How It’s Made: Ribbon Microphones

Anyone else a fan of the How It’s Made series? Or maybe, of ribbon microphones?

Growing up, I always associated the big RCA ribbon microphones with “real studios” – be they radio, television, or recording. That was probably from seeing them in so many studio documentaries, reading about them in old issues of Tape Op, or looking at photographs of Barbara Stanwyck or Frank Sinatra talking into them. There’s something about those sleek silver grills and fat body shape.

Plenty of metal engineers dig these bad boys too, as they can serve all kinds of cool purposes, whether it’s to add a kind of weird mid-rangey sound to guitars, or to get cool room sounds for drums (Kurt Ballou’s Facebook cover photo has a battle-worn RCA set up as a drum room mic, for example, but I’ve seen them used on toms, as stereo overheads, and more).

So check out the nitty gritty process behind constructing an AEA:

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Max is managing editor of Gear Gods.