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Cheap ribbon mics - oktava ML52?? Ribbon Microphones
Old 1st March 2003
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Question Cheap ribbon mics - oktava ML52??

I'd like to pick up a cheap ribbon mic to try something different on horns or whatever else, but, of course, I'd like to get something decent. The Oktava ML52 seems to be as cheap as it gets - anyone heard it? Is the Sound Room still the only place to get a trusted Oktava mic?

Thanks!

-Dave
Old 2nd March 2003
  #2
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Be careful using ribbon mics on horns. They push a lot more air and generate higher SPL's then you'd think. Never head the Oktava ribbon. Hopefully the build is a bit better then the condensor mics.

Best of luck,
Old 3rd March 2003
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Oh, certainly! I'd never close mic a horn - way too nasty sounding! Anyway, I'm just looking for something to help "round out" a horn sound. Awhile back I was in someone else's studio, and I tried a coupla old RCA ribbons on the horn section, and I was completely floored by how good it sounded! I've recorded plenty of horns, but that was, far and away, the best horn sound I've ever gotten. The only other mic that came close was a 441 - different, but I still liked it quite a bit. Any condensor I've tried has just ripped my head off with the high end - way too much. I've also liked what I've heard from the Royers on guitar amps - I know most ribbons can't handle what the Royers can, but it's pretty rare that I track an amp that's cranked. I'm really just looking for something different, and a ribbon seems to be the way to go. But, of course, I can't afford a RCA or Royer at the moment, but it'll primarily just be something to get a different sound anyway.

Thanks!

-Dave
Old 4th March 2003
  #4
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Then try an SM57 or a 421 with a sock over it. Seriously.
Old 4th March 2003
  #5
Lives for gear
 
DigitMus's Avatar
 

If you're looking for cheap ribbons, Beyerdynamic makes a few - they don't sound half bad, either. Sorry I'm not sure who carries them (got mine from a rep. who lost his job to drunk driving...) but I'd imagine any reputable gear house that deals with Beyer could get them.


Scott
Old 4th March 2003
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Thanks Scott! I'll check out those Beyers.

Hmmm... I've never heard of the sock trick, but I'll have to try that out. Reminds me of that time I had to put an AKG Blueline in a taped up condom to record a vocalist who wanted to record underwater....that was fun! "Uh, you wanna do what?!?!"

Thanks!

-Dave
Old 4th March 2003
  #7
Lives for gear
I got a couple of ML52s last year and my initial reaction was one of disapointment. However, I did not try them anywhere except on a vocal and as a room mic on kit.
Recently I had a sax player come in and I used it along with a Soundfield room mic and I was really happy. I had never got that sound from a sax before; it was round and old fashioned sounding. It reminded me of how I remember a sax sound when I was a kid (a long time ago now!)
I'd say it's worth having one. It was easily able to handle the spl of a sax. I'd be tempted to get a Royer if they were not so expensive over here grudge .

DW
Old 4th March 2003
  #8
Gear Addict
 
CrazyBeast's Avatar
 

There was a thread on this very same mic here not too long ago...
Old 4th March 2003
  #9
Gear Head
 

I bought an ML52 two weeks ago, mainly for the same reason the original poster wants to get one. It's a ribbon, and I was able to snag a new one from GC for $250 out the door. SO far I have used in in one application and damn if it isn't a fantastic mic. I basically copied the techique from the Royer disc on getting a deep isolated kick drum sound placing it 2-3 feet from front head, 10" high and pointed at 45 degrees. It doesn't have the great rejection the royer seems to have, but the tone was fat as hell and mixed in so well with my upper kit mic, a rented 121 on the upper kit placed in front of the high tom/sd/hh area, and a beta 56 on the snare pointed away from the snare slightly. I would recommend this mic to anybody looking for a good, cheap ribbon. Oktava's definately don't have the sexiness of other mics, and their build quality is questionable, but this one is a gem in my opinion. Get one!!!!
Old 4th March 2003
  #10
Gear Addict
 
CrazyBeast's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Manny Grossman
I bought an ML52 two weeks ago, mainly for the same reason the original poster wants to get one. It's a ribbon, and I was able to snag a new one from GC for $250 out the door.
I didn't know these were being re-issued. Do the new ones require phantom like the old ones did? I always that was super weird...
Old 4th March 2003
  #11
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
(keep in mind I know enough to be dangerous with this)

Most of the sound from a ribbon mics comes from how the ribbon is tensioned which is not an easy thing to do. Also, how it's cut and installed also plays a pretty big part in the sound. Since the Oktava condensor mics have pretty ****ty QC I'd imagine that their ribbon mics are even less consistant. That's not too cool IMHO. Also, once that ribbon is caked you probably won't be able to get it re-ribboned and have it sound the same.
Old 25th February 2009
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Hi,

Over the past couple of years, I've gone a bit mental with ribbon mic purchases, both cheaper and high end models. In the cheaper range, the active superlux r102 wins hands down. The cheap passive ribbons, especially something like the apex 205, can sound absolutely awesome once its they've been modified, but you still need a really clean, high gain pre to get any sort of workable level with low noise from it. The ribbon element in the superlux is modular and easily replaceable (a plug in cartridge), its active, so with the high output, you don't really need to worry too much about the pre (well...you know what I mean). You can actually record stuff like acoustic guitar or vocals, woodwind ect, without the hiss crippling all your hard work. The tone is great: really smooth, rich and warm, but with a good level of detail and depth + a relatively unhyped bottom end, which is typical of most other ribbons. This I find to be very useful.
Built like a brick sh*t-ouse' too. The sontronics sigma and the golden age active ribbons are really good too, a bit more cash though.

Hope that helps you in some way!

Toby
Old 25th February 2009
  #13
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
the shinybox is hand assembled here in US, and sounds very good. the cascade fathead is another nice affordable ribbon. you must have a preamp with a TON of clean gain to get a ribbon to sound any good - that bears repeating: YOU MUST HAVE...
Old 25th February 2009
  #14
Gear Addict
 
ABBA's Avatar
 

Golden Age R1 Mk-II.
Very cheap and fantastic sound!

ABBA
Old 25th February 2009
  #15
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by ABBA View Post
Golden Age R1 Mk-II.
Very cheap and fantastic sound!
I've heard of that mic. Is there any simple way to buy them on-line in Europe?
Old 25th February 2009
  #16
Gear Nut
 
Uncle Russ's Avatar
I've been looking for a meaningful and critical comparison between the Fat Head II with a Lundahl transformer and such ribbons as the AEA R84, Coles 4038, and various Royers. I have listened to every clip on this site (including that shootout on piano), and every clip I could find on the web. In the end, for several reasons, they were pretty inconclusive.

The only meaningful analysis I received was by sending a private message to a discriminating guy on this group whose experience is that the less expensive ribbon mics record more of the fundamental tone of an instrument but fewer of the transient overtones you hear in the more expensive mics that provide richness and dimension to the sound.

If others can confirm or debate that or know of a mic that is the exception, I would be most interested to read what you have to say. I've discovered the hard way that "there ain't no free lunch" but maybe the upgraded Fat Heads and Shineybox mics -- or somebody else's -- are closing the gap. Comments?
Old 26th February 2009
  #17
Quote:
If others can confirm or debate that or know of a mic that is the exception, I would be most interested to read what you have to say. I've discovered the hard way that "there ain't no free lunch" but maybe the upgraded Fat Heads and Shineybox mics -- or somebody else's -- are closing the gap. Comments?
The majority of the sound of a ribbon is in the transformer. (As long as the ribbon is tensioned properly) Sticking a Lundahl transformer in a Fathead is a sure fire way to unveil the sound and pick up those nice overtones that are missing from the cheap stock model.
Old 26th February 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
inre:
"discriminating guy on this group whose experience is that the less expensive ribbon mics record more of the fundamental tone of an instrument but fewer of the transient overtones you hear in the more expensive mics that provide richness and dimension to the sound."

that sounds like pure hogwash to me. i have owned royer r-121s, coles 4038s, shinybox 46, and fatheads, and if anything, i probably liked the shinybox the best, and it was like $1000 cheaper than the royers. they all sounded just like ribbon mics to me. trust your own ears and your own experience.
Old 26th February 2009
  #19
Gear Nut
 
opegas's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
you must have a preamp with a TON of clean gain to get a ribbon to sound any good - that bears repeating: YOU MUST HAVE...
While I agree with this to a certain degree, it's all about the source. This post is very old and referenced horns. Lets say a lead trumpet...it's not pushing any air. It does produce lots of SPL if the player is screaming high notes and therefore 20-30 dB of gain might be adequate.
In that case most decent preamps would have quiet / clean sound on the output.

paul
Old 4th January 2012
  #20
I just try Oktava ML 52 on Marshall JCM White edition guitar cab and all I can say is just wow! This mic has great midrange and lower mids. Cant wait to try it on other types of guitar amps.
Old 19th June 2013
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Heyho!
I got my pair of Oktava ribbons last week, and so far used it successfully on Trumpet, Trombone, Hihat and in front of a drumkit...
It didnt work out for me as drum overheads and on cello... the sound was too dark, missing too much.

But on brass, woohoo!! Fat and smooth!! I compared to my Pearlman TM1 on those sources... and the TM1 already sound thick! But on brass the Oktava were just so smooth

One thing I would like to share:

First I thought there was a funny buzzing noise around 8 kHz... I found out that my expensive Vovox cables with their really bad shield were the cause... you need lots of preamp gain for the ribbons, and then the vovox really suck!! I am not the first to notice...so take care here

cheerio!!
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