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Thread: Any benefits from a ribbon microphone?

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    Any benefits from a ribbon microphone?

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    I have a podcast where I talk about and play old music. Right now I'm using a Blue Snowball, but I'm in the market for an upgrade.

    As I play old music, jazz, honky tonk, blues and hillbilly recorded between 1900 and 1950/60 with a few exemptions, I would like to have a vintage aura over my voice.

    Earlier I used an AT2020 with an USB mixer from Behringer.

    Now I have an audio interface, Focusrite Saffire "something" and two cheap condenser microphones. Haven't used them for my current podcast yet (Only Blue Snowball).

    So my question is; will I have better possibilities to get a more authentic vintage sound on my voice with a ribbon microphone? I'm looking at a budget model like the T Bone RB500 or any of the Golden Age Project.

    Here's a link to an episode of my podcast. Language is swedish but you will get the picture, or the tone, of what I'm looking for.


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    IMO, the best budget ribbon mics are the LRM-1, which I think has been discontinued.
    A good option for you might be a crystal element mic or a bullet mic from the 40 through 60s. Even if the crystal has a weak element it might not be a big deal since you want a thin sound.

    A ribbon will generally sound warm with a lot of low end. I love them, but you have to pick your spots. For what you want, I think a bullet or something in that category (old astatic/shure/turner, hi-z, crystal or CR/CM element, etc) is a better fit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gretschified View Post
    more authentic vintage sound on my voice with a ribbon microphone?
    That's pretty hard to define. What do you mean by authentic vintage sound?? Whatever it means, the answer would be No, the ribbon mic won't get you there. Just because the technology is old doesn't mean the sound is "vintage".

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    IMO ribbons are great on things that are harsh, so a bright guitar cab, cymbals, or a nasal voice. Things like that. They don't necessarily equate with "vintage" as mentioned above by Chili. Ribbons are also surprisngly great on female vocals (especially sopranos) because they capture their lows and mellow their highs really well. The polar pattern creates challenges recording at home so you have to know what you're doing.

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    When I think of ol' time radio, I think of how the audio is in this linked video....
    Alan Young Show episode School Days from 1945 - YouTube

    Another example of old radio audio....
    Great Gildersleeve radio show 10/15/44 Job Hunting - YouTube

    Maybe some processing and adding a bit of random radio static might be close to what you want(?)

    Some ideas here....
    Vintage Effect For Voice Over (Black & White Film/Old Vinyl) - YouTube
    Mark.......

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    I'm going to have to listen to that whole track, but you already have a range of technologies just getting to chain gang. This Delta stuff probably won't be a ribbon - back room recording to record, or, tape, usually really portable.

    Frankly, I'd just look around for the oldest & cheapest MICs and see if you can get them wired-up. Switch them around according to you mood, or, playlist.

    This is a good sounding MIC - Grundig, Telefunken branded AKG, but there is a lot to choose from;
    Vintage 1953 Bakelite "Telefunken" AKG D11 microphone (in use) - YouTube
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails telefunk-jpg  

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    EQ/cut out some high and low. Play a bit with it to find what your looking for.
    Not lowering, but cut away.

    Or buy a cheap small range mic for it. I have a 'few dollars' mic which has a great 50s sound.

    That vintage sound was there mostly by the lack of wide ranges.
    Towards phone-quality sound.

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    I would like to say thanks to everybody that has taken their time to answer. I do understand that it is a problem to know what I mean with a vintage sound. I will try to get an example from youtube later.

    The example with AKG D11 was interesting. My plan is to record some of my episodes on tape. That will also add to the vintage sound.

    But I will try to fins a good soundclip of what I'm looking for.

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    .." AKG D11 was interesting"

    In my case, in combination with that tube Telefunken, I don't think I've recorded anything so "Gorgeous" sounding. Presence and Musicality. I only have one other DIN MIC - a Tandberg TM-4. It is pretty good, but my Grundig is engaging.

    yOU CAN EXPERIMENT PUTTING TAPE AND STUFF OVER your existing MICs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nola View Post
    The polar pattern creates challenges recording at home so you have to know what you're doing.
    This. They point at you AND away from you at the same time, and will likely pick up a lot more of both ambience and noise in your room. Most home podcasters struggle to get rid of as much of both of these as possible.

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