How To Record Using Ribbon Mics

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Check out this quick AMS tutorial, by Andrew Swift, on how to record using ribbon mics and how these mics stack up in comparison (ribbon vs. dynamic & condenser mics).


In the world of recording, the microphone is one of the key tools and there are many different choices. The condenser mic, the dynamic mic, and the ribbon mic are three of the main microphones that would be used in recording.  So which mic is the best mic?  In this video, you will see some of the various combinations of mic choices and how they affect the overall tone.


Ribbon Mics on Guitar

At one point, ribbon mics represented the highest fidelity in recording transducers.  By today’s standards that would go to condenser mics.  When using just a ribbon mic there is an inherent high-frequency roll off. This will lead to a slight rounder darker overall tone. This is great for genres such as Jazz and Blues.  You can use just a ribbon mic alone. However, when combined with a dynamic mic it has a more balanced and full sound.

Traditionally speaking, ribbon mics are passive devices and do not require power to operate.  Condenser mics, however, require phantom power.  If you apply phantom power to a ribbon mic, the ribbon inside the microphone will act as a fuse and disintegrate once the voltage hits it.  Some new ribbon mics like the SE Electronics VR2 are active and require a phantom power source.  This helps you out on the input stage so you don’t need to add as much gain on the preamp.  This also increases the sensitivity of the mic.

Ribbon Mics

Ribbon Mics on Drums 

When recording drums the SE Electronics VR1 mic is used as a mono overhead.  When utilizing this setup, it is best to add two stereo condenser mics which help to round out the low end and give the illusion of a more full drum set.  The other mics used in the recording process are the KSM 109 on the Snare drum and an RE20 on the Kick drum.  The VR1 alone works well, but it is undeniable that the sound is more full with the addition of the condensers.


Ribbon Mics

Room Ribbon Mics


Using the Cascade Fathead Lundahl Transformer as a room mic, you will want to position about 12 feet away from the drum set and about 5-6 feet off ground. This will give the overall tone more of an ambient sound.

In conclusion, there are many options when choosing mics to record.  Whether you choose a ribbon mic, a condenser mic or a dynamic mic the choice is yours.  They all have uses which they will excel in, and

you will benefit from combining them all.  Check out American Musical for all your musical needs.  Click here to look at our selection of ribbon mics.


Click here to learn how to mic your toms for the best tone

Click here to learn how to mic your kick drum for the best tone



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