Big surprise: Ribbon microphones for guitar amps

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by rburkard, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. rburkard

    rburkard Gold Supporting Member

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    After being a total addict to the Royer R 121 for some years now, I stumbled recently on a Samson VR 88 active ribbon mic. It was hard, but after doing several tests I have to confess that the Samson sounds at least as good as the Royer while costing only a fraction of the price. Royers are all well above a grand while the Samson costs only $149 at AMS including a very nice suspension mic adapter, aluminum covered solid mic case and cable. If it sounds unreal, just check it out. I actually prefer the Samson a little bit more compared to the Royer in terms of sound. It has a nice fat bottom, is very clear but warm and has a nice sonic vintage fingerprint to it. Think of Eric Clapton's Live at Fillmore guitar sound with Cream. The old British ribbon mics they used had a lot to do with how the recordings sounded. The Samson reminds me of this. It does in no way sound sterile and the positioning in front of a speaker is an absolute no brainer unlike a lot of other ribbon and condenser mics. You literally just position it in front of the speaker about 8-10 inches away and there you go. The angle position is negligible. This mic is a great buy for a price less than some dynamic mics cost that everybody seems to be using these days. I can predict that this one will become a secret weapon for many and probably finally a classic. Great job Samson.
    Rene
     
  2. Timmylikesthing

    Timmylikesthing Member

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    I bought 2 of the Stellar RSM-3's and love them. So similar to a royer that it wasn't worth the extra $2200 to me to own the real thing.

    I need to check out this samson mic from the sounds of it.
     
  3. mdog114

    mdog114 Member

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    I've always had great results with cheap ribbon mics. It's all about the lo-fi aspect of the mic. Many of them spec out with a 50/75-16000 hrz range, so they don't sound like most mics people are used to hearing. They have that creamy mid-range, you blend that with a standard like a 421/57 and you're in business.
     
  4. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    A friend cut some killer drum tracks for a project I mixed using 2 of those Samson ribbons on a very good sounding drum set (in a very good sounding room). I was impressed.
     
  5. Rumblefish

    Rumblefish Silver Supporting Member

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    I might just have to try the Samson.Although I love my Fathead II's.
     
  6. Andy J.

    Andy J. Member

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    That's exactly what the engineer did while we were recording our forthcoming album; he stuck both a 57 and a cheapo ribbon mic in front of my cabs and the sound he got from blending those two was awesome! He aslo said they'd tried a bunch of ribbons and had settled for some cheapies, which they felt were every bit as good as some more expensive ones. :aok
     
  7. LowWatt

    LowWatt Member

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    Can they handle close micing on a cab that's pushing some air?
     
  8. AudioWonderland

    AudioWonderland Member

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    I like the Apex 205 myself on guitars
     
  9. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    I always put a pop screen on a ribbon when putting it in front of a cabinet. Even a blasting amp isn't going to move as much physical air as a singer does on a P or B sound.
     
  10. Stratman76

    Stratman76 Member

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    Interesting observation about the Samson VR88

    Apparently, this mic hit the market at $750 list!

    Here's two reviews that seem to be pretty informative...

    http://www.proaudioreview.com/article/16722

    http://emusician.com/mics/samson_vr88/

    In the Pro Audio review, Rob mentions the impedance of the pre as being fairly crucial for the vocals he tested with.

    Thanks for the post, Rene, as this mic looks like an excellent value. What pre have you been using with your Samson VR 88?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  11. Platypus

    Platypus not in rivers, but in drops Supporting Member

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    I've been looking at this mic, is it strange that this ribbon mic actually requires phantom power? I always thought you could fry a ribbon with phantom power?
     
  12. GregoryL

    GregoryL Supporting Member

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    You will damage a standard ribbon mic with phantom power, however 'active ribbons' require phantom power as a means of increasing the output so you need less gain from your mic pre.

    Standard ribbons need a lot of gain, and oftern lower-end mic-pre's either can't provide enough gain, or are too noisy at higher gain settings.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  13. Platypus

    Platypus not in rivers, but in drops Supporting Member

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    Gotcha, thanks for the clarification
     
  14. ganttmann

    ganttmann Member

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    Clips! Post clips!

    Thanks,

    gantt

     
  15. StolenSmilesGtr

    StolenSmilesGtr Member

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    Well thats saved me a lot of time, I was just about to start/search for a thread regarding amp micing :)
     
  16. mdog114

    mdog114 Member

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    That's one of my favorite recipes for good guitar recordings. I'm thinking about getting a stereo ribbon to use as OH mics on the studio's drum kit. That should sound killer too!
     

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