Ribbon Microphones offer exquisite attention to detail, without any harshness that sometimes comes from other microphones. Ribbons are a perfect choice when you want a specific instrument to sound warm and full in the track, without too much presence in the higher frequencies. This makes Ribbon Microphones ideal for miking acoustic guitars, miking banjo, miking ukulele, miking mandolin, or as overhead drum microphones. Models like the Royer 121, Cole 4038, and beyerdynamic m160 are in just about every pro recording studio's mic locker.
Ribbon Microphones tend to be much softer, warmer, and darker sounding than a condenser microphone, making them the perfect choice for an instrument with a lot of attack, such as Drums, Banjo, or Mandolin. Ribbons can take more EQ than a condenser without sounding brittle, so if more presence is needed at the end of the recording, use a plug-in or hardware EQ such as a Neve 1073 or API 550a to add in some top end.
Classic tones such as John Bonham’s huge drum sound, and Jimi Hendrix electric guitar were captured using Beyerdynamic m160 ribbon microphones.
Ribbon mics typically come in a figure-8 polar pattern. Use two of them together to easily achieve the Blumlein miking technique. Use them on drum overheads to capture a wide, warm representation of the cymbals and toms, but also capture ambiance of the room you are tracking in.