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Ribbons for overheads (again) Ribbon Microphones
Old 20th July 2004
Gear Head

Ribbons for overheads (again)


I've been looking at the option of using ribbons as overheads and couldnt reall find anything to convince me that they would be worth the investment.

I currently use akg 451's or 414's and already have a beyer 160 and royer 121. I was going to buy another 160 and follow some of the tips that were posted for Jules.

I'm wondering what sort or results to expect?

Do they need a lot of HF eq?

Whats the overall balance of drums to cymbals like?

I was thinking of paring them with a Uaudio 2108 an Amek 9098 dma or a Focusrite ISA 428.

Generally I record rock and use a large enough room with high ceilings.

Old 20th July 2004
Lives for gear
DigitMus's Avatar

In a large room with high ceilings, you should try a Royer SF12. I've gotten great results that way, with only a touch of added HF shelf for "sizzle".

Old 20th July 2004
Deleted User
You might try using more than just a stereo pair, since ribbons have a figure-eight pattern instead of the usual cardiod or omni. Try L, C, R ribbons for OHs. The center mic doesn't need to match the L and R.
Old 20th July 2004
try using a condenser coincident to the ribbon. i like ribbons on drums so far because of the rich skin sounds they can provide, but for a more detailed cymbal sound, i use condensers. use them both and youve got the best of each all at the same time.
Old 20th July 2004
Gear Nut

I love the SF12 on OVHS. The Coles work great too, but have a more retro sound. Both of them sound like they already have a nice compressor on them as soon as you plug them in.

Both of them kill for room mics too!

Not a fan of the 122's on OVHS, but I know others who love them and make them sound great - I can't figure them out on OVHS for some reason.
Old 21st July 2004
Gear Addict
rlnyc's Avatar

i have used both 160s and 121s as overheads and they surely give the most realistic picture of a drum kit that you will ever hear. i have hyperacusis and can't stand too much "sizzle" so i rarely eq them, but they accept eq better than any other type mic. my current setup though, is condensers as overheads, because i have been using them in omni (the 160s are hypercartioid and the 121 is figure 8) and a royer 121 as kick drum mic and AEA R84 ribbon (large geometry figure 8) as a mono room mic. everybody who has heard that setup goes nuts for it.

best luck,
Old 21st July 2004
Gear Nut

I meant to say 121's and not 122's in my post. I need to have another go around with them on OVH's and see if I do better - maybe it was the kit/cymbals I tried them on.

Sounds interesting using a 121 on Kick - where do you place it?
Old 21st July 2004
Gear Addict
rlnyc's Avatar

Sounds interesting using a 121 on Kick - where do you place it? [/B][/QUOTE]

the bass drum has both heads on it. i also throw a thin blanket over it, and then the royer goes about a foot off of the front, pointed down towards the inner shell slightly offaxis, as though putting the high hat in the null. i don't want much "click" in it, just a great "thump" --ymmv.

best regards,
Old 21st July 2004
Gear Maniac
Dan-O's Avatar

You have two ribbons now with different patterns. Why not try a mono placement with each to get an idea? If you like what you hear grab another one. Ribbons tend to put the cymbal image just were (I) like it right off and always sound natural IMO. I use M260's, R84's and R121's. The M260's are my goto's.

You could also M+S the two with the 9098's encoder feature for giggles.
Old 21st July 2004
"In a large room with high ceilings, you should try a Royer SF12. I've gotten great results that way, with only a touch of added HF shelf for "sizzle".

- Scott

I agree!

We inhouse guys and visiting producers are digging the Beyer 160's in our low ceilinged room.

Old 21st July 2004
Lives for gear
toolstudio's Avatar

Hi all,

I'm a big fan of ribbons as overheads.

But you have to like the sound picture and most of the time you need to built the overall sound around that.

I had great results with a pair of Royer 121 or a pair of coles if you want it more dark. I don't have R122s or SF12 so I don't know.
But most of the time I stick with the AEA R84, which for my ears are unbelievable as overheads.

Dark ? EQ the highs ?

I wouldn't say dull, I would say naturel. For rock/pop I use preamps which are a bit more open like the chandler tg2 or the helios 69 to have a good match with the ribbons.
For a jazz date I used the massenburg 8304 to capture the details more.

I would say you need to test it what fits your sound. It's really different than condensor overheads.


toolhouse studios, germany
Old 22nd July 2004
Gear Head


I'm going to experiment with the m160 and 121 in a mid side setup over the next few days, been using mid side a bit lately just never thought of trying it with the ribbons.

In the past we have used the 121 as front of kit, it sounded cool in a very lo-fi way but didnt get used in the mix, we tried a fair bit of eq and compression to try make it work but in hindsight the drummer wasnt all that great anyway!

The SF12 would be fast to setup and position, I'd like to try one out if I can find a dealer in Europe that would send me one on a sale or return deal. It would be an interesting mic to try on a lot of sources.

Cheers for all the replies,

Old 25th July 2004
Lives for gear
Jason Poulin's Avatar

I was also thinking of using our AEA R84's as OH's this weekend. Tracking in a church/great room.

I was debating on using them as stereo room mics along with an omni Soundelux U99

Km184's as OH... or AEA R84's...

Any suggestions to try out?

Old 25th July 2004
Jai guru deva om
warhead's Avatar

The R84's sound wonderful on drums!

Old 25th July 2004
toolskid's Avatar

Originally posted by Jules
"We inhouse guys and visiting producers are digging the Beyer 160's in our low ceilinged room.

Damn straight

THEY ROCKED - sooo creamy!!!
great tone, on my 'BUY NOW' list

The Royer was awesome just outside the kick too!!!
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