I discussed a simple modification to an Apex 205 ribbon mic, and recorded samples to illustrate the change. Here are some concluding thoughts, and helpful resources for anyone planning to tweak a ribbon mic:
Should you do this mod?
Whether or not you should modify your own ribbon mic depends largely on your answers to 2 questions:
Can you hear a difference in the samples? If not, then you’re unlikely to gain any useful improvement to your recorded sound by modifying your mic.
Are you comfortable with a screwdriver and pliers? You can easily destroy the ribbon. If that prospect upsets you, then it’s probably best to leave your mic alone.
As I mentioned in part 1, an upgraded output transformer can also improve the sound of a low-end ribbon mic. The transformers most commonly recommended for this mod (which I’ll demonstrate in a future article) are:
- The Lundahl LL2911, available from Kevin Carter’s K&K Audio
- The Cinemag CM-9888, available directly from Cinemag
- The EDCOR RMX1
Michael Joly, a regular on the Gearslutz and Homerecording.com forums, also performs mods for most of the cheap Chinese ribbon mics through his OctavaMod Shop. The site also has galleries and samples.
Ribbon mic resources
Finally, here are some helpful resources and ribbon-related DIY projects if you’d like to learn more about ribbon mics:
- Here’s a technical explanation of how ribbon microphones work.
- Instructions on replacing a ribbon, which would also be handy if you fancy building your own mic from scratch.
- Warren Dent’s cheap ribbon mic shootout offers sound clips recorded through several of the most popular low-end ribbon mics.
- The GroupDIY Mic Meta thread links to dozens of microphone related projects, many specific to ribbon mics.
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