The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Ribbon Mics
Old 3rd May 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 
Crumbfort's Avatar
 

Ribbon Mics

Hi all-

Hope this is the right place to post this! I'm a composer who records a lot of:

-Double Bass
-Cello
-Steel/Nylon String Guitar
-Irish Bouzouki
-Mandolin
-etc..

I currently record using a pair of AKG c414 XLS' in Mid/Side going into an Audient ASP 880 going ADAT into an RME UFX. I record in a pretty small room with some soundproofing/baffles to get the room sound out, so everything is fairly close mic'd.

I've been liking the tone I'm getting from this setup well enough, but lately I've been curious about picking up a nice ribbon mic (or two).

Any general suggestions? I quite like the sound (from what I've heard online) of the AEA offerings. Would it be worthwhile investing 1-2k in a ribbon mic(s) or should I resist the GAS and just be happy with my pair of 414s?

Thanks for your time!
Old 4th May 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Ribbons in general will provide a different character than your 414 combo. The bottom will be a bit bigger, the top a bit more apparently rolled off (although the response does continue to 15-16K) and the transients will respond a little differently. (Clusters of odd order harmonics, like those produced by jingling keys or certain metal percussion, drives condensers a little nuts but are handled much more gracefully by good ribbons.)
I think it would be worth investigating in your situation. AEA makes wonderful mics (I own and love several of them). Royer and Coles are also worth considering (likewise). The AEA mics are somewhat unique in offering long ribbons ala vintage RCA mics vs short ribbons in the other two. But all are lovely tools.
Old 4th May 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post
Any general suggestions? I quite like the sound (from what I've heard online) of the AEA offerings. Would it be worthwhile investing 1-2k in a ribbon mic(s) or should I resist the GAS and just be happy with my pair of 414s?

Thanks for your time!
This is GS, so you won't get much encouragement to resist the gas.

I'd rather a ribbon then a condenser on all of those things, so yes. I'd prefer an AEA to just about anything if all I could have was one. A pair of N8's if you need the flexibility of having singles and stereo (also active!) or a used 44CE if you want one giant "OMG that is the best cello/bass/mando/etc. sound I've ever heard!" N8's rarely come up used.

Also check out Stager's ribbon offerings.
Old 4th May 2019
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
The ribbons with sound quite different from any 414. If you're asking aobut selling the 414s for ribbons, that's a tough call. If you're talking about adding ribbons for additional options, I think its a great idea.
Old 5th May 2019
  #5
Gear Head
 
Crumbfort's Avatar
 

Hey thanks for the great responses!

I definitely will be keeping the 414s, really do love these mics.

The AEA offerings seem great.

I think the R44CE is a bit beyond my price range at the moment (but dang that mic looks awesome). I'm comparing a pair of N8s with the R88 and was wondering what you folks thought about those? Seems the N8s would offer more flexibility in general, though I've not used a blumlein setup as of yet in my recordings.
Old 5th May 2019
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post
Hey thanks for the great responses!

I definitely will be keeping the 414s, really do love these mics.

The AEA offerings seem great.

I think the R44CE is a bit beyond my price range at the moment (but dang that mic looks awesome). I'm comparing a pair of N8s with the R88 and was wondering what you folks thought about those? Seems the N8s would offer more flexibility in general, though I've not used a blumlein setup as of yet in my recordings.
Never tried the N8 but have tried the R88 on a couple of sessions, which are similar to my R84s (I own 4). For the R88 and R84s, you'll want to also invest in a preamp best suited for these mics like the AEA TRP, for example. My interface is the UFX and an Octamic XTC, and the TRP is something I would not do without for these mics. I also use a Forssell SMP2A with the high gain option with these mics, but that is pricier. Another option is the RPQ. I am not a preamp snob by any means, but these preamps do make a profound difference with these low output mics.

I think keeping the 414s and complimenting them with at least one great ribbon like the above is a good thing. It's a different but desirable sound; a different "color" that handles transients differently and is just really pleasing to the ear with relatively less "shrill". I generally will add top end with EQ for most things, but they take EQ very well.

One thing to keep in mind is to always be aware of their figure 8 pattern, which can have advantages and disadvantages as well, if you don't pay attention to what is behind the mic, for example. That said, the strong side nulls can be a great advantage, too.

Finally, I have about fifty mics covering a wide range of large and small condensers, and a variety of dynamics. If I were to choose one desert island mic from my collection, it would be a toss up between my Schoeps CMC641 or AEA R84.
Old 5th May 2019
  #7
Another +1 for the R84. Personally, I've been completely happy using the R84 with the built-in pre-amp of my RME Fireface UC. Not saying it's just as good as other pre's, but it's working perfectly fine!
Old 5th May 2019
  #8
I would be remiss if I didn't add Cloud Mics to this thread: https://www.cloudmicrophones.com/microphones

My Cloud JRS-34-P stacks up very well next to my AEA R44CE and the price is much easier to take.

For the instruments the OP mentioned, the Cloud sound would be excellent. Rich and detailed. Gorgeous mids.

Tip: With any figure 8 ribbon you're going to need to place the mic much further from the source than with those 414s and you'll likely need a high quality high shelf EQ for boosting.

Enjoy!
Old 5th May 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
 

If you want to place your ribbon closer (like the 414), look at the AEA N22 and not the N8. It's tailored for a close placement (the motor assembly between the two is much the same other than that.)

And both are active so no need for high-gain mics.
Old 6th May 2019
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Royer SF12
Old 6th May 2019
  #11
And another vote for the R84. I rarely have my condensers up "catching the magic" without adding the character balance that a ribbon provides. Another R84 is at the top of my wish list. My current signal chain for the ribbon is: R84 > RPQ2 > ELOP+ > Fireface 802 > DAW. Works.
Old 6th May 2019
  #12
Gear Head
 

AEA N8 definitely. Awesome mics and makes a lot of sense since your preamp is pretty weak (I have an asp008, assuming it's sort of the same it doesn't have enough volume to work with passive ribbons). N8 has this lovely thing to it where it's dark and pleasant sounding but never feels like it's lacking anything.
Old 6th May 2019
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Al Rogers's Avatar
 

N8 and N22 are excellent mics. Your choice depends on your planned use. There is a good article on the AEA website explaining the difference between the two. Recommended.

My 2 cents is that all the AEA ribbon mics are designed and built to high standards. You really can't go wrong with any of them.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Lives for gear
I have just purchased a Royer SF 12 for recording acoustic instruments (as listed in #1 ), drum overheads, and choirs.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
thismercifulfate's Avatar
Consider a Coles 4038 as well. I love recording acoustic instruments with them. Royer R121 is nice also.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 
bitman's Avatar
Ribbons are feeble creators and need a preamp with gobs of gain and low noise.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitman View Post
Ribbons are feeble creators and need a preamp with gobs of gain and low noise.
In my experience this is a bit of an overhyped statement. I can use my AEA R84 without a problem with the preamps in my RME interface and while I need some extra gain I wouldn't say its as critical as some people say it is.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitman View Post
Ribbons are feeble creators and need a preamp with gobs of gain and low noise.
Saw the Blue Note documentary this week end - the majority mics were Coles and RCA 44 and 77 ribbons and not a feeble creation was to be heard.

But if all you record are felt plucked lutes, I see your point.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump