Any benefits from a ribbon microphone?

Gretschified

New member
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.

My podcast
 

Nola

Active member
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.
 

Chili

Site Moderator
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".
 

Nola

Active member
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.
 

garww

New member
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
 

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42low

Banned
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.
 

Gretschified

New member
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.
 

garww

New member
.." 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
 

ashcat_lt

Well-known member
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.
 

garww

New member
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.

The point of engineering is to make it happen, instead of buying what the other dude bought, or, following whats hot in Vids. Anybody can cut off the back pattern, if they wish
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
I set my main LDC vocal mic in a partial figure-8 pattern. It's a multi-pattern tube mic, and the selection switch goes from Omni at about 8:00 to cardioid at 12:00 and figure-8 at 4:00...I usually set it at 2:00.

I like having the back open up a bit...but I'll also set a reflection filter behind the mic, not too close.
 

Bobbsy

Boring Old Git
Old time radio...which is I think what you're trying to emulate--had an excessively "warm" sound that was slightly heavy on bass and low mid tones. Large Dynamics come closest to this so I might try something like an RE20 or SM7B. Both mics turn up at not too earth shattering prices from time to time. In the meantime, you might try turning up the bass and down the treble EQ on you mixer--but only just touch. The Behringer controls are pretty over the top in their effect--and change a pretty wide frequency range.
 

garww

New member
I've always been kinda'' intrigued with the 2-3 MICs taped together. Can't we mix 6, or, 8 of them and pump it through a vintage vp-330 vocoder ?

Well, I see old time radio as all over the place. If one o nly had a crystal receiver, its gonna' sound like a crystal receiver, ya know. For me, they were in documentary mode, rather than fidelity mode quite often.

As an aside, regular radio drift can be pretty cool. More Radio Turkey. I have older and newer SW, but this one is so in the Aeather
 

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CSP

New member
Really showing my prehistoric age now !!!!!!!

Back when I first started audio (actually well before this --- late 1940's !!!) many of the radio stations used the RCA 44-BX.

They are still often seen on ebay but are now very much a collector's item and can be quite expensive --- before buying fully check that it is working as the folded ribbon was quite fragile and easily damaged.

If you do a Youtube search for the "Laugh In" TV show from the 60/70s, the voice over announcer on each episode used one of these.

They are a great sounding mellow mic and give a great speech sound, and they are marvelous on instruments like a French Horn (placed about 12 - 18" from the bellow, so as not to be effected by any wind), BUT do not use them on any really loud or air producing instrument (eg kick drum, floor tom, etc) as you will quite likely blow the ribbon apart.

Good hunting with your quest.
 

garww

New member
The most famous broadcast;
1200.jpg


I would guess this one is actual, but there may be lots of Press Shoots ?
535826_4.jpg
 

junplugged

Taking the slow road
I have a sound in my memory of the sadly discontinued shortwave broadcasts from the BBC. Very round, tubey, bassy sound, but not boomy, I don't know how they did it, and some of the sound was likely due to the radio wave propagation affecting the tone, but maybe not since that sound was unique. That's what I think of as old-timey sound. A sample of it is prolly on youtube somewhere.
 

garww

New member
I have a sound in my memory of the sadly discontinued shortwave broadcasts from the BBC. Very round, tubey, bassy sound, but not boomy, I don't know how they did it, and some of the sound was likely due to the radio wave propagation affecting the tone, but maybe not since that sound was unique. That's what I think of as old-timey sound. A sample of it is prolly on youtube somewhere.

Well, you never know what you will get on the receiving end. But yes, World Service came through real nice for me in many locations. There's no shortage of DXers on the toob trying to pull in stations;
BBC World Service, Jan 16, 2011, English Transmission - YouTube
 

junplugged

Taking the slow road
that's nearly the sound on the link you posted, but also from 7 years ago, they are on the web but not on the air any more, otoh there are still others on shortwave, but prolly none sound like the bbc world service did, ok as that vid goes along, i can hear that old sound i remember, but the audio isn't the best on that one, i should tune around a little, but only a little since my radio is nearly in the grave
 
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