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sdc or ribbon?
Old 19th August 2011
Here for the gear

sdc or ribbon?

alright guys, im looking at buying myself a pair of mics, mainly for use as overheads and on acoustic guitar and perhaps vocals also. i dont really wanna spend more than around £800 for the moment, and the ones that have caught my eye are the beyer m 160s and also the beyer mc930s.

any opinions on these choices? posistives/negatives? any other options i should be looking at in a similar price range?

cheers guys!
Old 19th August 2011
Lives for gear
dandeurloo's Avatar
Give this consideration.
Advanced Audio Microphones

You can read the review in this months tape op. Its a super cool mic!
Old 19th August 2011
Awhile back I actually bought a pair of M160s and a pair of MC930s.

The M160 is an awesome little mic, and possibly my favorite mic for acoustic guitar. It's the brightest of all of the ribbons I've used, and it sounds excellent on guitar amps, brass/woodwinds, and percussion too. I didn't like it on male vocals but it was perfect for an airy, sibilant female vocalist I tracked on one particular project.

The MC930 is a huge sounding mic, and it excels on drum overheads and (surprisingly to me) electric guitar amps. It's more open and detailed than the M160 and it's detailed but not overly bright. It doesn't have the vintage-y vibe that the M160s have but it sounded good on all the same things.

In the end, I ended up keeping the MC930s and returning the M160s. I record most rock/metal, indie, and pop. Most of the bands I work with favor a more modern, "produced" sound and so I found myself reaching for the MC930s most of the time. If I did more folk, americana, jazz, or bluegrass I'd probably lean more towards the M160.
Old 19th August 2011
Lives for gear

Dandeurloo, I like your thinking.

I've never tried a tube SDC and really wanted to recently. I have this nagging suspicion that they'd work quite well for what I do (voice + acoustic guitar).
I've often wondered about the Chameleon Labs tube SDC (which comes with the extra plus of a bonus large diaphragm head). It's a very cool package:

Chameleon Labs TS-1 MKII Small Diaphragm Tube Condenser Microphone

The Beyer M160s can sound good on acoustic guitar and SOMETIMES on vocals, but they produce a very dark, thick, vocal sound. And when I say thick, I mean soupy, not 'authoritative'. You generally need to add a lot of top. Interesting to hear someone say it's one of the brighter ribbons they've used: I wouldn't say it's as bright as a Coles 4038, say (not that 'bright' is really the right word at all...)

I've never used the MC930s, but they get good reports.

Do you have a preamp with enough clean gain to be able to drive a ribbon? Cos if you don't, well, that's a whole other expense you have to think about. I think ribbons work well on janglier guitars that need a bit of beefing up, and on nasal or piercing vocals that need a bit of smoothing out. If your guitars tend to be big and round sounding already, and your vocals are already quite full-sounding, I'd go for SDCs over ribbons.
Old 19th August 2011
Lives for gear
dandeurloo's Avatar
If you are looking for ribbons I can highly recommend Marik mods to RM-3's or apex mics. They are extremely high end once done! And would come in under your budget.

Old 19th August 2011
Format and style will have a major influence. If I were doing classical, roots, folk, etc, with a HDR or quality converters or even analog tape, it would be SDC's.

Modern rock cut to pro tools is a different story, anthing to attenuate the top end can be a good thing, the natural low pass filter function of ribbons can be your friend. That is of course, a form of compensation.
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