Anyone record using a ribbon microphone

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johnfuente
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Anyone record using a ribbon microphone

Post by johnfuente »

Hey all. I'm looking to upgrade on my primary microphone. I currently use an https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... microphone microphone. I'm thinking about investing in a ribbon microphone. Any suggestions on manufacturer/model? I like the AT2020 because it picks up my pedal A's. What's out there for ribbons?
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AHynds
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Re: Anyone record using a ribbon microphone

Post by AHynds »

Hello, John!

I'm a bit of a mic nerd, as well as a professional audio engineer, so I'd be glad to answer this question for you!

Ribbon mics are great, and with some good positioning, they can make the tuba sound wonderful. This is due to the natural characteristics of the ribbon mic--most of them tend to be fairly flattering on acoustical sources, because of their ability to cleanly record transient material (the things that give your sound its attack and definition) as well as a frequency response that trails off in the far upper range of human hearing (thus tamping down harshness and other bad sounds up there).

That being said, there are a few caveats to be aware of. First of all, you have to be careful with ribbon mic placement. All microphones with a directional pattern (like your cardioid mic and the figure-8 pattern ribbon) exhibit something called the proximity effect, which, to make a long story short, means that placing these mics closer to a sound source will boost the low range response of the mic. Sounds good, right? Well, this can be problematic with naturally-strong low register instruments like the tuba. Place the mic too close, and you are liable to get a sound that is overly-boosted in the low range, and that might not be the sound you're looking for. Additionally, most ribbon microphones are going to put out a very quiet microphone signal, and unless you have a higher-end interface or preamp with plenty of clean gain (volume), you might struggle to get enough sound out of the mic in a typical setting.

For the reasons listed above, I recommend instead of purchasing a ribbon mic that you first prioritize getting a better all-purpose mic. For this, I heartily recommend getting a multipattern condenser mic. Having an omnidirectional pattern would be great for the tuba--unlike the cardioid, the omnidirectional pattern does not exhibit proximity effect, and can be placed as close to the instrument as you like without unnatural boosting of frequencies. For this, I recommend any of the following: AKG P420, AKG C314, Warm Audio WA87 R2, Rode NT2A, Audio-Technica AT2035, AT4050, sE Electronics sE44110a.

Hope that helps, and feel free to send me a message if you have any other audio questions!

Aaron Hynds
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I like to make and record sounds with metal pipes and computers.
Tubaguy5
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Re: Anyone record using a ribbon microphone

Post by Tubaguy5 »

I personally use an Apex 787 microphone for my recording. Was recommended by my teacher who has been working with his symphony all through the pandemic. I love the sound and when I recorded my friend (who has only ever recorded with his Zoom) he was shocked at how great he sounded (this tape also did well for him in an audition).

TL:DR- apex 787 is an amazing choice and though expensive, well worth it.
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Re: Anyone record using a ribbon microphone

Post by Tubaguy5 »

I personally use an Apex 787 microphone for my recording. Was recommended by my teacher who has been working with his symphony all through the pandemic. I love the sound and when I recorded my friend (who has only ever recorded with his Zoom) he was shocked at how great he sounded (this tape also did well for him in an audition).

TL:DR- apex 787 is an amazing choice and though expensive, well worth it.
Sam
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Meinl Weston 6450 "Baer"
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iiipopes
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Re: Anyone record using a ribbon microphone

Post by iiipopes »

Other aspects of ribbon mics, especially the venerable RCA 77 in all its iterations:

1) some have an impedance switch to tailor the response;
2) some have an internal shield positioning switch to change the pattern response;
3) the frequency response can also be tailored by angling the mic. Angled back @ 30 degrees provides a presence that isn't boomy. Look at all the old pictures of recording a double bass: the mic is tilted back to give more presence in the response.

The last one I did when I was a member of a big band that recorded its own album some years ago. I was set up on stage with a small isolation baffle. When the tech couldn't see me, I bent down like I was adjusting something on my bass and tilted the mic back. It recorded great. At the end of the session, I put the mic back the way it was before I was noticed. I received compliments on my tone on the record - CD.

Yeah, I know: Wiki is really no better than the internet version of the old World Book Encyclopedias that were in every elementary school classroom. but like the World Books, it provides some links to go get more detailed or in depth information on the subject:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RCA_Type_77-DX_microphone
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tylerferris1213
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Re: Anyone record using a ribbon microphone

Post by tylerferris1213 »

I've used ribbon mics for recording in the past, but I much prefer using a Shure SM57 now. They are very honest and dry microphones, and they pick up the tuba well. It's very easy to record in a dry room and add the reverb in post.
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