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Ribbon mics and bass cabs

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Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby soundsofcallado on Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:24 pm

Anyone do this regularly or try it? Suggestions? Results?

I know that you can't place a ribbon right on a cab for destroying the ribbon, but how about at a distance of a 8"-12"? I don't have any real reason as to why, but I am trying to not use a SDC (I have a Pro37r). I usually use a 421 or RE20 more or less right on the grill (I have a Barefaced cab with the vintage looking grill cloth, 2x12). Usually set it not right at the cone, but a little off.

I have read about some engineers using a Royer 121 on bass or even an M160. The Royer is a little rich for me blood, but the Beyer is doable. Also curious about polar patterns... would a figure 8 be better (get a little room in the sound too) or cardioid (or hyper) be better?

Really looking to experiment and try to get some interesting sounds that really aren't the norm. I have a Nady RSM-2 and it's actually pretty decent, obviously no Royer or any of that, but it works for my guitar cabs. Haven't really fooled with it on the bass. I've also heard very good things about the Cascade Fat Head.

Any advice? Thanks in advance!
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby Bon Hoga on Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:09 am

Out of curiosity, what do you expect to gain by using a ribbon that you can't get with a more conventional approach?
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby bishopdante on Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:02 am

^ well, for one thing using a figure of 8 with a large diaphragm removes a lot of the proximity effect problems with cardioid microphones being placed close to bassy sources.

There are non-cardioid options, but true-omni LDCs with high SPL ratings aren't particularly common, either.

______

Not all ribbon mics are fragile.

Eg: Shure KSM313 and KSM 353 (haven't tried them myself), rated at 146dB 30Hz-15kHz. They are apparently tough enough to be used live, on the road, and can even be used on kick drums. Probably worth trying.

The method employed to make the diaphragm more durable is to use metallised plastic of some sort, rather than aluminium foil.

Shute achieved this by buying Crowley and Tripp, and the shure branded microphones are basically re-badged versions of the prior C&T models.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby soundsofcallado on Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:36 am

Bon Hoga wrote:Out of curiosity, what do you expect to gain by using a ribbon that you can't get with a more conventional approach?


Nothing, except to not be conventional, which is the point of the question.

Do ribbons sound the same as conventional approaches for bass?
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby endofanera on Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:30 am

soundsofcallado wrote:
Bon Hoga wrote:Out of curiosity, what do you expect to gain by using a ribbon that you can't get with a more conventional approach?


Nothing, except to not be conventional, which is the point of the question.

Do ribbons sound the same as conventional approaches for bass?

I typically just throw an RE-20 on the cab. It paints a clear picture of what is coming out even close up. Can handle high SPL without complaint, has good bass response.

I might add a small diaphragm condenser or even a dynamic like an SM-57 with it if it's fuzz bass or particularly clanky or anything.

I have never used a ribbon on bass. RE-20 doesn't have much if any proximity effect so the benefit of fig. 8 mentioned by the bishop wouldn't be an advantage I'd be looking for.

Sadly, I imagine my approach is pretty conventional, but it's worked more often than not.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby soundsofcallado on Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:00 pm

endofanera wrote:
soundsofcallado wrote:
Bon Hoga wrote:Out of curiosity, what do you expect to gain by using a ribbon that you can't get with a more conventional approach?


Nothing, except to not be conventional, which is the point of the question.

Do ribbons sound the same as conventional approaches for bass?

I typically just throw an RE-20 on the cab. It paints a clear picture of what is coming out even close up. Can handle high SPL without complaint, has good bass response.

I might add a small diaphragm condenser or even a dynamic like an SM-57 with it if it's fuzz bass or particularly clanky or anything.

I have never used a ribbon on bass. RE-20 doesn't have much if any proximity effect so the benefit of fig. 8 mentioned by the bishop wouldn't be an advantage I'd be looking for.

Sadly, I imagine my approach is pretty conventional, but it's worked more often than not.


There are no problems or issues with the "conventional" process. I've had excellent sounds with 57s and 421s, etc, but I thought I'd see if anyone had any thoughts on doing something that is potentially not the norm.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby Anthony Flack on Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:35 pm

A fig 8 mic doesn't have less proximity boost than a cardioid; it has double.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby eliya on Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:09 pm

Place a candle in front of the bass amp and see if the candle is put out by the air the amp moves. The distance at which the amp cannot put out the candle is a distance safe enough for a ribbon microphone.

Low frequencies are omni-directional so the distance limitation that ribbons impose will yield a bass sound that isn't very focused (at least that's what I think). I don't think that'll sound good but maybe you'll like it.

Shure is making ribbons from this very durable metal that you can place it in front of a kick drum. You might want to look into it.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby Redline on Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:14 pm

The guitar on Dog Show was recorded with a Beyerdynamic m500 ribbon mic and a Marshall 4 X 15" bass cab.

The set up was Les Paul Standard > Foxx Tone Machine > Marshal 50 watt Master Volume head > Marshal 4 X 15" bass cab (the tall one). It sounded great.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby endofanera on Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:28 pm

Anthony Flack wrote:A fig 8 mic doesn't have less proximity boost than a cardioid; it has double.

Having never yet had a need to use Fig 8 on anything, this is good to know.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby Stinky Pete on Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:41 pm

Fig 8's have massive proximity effect.

I use ribbons on fairly loud sources, mic'd a 200W bass amp pretty much cranked with mine a few weeks back. Just had a good pop filter on it.

The advantage is when you combine it with a brighter mic and you can treat them seperately, mostly. But if you want a really dark bass sound it's also a no brainer. You could also pull it back and get a more room-y bass cab sound, which would be great on some types of bass playing.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby J. Burns on Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:12 pm

The Fathead I have farted out doing palm mute chugs when close-micing a guitar cab. I can't imagine ever using it on bass.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby bishopdante on Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:55 pm

eliya wrote:Shure is making ribbons from this very durable metal that you can place it in front of a kick drum. You might want to look into it.


Formed PET Plastic (metallised).

The trick is that the polymer is pressed with a die into the suitable shape for a microphone ribbon, thus exhibiting shape-memory.
https://www.google.com/patents/US8218795

A geometrically shaped acoustic polymer ribbon with shape memory, high conductivity, high toughness. A method of manufacturing the ribbon comprises: forming a sized, elongated, coated or coatable polymeric substrate film between a pair of opposed, geometrically shaped dies, pinching the dies about the polymeric substrate film to form an assembly, heating the dies and the pinched die and polymeric film assembly to a temperature of at about 300 degrees F. for a period of about 15 minutes to set the elongated film into a predetermined geometric pattern, cooling the assembly, removing the film from the dies; and if not already coated, coating the geometrically formed, set, elongated film with a conductive coating.


the nonconductive materials having a thickness of about 3 microns or less and the conductive layer having a thickness of at least 100 nanometers, with a total weight of about 0.004 grams per square inch or less, whereby the conductive and nonconductive materials work in unison to produce a highly flexible, shape memory, sound-responsive component, and whereby the sound responsive component comprises a ribbon in a ribbon microphone assembly having an acoustic responsivity of about 20 Hz to about 20 KHz.


Aluminization using direct evaporation of aluminum atoms upon the thin substrate material, applied evenly to one or both sides, has been found effective to produce a desired structure that is tough yet relatively low in mass, highly flexible and with good shape memory, and highly conductive, all of which are required for the successful sound-responsive ribbon-type element that may be used in a ribbon microphone or the like.


The PET material may be supplied in roll or sheet form. The size selected may be about 3 inches wide, and the thickness selected may be about 2.5 microns, which is very thin, and light. PET is a high strength polymeric material that, during or after the foil ribbon manufacturing process, may be prepared with a layer of aluminum, gold, or other conductive metallic material as will be further taught herein.


the [cut film is placed], into a preheated oven that is controlled by a thermostat. The forming die and polymer are then subjected to a suitable temperature over a period of time, and then removed from the oven and allowed to cool, when the polymer material will be found to have assumed the shape of the forming dies.

The material is then tested to determine its linear tensile strength and validated that the corrugated PET structure is about 8 times stronger than the thin aluminum material commonly used for ribbon microphone applications.


The excellent shape memory of preformed ribbons made from polyethylene terephthalate and other polymer and composite substrates allows them to retain their geometry and they can be extended to the point where the corrugations are flattened and readily returned, unstrained, to the original corrugated state. This material also has high strength which means the thickness of the material can be decreased to about 1.5 microns or less, thereby reducing the mass of the ribbon element which is also desirable because a lower mass ribbon is more responsive to incoming sound waves. Lower substrate and ribbon mass results in greater sensitivity and is desirable as it allows the faintest sounds to be converted into electrical energy. Having a low “substrate mass” may also be desirable in some instances where other high conductivity coatings with relatively greater mass than aluminum, such as gold and gold alloys for example, are used therewith.


Basically the same stuff as silvery crisp packets, but a lot thinner (about 1/10th).

The crisp packets cannot be recycled, and are landfilled. Think how many more microphone diaphragms one could have per crisp packet!

The way we routinely waste materials is evil.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby max on Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:45 pm

I recently had a 4038 20" infront of a bass amp (Traynor TS60B) and send a MS 20 synth through it. The mic was distorting and could not handle the low end. So I would not recommend to try it on bass.
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby ldopa_chicago on Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:38 pm

For shits and giggles here's high speed camera footage of the Shure Ribbon.

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It can sustain very high SPL, but you still have to keep it from over-excursion because, though it won't break it, it doesn't sound good (see video).
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Re: Ribbon mics and bass cabs

Postby losthighway on Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:10 pm

I've never even thought to put any of my ribbons in front of the bass cab. Distance can ease overload problems, but then again when you're placing a ribbon 4 feet away from a bass cab you have to wonder what it's all for.

Also worth noting, Beyer M160, and M500 are not figure 8 ribbons.

While you're trying atypical ways of doing things maybe blend a DI and a small diaphragm condenser. Then tell us how it went. Someone's gotta try this stuff.
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