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Affordable ribbon mic for a natural electric guitar sound a la Steve Albini?
Old 16th September 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Affordable ribbon mic for a natural electric guitar sound a la Steve Albini?

I am recording a deluxe reverb at a home studio volume with an sm57. However, I am interested in the sound of Albini's guitar recording and its natural, roomy sound. I know he relies heavily on ribbon mics for this.

I have looked at the cascade fat head in particular. Any thoughts? I am open to affordable ribbon mic suggestions that can achieved these natural sounding tones even when the amp is it a lower bedroom volume. I am also open to non-ribbon mic suggestions that are more natural sounding than a 57.

I know better results can be had with nicer microphones, especially when it comes to ribbon mics. I am really just looking for something to get the job done on a budget.The fat head BE's price at $157 is very appealing, however I feel it may be too bassy and tubby for a deluxe reverb in a low volume setting.
Old 16th September 2019
  #2
I probably wouldn't go with a Fathead. The original Fathead is a rad mic, I use mine every single time I record my guitars, but it is not the mic I would go to at all for anything remotely close to Steve's open and airy sounding thing. Theyre not very bright at all, perfect for loud distorted electric guitars. I think you would probably get an 'older' sort of vibe out of it. Thats what it makes me think of when Ive used it on both vocals and guitars if thats makes sense. Rounded and warm, and nice and gritty in the middle. Its not very 'modern' sounding to me like a crisp clean Royer (those are Steve's favorites). If you were to do it like Steve does though, it would be a great mic for the 'middle section' of the guitar sound. The top end on it, just isn't there though. You have to keep in mind, what youre hearing isn't just one mic. Steve likes to use multiple mics, picked out for certain frequency ranges, and then usually blends those channels together and busses those as a single guitar track. Youre hearing at least 2, maybe 3 mics. More if he's doing the whole 'ambient' and floor mic thing on top of the direct and room mics. Electrical itself is responsible for alot of it, he just knows what mics to use for each layer and where to put them all to grab it right.
Old 16th September 2019
  #3
Gear Nut
 

I use a cascade Gomez often that sounds great now,similar to a fathead with a Lundahl tranny. I didn't like it so much before I replaced the ribbon with very thin .8 or so aluminum from Austin ribbon mics. Very hard to work with but a BIG improvement. Also great for acoustic guitar. The mic needs much less gain now and is lots brighter.
Old 16th September 2019
  #4
Just thought I'd mention the Somewhere Sound podcast interviewed Albini not too long ago and he talked about tracking guitar, among other things. Awesome podcasts...

Cheers
Old 16th September 2019
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Another thing to consider is that Steve often has the mics about 2 feet off the grill cloth. Once when I was at electrical I think I saw one set up that had a Coles 4038 and a Beyer M88 next to each other on a guitar rig. It may have been a different dynamic, it was quite a while back.
Old 16th September 2019
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Another thing to consider is that Steve often has the mics about 2 feet off the grill cloth. Once when I was at electrical I think I saw one set up that had a Coles 4038 and a Beyer M88 next to each other on a guitar rig. It may have been a different dynamic, it was quite a while back.
Sounds right, both of those are also big favorites of his.. Especially the Coles.

You can always go ask him directly for tips too. He is more than willing to talk shop with anyone that listens (get ready to take some notes too). You just have to catch him on a day he's actually on Electrical's forums and isn't working or playing poker.
Old 16th September 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 
GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpookSound View Post
I am recording a deluxe reverb at a home studio volume with an sm57. However, I am interested in the sound of Albini's guitar recording and its natural, roomy sound. I know he relies heavily on ribbon mics for this.

I have looked at the cascade fat head in particular. Any thoughts? I am open to affordable ribbon mic suggestions that can achieved these natural sounding tones even when the amp is it a lower bedroom volume. I am also open to non-ribbon mic suggestions that are more natural sounding than a 57.

I know better results can be had with nicer microphones, especially when it comes to ribbon mics. I am really just looking for something to get the job done on a budget.The fat head BE's price at $157 is very appealing, however I feel it may be too bassy and tubby for a deluxe reverb in a low volume setting.
Best guitar amp mic ever imo- AEA R92

Last edited by GreenNeedle; 16th September 2019 at 11:23 PM.. Reason: Pc version
Old 16th September 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpookSound View Post
I am recording a deluxe reverb at a home studio volume with an sm57. However, I am interested in the sound of Albini's guitar recording and its natural, roomy sound. I know he relies heavily on ribbon mics for this.

I have looked at the cascade fat head in particular. Any thoughts? I am open to affordable ribbon mic suggestions that can achieved these natural sounding tones even when the amp is it a lower bedroom volume. I am also open to non-ribbon mic suggestions that are more natural sounding than a 57.

I know better results can be had with nicer microphones, especially when it comes to ribbon mics. I am really just looking for something to get the job done on a budget.The fat head BE's price at $157 is very appealing, however I feel it may be too bassy and tubby for a deluxe reverb in a low volume setting.
I have Cascade Fatheads and they are ok- they live over my drum kit, where they present a warm and round tone of the cymbals and overall kit. But for guitar cab the real ribbon gem from Cascade is their VinJet- this is my go-to mic on guitar cab. The high end is more extended than the Fathead, and super natural sounding. It's more useful in a variety of other situations too. Unfortunately it costs more than a Fathead, but it's still affordable and totally worth it.
Old 16th September 2019
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
Sounds right, both of those are also big favorites of his.. Especially the Coles.

You can always go ask him directly for tips too. He is more than willing to talk shop with anyone that listens (get ready to take some notes too). You just have to catch him on a day he's actually on Electrical's forums and isn't working or playing poker.
Old 16th September 2019
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philter View Post
I have Cascade Fatheads and they are ok- they live over my drum kit, where they present a warm and round tone of the cymbals and overall kit. But for guitar cab the real ribbon gem from Cascade is their VinJet- this is my go-to mic on guitar cab. The high end is more extended than the Fathead, and super natural sounding. It's more useful in a variety of other situations too. Unfortunately it costs more than a Fathead, but it's still affordable and totally worth it.
Is the Vin-jet the long ribbon one?? I wanted one about 10 minutes after I took the Fathead out of its case and recorded a guitar track with it haha. I love that thing on guitars cause it makes mixing them and fitting them in almost too easy, and super bright vocalists work great with it too but on some things Ive thought 'man, if I could just get it like this with that upper bit in there WOW'. One of these days, one of these days!! Its too bad I cant justify just getting one for the amount of times I would actually use it nowadays.
Old 16th September 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Another thing to consider is that Steve often has the mics about 2 feet off the grill cloth. Once when I was at electrical I think I saw one set up that had a Coles 4038 and a Beyer M88 next to each other on a guitar rig. It may have been a different dynamic, it was quite a while back.
My fav is a Beyer M88 and an AEA44, not in the budget department, but what a big and smooth sound.

Budget means something different to everyone. If I was looking for a budget ribbon, I'd for sure be looking at a Stager SR-2N.
Old 16th September 2019
  #12
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edva's Avatar
Fathead is "OK" on drums, as someone posted above, but IMHO you should keep looking. I had a pair and sold them after hearing other ribbon mics. It is subjective of course. Some people are happy with them. But do yourself a favor and look around a bit more before your purchase. Just my 2c. Good luck.
Old 17th September 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
Royer R10 is a really nice ribbon for a really nice price. Used it on everything but vocals and I'll likely grab another.

I bought a stereo matched pair of RM BIV-1s that were super popular around here and do not love them as much as they sound kind of thin to my ears whereas the R10 is definitely meatier (not Coles 4038 meaty, but in that vicinity).
Old 17th September 2019
  #14
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Farmboy presents's Avatar
I have the fathead ii with lhundal and find them quite dark. I much prefer my Avantone ribbon which is a similar price but much more open and airy, also great on vox. Paired with my m88 it is a great combo. I have never sounded like Steve Albini tho.
Old 17th September 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
Is the Vin-jet the long ribbon one??
Yes it is, and to me it's a more natural and refined sound than the Fathead, with much less high end rolloff.

This vocal is the VinJet:

Old 17th September 2019
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I used an sE X1R (Under $300 ribbon) and an EV 408 on a Vox AC15 Tele combo tonight. I Think I'm going to swap the EV for an M88 tomorrow.
Old 17th September 2019
  #17
Hi Spooksound,

For an affordable ribbon mic check out:
https://www.diyrecordingequipment.co...rm5-ribbon-mic

I have 2 and love them. Only takes about 15 minutes per mic to build.

Been using them for guitar amps and they sound great.
Old 17th September 2019
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I used an sE X1R (Under $300 ribbon) and an EV 408 on a Vox AC15 Tele combo tonight. I Think I'm going to swap the EV for an M88 tomorrow.
The AC15 is one of those amps the Fathead is actually GREAT on hehe. I have an AC15C1 (still stock after 7 years) and its perfect for rounding off the Vox's brightness, and makes it slide right into its spot in a mix!
Old 17th September 2019
  #19
Here for the gear
I like the Fathead 1, which I think is what the BE is, for some amps. Usually fendery type amps that can lean toward ice pick with single coils or P90s. Keeps the fender character but saves a lot of EQ later.
I often set up 8-12" off the grille, center cone and blend an omni from 5-6' out for some room sound.

That said, refering back to the OP, a figure 8 needing a lot of gain to record quiet guitars in a home/bedroom scenario may not get a great sound. Could end up with a lot of untreated room in the sound which probably not going to give you what you want.
Old 17th September 2019
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattmanGT View Post
I like the Fathead 1 which I think is what the BE is for some amps.
Yeah, the BE (I think it means 'basic edition') is just a Fathead 1 without the extra accessories and a padded bag. It looks like they've cheaped out a little with the cases they give you nowadays. I bought mine around 2012 I think, and it came in a hard suitcase type carrier. Looks way sturdier and safer than the new ones theyre giving with it.
Old 17th September 2019
  #21
Gear Nut
 

sE VR1 is a nice one. <$400. I think they might actually be on sale right now too. I have a pair. Been using them on amps since. Bit of an extended top end, so in some instances, I've not felt the need to supplement with a 57 or the like.

Shinybox mics are worth a look too.
Old 17th September 2019
  #22
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
The AC15 is one of those amps the Fathead is actually GREAT on hehe. I have an AC15C1 (still stock after 7 years) and its perfect for rounding off the Vox's brightness, and makes it slide right into its spot in a mix!
Old 18th September 2019
  #23
Lives for gear
 
JulenJVM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpookSound View Post
I am recording a deluxe reverb at a home studio volume with an sm57. However, I am interested in the sound of Albini's guitar recording and its natural, roomy sound. I know he relies heavily on ribbon mics for this.

I have looked at the cascade fat head in particular. Any thoughts? I am open to affordable ribbon mic suggestions that can achieved these natural sounding tones even when the amp is it a lower bedroom volume. I am also open to non-ribbon mic suggestions that are more natural sounding than a 57.

I know better results can be had with nicer microphones, especially when it comes to ribbon mics. I am really just looking for something to get the job done on a budget.The fat head BE's price at $157 is very appealing, however I feel it may be too bassy and tubby for a deluxe reverb in a low volume setting.
http://www.ortizluthiers.com/index.p...icrophone.html

Handmade, I have the cylinder model. Pure affordable cream ala Royer 121. Can't recommend enough. The guy also does his own Cloudlifter type boosters with the correct impedance settings for the particular mic you get.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 
DeadPoet's Avatar
Coles & AEA aren't really that affordable to me.

To me the Beyerdynamic M160 is at the upper range of "not expensive" and the NoHype LRM-2 ('cleaner', very Coles-like) & LRM-V (darker, 44-like) rule as alternatives.
I hate the word cheap on these - that would imply that they are "good for the money" which they aren't. They're good at a price point 2x or 4x their current price.



Herwig
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
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vze26m98's Avatar
 

+1 for the NoHype LRMs. Fantastic customer service as well.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #26
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadPoet View Post
Coles & AEA aren't really that affordable to me.

To me the Beyerdynamic M160 is at the upper range of "not expensive" and the NoHype LRM-2 ('cleaner', very Coles-like) & LRM-V (darker, 44-like) rule as alternatives.
I hate the word cheap on these - that would imply that they are "good for the money" which they aren't. They're good at a price point 2x or 4x their current price.



Herwig
How close does the LRM-2 get to a Coles?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #27
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Closest I have come to this is an ElectroVoice CO4 (bright mic) paired with a modified Apex 205 ribbon (dark mic) about 3 feet away from the center of the cabinet. Put the mics in phase and blend to taste.

Guitar sound was sort of impossibly big sounding and smooth at the same time. I'd like to do that one again sometime, instead of the usual single close mic.

I think the Apex 205 is one of the most impressive cheap ribbons out there. If you can get some of the mods done such as removing extra screening and etc, put in a new ribbon. I haven't done the Lundahl transformer mods yet.

I'm looking at the No Hype ribbons too but I haven't used them yet, they just "look" promising.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #28
Gear Addict
 
bicarbone's Avatar
If you want a Royer but can't afford one, you should seriously consider a RM BIV 1. This is an excellent sounding Russian manufactured ribbon microphone and at 290$ a pair it is a steal. There is a thread about those mics with plenty of information here on GS : RM BIV Ribbon Microphones
Old 2 weeks ago
  #29
Yeah first Ive heard of this No Hype too. I may have to grab one now and write something new just to use it hehe.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Seamus TM's Avatar
 

Stager SR-2N is great.

Samar just came out with a lower-cost ribbon.
His stuff is great (more linear).
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