used during almost every session I do.

Check the ribbon tension, and you should be good to go...

They perform well on a variety of sources - I've use them on guitar cabs, drum overheads, as stereo room mics, etc...
Old 10th March 2010
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
There's a good possibility the Stellar RM-3 is still shipping with the Royer-patented offset ribbon design. The early Nady RSM-3 mics that shipped in a wooden case have this feature. The mics were later changed to a symmetrical ribbon placement by the vendor to avoid Royer patent infringement.

The offset ribbon placement allows for higher SPL handling on one side (the side where the ribbon is closer to the sound source) and for slightly brighter response on the reverse side. The symmetrical-placed ribbon version still sound great - just doesn't have those two features.
Thanks for the information! I appreciate the technical information Michael! I emailed the seller and just heard back - these are of the symmetrical design. No matter - I expect I will find it to be another useful ribbon mic.

Thanks again everyone for the information. I'll be sure to post some initial thoughts once I have had a chance to test it with a guitar amp at least.

Have a great night!
Old 10th March 2010
  #7
Gear Nut
 

I just recently bought a pair of Stellar RM-3.

I took the top off and noticed the ribbon was sagging.

This is not good is it?

I undid the screws at the bottom where the male xlr is and pulled that off, and tried to slide the ribbon mechanism off the top, and found that it was really on quite tight.

I had to bang it with the handle of a screw driver to slide it off.
Anyway, I put it back together and when I get a moment when the kids are not around I will unsolder the wires to the xlr and have another go at sliding (hitting) the ribbon mechanism off the case. I will re-tension the ribbon so it is taught (not tight, but not sagging).

Does that sound like the right thing to do?
Has anyone else had trouble sliding the ribbon mechanism off?
Old 12th March 2010
  #8
Here for the gear
 

I received my Stellar RM-3 this afternoon. I pulled the ribbon motor and found the ribbon sagging heavily. There wasn't as much ribbon to work with as I would have liked but certainly enough to properly tension it. I put it back together and gave it a quick test in front of one of my guitar amps - sounds very good! Smooth and warm with more midrange and a bit less 'sheen' on the top as the CAD Trion 7000 ribbon mic. Both of these low cost ribbon mics sound great and are voiced differently. I expect I'll get plenty of use out of both. The RM-3 was a real bargain at $100. Overall I'm very pleased with the purchase and the mic.
Old 12th March 2010
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gian View Post
I just recently bought a pair of Stellar RM-3.

I took the top off and noticed the ribbon was sagging.

This is not good is it?

I undid the screws at the bottom where the male xlr is and pulled that off, and tried to slide the ribbon mechanism off the top, and found that it was really on quite tight.

I had to bang it with the handle of a screw driver to slide it off.
Anyway, I put it back together and when I get a moment when the kids are not around I will unsolder the wires to the xlr and have another go at sliding (hitting) the ribbon mechanism off the case. I will re-tension the ribbon so it is taught (not tight, but not sagging).

Does that sound like the right thing to do?
Has anyone else had trouble sliding the ribbon mechanism off?
You won't have to remove the XLR jack. There's enough slack on the wires to the ribbon motor to slide it out clear of the mic housing. I also found it to be a tight fit. What I did to move it is I rested the mic sideways against the edge of a counter with a fairly sharp 90 degree top/side edge so that the bottom edge of one of the metal plates extending from the side of the mic was resting on the counter top. Then I just gave the top edge of the mic housing a light thump with the palm of my hand (while holding onto the mic at the bottom with my other hand) and the ribbon motor came loose enough to slide it out easily.

If I understand correctly the ribbon will have a very slight sag when properly tensioned. If tensioned so that it is taught the mic may exhibit an upper midrange 'honk'. I have a link saved on my home computer that provides some guidelines for re-tensioning ribbons in microphones. I believe Michael Joly has posted some very helpful info on re-tensioning and frequency testing for proper tension. I'll post links later when I get home.

You'll dig what you hear once you get them re-tensioned. It's a great sounding mic, especially with guitar amps! I'll try to record something worth posting this evening if I have time before we leave for the weekend.
Old 16th March 2010
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

I have one of these too, it has just been sitting in the case since I got it.
Guitar cabs eh?

Hmmm.... I would like to give that a try with the Mesa.

I hope someone post a link to the info soon, I would also like to see how the ribbon is and all that, I tested this one with a vocal when I got it and it works, just not sure if it is up to snuff or needs work, I don't even know how to get the thing apart....I have had bad experiences with microphones hence I tend to send them out for repairs...

keep shinin

jerm
Old 16th March 2010
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremysdemo View Post
I have one of these too, it has just been sitting in the case since I got it.
Guitar cabs eh?

Hmmm.... I would like to give that a try with the Mesa.

I hope someone post a link to the info soon, I would also like to see how the ribbon is and all that, I tested this one with a vocal when I got it and it works, just not sure if it is up to snuff or needs work, I don't even know how to get the thing apart....I have had bad experiences with microphones hence I tend to send them out for repairs...

keep shinin

jerm
If the ribbon is sagging too much I'd expect the mic to sound less than ideal - likely to sound dark and lack detail.

Taking it apart isn't difficult. Just take the two philips head screws at the top of the mic out and the ribbon motor should slide up and out of the mic. The motor may have a tight fit making it difficult to move at first. If this is the case you should be able to get it to come loose the same way I described moving mine in my last post (above). The ribbon should have almost no sag (just the slightest bit) when properly tensioned. If you're uncomfortable re-tensioning the ribbon it might be best to send it to someone to have the work done - the ribbon is pretty fragile. That said the job isn't too bad, it just requires patience and care. Michael Joly posted a guide for re-tensioning a mic ribbon here - should be able to find it in a search. Once tensioned the RM-3 sounds fantastic!
Old 17th March 2010
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaj View Post
If the ribbon is sagging too much I'd expect the mic to sound less than ideal - likely to sound dark and lack detail.

Taking it apart isn't difficult. Just take the two philips head screws at the top of the mic out and the ribbon motor should slide up and out of the mic. The motor may have a tight fit making it difficult to move at first. If this is the case you should be able to get it to come loose the same way I described moving mine in my last post (above). The ribbon should have almost no sag (just the slightest bit) when properly tensioned. If you're uncomfortable re-tensioning the ribbon it might be best to send it to someone to have the work done - the ribbon is pretty fragile. That said the job isn't too bad, it just requires patience and care. Michael Joly posted a guide for re-tensioning a mic ribbon here - should be able to find it in a search. Once tensioned the RM-3 sounds fantastic!
Ok thanx, I may try it....

If the ribbon is sagging too much I'd expect the mic to sound less than ideal - likely to sound dark and lack detail.

As compared to what? I don't have another RM-3 that I know is good to compare it to! lol
As far as I know what it sounds like is what it is supposed to sound like.

Suppose I do a recording and post it could you tell if it is dark or lacks detail?
What instrument would you recommend for this test? acoustic guitar? Guitar Cab (mesa boogie) or vocals?

I would open it up but honestly I might as well be looking at a thirty somethings breast to know what kinda sag it's supposed to have.....

keep shinin

jerm
Old 17th March 2010
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremysdemo View Post
Ok thanx, I may try it....

If the ribbon is sagging too much I'd expect the mic to sound less than ideal - likely to sound dark and lack detail.

As compared to what? I don't have another RM-3 that I know is good to compare it to! lol
As far as I know what it sounds like is what it is supposed to sound like.

Suppose I do a recording and post it could you tell if it is dark or lacks detail?
What instrument would you recommend for this test? acoustic guitar? Guitar Cab (mesa boogie) or vocals?

I would open it up but honestly I might as well be looking at a thirty somethings breast to know what kinda sag it's supposed to have.....

keep shinin

jerm
Too many variables for a recording to be useful in determining the condition of the ribbon in a mic. Best bet is to pull the ribbon motor and take a picture or two, then post the pics or links to them. A visual inspection will answer the question.
Old 21st March 2010
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

I used mine to record some 12string the other day and it sounds OK, thumbsup (when paired with another mic in a mix, sent it through a Trident T4.) which surprised me considering I do not have all that much gain on that pre, had it up to 45~50 and it was peaking if I heavy strummed (mic in shock mount about 8 inches away from fret board).

I am kinda leery about opening it up, if it ain't broke don't fix it kinda thing, and chances are with the way I am with electronics it would be broke if I touch it!

Michael suggested the method to test it and listen for the clanking ribbon when moving it forward and back, it's pretty quiet in that test.

Like most of the used gear I buy this one was "mint", "barely used in smoke free studio", "kept in the box only used twice and put back" and "we are only selling because we have a matched stereo pair".....so far so good.

On that note, "matched stereo pair" is there really such a thing or is that some kinda selling hype?
It has been my experience at least as far as mixes go that "Stereo" actually consist of two DIFFERENT sounding things coming out of L and R speakers....

keep shinin

jerm
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