RCA 77DX

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cgarges
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Post by cgarges » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:09 pm

@?,*???&? wrote:These aren't necessarily a 'go-to' mic nor a favorite of mine. In this era of 8 zillion Chinese ribbons, you'd likely be just as happy with a Cascade Fathead.

For the best vintage ribbon tone, the Coles 4038 would be a better pick.
I've only used a Fathead once, but I've heard great things about them and I've heard a bunch of recordings done with them that sound great. It's interesting, though, because in this recent experience with a Fathead, I liked it better than an MXL ribbon that was available at the studio, but neither one was exciting and my Coles 4038 wound up winning on this particular source. Unfortunately, the studio had recently sold its 77DX (more unfortunately, they didnt' sell it to me!), so I couldn't include it in the comparison.

The 77DX and the Coles don't sound anything alike. Comparing those two mics is kind of like comparing an SM57 with a D112, but I like both of those mics. I think of all the classic ribbons I've used, those two stand out as not having an equal or even a similar-sounding, inexpensive modern equivalent.

I'd also rather have either one of those mics than the ever-popular Royer 121.

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Post by GREGL » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:14 pm

I have 2 77DX's and a Fathead. The Fathead's are excellent for the money and capable of some great sounding tracks. But the 77DX's with the right preamp and proper placement can be magic. Preamp and placement are absolutely key though. They generally like to be a little (and sometimes a lot) further from the source than most other mics and can be picky about where you place them. I use a custom vacuum tube preamp with mine. You need low noise, lots of gain (preferably at least 65dB unless you are recording something fairly loud). They don't sound that great with some of my solid state preamps for some reason (input impedance maybe?) I've had good success on electric guitars (no 100 watt Marshall's though!), mandolin, vocals and piano. They can work really nicely on some percussion stuff too. They make great room mics too.

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Marc Alan Goodman
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Post by Marc Alan Goodman » Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:53 am

Man, bringing back an OLD thread

Anyway the AEA isn't really anything like a 77. I think it's supposed to be a stripped down 44 with more of their own design. A great mic but not the same thing at all. In fact I can't think of anything that compares to a 77 except for some of the other old RCAs like a BK-11 or something (Which to be honest I'd rather have anyway). However Daniel at Strange Weather has one and he's in love with it, so to each their own taste.

We've got a pair of Coles, a 77D (all the letters are essentially the same), a BK-5A and a pair of fatheads. I'd say I prob use the 77 least, although it can be pretty cool as a drum room mic. I usually find it too noisy for vocals, but of course when it hits the spot nothing else will do.

As far as getting one on ebay you can really get away with a lot. More moving parts in one of those than most ribbons but it's still not a lot. And you'd benefit from sending it to ENAK or Wes Dooley for a reconditioning and new ribbon anyway.

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thebunker
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Post by thebunker » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:48 pm

As Marc said the 77D doesn't really sound like the AEA or vice versa.

The 77D does rule in the right situations. On trumpet and trombone it's the money. Horn players love the sound and it just is classic. Also sounds great as a drum room mic, mono OH. Takes compression without getting harsh. Also it's perfect when you're tracking drums that you're treating more like samples or trying to get on old school vibe. Has also freaked us out how good it is on upright bass and piano. It's got that ribbon super detailed, very natural thing that just sits great on a track.

Got it re-ribboned by AEA and they did a great job and were super nice to deal with Came back sounding amazing.

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roscoenyc
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Post by roscoenyc » Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:33 pm

the 77 can also sound pretty amazing on 'odd voices'

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Post by OOF » Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:57 pm

I just got a BK5a and it sure doesn't sound like I remember them. It was recently re-ribboned by Clarence but to me it is much brighter with less low end cushion than I remember. Is this the way they sound? Sure it's more clear than my 44 or coles or 160 or even the r84, and it is more natural than the royer, but I am continually surprised at how bright and relatively thin it is compared to all the other ribbons. It's a great acoustic guitar mic- no eq needed. Anyone else find this?
and no, it is on the Music setting, but it does sound like it's one click into the Voice setting for an old rca.
if anyone has an sk-46-- it's sort of like that with a more-present top.
thanks,
Davidio

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Post by E.Bennett » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:00 pm

re: bk5

just used one again recently and forgot how bright that thing is. i've never owned one, but the few that i've used have certainly been on the trebley side. it killed on lower octave slide guitar.

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Post by Fletcher » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:05 am

That's what makes BK-5's the killer guitar mic -- they're bright. If yours if thin then it could be an impedance problem with the pre you're using... but yes, they have a good bit of treble pickup to go along with the rich and vibey thickness.

They're also totally monster when mic'ing an SVT with a good bass sound coming out of it.

Peace.

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Post by cgarges » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:08 am

Yeah, I like the BK5 for exactly that reason. If I want something much thicker, I'll use my Coles mics. If I want something a little thicker, I'll use my M160s.

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Post by OOF » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:51 pm

well then, it's settled. Because that's just how i hear it. By order of thickness it goes, coles/44, 160/260, r84, 121, bk5, sk-46, Astatic 104 (kidding...)
I will check the imped. issue- it seems not to like the api as much as some other pres. I'll keep trying it out and see if it's worth buying.
thanks,
davidio

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joninc
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Post by joninc » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:13 pm

could anybody compare/contrast the coles vs the rca 44?

i have a pair of coles and love em - i am intrigued by the new cloud mics which have some relation to the rca 44 but i have no idea what the difference in sound would be.
thinner? brighter? i can't imagine it being thicker or darker...
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Post by tonewoods » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:12 pm

thebunker wrote: The 77D does rule in the right situations. On trumpet and trombone it's the money. Horn players love the sound and it just is classic. Also sounds great as a drum room mic, mono OH. Takes compression without getting harsh. Also it's perfect when you're tracking drums that you're treating more like samples or trying to get on old school vibe. Has also freaked us out how good it is on upright bass and piano. It's got that ribbon super detailed, very natural thing that just sits great on a track.
+1 on all of that...

Plus the DX (or at least my DX) is a multi-pattern mic, which is kinda rare in a ribbon....

Gives you some interesting options, but that figure-8 pattern is so-ooo useful is so many situations with "those" nulls and all.....

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