Adventures In Audio
The ribbon microphone - a superior type of dynamic?

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

Saturday May 3, 2003
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There is a variation of the dynamic mic known as the ribbon microphone.

In place of the diaphragm and coil there is a thin corrugated metal ribbon. The ribbon is located in the field of a magnet. When the ribbon vibrates in response to sound it acts both as diaphragm and coil, albeit a coil with only one turn.

Since the ribbon is very light, it has a much clearer sound than the conventional dynamic, and it is reasonable to say that many engineers could identify the sound of a ribbon mic without hesitation.

If the ribbon has a problem, it is that the output of the single-turn 'coil' is very low. The ribbon does however also have a low impedance and provides a current which the integral transformer can step up so that the voltage output of a modern ribbon mic can be comparable with a conventional dynamic.

Examples of ribbon mics are the AEA R84, Coles 4038 and Beyerdynamic M130.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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