D.I.Y Ribbon Microphone
D.I.Y Ribbon Microphone
I also do ribbon mic repairs. Contact me for information:
Important Ribbon Foil info:
When is a ribbon too thick? The RSM-4 ribbon mic uses a "6 micron" ribbon and it's a pretty nice sounding mic, especially after you remove the internal headbasket / wind blast screens. Replacing with a 4 micron makes the mic sound better. So naturally replacing with a 2.5 ribbon will make it even better sounding!
4 micron ribbons work perfectly well and are used in a major ribbon mic maker's live models. The difference in frequency between 4 and 2.5 micron foils is nil. However with the 2.5 micron foil - output IS louder, and transients are slightly faster as well. Do I personally prefer thinner ribbons like 2.5 micron in my own mics? Yes! However they do cost more, they are somewhat harder to install, and because 'thinner' means 'louder', it also means easier to break! But don't worry, all good ribbon mics come with thin ribbons such as this! If you do any live work then the 4 micron ribbon may be for you. If doing studio-only work then the 2.5 micron ribbon is a great choice. Both ribbon foils sound great when installed correctly.
Ribbon Mic Foil Cutting and Corrugation Instructions:
||A very accurate way to cut your ribbon to correct width is to place the ribbon on a sheet of tracing paper then fold the paper over the ribbon. Place this on soft rubber like a mousepad, then put a ruler or other straight edge down holding it firmly at 5MM or however thick you need the width. Then cut the ribbon with a new razor. One long firm cut with the razor blade will slice through the ribbon with ease! I wear a painters mask when working with ribbons, as even the slightest breath will send the ribbon into the air, possibly causing damage to it!|
Now let's corrugate the ribbon foil!
How To Corrugate Ribbon Microphone Foil:Some people use gears, or camera lense covers to make corrugations. Or you can do
a search on EBAY for: Paint Tube Squeezer and do it my favorite way....
|After cutting foil to size, fold a small peice of paper. place edge of foil against the fold.||Fold the paper over the foil and place in squeezer - crank it through keeping it straight!|
|Open the paper carefully to see your resulting corrugated ribbon.||This will work nicely for you, but you may need to experiment with thicker cheaper foil first! Keeping the paper containing the foil can be tricky to keep straight, but practice is your friend. Guide the paper through with your hand.|
|If you're in a bind and need a quick fix, another simple way is to Place the cut ribbon on a hair comb with thin teeth (about 14 - 24
corrugations per inch. ) Using a soft sponge or foam, press down (not too hard) to form the
corrugations. Laugh if you must - but I did several years back on a sessions jobs after the ribbon mic was damaged!
Results were very good.
The main trick is when you install the ribbon, after you position it it should be level with little or no bend in it at all! not tight! tight means ripped, tight means you ruin the corrugation! a "tiny" amount of slack usually sounds fine - make sure the movement of the ribbon stays between the magnets! Use a toothpick with a small amount of mineral oil on the tip to guide it into place.
Recording Guitar Amps With Ribbon Mic.
A good position for your ribbon mic on guitar cab is as shown:
About 4 - 8" from center of speaker, and tilted 30 -45 degrees
depepnding on how loud and bassy. The figure 8 mic should
be tilted up, or down for different room sounds. A wind-screen
can be also used for super loud amps!
Side view of ribbon microphone in front of guitar cabinet. Run
the mic into a pre-amp and compressor before the DAW.