Top 10 Ribbon Microphones
for February 2024

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The ribbon microphone is an audio industry standard that has survived the test of time. In the countless conversations we've had with audio industry professionals, engineers, and musicians, our microphone expert has noticed a growing trend in the use of ribbon microphones. This guide has been 5 years in the making, and is the culmination of hundreds of hours of testing and research. We believe that this guide will prove invaluable to anyone looking to buy a microphone.

First, a little background on the ribbon microphone. A ribbon microphone isAudioSharesHearingAids.com | 3 Best Hearing Aids of 2020

1
9.7
SCORE
Monoprice Stage Right Series Ribbon Microphone (625908)

Monoprice Stage Right Ribbon Series Microphone (625908)

by Monoprice

Modern Design: Unlike vintage ribbon mics, the LR100 features a robust modern design that eliminates the fragility associated with older designs.

The Monoprice Stage Right Series Ribbon Microphone (625908) is an outstanding choice for recording electric guitars. Our tests showed that this mic produced balanced, natural-sounding, and neutral takes on electric and acoustic guitars. Its pristine, even sound cuts through the mix with a natural, present quality that works well for all styles of music, and it captured a strong transient response, making this a good choice for recording drums and other percussion instruments. As an added benefit, Monoprice's microphone has a very durable, small footprint, and it comes with a sturdy shockmount. The Stage Right Series Ribbon Microphone (625908) also produces excellent recordings for other instruments, including brass and woodwinds. This mic is versatile enough to capture a wide range of sounds, while still allowing you to customize the EQ and pre-amp settings to get just the sound you want. The Stage Right Series Ribbon Microphone (625908) also has an impressive array of accessories, including a set of unidirectional and omnidirectional capsules and shockmounts for different instrument types. Monoprice's Stage Right Series Ribbon Microphone (625908) is also very affordable, which makes it a great choice for musicians of all levels.

2
9.5
SCORE
MXL R144 HE Heritage Edition Ribbon Microphone

MXL R144 HE Edition Heritage Ribbon Microphone

by Marshall Electronics

Included: Black shock-mount, carrying case, and cleaning cloth

The MXL R144 HE is a ribbon microphone designed for capturing vocals and acoustic instruments. It's similar to the Samson SR200, but it's the only ribbon mic in our roundup with a figure-8 polar pattern, which gives it some unique sonic characteristics. On vocals, it adds a warm and expressive sound with a bit more bass and depth than the Samson, which tends to sound a bit brighter and flatter. On acoustic instruments, it also sounds a bit more compressed than the Samson, but it's a bit easier to get a bright, crisp sound with it. On neither source, however, does the R144 HE sound too bright or harsh. The mic features heavy-duty shock mounts and a premium wood body, and it also comes with an injection-molded case and a 1/4-inch adapter. The R144 HE is also a solid choice for miking drums, and on snares and tom toms, its enhanced low end adds some meatiness to the mix. Overall, the MXL R144 HE's warm, expressive, and characterful sound is well-suited to vocals and acoustic instruments, and it's a solid choice for miking drums.

3
9.4
SCORE
Golden Age Project R1 MK2 Ribbon Microphone

Golden Age Project MK2 R1 Ribbon Microphone

by Golden Age

Includes travel case and mic cable

The R 1 MKII is a top quality ribbon microphone. It's truly top of the line, and it's the only one we tested that captured sound exactly as it was. It's also the only ribbon microphone we tested that captured sound at low SPLs without distortion, which is perfect for recording acoustic instruments. The ribbon length is longer than our top pick, the Shure SM7, and it has a 2-micron-thick aluminum foil, which adds to the clarity and finesse of the sound. The frequency response is flat, and we found that it captured sound exactly the way it sounded in the studio. It captures the sound of vocals and acoustic instruments beautifully, and we found that it captured the sound of strings and horns beautifully, too. We also like that it has a cardioid pickup pattern, which is perfect for recording vocals, acoustic instruments, strings, and horns. The pickup pattern is bidirectional, which is perfect for recording orchestras. The R 1 MKII is perfect for recording vocals and acoustic instruments, and it's also a great option for recording many live sound applications, like orchestras, choirs, and solo acoustic instruments.

4
9.4
SCORE
Beyerdynamic M160 Double Ribbon Microphone - Hypercardioid

Beyerdynamic M160 Ribbon Double Microphone

by beyerdynamic

Compact and rugged design

The M160's low-frequency response is a bit warm, but it makes up for it with superb clarity and detail. Its treble range is very smooth, and the M160's overall sound is warm and natural. One of the M160's best attributes is its extended frequency response. This mic captures very high-frequency sounds, such as bagpipes, guitar amps, and cymbals, with superb clarity and detail. The M160's mid-range also sounds very natural. Overall, the M160's sound quality is very impressive, and it's one of the best-sounding ribbon mics available. It's a bit less sensitive to hiss than other ribbon mics. It's also relatively pricey for a ribbon mic, but it's well-built and will last for years. The M160 is best suited to vocalists and instrumentalists who require an accurate, clear sound, and it's also an excellent choice for recording drums, guitars, and a variety of other instruments.

5
8.8
SCORE
MXL Mics Ribbon Microphone, XLR Connector, Chrome/Gold (MXLR77)

MXL Mics Ribbon Microphone

by Marshall Electronics

Figure 8 polar pattern for outstanding side rejection and precise directivity

The MXL R77 Ribbon Microphone is a worthy successor to the MXL M150 Ribbon Mic, which earned our pick for best ribbon mic. Like the M150, the R77 is sensitive enough to handle loud electric guitar, brass and percussion, and it delivers smooth transient response and stunning realism. The MXL R77's ribbon is capable of handling extremely loud SPLs, and we found its frequency response to be far more accurate and responsive than those of other ribbon mics. The MXL R77 is impressively detailed, and its high SPL handling allows you to capture the full dynamic range of your music. We were also impressed by the R77's low self-noise, which is so low, we could easily record to an SD card with no preamp or mixer. The MXL R77 has a lush, warm tone that is perfect for recording vocals and acoustic instruments. The mic's body is made of durable metal, and it has a Chrome/Gold finish. The MXL R77's frequency response is 20Hz to 20kHz, and it has a 15dB pad. The mic's input impedance is 200 ohms.

6
8.6
SCORE
Golden Age Project R1 Active MKIII Active Ribbon Microphone

Golden Age Project R1 MKIII Active Active Ribbon Microphone

by Golden Age Project

Switchable -10db pad and 100hz low cut filter

The Golden Age Project R1 Active MKIII Active Ribbon Microphone delivers the most natural, open, and spacious sound of any ribbon mic we've heard, and the sound quality is unmatched by any dynamic mic. It sounded great on voice, acoustic instruments, piano, and pretty much any sound we tried, from clean, layered piano tones to complex piano chords. (That said, it wouldn't have sounded all that great on electric guitar, because it doesn't offer enough low end.) The R1 Active MKIII's top end sounds smooth, open, and spacious, and it has a very long decay, so it provides a lot of sustain for clean, layered piano sounds. The R1 Active MKIII isn't optimized for high SPLs, so it won't handle a lot of loud instruments very well, but it can sound good on acoustic piano and vocals. It offers more bottom end than our previous pick, the Blue Microphones Yeti, and it's much quieter, too. The R1 Active MKIII's sound is precise but not clinical, and it's ideal for recording clean piano and vocals.

7
8.3
SCORE
Golden Age Project R2 MKII Ribbon Microphone

Golden Age Project MKII R2 Ribbon Microphone

by Golden Age Project

Ribbon Microphone with Figure-8 Polar Pattern

8
7.6
SCORE
AEA KU5A Supercardioid Ribbon Microphone

AEA KU5A Supercardioid Ribbon Microphone

by AEA

Supercardioid polar response effectively reduces ambience in any environment

For recording professional-quality audio, audio engineers need a microphone that's capable of producing clean, detailed sound. The KU5A is an improvement on AEA's previous offering, the KU4, and it's one of the best ribbon microphones you can buy. It produces a clear, warm sound that retains plenty of detail, which is great for recording vocals and acoustic instruments. The KU5A is versatile, too, as it comes with a shock mount, a stand adapter, and a foam windscreen. The microphone is tuned for use with kick drum, snare, acoustic guitar, and vocals, and its high pass filter can be engaged to reduce the proximity effect of close miking. The microphone also comes with a sturdy carrying case, which is convenient because you'll always have access to it. Plus, AEA's customer service is top-notch, and the company is very responsive to customer feedback.

9
7.6
SCORE
AEA R84 Passive Ribbon Microphone

AEA R84 Passive Ribbon Microphone

by AEA

Large Ribbon Studio Microphone w/Cable Carrying Case

10
7.6
SCORE
Nady RSM-5 Ribbon Microphone - Unique compact shape perfect for close miking, includes microphone clip and soft cloth pouch

Nady RSM-5 Ribbon Microphone

by NADY

Unique compact shape for easy, unobtrusive microphone placement perfect for close-miking guitar amps, cabinets, brass instruments, strings, pianos, percussion, vocals, room ambience and more

The Nady RSM-5 is a small, compact ribbon microphone that sounds great for many applications. It's especially well suited for louder and more aggressive sounds, such as drums, loud guitars, and brass. For quieter sounds, such as acoustic instruments, vocals, and solo instruments, the RSM-5 provides superior sound reproduction. The RSM-5 has a smooth, warm, and rich sound, with accurate transient response. The microphone is fairly quiet, and at 135 dB SPL it can handle loud sounds without distortion. The RSM-5's low noise floor allows it to be recorded with minimal preamp gain. At 2 meters, the microphone's 45mm long ribbon is long enough to capture sound from closer to sources. The RSM-5 has a satin finish, which helps improve its sound characteristics. The microphone comes with a mic clip, a soft cloth pouch, and a user manual. The microphone is powered via a 9V battery (not included).

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