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Best Ribbon Microphones Of 2024: Top Picks For Studio Recording

January 24, 2024 
BY DAN SPENCER
Last Updated on January 24, 2024

Ribbon microphones are known for their warm and natural sound. These mics have become a staple throughout the years in both professional and home studios. This post will guide you through the best ribbon microphones in the market now, highlighting models that blend classic audio qualities with modern innovation. So, keep reading to find your perfect ribbon mic companion.

Included in this guide:

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
Royer R-121 Studio Ribbon Microphone

Royer R-121 Studio Ribbon Microphone

  • Pure ribbon design with a durable and lightweight body
  • High SPL handling
  • Low residual noise with minimal interference
5
Check Price
Runner-up
Beyerdynamic M 160 Double Ribbon Microphone

Beyerdynamic M 160 Double Ribbon Microphone

  • Double ribbon design for enhanced sensitivity
  • Hypercardioid polar pattern for focused sound capture
  • Compact design for easy placement
4.4
Check Price
Top Pick
Golden Age Project R1 Active MKIII Ribbon Microphone

Golden Age Project R1 Active MKIII Ribbon Microphone

  • Extended cable runs and phantom power compatibility
  • Signature ribbon sound with balanced frequencies
  • Precise figure-8 polar pattern
4.4
Check Price
Top Pick
sE Electronics Voodoo VR2 Active Ribbon Microphone

sE Electronics Voodoo VR2 Active Ribbon Microphone

  • Active electronics for quiet sound sources tracking
  • High maximum SPL for diverse recording
  • Figure-8 pickup pattern and flat frequency response
4.4
Check Price
Lowest Price
MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone

MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone

  • High SPL handling for loud sources
  • Figure-8 polar pattern for front and rear sound capture
  • Premium Mogami cable (wired internally)
4.4
Check Price

Related Article: The Top 5 Best Microphones for Recording Vocals In 2024


The Top 5 Best Ribbon Microphones

Our top recommendation is the spectacular Royer R-121 Studio Ribbon Microphone. It captures audio with exceptional fidelity, offering a natural representation of sound. Moreover, its ability to handle high sound pressure levels makes it an ideal choice for almost all instruments.

Featuring a figure-8 polar pattern, this microphone excels in canceling ambient noise and focusing on precise sound capture. The extended frequency response enables it to capture a broad spectrum of tones as well.

On top of that, the Royer R-121 promises to deliver pristine recordings. That’s because it utilizes advanced ribbon transducer technology. Whether you want to capture the details of acoustic instruments or add warmth to an electric guitar, this microphone should be your go-to choice.

Pros
  • It provides flexibility in positioning due to being equally sensitive from the front and the back of the element.
  • It overcomes the limitations of earlier ribbon microphones, such as handling high SPL.
  • It offers versatility in studio applications, tracking instruments like drums, electric guitars, brass, and percussion.
Cons
  • It may be a huge investment for people on a budget, but it’s well worth the price.

Crafted with superior quality, the Beyerdynamic M 160 double ribbon microphone is similar to its predecessors. It offers unmatched sensitivity and precision in audio recordings, utilizing a distinctive double ribbon design.

The hypercardioid polar pattern enables it to reject unwanted noise. Consequently, it becomes able to capture incredibly smooth high tones.

As for durability, the rugged construction of this microphone makes it equally usable in the studio and on the stage.

Pros
  • It’s designed to work with the M 130 for mid/side recordings.
  • It offers superb transient response and sensitivity.
  • Thanks to its design and polar pattern, it works perfectly in recording different instruments.
Cons
  • Other than the slightly high price, there are no significant drawbacks.

This microphone offers the stability of a Field Effect Transistor (FET). As such, it allows for use with just about any preamp with phantom power. Such a great microphone delivers the authentic ribbon sound, ensuring an excellent sonic experience.

Due to reproducing fast transients, this microphone does a great job capturing studio-recorded instruments and vocals.

Using a figure-8 polar pattern and its broad range of sweet spots, it captures the surrounding sounds with fantastic precision. At the same time, the high SPL capability (160dB) allows distortion-free handling of loud sound sources.

On the whole, the Golden Age Project R1 Active MKIII has quite outstanding features for a decently-priced ribbon microphone.

Pros
  • It offers great setup flexibility with its FET buffer amp.
  • It exhibits formidable sensitivity compared to condenser microphones.
  • It comes with a built-in highpass filter and 10dB pad, allowing for more sound control.
  • It makes an affordable choice for those seeking a high-quality active microphone on a budget.
Cons
  • It may not deliver sound as precisely as other high-end ribbon microphones.

The sE Electronics Voodoo VR2 is a fantastic example of an affordable active ribbon microphone. Despite its reasonable price, getting it doesn’t let you compromise on professional-grade performance.

This microphone’s active electronics allow tracking the quietest sources on different recording settings. Furthermore, with a maximum SPL of 135dB, it works just as effectively in capturing loud sound sources.

As for the flat frequency response (from 20Hz to 18kHz +/- 2dB), it ensures accurate sound reproduction.

Pros
  • It offers exceptional value for budget-conscious users.
  • Due to its rugged design, it’s reliable for use in different recording environments.
  • It has a great maximum SPL handling capability, allowing it to capture detailed sounds.
Cons
  • While it has an accurate frequency response, the frequency range may be limiting for some applications.
  • It requires a +48V phantom power, which may be a setback for users who don’t have the needed equipment.

Such a super affordable model can make a perfect first ribbon microphone for studio recording beginners. Yet, this doesn’t mean it’s not as good as other professional-grade counterparts.

Delivering smooth top end sounds with rich lows, it introduces fantastic warmth to recordings. From vocals to acoustics and even drum overheads, it adapts to many different studio settings.

In addition, it’s internally wired with premium Mogami cable. Such a feature ensures high-quality signal transmission for better performance.

Pros
  • It’s one of the best-performing ribbon microphones in the market.
  • It delivers a remarkably natural and balanced sound.
  • Its figure-8 polar pattern feature allows it to capture sounds from the front and rear while rejecting off-axis noise.
  • It comes with a shock mount, cleaning cloth, and a custom-fitted hardshell case.
Cons
  • It has a relatively low sensitivity, meaning you’d need a good-quality mic preamp to get the best results.
  • It can be delicate and requires careful handling just like many ribbon microphones.

Related Article: Best Guitar Amp Mics: Capture The Perfect Tone


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What makes ribbon microphones different from other types?

Ribbon microphones use a thin metal ribbon as a diaphragm. Consequently, it results in a distinct sonic character and natural sound reproduction.

Are Ribbon Microphones better than other types?

In some instances, yes. Ribbon microphones produce warm sounds and are less sensitive to high-end frequency. Yet, they may have some limitations as well as durability issues. So, it’s actually a matter of personal preferences.

Do all ribbon microphones require phantom power?

Many ribbon microphones don’t require phantom power. However, some modern models may be designed to utilize phantom power for improved performance.

Can you record vocals with a ribbon microphone?

Yes, ribbon microphones can be used for vocals to provide warm sounds. In fact, they’ve been used by sound engineers to record vocals for decades.

Can you use a ribbon microphone in live performances?

While they’re more commonly used in studios, certain models can be used in live performances. A microphone, like the Royer R-121, may be suitable for that. Yet, you need to avoid exposing such a piece of delicate sound equipment to extreme conditions.

Product Recap

There you have it. Our recommendations for the best ribbon microphones should help you get a decent idea about what you need for studio recording.

As we mentioned, the Royer R-121 offers fantastic features and versatility. That’s why it earned the title “Best Overall.” On the other hand, the runner-up of the list is the Beyerdynamic M 160. It’s an impressive choice with its double ribbon design, low distortion, and durability.

That said, for newbies on a low budget, our pocket-friendly suggestion is the MXL R144. Despite its low price, it delivers a remarkably natural sound.

If you found this guide helpful, please consider subscribing to our blog for more music production tips, product reviews, and buying guides. Also, you can support new content by contributing to our tip jar.

"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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