I had recently decided to expand my mic locker and one of the things on my shopping list was a ribbon microphone. Ribbon microphones are an old concept, but it seems they have been out of fashion until a couple of years ago, and I too got curious on how they perform.
I did not want to spend too much right off the bat, so I did my research on what brands and models in the lower price range are worth a shot. A lot of people told me to check out T.bone, and in the meantime a friend of mine bought a Rb100 of his own, so I got to try it before buying mine. Despite the low price, this is a great microphone. I have a couple of older T.bone mics and they're pretty much all duds, but this one delivers what it promises. It comes in a nice wooden box and a very aesthetic velvet-like pouch. Being a ribbon mic, it does have that nice, rich low end and it really excels on punchy and deep sound sources, such as drums, classical guitars and bass cabinets. The mids are a little bit boxy to my ears, but nothing a good EQ won't filter out. Did i mention it takes EQ very well? That's my favorite part as it can take some excessive EQ'ing like a champ and you have to push it really hard to make it sound unnatural. It does lack a bit of top end detail, but EQ in some of that top sparkle and brilliance and it works like a charm. I've been using it on a lot of things but I think these mics excel on drums. The figure 8 pattern is really useful for MS techniques and room mics. I really like them as drum overheads, but keep in mind they will not give you the same detailed response as small or some large condensers. If you are like me and prefer warm and punchy drum overheads, this will do the trick. However, this brings me to the only real downside I've come to find: consistency. As said above, I've been using a pair on drums (along with the one my friend owns) and there is quite a difference between the two. I know that expensive microphones come in matched pairs and cost a metric ton of money, but I own quite a lot of cheaper pairs (or quads) of microphones that do sound very close... There is a noticeable difference in gain needed and one does sound slightly more "muffled". The difference is not worrying me and I still get great results. I would encourage you to buy yourself one of these (or maybe two). Worth mentioning: both of the mics have a bit of flimsy bodies, as the top cap keeps turning a bit loose, but they both feel sturdy otherwise. Also, keep in mind that these mics need a LOT of gain and some cheaper pre-amps on some interfaces might not deliver... Works well with some of the rigs, but my home unit, which is one of those small, portable interfaces, gets too noisy at required gain.
Anyway, it's a great mic for the money and it is certainly something to have in your "arsenal". Have to try some of the other models in the future!
These really shine as drum room mics. Ribbons mics in general convey the punch of the drums better than dynamics or condensors in my opinion. I feel for the best drum sound a mix of all three is preferable. These are not "HiFi" mics they will not convey the souce in pristine clarity, they will impart their own sonic footprint onto any recorded material. Whether this is a good or bad thing is entirely dependant on the source and production values sought. They can sound slightly tubby and muddy due to their reduced high end response but clean up well with EQ. I have used them on vocals where they were serviceable but I prefer LDC's here anyway. They are amazingly well built and solid, they come with some serious wooden cases and velvet bags. I love this in the application I use them in.
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