Ribbon mics seem to be the thing to record with these days and if you’ve never recorded with this mic, now is a good time to try one out. Ribbon mics were once fragile and expensive, but now there are many modern Chinese ribbons that are durable and inexpensive, making them obtainable for the small or home studio. These mics, named for the thin aluminum or nanofilm ribbon placed between the magnetic poles, generate electromagnetic induction. They have a bidirectional pickup pattern which provides a lot of detail especially in the higher frequencies, creating a smooth sound. Ribbon mics have been around since 1931, the first being the RCA PB-31 and quickly followed by the ageless RCA 44A. The modern day Chinese versions are modeled after many of these classics.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog I like using a ribbon mic in combination with an SM 57 for recording guitar amps. Today I’ll be using a few different ribbons to record an amp and show the differences in sound. The guitar amp I’ll be using is an Epiphone Blues Combo 30. Designed and engineered in the United States by Gibson Labs, this amp includes two channels of pure tone (foot switchable), selectable power and class operation (30W Class AB or 15W Class A). I setup 4 different ribbons and placed them in front of the amp so I could hear the recorded part on each mic. The mics are a Cad Trion 7000, Avantone CR-14, Cascade Fathead 2, and an AEA R84.
Here is a sneak peek audio clip of one of the mics.
Blues Custom 30 with Cad 7000 ribbon mic