R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: HELP! The (dirty) world of cheap ribbon mics and the cheap preamp I might use to power it.......  (Read 2566 times)

Trenster

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7

Question for you guys- I hope this doesn't sound too stupid or dumb but when it comes to ribbon mics I am both, so please fish me out of the shallow end of the gene pool before I drown in the bongwater.

I am looking at these new cheap ribbon mics- specifically the ShinyBox 23 and 46- the Nady versions are doing well on TapeOp reviews, but ShinyBox is offering ribbon repair under warranty at a cool $165. Here's a link for some 411 recon:

http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopic.php?t=21307

Now despite the (well, actually more than) occasional "it beat the RCA/Royer/Beyer for this particular app" and the ubiquitous "stay away from the Oktava for QC and general sonic reasons, but the ShinyBox/Royer/PPA are the same mic, and all good" quotes; I am under NO illusions that these knockoffs  will be the sonic equivalent of those mics.  BUT based upon the few sound samples available and the fact that I have worked with 121s in the past in nice studios I have no doubt that they will smoke 57s and my collection of cheap condensers...epsecially on guitar and on my wispy male voice. (Did I mention that I think 57s suck ass?)

BUT I am using a Joe Meek ThreeQ as my home preamp- does this baby have enough juice to power these bitches?  The manual casually implies that it does by stating the obvious: "when using dynamic or ribbon mics, do not turn this (phantom power) on..."  but I am not sure.

Here is the link to the ThreeQ manual- the preamp specs are on page 4- I am not being lazy by not printing it- I just have no clue what to look for so I leave it to you experts.  When I was using the ribbons before they had Millennia and UA gear that seemed to handle the ribbons no problem.

Also- what's up with ShinyBox offering the optional transformers?  Based on their website sound samples I can't really say they make a difference in quality; just a difference in sound.  Maybe better for certain apps, but nothing that would patently make them sound better in a mix.

OK thanks for the time, cheers Trent
Logged

Greg Thompson

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 101

I didn't see a link to the Three-Q's specs in your email.  Found it myself ( http://www.joemeek.com/threeq.html )

Sez it's got 70 dB of mic pre gain plus 16 dB on the output side.  I'd say that's plenty of gain for most applications for ribbon mics.

How far open can you crank the mic pre before the preamp itself is too noisy to use?

I had a friend who was recording a very quiet singer and tried out all the mic pres in the room to see which one had the lowest noise floor.  Turned out that the one on his console was the quietest of all.

What do you plan on recording with your ribbons?  Fingerpicked nylon guitar from across the room?  Voiceovers?  Electric guitars?  Drums?
You may have a problem getting enough gain with the first two, probably not a problem with the last two.

Greg Thompson
Logged

Trenster

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7

Thanks for the reply! Justin Hyatt from PMI Audio (i.e., Joe Meek) got back to me and said it shouldn't be a problem.

I'll be using it for vocals and guitar. The ShinyBox 46 is described as not only being able to handle high SPL but also having a higher output than most ribbon mics so hopefully volume won't be an issue.

The ThreeQ has the Burr Brown IC and is extremely quiet- its pre is very neutral sounding compared to the VC3Q that preceded it- the only place where you get any "British" sound is in the compressor, really.  As I have the VC3Q also I might try that- although it's noisier I dug its character more- the pre itself colors the tone agressively even without the compressor engaged.  

Now that I think about it- I might daisy chain them since the VC3Q has the more colored pre and the the ThreeQ has the better compression (and a really musical EQ as opposed to the VC3Qs exciter). That might be too noisy except on guitar amps though! Smile

OK, thanks again and take care Trent  
Logged

compasspnt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16266

ShinyBox takes the Ningbo-Alctron ribbon mic (same as Nady/Apex) and upgrades it.  One of the major upgrades in the higher priced ones is the output transformer.  Choice of Cinemag or Lundahl.  I thought the Cinemag sounded slightly better myself, but listening to mp3's on a laptop is not exactly critical monitoring.
Logged

Trenster

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7

thanks-  I listened to the acoustic guitar examples with the transfomers- honestly although they sounded different I didn't feel they necessarily sounded better than the transformless version...in a mix I could use any of them.  Definitely wanna go with the 46 though because it seems brighter than the 23, for my style of overdriven guitar amps that will be necessary!

cheers and thanks again, Trent
Logged

idylldon

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16

Trenster wrote on Fri, 06 January 2006 16:30

thanks-  I listened to the acoustic guitar examples with the transfomers- honestly although they sounded different I didn't feel they necessarily sounded better than the transformless version...


There are no transformerless versions.  What you're hearing is a comparison of the mic with three different transformers:

1 -- Original Chinese transformer
2 -- Cinemag CM-9888 transformer
3 -- Lundahl transformer

I bought two of these mics when fum (Shinybox) was first offering them on the DIY forum as a kind of group buy thing.  Just yesterday I received some Cinemag transformers and put them in my mics.  I'm glad I did.  They made the mics quite a bit clearer while still retaining that characteristic girthy sound that most large ribbon mics have.  I won't be putting the original transformers back in.  

The Shinybox mics are definitely worth the money and you'll find a myriad of uses for them.

Cheers,
--
Don
Logged
Idyllwild Brewing Company
Fine home-brewed beer, tube guitar amps, and recording services.

Trenster

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7

thanks- I will scope out these transformers when my budget allows!

cheers and have a good weekend, Trent
Logged

Bryson

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2005

Trenster wrote on Thu, 05 January 2006 17:50

please fish me out of the shallow end of the gene pool before I drown in the bongwater.




For the first time in my life, I'm considering a sig line.
Logged

Trenster

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7

LOL, will you send me some royyalties! Smile  

Nah, consider it freeware, you can take it if you'd like! Smile

Cheers and peace Trent
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up