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Thread: What are your thoughts on using Ribbon mice for guitar cabs?

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    Default What are your thoughts on using Ribbon mice for guitar cabs?

    Royer 121 is one of the more popular ribbon mic's for guitar cabs. What are your thoughts on using them on a guitar cab or combined with a dynamic mic? When do you find you like their application, and what situations have you found other options are better?
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    Wireline is offline 3D VIP 2004, '05, '06, '08, '09, '10
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    My all time favorite guitar amp mic - RCA 74B...followed closely by EV 635 omni... if it sounds wrong with either of these, I change(d) something else.
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    From live tracking at a show or worship service, if a 57 is too hard/bright (Tele through a AC30, for example) I've used Cascade FatHeads to good effect. Fat and crunchy, without being hard. Never owned Royers, so I can't comment on them.
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    I've got Royer clones (the ACM-3 units that Terry Manning set up with his group buy years ago). They're OK for some sounds, with a little EQing. They're not my favourite. I find too that they do work as a nice compliment when blended with another mic (like a 57). However I prefer to get it done with a few mics as possible.

    I think the Sennheiser 409 remains my favourite guitar microphone. It has a certain mojo that makes me smile often. They discontinued them years ago and replaced them with something lesser. If you can find a used one in good buy it an thank me later. I no longer have one and deeply regret letting it go.

    For ribbon mics, I'd suggest a Coles 4038. While I've never owned one, I have had tracks with that as the guitar mic. Delicious.
    Last edited by PookyNR; 09-12-2014 at 10:59 PM.
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    One further thought... if the actual sound of the amplifier is what's crucial, I'd look at a flat SDC... something like the Line Audio CM3 (wide cardioid, $150US, from Sweden), or perhaps a DPA4061 (tiny little omni element with a table-flat response, about $550 with a MicroDot XLR connector/mic amp). It's one of my faves on cello, upright bass, violin, acoustic guitar... anything that you want to capture "what's there" with zero proximity effect, and as good an omni pattern as you'll find at any price. Again... my use is primarily live reinforcement and location tracking, and choral/orchestral.

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    Try the Beyer M-160 for a nice, tight ribbon sound. I've had great results with it. The M-130 doesn't get talked about a whole lot in the application, but is great for a darker, less-aggressive sound than the 160.
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    Stay away from the Royer 121. Dull, uninspiring, and lifeless. Other than that, it is great : > /

    The RCA 74b is fantastic on guitar cabs, and can still be found at a great price. A Beyer M500 will impress as well, and I have had good luck with the 130/160 mics mentioned above. The Coles 4038 is great too, but more fragile so be careful and use a windscreen. If you can find one, the RCA KU3A is killer too, as is an RCA 44 when used at a distance for a tone with more room.

    Not a fan of the Cascades. no tone - they sound like $100 microphones… oh, wait… that ARE $100 microphones...
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    The Fatheads I have started with fairly poor original ribbons. I had the ribbons replaced and tuned properly and they are vastly improved. They are still dark, which is a function of the body type. They are good when the source needs smoothing. They also have the transformer upgrade. I haven't heard a stock bottom priced FH.

    I haven't tried my M160 or M130 on an amp in awhile. I liked them when I did.

    I've been using the Samar MF65, and it's generated no complaints or concerns yet. I also have some chinese B&O/Royer knock-off bodies that Samar put their transformers and ribbons in, and they have been very good on most amps too.
    Doug Williams
    Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

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    Bought the Royer 121 and I really love this mic. Yes it is my favorite mic in my locker on guitar cabs. It takes the shrill out while leaving a elegant sound. The back of the mic is brighter if you need it. It takes EQ very well. Found for jazz guitar sounds it is best on its own. For rock you may want to add a Audix I5 or SM57 and blend the two together. I also tried some cheaper ribbons that are made in China and just loved the 121 a lot more.😀

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