Ribbon OH's

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Mane1234
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Ribbon OH's

Post by Mane1234 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:23 pm

I was thinking about using a pair of ribbons as OH's on an upcoming project and was wondering about how to position them. Same as I would a pair of cardioids? Any benefit to using ribbons, aside from the sound quality? Anything to watch out for? Just need some feedback. This is for a metal band so I'm not really even sure if it's a good choice but it's just something that I want to try. Won't have a lot of time to experiment once we're in there so I needed to try and make some decisions beforehand.

Thanks
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JohnDavisNYC
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Post by JohnDavisNYC » Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:49 pm

my first instinct would be not for metal, unless you had a ton of close mics, and the overheads were just for roomy, washy, dark cymbal stuff... but I have a feeling that slow(er) and dark(er) are not characteristics that a metal band would be looking for in a cymbal and drum sound... unless of course it is super sludgy, stonerrock kind of metal stuff, and then they might be perfect... buut when I see 'metal' I think Paiste cymbals, pinstripe heads (maybe even ebony!!), and a quarter taped to the kick pedal beater...

I like ribbons alot as overheads, but it is pretty genre specific, to me. a certain Mr. Johns had pretty good luck with a pair of Coles 4038s in a position named after him to record a certain Mr. Bonham for some band named for a metal dirigible.

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Re: Ribbon OH's

Post by Justin Foley » Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:57 pm

Mane1234 wrote:I was thinking about using a pair of ribbons as OH's on an upcoming project and was wondering about how to position them. Same as I would a pair of cardioids? Any benefit to using ribbons, aside from the sound quality? Anything to watch out for? Just need some feedback. This is for a metal band so I'm not really even sure if it's a good choice but it's just something that I want to try. Won't have a lot of time to experiment once we're in there so I needed to try and make some decisions beforehand.

Thanks
Mane -

Be careful not to confuse apples and oranges. 'Ribbon' refers to the physical construction and can be compared to dynamic and cartoid microphones. 'Cartoid' refers to the pickup pattern of the microphone and can be compared to bi-directional, omni directional and the other types of cartoid (hyper, shotgun). The beyer M160 is ribbon that is a type of cartoid (hyper).

If you're using a pair of them as overheads, you probably don't want to use two bi-directional mics like the Coles 4083 or the beyer m130. One of these would be appropriate for a cartoid match to create an X-Y pair (such as the m160/m130 combo).

If the band is playing live and you're planning on using these mics as overheads for drums (rather than, say, room mics), you'll probably want a strong cartoid pattern to avoid amplifier bleed in the room. Remember that while a hyper-cartoid provides excellent off-axis rejection at 90 degrees to the front of the mic, it does pick up some signal from directly behind the mic. Make sure that you look at where the back of the mic is pointing and treat that area to avoid any unwanted ambient reflections.

For what it's worth, I've heard that the beyer m160 works well as a drum overhead. This is second hand info from someone that I don't have any particular reason to trust (or not trust).

= Justin

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JohnDavisNYC
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Post by JohnDavisNYC » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:04 pm

If you're using a pair of them as overheads, you probably don't want to use two bi-directional mics like the Coles 4083 or the beyer m130. One of these would be appropriate for a cartoid match to create an X-Y pair (such as the m160/m130 combo).
yes, you probably would want to use them as a pair, as there is nothing wrong with having a little air on the back of a mic. figure of 8 mics are by no means limited in their application. a pair of figure 8 ribbons as a spaced pair can be great as overheads, so it goes for ORTF, Blumein, etc...

and you are mistaken as well. you describe M/S, not X/Y.

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thethingwiththestuff
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Re: Ribbon OH's

Post by thethingwiththestuff » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:19 pm

Justin Foley wrote: Be careful not to confuse apples and oranges. 'Ribbon' refers to the physical construction and can be compared to dynamic and cartoid microphones. 'Cartoid' refers to the pickup pattern of......
man, first off, i'm physically cringing over here every time you misspell cardioid! second, most ribbons are figure 8, and i think its reasonable to assume thats what the poster meant. some are more cardioid, yes. but dynamic and cardioid have no comparative relation, i guess you meant to write condenser.
If you're using a pair of them as overheads, you probably don't want to use two bi-directional mics like the Coles 4083 or the beyer m130.
why not? this is called Blumlein.
If the band is playing live and you're planning on using these mics as overheads for drums (rather than, say, room mics), you'll probably want a strong cartoid pattern to avoid amplifier bleed in the room. Remember that while a hyper-cartoid provides ....
figure 8 patterns provide the most rejection of any pattern, but it occurs on either side of the diaphragm. if he were to use figure 8's as overheads, and put the guitars off to the side of those ribbons, he might get less bleed than he would have using cardioid.

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Post by Mane1234 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:26 pm

Yes I should have mentioned these are figure 8 pattern mics. No one else will be in the room but the drummer and it's a nice studio drum room. At least 16 ft ceilings, wood floor with a roll out carpet if I need it. Properly treated. Perhaps the spaced pair would be a good idea. Thanks for the input guys...Anyone else got 2 cents?
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Post by Justin Foley » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:43 pm

Careless post on my part. I was too busy getting ready to be right on one part that I proceded to make about 3 or 4 other errors.

So, to make amends -

1. Cardioid. Not cartoid. Yes.

2. M/S. Not X/Y. Yes.

3. Blumlein pair. Yes, although I would still work on a different approach if a loud metal band was playing in the room with the drummer. Which is not the case here. So Blumlein away.

4. I figured after reading my post that the poster may have meant condenser when he typed cardoid, but thought the clarification would be helpful. It was not.

Oh well,

= Justin

PS - You know what? Even the part about the hyper cardoid pattern isn't right. Off axis rejection on a hyper tends to be best at about 120 degrees.

Image

How about we forget this little post of mine, eh?

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Post by auralman » Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:45 pm

I learned my lesson the hard way:

Ribbon mics as overheads in a room with good reflections and a pleasant reverberation = wonderful.

Ribbon mics as overheads in a room with less than that = complete loose garbage.
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Post by cgarges » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:20 pm

To me, whether or not ribbon mics work for drum overheads have about a thousand times more to do with what the drummer's cymbals sound like than anything else. I've used hypercardioid ribbons (M160s, BK5a, 77s) and figure-eight ribbons (4038)with success in a variety of positions. It all depends on the sound of the kit and THEN whether or not that works in context with the music.

For whatever it's worth, a Blumlein pair of 414s is one of my favorite overhead setups for many types of music.

Chris Garges
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Russian Recording
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Post by Russian Recording » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:04 am

while ribbon mics are darker than most condensors, they are actaully very "fast" and do a fabulous job of capturing transient response due to the extremely light mass of the ribbon element. The combination of fast response and a smooth high frequency response is what makes ribbon mics sound the way they do. And it is also why they can sound so good as overheads.

mike

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Post by thethingwiththestuff » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:29 am

Russian Recording wrote:while ribbon mics are darker than most condensors, they are actaully very "fast" and do a fabulous job of capturing transient response due to the extremely light mass of the ribbon element. The combination of fast response and a smooth high frequency response is what makes ribbon mics sound the way they do. And it is also why they can sound so good as overheads.

mike
i dont mean to disagree with you per se, but in my experience with the royer 122 (the only ribbon i've played with yet) the transients were so much rounder compared to a 414 or just about anything else i put it next to. i loved this mic because of what i took to be it's slowness and what it did to bring out the body of drums or whatever. eh?

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Russian Recording
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Post by Russian Recording » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:43 am

I think that high frequency response and transient response get confused. Ribbon mics generally have a roll off in high frequencies and very good low-end reproduction. Also, most ribbon microphones have a very tight fig-8 polar pattern which produces a very pronounced proximity effect. These frequncy response characteristics will produce a "round" and "beefy" sound compared to a condensor and most dynamics. However, because of the light weight of the ribbon, a ribbon microphone will track transient response significantly better than a dynamic microphone, and in some cases as well as a condensor. The bulky moving coil mechanism is what causes dynamics to have such slow response, and it is also why dynamics usually perform inadequately as overheads (with some very noteable exceptions).

On a realted note, Fostex's "Printed Ribbon" microphones are actually their attempt at making a dynamic microphone with the same transient response as a ribbon by using an extrremely light diaphragm. These mics are often refered to as ribbon mics because of this, but are in fact a unique patented microphone design.

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Post by JdJ » Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:34 am

It's hard to say without hearing the drums/cymbals, but I have had good luck using ribbons in the past- especially when I needed (wanted) to attenuate the high freq content of the kit. One great quality I've noticed with ribbon-cut tracks is that they seem to take eq adjustments well- Especially in the overhead role, this is a cool way to get more air into the tracks without making the high end harsh or strident. So far I've only used them as a spaced pair for overheads, but next up is Blumlein!

Having said that, I agree with Toaster in that I wouldn't think ribbons would be an ideal choice for metal, unless it's sludge/stoner/riff.

Good luck,

J

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Post by JASIII » Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:58 pm

I was under the impression that ribbons have slower transient response due to the fact that the ribbon is slower to respond than a condenser mic diaphragm, due to its bulk. It's hard to imagine that a piece of aluminum foil is more sensitive than a micrometers thick (thin) piece of mylar. Are my illusions about to be shattered?

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Post by ??????? » Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:06 pm

I have always operated under the opposite assumption. A tiny micrometers-thin piece of aluminum is probably lighter than a micrometers-thin diaphragm on a condensor, especially since that mylar will have to be made conductive somehow (impregnated with gold or other material).

I've always thought that ribbons had the fastest transient response of any type of microphone. As always, I might not know what the fuck I'm talking about.

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