Ribbon microphones were the first commercially successful directional microphones. This type of microphone (also referred to as ‘velocity’ microphone) uses a thin metal ribbon placed between the poles of a magnet and generates voltages by electromagnetic induction. Ribbon mics are known for their ability to capture fine high-frequency detail.
The Royer R-121 (retails at about $1400) is smooth and clear with many of the attributes of condenser mics and has the ability to reproduce a wide dynamic range without pads and clipping. The figure-8 bi-directional pattern offers excellent rejection at the sides and the ribbon is lengthwise providing a side-address type microphone.
The Royer R-121 is great for any instrument or vocals. It exhibits a warm, realistic tone and flat frequency response. Recording Magazine says “the Royer R-121 is destined to become one of the classic microphones of the 21st century”.
This sleek, light and versatile microphone is easy to use, wonderfully musical and sturdy enough for Royer to give it a lifetime warranty! The Blue Woodpecker Ribbon mic (retails at around $1299) is one of the most interesting and beautiful ribbon microphones you’ll ever come across.
The Woodpecker is designed to deliver a wide frequency response, focused mid-range, ultra-smooth top end and outstanding bass response. It also excels at ambient recording, capturing room tone with a warm detail.
Kevin Becka (mixonline.com) says, “If you’ve never owned an active ribbon, now’s the time to make the jump: This Woodpecker rocks.”
Eli Crews (at emusician.com) says, “If it weren’t for the minor noise issue and my problems with the shock mount, the Woodpecker would garner the highest rating possible. It really is an exquisite mic in every other aspect, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite all-purpose microphones.”
For a very reasonably priced ribbon mic, check out the Avantone CR-14 (retails for about $259). This one of the least expensive ribbon mics available and the price includes a padded wooden mics, an aluminum carrying case, a spider-style shock mount and a five-year warranty.
According to Avant Electronics, the dual-ribbon design should yield a stronger output, and therefore a better signal-to-noise ratio as compared to a single ribbon design. Rich wells (emusician.com) says, “the CR-14 is fairly quiet, though I found ir still exhibits the lower output you’d expect from a passive ribbon design.
Rich Wells further states, “To get the most mileage out of the (Avantone) CR-14, you will want to experiment with mic placement and find the most complementary preamp. Overall, the CR-14 is a good value, and having an inexpensive figure-8 mic can be a plus if you’re just starting to put together a mic collection.”