Ribbon microphones are very well known throughout the music and recording industry for their characteristically warm, natural sounds when recording or broadcasting. Their quality has made them a true favorite among traditionalists for years. Now, thanks to advances in technology, ribbon microphones are a fantastically viable option for anyone who makes their living recording and producing sounds.
To understand a ribbon microphone it’s important to have a little background on its science. These microphones feature a thin metal strip that is shaped like a figure-8 and connected to their output. This strip is suspended between two magnets. Vibrations within the magnetic field of these magnets generate an electrical signal, which in turn produces the sounds that are transferred to a speaker or recording device. These “bi-directional” microphones pick up sounds from the front and back of the element, making them great for recording vocals being sung by multiple people. You won’t need to mic every singer, rather have them stand on either side of the microphone and listen as they sound as clear as a bell. Additionally, these mics are fantastic for recording conversations, meaning they’re definitely worth a look if you’re recording interviews for podcasts or other applications where the conversation needs to have a natural flow.
As mentioned earlier, Ribbon microphones offer an inherently warm sound when recording. This makes them wonderful for recording guitar and other stringed instruments with stunning clarity and precision. Whether acoustically or plugged in through a cabinet, guitars will shine through when recorded on ribbon microphones.
The beauty of the wide variety of microphones available to you is that each one often has specific characteristics that make them idea for specific situations. With a ribbon microphone, you’ll have a mic that is second to none for capturing vintage, warm sounds from your instruments, conducting interviews with colleagues or guests, and more. An important part of your collection of gear, no one who is serious about sound should be without a ribbon mic.