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Ribbon Sag - An Update
Old 21st November 2009
  #31
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That's fascinating. I didn't authorize the release of that mic because it was initiated without my approval.

But yes, I could work on them - email me for details.
Old 21st November 2009
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretschman View Post
That's your opinion !

I am proud to support those manufacturers here in the USA by purchasing their high quality products . You know , where you can dial the guys phone number and HE answers the phone , stands behind what you buy from him . Has a tech department
that speaks english and is helpful .

Yes , you can chose to save money buying Chinese microphones , but can you
get the guy on the phone ? or speak chinese ?
Can you get parts for it ? If so , how long does it take ?

It is not arrogant to buy quality products or to support those who make them .

I refuse to buy an inferior product from a Communist country and put those who truly deserve my business out of a job just to save money . I'll just save up until I get the cash to buy what I want .
Fair play, but you said "Buy American, I do" - That is dictating to people. It is an arrogant statement. Buying American gear is not arrogant in the slightest, support your economy. You could have worded it in a more pleasant manner, surely? I'm British and I LOVE British gear & companies. I like being able to pick up the phone and speak English to someone at the other end, same goes for German, Austrian, European and American companies. Communism is not such a bad concept either, it just hasn't ever worked. Not that it matters on an individual level anyway.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beanface View Post
Fair play, but you said "Buy American, I do" - That is dictating to people. It is an arrogant statement. Buying American gear is not arrogant in the slightest, support your economy. You could have worded it in a more pleasant manner, surely? I'm British and I LOVE British gear & companies. I like being able to pick up the phone and speak English to someone at the other end, same goes for German, Austrian, European and American companies. Communism is not such a bad concept either, it just hasn't ever worked. Not that it matters on an individual level anyway.
OK ,

If you would have taken time to look , the person that I was writing to , is from the
USA . I was addressing him . Also the manufacturers mentioned , all make great quality ribbon mic's . The point was , we have choices in quality . If we buy the Chinese products at the lower prices there is a very good chance that we could have issues that we will not be able to resolve from the manufacturer .

BTW , I own a Butt load of British products . Yes , they did cost more than the Chinese ones !! But , The British make some killer stuff . This includes my favorite guitar amps of all times and a load of outboard gear . As I said , I support those who deserve it by making quality products and this includes the British and Europeans .

Most of my mic collection is all German .
Old 22nd November 2009
  #34
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You know I'm sure there's plenty of room to take this fight outside or to the Moan Zone. Why not start a new thread specifically devoted to the geopolitical implications of China's state-directed capitalism vs Western democratic capitalism and the implications up and down the line from microphones to national security? Invite everyone who has an opinion. But not here, please.

The intention of this thread is to talk about ribbon sag and how recording engineers can be aware of it and deal with it on their own just like in the good old days when "vintage" engineers did this sort of thing as part of their daily routine - like tape machine line up, channel noise floor tests, cable continuity / noise check, patch cord repair...
Old 22nd November 2009
  #35
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quick question

does anyone know:

do different ribbon materials offer different sound??????????

what i'm wondering is if one had their common budget ribbon upgraded with a transformer, would replacing the ribbon with a (say rca material) different ribbon offer a better sound...
or is the sound more based on the tension?


________________________________________________________________
Old 22nd November 2009
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretschman View Post
BTW , I own a Butt load of British products . .

so how much exactly constitutes a buttload??????? i'm just curious how much you can get in there................


also, be wary because i've heard rumor that the damn reds are spreading throughout the grand'ol state of tennis-knee
Old 22nd November 2009
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapehiss View Post
quick question for michael,


since you have worked with many different ribbon types, have you found that different ribbon material offers different sound??????????

what i'm wondering is if one had their common budget ribbon upgraded with a transformer, would replacing the ribbon with a (say rca material) different ribbon offer a better sound...
or is the sound more based on the tension?


________________________________________________________________
The ribbon material has simply to offer low resistance, low density and maintain its shape. The 99% pure aluminum material that is commonly used today meets these requirements. While there may be some material extant used by RCA, it is not magic stuff that makes a ribbon mic sound better.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
The ribbon material has simply to offer low resistance, low density and maintain its shape. The 99% pure aluminum material that is commonly used today meets these requirements. While there may be some material extant used by RCA, it is not magic stuff that makes a ribbon mic sound better.
thanks a lot for that info, that clears some ideas i had up....


have you found that with the several different types of grills for budget ribbons, is there a best design??????

between birdcage? circular like gomez? flat circle like fathead? mxl r44 traditional grill? or circular dome like apex 205??????
Old 22nd November 2009
  #39
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
The ribbon material has simply to offer low resistance, low density and maintain its shape. The 99% pure aluminum material that is commonly used today meets these requirements. While there may be some material extant used by RCA, it is not magic stuff that makes a ribbon mic sound better.
this is true..metalurgy and machines are more advanced today and much better ribbon material is out there as are the stampers that cut them

the reason i had my bk 5 done to rca spec was i wanted it to sound "as original" as possible whatever that means for rca ribbons LOL

but for newer ribbon mics ..taking advantage of technology is always a good thing
Old 22nd November 2009
  #40
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interesting thread....might explain why my Cascade Fatheads were sagging out of the magnet so soon after I got them. I noticed the sound of the ribbon banging against the magnet after having them for only a few weeks. When I opened them up to look they were both sagging quite badly. I was going to try and re-tension them myself but lack the time so far.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapehiss View Post
so how much exactly constitutes a buttload??????? i'm just curious how much you can get in there................


also, be wary because i've heard rumor that the damn reds are spreading throughout the grand'ol state of tennis-knee
Thank you for taking time out of your evening to spew out that sarcasm while discussing the inner works of cheap Chinese inferior microphones .
Old 22nd November 2009
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Dyess View Post
interesting thread....might explain why my Cascade Fatheads were sagging out of the magnet so soon after I got them. I noticed the sound of the ribbon banging against the magnet after having them for only a few weeks. When I opened them up to look they were both sagging quite badly. I was going to try and re-tension them myself but lack the time so far.
Yeah. a simple visual inspection by the vendor or re-brander is not sufficient - the ribbon will look fine initially but once subjected to shock it may, in some cases, relax as the BBC authors noted over 50 years ago.

Because of the simplicity and ease-of-access to the motors in the Chinese built ribbon mics I've come to view ribbon sag as a simple maintenance issue. The skill level required is about the same as doing a tape machine calibration - bias, level, take up and brake tension adjustments. Different skills of course, but possible to learn.

In a world where so much recording is dominated by visual metaphors its great to know there are still some technologies that invite looking and tinkering under the hood (er, "bonnet" for my UK brothers).
Old 23rd November 2009
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fonman View Post
What about Ancient Greece? I noticed that the anti-anglo, Xavier Plagaro Caligula Biggus Dickus III was from Rome.


I just live here. I am from Madrid, Spain!!!

Turning back to the thread, what we need is a mic that doesn't cost either $100 or $5000 and sounds great. I think that's what Mr. Jolly defends and I want to express him my better wishes!thumbsupthumbsup
Old 23rd November 2009
  #44
Les
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Michael,
As you may know I have been doing a little analysis of ribbon mic mechanics on prodigy as time permits.

Part of this is a Finite element model of a corrugated ribbon. I'm not finished yet (having some trouble with the FEA software) but i'm looking for this:

1) residial stress from the forming operation

2) stress concentrations particularly at the end clamp points and cusps of some corrugation shapes.

It may well be that "pre stretching" a ribbon causes plastic deformation first at the stress concentration areas, with the result that the permanent shape changes there cause a reduction in the local stress.

I'm guessing until I can run the FEA, but it seems reasonable to me...kind of like pulling on a new guitar string or pressing on a new drum head to stabilize it.

We'll see.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #45
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You would be advancing the art Les if your model gives us some new understanding about this issue! Good luck with that.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les View Post

1) residial stress from the forming operation

2) stress concentrations particularly at the end clamp points and cusps of some corrugation shapes.

It may well be that "pre stretching" a ribbon causes plastic deformation first at the stress concentration areas, with the result that the permanent shape changes there cause a reduction in the local stress.
Hi Les,

Generally, this is one of those areas when people usually "use what works", without much thinking.

The only available document I know of to talk about the issue, is one of Royer patents, where he is talking about corrugation. But still, it might be useless and would not give you any info or clues.

I personally, am looking at the alternative ways, as there are many different ways of making ribbon microphones, and some of them even haven't started exploring.

Isn't it amazing, almost 80 years, technology advanced tremendously, but still nothing new, and there is no one single ribbon on the market to be original--all of them whether clones, or "inspired" by classics... Maybe that would be a good time for changes.

Best, M
Old 23rd November 2009
  #47
Les
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Quote:
You would be advancing the art Les if your model gives us some new understanding about this issue! Good luck with that.
Thanks, i'll need it.

Quote:
Generally, this is one of those areas when people usually "use what works", without much thinking.
Right, which is exactly why I thought i'd do it. It did work great for those last ultrasonic microphones I designed.
I have reviewed all that curved beam theory I took in engineering school, and that has given some insight.

But I really need the elastic/plastic/strain hardening nonlinear FEA model to get the big picture. I have the ribbon meshed out, but LISA keeps blowing up when I try to do a run. I'm stuck. Gonna have to switch software I think. I'd like NASTRAN (like we used before) but can't shell out the big bucks since this ribbon thing is self funded.
Old 24th November 2009
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marik View Post
Isn't it amazing, almost 80 years, technology advanced tremendously, but still nothing new, and there is no one single ribbon on the market to be original--all of them whether clones, or "inspired" by classics... Maybe that would be a good time for changes...
Hey Marik! how far along are you with your ribbon mic transformers? As you problably know I'm going to bring out a signature ribbon mic next year and I'm shopping for a go-to ribbon transformer for it. I can't make any promises at this point, but I just wanted to let you know about the possibility.
Old 24th November 2009
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Hey Marik! how far along are you with your ribbon mic transformers? As you problably know I'm going to bring out a signature ribbon mic next year and I'm shopping for a go-to ribbon transformer for it. I can't make any promises at this point, but I just wanted to let you know about the possibility.
Ahahaha, what a coincidence!!! Apparently, next year I am also putting to the market a ribbon microphone. Sure enough, it is also a signature one hehhehheh.
Handmade in USA (in my lab, to be precise) with very complicated motor structure. No cloning, no "inspiration", no funny stuff like 44/77 designations--modern, completely unique design of its own, which I've been working for over 5 years. Sure enough, the price will reflect all of these accordingly .

As for the transformer, yeah, it is all worked out and ready to go. Just let me know the size of the body (so it will fit), impedance of the ribbon itself (or size and thickenss), magnetic strength in the gap, and also if you want any additional electronic damping (depends on many things). Then I can come up with an optimum ratio to match your ribbon. Or you can send a prototype mic (minus transformer) and I measure it and do all the math.
Also, I have transformers with figured out optimum values for either long or medium Chinese ribbon mics re-ribboned with 1.8um or 1.5um foils (IMO, that would be a waste of $$$ to use those transformers with stock ribbons), so you could probably use it in your mods, as well. Or else, if you would like to just audition and see how it is sonically different from say, Lundahl, I can just send you one with the same 1:37 ratio and you could compare them.

Also, I have a range of toroidal transformers for both tube and FET mics. You are welcome to audiotion it, as well. Just put one into Oktava 319 and it will blow your mind what a low loss/low distortion/low phase shift/low DCR toroidal transformer can make that capsule sound like in that mic!!! It should be a good match for M7/K47 type of the capsule, as well.

Just let me know,

Best, M

P.S. I have CNC winding machinery, and a crew of experienced and crazy enough (well... maybe not as much as I am ) folks, so of course, OEM is available.
Old 24th November 2009
  #50
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can you put one of those transformers in my 219
Old 24th November 2009
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marik View Post
Ahahaha, what a coincidence!!! Apparently, next year I am also putting to the market a ribbon microphone. Sure enough, it is also a signature one hehhehheh.
Handmade in USA (in my lab, to be precise) with very complicated motor structure. No cloning, no "inspiration", no funny stuff like 44/77 designations--modern, completely unique design of its own, which I've been working for over 5 years. Sure enough, the price will reflect all of these accordingly .

As for the transformer, yeah, it is all worked out and ready to go. Just let me know the size of the body (so it will fit), impedance of the ribbon itself (or size and thickenss), magnetic strength in the gap, and also if you want any additional electronic damping (depends on many things). Then I can come up with an optimum ratio to match your ribbon. Or you can send a prototype mic (minus transformer) and I measure it and do all the math.
Also, I have transformers with figured out optimum values for either long or medium Chinese ribbon mics re-ribboned with 1.8um or 1.5um foils (IMO, that would be a waste of $$$ to use those transformers with stock ribbons), so you could probably use it in your mods, as well. Or else, if you would like to just audition and see how it is sonically different from say, Lundahl, I can just send you one with the same 1:37 ratio and you could compare them.

Also, I have a range of toroidal transformers for both tube and FET mics. You are welcome to audiotion it, as well. Just put one into Oktava 319 and it will blow your mind what a low loss/low distortion/low phase shift/low DCR toroidal transformer can make that capsule sound like in that mic!!! It should be a good match for M7/K47 type of the capsule, as well.

Just let me know,

Best, M

P.S. I have CNC winding machinery, and a crew of experienced and crazy enough (well... maybe not as much as I am ) folks, so of course, OEM is available.
Great stuff! Best wishes for success with the ribbon mic. I think your approach is impeccable and there's room in the high end for a boutique ribbon mic. Of which there are very few - unlike the condenser field. So you can really differentiate yourself and leverage your good reputation. I think you could do really well as a boutique ribbon mic manufacturer and transformer house.

I'll be hitting a different market segment so not directly competing with you. But high quality transformers are a must - ribbon, FET / SDC, FET / LDC and Tube LDC.
Old 24th November 2009
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Dirt View Post
does anyone have any experience with samson ribbon that they just unloaded (vr88)... i got 2 incredibly cheap and they are by far away the darkest mics i have ever heard - they're very cool in certain applications but they sound so different from my r84, m160, fathead and my memory of my old ml52...

michael, have you ever poked around in one of these?
I haven't heard or been inside this mic, but I believe it is the same mic as the Superlux R102. If so, the long front-to-back path length of the ribbon motor would partially explain the lack of top end.
Attached Thumbnails
Ribbon Sag - An Update-r102-ribbon-assembly.jpg  
Old 24th November 2009
  #53
Les
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Quote:
As you problably know I'm going to bring out a signature ribbon mic next year and I'm shopping for a go-to ribbon transformer for it.
Quote:
Ahahaha, what a coincidence!!! Apparently, next year I am also putting to the market a ribbon microphone.
ULP! Haha...looks like this is signature ribbon mic manufacturers central.
I'll want to consider Marik's transformer too.

What about low cost mu metal cans for those? Toroids should be a good bit better as far as EMI rejection, but I'm kinda nuts about hum reduction... as evidenced by that stuff I did on my ribbon/dynamic mic specific preamp design.
Old 24th November 2009
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les View Post
ULP! Haha...looks like this is signature ribbon mic manufacturers central...
yep. Its the latest craze! Seriously, I believe there's room for everybody and would like to think there would be mutual benefits in cooperating in various ways.
Old 24th November 2009
  #55
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Micheal, if you plan on releasing your own product how about putting your own countrymen to work building it? Teaching the Chinese to produce a better product or paying living wages to your countrymen to produce the product with their already superior skills, you have an important choice to make. CAD showed us with their original mics you could make a low cost high quality mic using local workers before they sold their souls to China. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. While hard to do these days I buy American and for you guys out there with no historic knowledge. The only proven way to get out of a depression/deep resession is thru a country's manufacturing base. When you have a strong manufacturing base, you have more high paying jobs, more taxes coming in from those high paying jobs, and more money in consumers pockets to get the engine/cycle of commerce moving. The low wage service based economy where we produce no product runs the risk of never getting the economy back to normal as unemployment will stay high and those employed make less (less taxes and less spending money for commerce). We are facing the bankruptcy of America with the stagering increasing debt and huge trade inbalances. Employing your countrymen is part of the solution. Many here have seen the coralation between what they purchase (who was employed in it's manufacture) and their own family's future. It's the choices made by Americans that have gotten us in this mess. Micheal, please give your decision the proper thought about the "big picture" it deserves.
Old 24th November 2009
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Great stuff! Best wishes for success with the ribbon mic. I think your approach is impeccable and there's room in the high end for a boutique ribbon mic. Of which there are very few - unlike the condenser field. So you can really differentiate yourself and leverage your good reputation. I think you could do really well as a boutique ribbon mic manufacturer and transformer house.

I'll be hitting a different market segment so not directly competing with you. But high quality transformers are a must - ribbon, FET / SDC, FET / LDC and Tube LDC.
Thank you! I realize that we will have completely different share of the market. But I actually not afraid of competition and believe it is good to have a competition, as it always keeps one alert and be on a certain level to put a good product. Moreover, as you could pay attention, I never hold knowledge (well, maybe a couple secrets heh), so everyone, and most of all, customer could benefit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les View Post
ULP! Haha...looks like this is signature ribbon mic manufacturers central.
I'll want to consider Marik's transformer too.

What about low cost mu metal cans for those? Toroids should be a good bit better as far as EMI rejection, but I'm kinda nuts about hum reduction... as evidenced by that stuff I did on my ribbon/dynamic mic specific preamp design.
Hey Les, yep, the toroidals are real good in rejection. I did not have any problems unshielded even in my basement (and you should know what kind of wiring loops are there--most of the ribbon mics hum like crazy there). There are no low cost mu metal cans on the market. Just figure to add at least $15-$20 a pop (this is for a bigger can). The only way to reduce the price is to make smaller ones and get big quantities. But again, I do not believe it is necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
yep. Its the latest craze! Seriously, I believe there's room for everybody and would like to think there would be mutual benefits in cooperating in various ways.
Exactly, and also, there is no such thing as too many mics in a locker heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Micheal, if you plan on releasing your own product how about putting your own countrymen to work building it? Teaching the Chinese to produce a better product or paying living wages to your countrymen to produce the product with their already superior skills, you have an important choice to make. CAD showed us with their original mics you could make a low cost high quality mic using local workers before they sold their souls to China. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. While hard to do these days I buy American and for you guys out there with no historic knowledge. The only proven way to get out of a depression/deep resession is thru a country's manufacturing base. When you have a strong manufacturing base, you have more high paying jobs, more taxes coming in from those high paying jobs, and more money in consumers pockets to get the engine/cycle of commerce moving. The low wage service based economy where we produce no product runs the risk of never getting the economy back to normal as unemployment will stay high and those employed make less (less taxes and less spending money for commerce). We are facing the bankruptcy of America with the stagering increasing debt and huge trade inbalances. Employing your countrymen is part of the solution. Many here have seen the coralation between what they purchase (who was employed in it's manufacture) and their own family's future. It's the choices made by Americans that have gotten us in this mess. Micheal, please give your decision the proper thought about the "big picture" it deserves.
I think this is important thing to consider.
I believe, American manufacturers had shot themselves in the foot the day they sent their factories to China. We lost jobs, so people could not afford to pay for the quality goods, so then manufacturers got forced to lower the prices, the market gets flooded with crapy products, etc. etc., and ultimately, I think this is one of the reasons why our economy got into the present state.
In a long run, the fast benefits of selling cheaper products have turned into economy disaster.
Besides, I see a trend that cheap(er) labor little by little comes to the end, and even "made in China" things become more expensive, so that's good, and maybe now is a good time for American manufacturers to start pulling the factories and businesses back in US.

Best, M
Old 24th November 2009
  #57
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Just tagging this thread. I can't wait to see both Marik's and Michael's ribbon mics. I am very pleased to own one of Marik's custom jobs (by the way, are the trafos you are talking about the same as the ones in my BM-5?) as well as some Joly modded Oktavas.

Keep up the great work guys!
Old 25th November 2009
  #58
Les
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Quote:
Hey Les, yep, the toroidals are real good in rejection. I did not have any problems unshielded even in my basement (and you should know what kind of wiring loops are there--most of the ribbon mics hum like crazy there). There are no low cost mu metal cans on the market. Just figure to add at least $15-$20 a pop (this is for a bigger can). The only way to reduce the price is to make smaller ones and get big quantities. But again, I do not believe it is necessary.
Well, that's good to hear. Ouch on the can prices though.I remember when I had to source deep drawing/progressive die forming of mu metal it was the tooling cost that was killer rather than the material. That may have changed somewhat.

I don't know...I just HATE hum. Worst case I have found is close micing a combo guitar amp with a nearby power transformer. Of course the two top wire ribbon connection is inherently hum bucking...but only if there is no field gradient. It's very much like the loss of bucking that occurs in the non-twisted portion of an XLR connector.

I thought about using the $30/sq ft .01" mu metal "foil" in resonator waffle plates, but it might be too close to the gap field. Possibly distort it...and also saturate. Could be used (much) further away though. Hydrogen anneal after perforation.

Oh well, back to ribbon FEA. Still don't have a mesh model that will run. Anxious to see if the first corrugations past the clamp are the big stress concentration areas. Heh, there's always photoelastic...like the good old days.
Old 25th November 2009
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Micheal, if you plan on releasing your own product how about putting your own countrymen to work building it? Teaching the Chinese to produce a better product or paying living wages to your countrymen to produce the product with their already superior skills, you have an important choice to make. CAD showed us with their original mics you could make a low cost high quality mic using local workers before they sold their souls to China. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. While hard to do these days I buy American and for you guys out there with no historic knowledge. The only proven way to get out of a depression/deep recession is thru a country's manufacturing base. When you have a strong manufacturing base, you have more high paying jobs, more taxes coming in from those high paying jobs, and more money in consumers pockets to get the engine/cycle of commerce moving. The low wage service based economy where we produce no product runs the risk of never getting the economy back to normal as unemployment will stay high and those employed make less (less taxes and less spending money for commerce). We are facing the bankruptcy of America with the staggering increasing debt and huge trade imbalances. Employing your countrymen is part of the solution. Many here have seen the correlation between what they purchase (who was employed in it's manufacture) and their own family's future. It's the choices made by Americans that have gotten us in this mess. Micheal, please give your decision the proper thought about the "big picture" it deserves.
Hi Bassmankr, thank you for your thoughtful post. I have thought about these issues quite a bit and will share some of my decision-making here. Your post touches on both global, macro-economic issues (outsourced manufacturing, balance of trade) and small industry, company specific issues (the microphone industry and my own place within it.) I'll talk about both a bit. First, "big picture" stuff.

Your argument posits an idea of "us vs. them" scarcity-of-revenue between nations I don't buy into. While I have a great deal of pride in being an American and am thankful for the opportunities that exist here, I also see myself as a global citizen with global brothers and sisters. Here's a short story about "outsourcing" from my own family's past that relates to the global outsourcing you're talking about.

I'm descended from rural Acadian and QuΓ©bΓ©cois folk who emigrated from Canada in the 1920's to work in the textile mills of New England. Great opportunity for farmers to provide a better life for their families when faced with dire growing conditions at the time. Textile production in the great big brick mills in New England ran 24 hours a day until the late 1950s and early '60s when mill owners decide these old hard-to-heat mills could be replaced by more modern, energy efficient and less costly-to-operate factories in the US Southeast. Within just a few years most of the New England textile industry moved to the US South and with it many jobs. A generation after this move, US textile manufacturing moved from the US South to Asia where it remains.

A few of the more forward-thinking mill towns re-invented themselves as tourist destinations based around scenic beauty and antique shops, (Putnam, CT) a few others re-invented themselves as Arts and Culture destinations (Brattleboro, VT). But a good many of these historic, red brick mill towns never made the shift up Maslow's hierarchy of needs to provide products and services related to Esteem and Self-actualization (educational achievement, creativity) rather than the more basic Safety and Physiological needs (shelter, clothing, food). As a result, solutions to these more basic needs were outsourced to regions and eventually countries that were experiencing their own rapid industrialization and could provide these basic goods and services at relatively low wage cost - because doing so was a step up their own Maslow pyramid.

I believe the US Government has offered a woefully inadequate response to the global movement of people up the Maslow hierarchy. The US public school system underperforms that of other industrialized nations, poverty levels in the US - a result of poor education, are embarrassingly high. In my view the government spends way to much on war-making than on the intellectual development of its citizenry - a much more potent strategy for national growth (witness China's generation-long growth rate of 8% / year and the kind of transformation that makes possible - the emergence of an urban middle class in less than a generation).

In a democratic, free market economy such as exists in the US, asking employers to voluntarily make productivity sacrifices by remaining committed to outdated physical plants (the old New England textile mills) or high paid unskilled assemblers (Detroit auto industry) does not make economic sense for the company in the short run, or the people in the communities they employee over the long run - because the products produced will not be completive on the world stage and do not produce a sustainable revenue stream.

Instead, I would argue that public and private educational initiatives designed to give people the skills to design and create new higher Maslowian value products and services (Apple computer, the US videogame industry for example) is the only sustainable way forward.

Now, as to my place in the tiny microphone segment of the small recording gear industry -

As I embarked on this path to produce a full line of high performance yet affordable microphones I looked into doing it locally in the Springfield, MA area. 100 years ago Springfield, ideally situated on North / South and East / West transportation routes was an industrial hub of New England. Today Springfield's manufacturing base has been decimated - the small, high quality machine shops and metal working facilities that could take on the small volume production chores I have don't exist. Well, I did find some shops, but they quoted me prices as if I was the US Government having parts made for military jet engines. Could I have gone with them? Sure. But my mics would have to retail for prices three times as high as my projected pricing. I am known for providing exceptional customers service and an exceptional performance-to-price relationship. It would be a strategic blunder for me to move away from my core value proposition.

So I am designing my own products and working closely with Chinese manufacturers who are already building microphones and accessories for some of the biggest and most well known European brands (and one Russian one as well).

Bottom line? I'm committed to bringing out high performance microphones at price points that enable people to create higher level Maslowian products - music and spoken word messages, and through one word and one note at a time, change the world.
Old 26th November 2009
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les View Post
Michael,
As you may know I have been doing a little analysis of ribbon mic mechanics on prodigy as time permits.

Part of this is a Finite element model of a corrugated ribbon. I'm not finished yet (having some trouble with the FEA software) but i'm looking for this:

1) residial stress from the forming operation

2) stress concentrations particularly at the end clamp points and cusps of some corrugation shapes.

It may well be that "pre stretching" a ribbon causes plastic deformation first at the stress concentration areas, with the result that the permanent shape changes there cause a reduction in the local stress.

I'm guessing until I can run the FEA, but it seems reasonable to me...kind of like pulling on a new guitar string or pressing on a new drum head to stabilize it.

We'll see.
I had set up an fea test within catia to give me an output based on what material I used and how long the deflection is based on how loud the source was, and when it started to sag over time, and where the stress was occurring. What the tests showed to me is that it's not just a stress problem, the problem is something called 'creep life element' which happens to all ribbon materials, eventually you'll run into the problem of sag, it's unavoidable giving the materials we have to work with. It's when we start to use better materials is when we make leaps in engineering.

BTW, contact me if you have any questions on fea software or set up. If you want to run the tests yourself I'll be able to hopefully give you enough input data.
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