In our previous post, we shared in overview of ribbon mics and how they’re popularly used by producers. When you’re seeking to produce a professional-sounding mix and master, things go a whole lot smoother if you can capture the sound you want in the recording process. Often, this is matter of selecting the right mic.
These five ribbon mics are some of the top models available. They each share the figure eight polar pattern — which is excellent for picking up a blend of the source and the space — and the warm, natural sound that many producers and engineers love about using ribbon mics.
Perhaps the most widely known ribbon mic on the market today is the Royer R-121, the flagship model from American designer David Royer. First released in 1998, the R-121 reintroduced the classic sound of ribbon mics with a modern, lightweight durability. It’s a favorite among artists for recording electric guitar and brass. It retails at $1,295 and comes with a remarkable lifetime warranty.
First introduced in the 1950’s, the Coles 4038 is a legendary ribbon mic. Described as being “British with a BBC politeness,” the 4038 has been used for drum overheads on some of the most iconic recording to come out of the U.K., including cuts from The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. It’s certainly not limited to drums, though. Producers love it on electric guitar cabs, brass and even some vocals. It has also been used extensively for broadcasting.
World-renowned producer/engineer Steve Albini said that if he could have just one microphone, the 4038 would be it. Considering that Albini’s worked on over 1,000 albums, that’s quite an endorsement for a mic that retails at $1,563.
Both the Coles 4038 and the Royer R-121 would make an excellent addition to any studio’s mic locker. In our next post, we’ll cover three more top-of-the-line ribbon mics.