We were supplied with pairs of four of the microphones, so we positioned them in a fairly traditional overhead position: one mic over the hat side of the kit, one over the ride, and checked phase by measuring the distance from the centre of the snare to each. Well, the wait is over, as we reveal how they performed when we put them through their paces on vocals, drums and guitars. Crunchy and controlled, with a lovely tendency to bring out the resonances in the snare, this mic is a break-beat machine: trip-hop fans should take note. I have used this mic on acoustic guitar, vocals and electric guitar, and as a drum room mic, and it has never failed to impress, even if it hasn't always been the most suitable choice. Jon produced and engineered Scott Matthews' Ivor-Novello award-winning album Passing Stranger, and, as well as producing several other records, has recently co-written the music for a number of BBC television series. In the Priory tests, Greg found that it had a "large, round sound, with good HF detail and transient response, and a big proximity effect. SE Reflexion Filters were used with all the mics, to minimise unwanted room sound, for the vocal test recordings. I ended up using the M160 tracks for most of the rhythm comping, and the 57 for most of the solo work, because it was a little brighter and stood out in the mix a little better against the other instruments. It was lovely and balanced and, thanks to the tube, gave a scratchy top ("but in a good way"), that we felt would help the guitar to work really well in the wider context of a mix. It was eminently useable, and a very nice contrast to the Oktava which, by comparison, offered all detail and no body. The other thing that struck us is that the ribbons on test seemed to fall into two sonic categories: those that aspired to being fairly 'hi-fi', with a lot of high-frequency extension (the Crowley & Tripps and the Blue Woodpecker are the extreme examples of this type); and those which purposely went for a 'vintage' sound, with a more distinctive coloration. From the very beginning, the M 160 has placed extraordinary demands on the people who produce it – from the precise strength of the pure aluminium ribbon and its exacting placement on the magnet shoe to the testing of vibration behaviour. He runs Poseidon, a music-production company creating records and music for picture (www.poseidonmusic.com) and works with a small team from the studio he owns, Artisan (www.artisanaudio.com). The lovely smooth lift at around 4kHz has the effect of making snare drums jump out of the wider mix and really punch you in the face: the effect is similar to giving your drummer a double vodka and Redbull and then insulting his mother just before a take! These mics are pretty uniformly fantastic, and you get perhaps more consistency and finesse than seen in any of the Eastern mics, which is down to the no-compromise attitude towards components and higher tolerances — but then, of course, the price-tags reflect this. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers. 'Tasteful' was the first word we wanted to use when hearing the R84 on vocals. We felt it would make a great first tube/ribbon mic for someone seeking some tube character, with the advantage of having that big, warm ribbon lower mid-range. The Sigma is too dark to use as a general-purpose overhead pair; however as soon as we asked the drummer to switch to playing some brushed jazz, their raison d'être became immediately apparent. We loved this mic on acoustic. The Royer was lovely on acoustic: intensely clear, yet full. But I was really impressed with my little mic. The smooth roll-off of a ribbon allows it to accept generous equalization in the high end when a track may need a bit more air. Why Are Some A-B Stereo Arrays Angled Outwards? It might sound a little different, but ribbon mics can be a great choice as a vocal mic. The Sontronics Sigma was also good for clean sounds, and the R84 also sounded good on both clean and distorted guitars, if a little muddy. 10. The GA R1 Mk2 and the Active Mk2 particularly stunned us as amazingly good all-rounders for the money. Surprisingly bright, the Coles sounded quite 'hi-fi', with a less obviously rolled-off top than some of the others — quite neutral. The frequency range this mic brought out was biased more towards the higher frequencies than any of the others, with a lot of emphasis on the upper mid-range. We really liked the R2 in this role — it had a lovely kick and snare drum ring, and some of the character of the Sontronics Sigma. This may be said to be a tube characteristic, but it was excessive, and the result was a nasal sound that didn't suit this particular voice at all. The SE sounded nice and lively, but was let down by its treble response. First Look: Pro Tools | Carbon. One of the most detailed ribbons on guitar, it seems to pick up less of the room somehow. If you buy a GA mic, you are buying GA's taste — which we rather liked on the whole, especially given the price. However, to assist you in making your own mind up, we've also placed some audio files on the SOS web site (www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec07/articles/ribbonmicsaudio.htm). 13. At the 'outrageously cheap' end of the scale we have modified standard Far East production-line mics. Greg's impression was favourable: "The front gave a smooth sound, with good detail and emphasised mids; the rear, a smooth, silky sound, with good detail, but without being bright.".