Microphone - Varieties - Ribbon Microphone

Ribbon Microphone

Ribbon microphones use a thin, usually corrugated metal ribbon suspended in a magnetic field. The ribbon is electrically connected to the microphone's output, and its vibration within the magnetic field generates the electrical signal. Ribbon microphones are similar to moving coil microphones in the sense that both produce sound by means of magnetic induction. Basic ribbon microphones detect sound in a bi-directional (also called figure-eight, as in the diagram below) pattern because the ribbon, which is open to sound both front and back, responds to the pressure gradient rather than the sound pressure. Though the symmetrical front and rear pickup can be a nuisance in normal stereo recording, the high side rejection can be used to advantage by positioning a ribbon microphone horizontally, for example above cymbals, so that the rear lobe picks up only sound from the cymbals. Crossed figure 8, or Blumlein pair, stereo recording is gaining in popularity, and the figure 8 response of a ribbon microphone is ideal for that application.

Other directional patterns are produced by enclosing one side of the ribbon in an acoustic trap or baffle, allowing sound to reach only one side. The classic RCA Type 77-DX microphone has several externally adjustable positions of the internal baffle, allowing the selection of several response patterns ranging from "Figure-8" to "Unidirectional". Such older ribbon microphones, some of which still provide high quality sound reproduction, were once valued for this reason, but a good low-frequency response could only be obtained when the ribbon was suspended very loosely, which made them relatively fragile. Modern ribbon materials, including new nanomaterials have now been introduced that eliminate those concerns, and even improve the effective dynamic range of ribbon microphones at low frequencies. Protective wind screens can reduce the danger of damaging a vintage ribbon, and also reduce plosive artifacts in the recording. Properly designed wind screens produce negligible treble attenuation. In common with other classes of dynamic microphone, ribbon microphones don't require phantom power; in fact, this voltage can damage some older ribbon microphones. Some new modern ribbon microphone designs incorporate a preamplifier and, therefore, do require phantom power, and circuits of modern passive ribbon microphones, i.e., those without the aforementioned preamplifier, are specifically designed to resist damage to the ribbon and transformer by phantom power. Also there are new ribbon materials available that are immune to wind blasts and phantom power.

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Other articles related to "ribbon microphone, ribbon, ribbon microphones, microphone, ribbons":

Ribbon Microphone - History
... Schottky and Erwin Gerlach co-invented the first ribbon microphone ... By turning the ribbon circuit in the opposite direction, they also invented the first ribbon loudspeaker ... Olson of RCA began development of ribbon microphones, first with field coils and then with permanent magnets ...
Royer Labs
... Royer Labs is a microphone company that some consider to be one of the foremost manufacturers of ribbon microphones ... most often cited for this opinion is that Royer has combined the traditional warmth of vintage ribbon microphones with modern output levels ... While older ribbon microphones had a great sound, the ribbons were weak and would break easily ...
Matchless Amplifiers - Currently
... Perrotta went on to found Royer Labs, a company that manufactures ribbon microphones ... His company is credited with creating the first modern ribbon microphone, the first active (phantom powered) ribbon microphone and kicking off renewed interest in ribbon microphone technology ...
Harry F. Olson - Patents
... Device For Sound Pick-up (Ellipsoid Microphone) 1,814,357 1932 Apparatus for Converting Sound Vibrations Into Electrical Variations (First Practical Ribbon Microphone) 1,885,001 ...

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