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fetter 7th August 2005 07:26 AM

Was given an RCA ribbon...sell or keep?
I was given an rca 74-b ribbon mic....anyone using? What is the value of this mic in ok conditon? I might ebay it. Whaddya think? confoosed

unseen hand 7th August 2005 09:42 AM

im really liking the 74 more and more. sounds great on guitars and acoustic bass. very full bodied. i'd keep it for a while and see if you like it. i thought about selling mine a while back, but now i don't think i'd ever sell it. i see them go from anywhere between 3-7 hundred bux.....

jjblair 7th August 2005 10:16 AM

Use it on horns and as a room mic for drums. Just make sure you learn how to treat a ribbon so you don't damage it. And NEVER run 48V to it.

Fletcher 7th August 2005 03:26 PM

Oh fukk me... run 48 volts to it all fukking day long if you like... as long as your mic and your 48 volts are wired properly there is absol-fukkin-lutely no truth what so fukking ever to that "urban myth".

On consoles like 8078's, A-Ranges, etc. you can't turn off the phantom power and you can use ribbon mics with those desks all day long.

As for the mic... I think they're brilliant. Great for guitars, some voices, horns, mono piano from time to time, etc., etc., etc.

I would recommend you take some time with the thing before you punt it... but that's your business.


jjblair 7th August 2005 04:17 PM

Fletcher, I'll have to disagree with you. I'll show you the bills from Wes Dooley replacing the ribbon in my BK11 twice, because people plugged it into my 3124s not knowing the phantom was on. (It really was stupid of them to put that switch on the back.) And there is nothing wrong with my wiring.

Besides, if it's an 'urban myth', why would Coles put in large letters "NO 48V" on their mic? You'd think they know what they are talking about.

Regardless, there are other things about how to treat it that he needs to learn. RCA ribbon material is extremely fragile, and you can damage it just by closing the lid on a mic's case too hard. And if that's an urban myth, somebody better tell the people at AEA to stop perpetuating it.

dolo 7th August 2005 04:43 PM

fletcher is absolutely right in this. if everythinh is wired correctly there won't be any problem with the ribbon microphone. not using phantom power is a percussionary measure.

7rojo7 7th August 2005 07:15 PM

I have 2, I've had them for 10 years, I now use them with Millennia HV3D's direct input. GTR amp at 18" with an N90, a PL80, 57 or 604e on the cone at the grillcloth.
Harsh accordians, violins, flutes. AC GTR behind the bridge with an AT AE3000, a schoeps ccm5, or a Beyer M260 between the hole and the 12th fret. trumpet. bone.
If I use them live I attach a piece of cardboard backed foam to the back of the mic and use them only for FOH and a clip mic for the monitors.
I had a problem once with phantom but it didn't ruin the mic or effect the sound, but if you touched the mic you would hear a crackling noise. still works!
For curiosity's sake, what could happen to it if it took the 48 volts across the ribbon? I would suspect that the transformer would be the most likely suspect for damage. anyway what would happen?

enharmonic 7th August 2005 07:26 PM

If it was a BK5, I'd say no...God no. By all means, send it to me :)

But it's not, so enjoy! diddlydoo

e-cue 7th August 2005 07:37 PM


Originally Posted by fetter
Whaddya think? confoosed

I love it. Especially on upright bass and trumpet. Of the ribbons I own (122, R84, M160), it's closest to the R84 with that bigger sound but more brassy on horns. It pairs very nicely with the Pacifica on trumpet in a "Afro Cuban All Stars" kinda way.

The issue I always had with the 74b (aka, junior velocity) was the high amount of radio interference and noise I got with it. I'd move the bastard around in the live room (similar to having a guitarist with noisy passive pick ups in the studio) till I found the least noisey "sweet spot" then place the musician around it. Fine if you have a huge live room or get lucky- not so good in a vocal booth. I started talking to David Royer about this limitation, and he suggested a modification (namely an Xformer upgrade, and increased shielding) which I ended up talking him into doing for a couple hundred us dollars. Now I'm bitchin' camero with it, and commonly use it in smaller vocal booths, provided I can work around the reflections from the glass.

For the record, I've sent 48v to it (I have a custom Manley mixer that does phantom in banks of 8 and 'had' to) and my mic has faired just fine. I don't suggest it in a studio you have questionable wiring, or patchbays though. Yeah, I'm paranoid like that. I've blown several of these ribbons over the years, but not from sending it phantom power.

To answer your question: no, I wouldn't sell it because I see them going on the used market way under their value, provided the mic isn't thrashed. And even then I'd still get Royer to do the upgrade.

jjblair 7th August 2005 07:52 PM

Anybody know the difference between the 74b and the BK11? I've used the 74b, but never A/B'd them. They look almost identical. I have a BK11, which I love. I used it on upright for Richard Perry on one of those cheesy Rod Stewart records, and I thought it had a great sound. Sounded just like a classic jazz record. Well, Richard almost rang my f├╝cking neck for that sound. I guess he wanted a more Kenny G type jazz sound, rather than a Charles Mingus one.

Ted Greenberg told me that he likes his 74b so much, and thought except for the whole absence of proximity effect thing, he thought it was as good as his 44BX and sold his 44BX. But that's just second hand info, for what it's worth.

gregl 8th August 2005 03:56 PM

All RCA ribbon mics have a transformers between the ribbon element and the outside world. The transformer will not pass DC to the ribbon (or it shouldn't anyway). In addition, phantom power should be present on both pins of a balanced mic connection. If the phantom power is done correctly the voltage on the mic would be the same at both pins. The mic is concerned about differential voltage (the voltage difference between pins) and this would be (or should be) 0 volts when phantom is applied.
However, when phantom power is switched on there will be a voltage spike. It is possible for the transformer to pass this. However, if the spike is identical on both sides of the transformer and occurs at the same time the differential voltage will again be zero and the ribbon will be OK . But, if for example phantom power is on and the mic is then plugged in, if the connection on both pins does not occur at the same time it would be possible to degrade the ribbon.

jjblair 8th August 2005 04:52 PM

Thanks for that explanation, gregl.

Dan Kennedy 9th August 2005 02:58 AM

The JV has a longer ribbon, which is also wider than the BK-11's, it has an unshielded output transformer too, which means it's way more sensitive to interference.

It also looks like it's made of used John Deere scrap iron inside as opposed to the nicely machined BK-11 guts.

I also disagree with Fletcher on the 48V thing, because I've had to re-ribbon my correctly wired BK-11's from correctly wired sources through good cables.

Both are nice in different ways.

I don't screw with phantom with any of my ribbons, RCA's, Shure's or Royers.

jjblair 9th August 2005 03:05 AM

That's interesting, becaus the only mic I've ever had to reribbon is my BK11. Maybe there's something about the BK11's transformer that doesn't give it the protection that glennl is talking about.