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I have a lightly-used R88/TRP combo I'd like to sell. Contact me off
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-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Paul Stamler
Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2014 4:29 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Accidental stereo (again)

On 8/30/2014 1:03 PM, DAVID BURNHAM wrote:
> Certainly they're still making ribbon mikes.  But I have compared a very
high-end stereo ribbon mike with an AKG C422, (the first solid state stereo
mike that AKG produced when they discontinued the C24), both in an MS
configuration, and the quality of sound, to my ears, from the C422 was
vastly superior to the ribbon mike and, of course, the C422 isn't limited to
just bi-directional pick-ups.  I think there are also ribbon mikes which
have other polar patterns but I don't think they're switchable.

It's worth noting that classic ribbon mics (e.g., RCA) were designed to be
fed into a mic preamp with an input transformer that fed the grid of a
triode or pentode tube, *without* a terminating resistor on the transformer.
This means the mic is presented with a relatively high load impedance,
significantly higher than the 1500-2400 ohm input impedance of modern
preamps. There are a few modern preamps that will work well with classic
tube amps (the AEA device, designed as a companion to their RCA-inspired
designs, and the Benchmark mic preamp introduced about three years ago. I
did an experiment with an old RCA ribbon; I operated it into a good modern
preamp from Grace, and into the Benchmark. There was no contest; the mic,
used through the Benchmark, had an entire octave of high frequency response
that was missing through the Grace.

David's compariaon of a pair of ribbon mics with an AKG stereo condenser mic
may have been skewed, if the ribbon mics were used with typical modern mic
inputs. They weren't built with that expectation. I'd love to hear the same
experiment repeated using something like a Benchmark preamp on the ribbons.

And David, you're quite correct that there are ribbon mics available with
other than figure-8 polar patterns; Beyerdynamic makes several with
hypercardioid patterns. And you're right; they're not switchable.

Peace,
Paul