Ribbon Microphones | The Revival Continues

Aug 17, 2010 4:46 PM, By George Petersen



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Cascade Knucklehead

Cascade Knucklehead

Previewed at Summer NAMM 2010, the Knucklehead ($225 list) from Cascade Microphones takes the element from the company’s Fat Head mic and incorporates it into a brass-and-aluminum body with an integrated swiveling shockmount. The mic is offered in a 2.5-micron version and live application–ready 5-micron model. Both can be ordered with a Lundahl transformer as a $125 option. Also intended for SR applications—and used on recent tours by Steely Dan and Pat Metheny—is the Fat Head II Live, which has a 5-micron aluminum short ribbon and ships with an aluminum carry case, wood storage box and shockmount. In addition to the $225 standard Fat Head II Live, it’s also available with either Lundahl or CineMag transformers for $335. The C77 features a 2.5-micron, short ribbon element routed to a Lundahl LL2913 output transformer with Evidence Audio internal solid-core copper wiring and Switchcraft XLR jack. It’s assembled in Olympia, Wash., and retails at $499, including swiveling yoke mount, padded case and upright aluminum storage/travel case.

Cloud Microphones JRS-34

Cloud Microphones JRS-34

After 20 years of servicing and restoring vintage ribbon mics (skills learned from his father, ex-RCA engineer Jon R. Sank who designed the BK-11 ribbon mic), Stephen Sank of Cloud Microphones has launched a new line of mics. Handmade in Tucson, Ariz., the JRS-34 features a hand-cut, corrugated aluminum ribbon in a radiused, rounded neodymium magnet structure that reduces internal reflection/diffraction effects. The ribbon output feeds an onboard, phantom-powered JFET preamp to add 20 dB to the signal. The JRS-34 has a brushed-nickel finish with a nickel-plated screen and retails at $1,799, including a custom wooden storage box. It’s also available as the black-finished JRS-34-TV. The same ribbon element—without onboard electronics—is also used as the passive JRS-34-P ($1,499) version, which is gray with nickel screens and a silver logo. All Cloud mics are fitted with CineMag output transformers.

Coles Electroacoustics 4050

Coles Electroacoustics 4050

For the 4050 ($2,500), its first stereo ribbon microphone, Coles Electroacoustics took the element developed from its 4040 model and set it into two mono mics that use magnetic closures to snap them into a single unit. The system allows a full 360 degrees of rotation adjustment for a variety of stereo configurations, or the two can be used separately for spaced-pair placements. As each mic uses a standard XLR-3 connector, no stereo adapters or specialized breakout cabling is necessary. Price includes a custom shockmount and carry case.

MXL Microphones R-77

MXL Microphones R-77

MXL Microphones has two new ribbon models. Designed to emulate classic RCA ribbon mics and priced at $599 (or $749 as the R-77L with Lundahl transformer), the R-77 has a chrome body and gold-mesh windscreen with a 1.8-micron aluminum ribbon element. It ships with an integrated swivel yoke mount, wooden storage box, desktop stand and 25-foot Mogami XLR mic cable. The R144 sports a distinctive purple body with chrome grille, a 1.8-micron ribbon and internal Mogami wiring. Retail is $159, including shockmount and carry case.

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