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Ribbon Microphones vs Condenser 2021: Best Reviews

Ribbon Microphones vs Condenser 2021 Best Reviews

Choosing the right mic for your studio or work is very important and necessary to get your demand’s quality sound. Choosing the right mic isn’t always easy for everyone; Ribbon Microphones vs Condenser are two popular studio mics and highly rated by users. If you had to choose, which one would you choose for your studio? In this article, Fidlar has analyzed these two types of mics; let’s see how they work.

Condenser Mic

A Condenser microphone converts audio into an electrical signal through an abbreviated principle, utilizing two metal plates.

One is movable of the two plates (the diaphragm/front plate), and the other is tilted (the backplate), and collectively they form a capacitor.

Condenser Mic

There are just two condenser microphone types, a large-diaphragm condenser (LDC) and also a small diaphragm condenser (SDC) mic )

An LDC, as its name implies, uses bigger metal plates so that it can take care of all sorts of sources.

A large-diaphragm condenser microphone is a top selection for recording vocals.

If you presently have a condenser mike or looking for one, it is similar to its LDC.

Miniature diaphragm condensers are tiny pencil-like microphones.

Though they’re not generally utilized to record vocals, they’re excellent overhead mic and recording acoustic instruments.

This is only because they have an extended upper-frequency response, excellent passing response, and an even pickup routine.

Condenser mics are more prevalent in recording studios compared to a lively or a ribbon mic.

How Can Condenser Mic Work

A Condenser microphone uses a capacitor to convert sound into an electrical signal.

The capacitor is made up of a thin golden coated diaphragm (front plate) suspended quite near a good backplate.

To run the capacitor demands an electric charge (present ). This can be provided using a battery or by phantom power for much more professional mics.

How Can Condenser Mic Work

When sound waves hit on the mic, the diaphragm moves back and forth in movement together with the soundwave.

Since the backplate is tilted, the motion of the diaphragm changes the distance between the two plates.

The shift in the space changes the total amount of capacitance between the plates.

When the dishes are nearer together, capacitance increases and a fee current occurs.

When the dishes are farther apart, capacitance declines, and a discharge present occurs.

Because of the condenser diaphragm being considerably thinner than lively’s, it pulsates to sound waves accurately. Because of this, condensers seem more natural and translucent.

Ribbon Microphones

The Microphone ribbon will also be lively. They operate by precisely the same principle of electromagnetic induction.

Yet, ribbon blades are constructed and sound different compared to the moving coil saws.

They’re a lot more delicate than a moving coil dynamic or condenser mic, and therefore ribbon microphones have to be handled with fantastic care.

Ribbon Microphones

Unlike moving-coil dynamic microphones that utilize a thick diaphragm attached to a copper coil, a ribbon microphone employs a fragile aluminum foil.

Since the aluminum ribbon is skinny, it cannot handle considerable quantities of energy in addition to the diaphragm at a moving coil dynamic microphones.

The thin aluminum ribbon is suspended between two magnetic poles. It functions as either diaphragm and an electric conductor.

When sound waves hit on the mike, the microphones ribbon strip reunites and forth inside the magnetic field.

This changing magnetic flux induces a small voltage throughout the ribbon, which can be taken in the mic via the electric wire connected to the ribbon.

How Can Ribbon Mic Work

Ribbon microphones are dynamic microphones that have a history that dates back to the 1920s. They have a thin sheet of highly conductive metal the ribbon.

The ribbon is often made from aluminum and suspended between the poles of a permanent magnet. The ribbon is quite sensitive to stress oscillations in the atmosphere as it has a shallow mass.

How Can Ribbon Mic Work

When sound waves hit on the ribbon, they cause a voltage transmitted through cables on the upper and bottom of the ribbon. Lastly, the signal is routed to a transformer that increases the voltage.

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The Comparision Between Ribbon And Condenser Microphone

As I mentioned previously, both of these mic forms are commonplace in studios, even though condensers are popular. Aside from the fact, both kinds are microphones, that is pretty much where the similarities stopped.

Though many ribbon microphones are more passive, some versions are busy and contain busy circuitries (field-effect transistors, amplifiers, and printed circuit boards), somewhat like those found in many condenser microphones.

The Comparision Between Ribbon And Condenser Microphones

Transducer Principle

The best gap between decoration and condenser microphones is that the gap in transducer fundamentals. Ribbon microphones work on electromagnetic induction while condenser mics convert audio into sound through electrostatic principles.

Electromagnetic induction is described as creating a voltage across an electric guitar conductor because that conductor encounters a changing magnetic field.

The ribbon-like diaphragm of a ribbon microphone is made from a conductive material (most commonly aluminum). This ribbon is suspended inside a magnetic baffle and goes based on the varying sound pressure at its surface.

While the conductive ribbon diaphragm goes inside the magnetic field given by the baffle, it encounters a change in the specialty. This induces a voltage to be generated throughout the ribbon.

Since the ribbon goes back and forth regarding its resting place, a coinciding AC voltage (mic signal) is made.

The condenser microphone operates on electrostatic principles.

To describe this, we have to realize a condenser mic capsule functions as a parallel-plate capacitor.

This capacitor is composed of a movable front plate (the diaphragm) and also a static backplate. It’s permanently charged using a predetermined amount of charge that’s provided via electret material, the DC bias voltage, phantom power, or an outside power source.

Having a fixed fee, any change in capacitance triggers an inversely proportionate shift in voltage. The space between the two plates is an element from the capacitance of the condenser capsule.

So, since the diaphragm goes based on sound pressure, it changes the space between the plates and, hence, the capacitance of this capsule. This alternating capacitance induces an inversely proportional AC voltage (in sign ) to be generated throughout the capacitor.

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Ribbon Microphones vs. Condenser: Active/Passive

All condenser microphones are active, meaning they require electricity to work correctly. Most ribbon microphones (although not all), on the other hand, are passive and don’t need electricity to operate.

A Condenser microphone is almost always active.

All condenser microphones require electricity to work correctly. The active elements that need powering are as follows:

Vacuum tubes: vacuum tube electronic equipment behave as impedance converters and pseudo-amplifiers in tube condenser mics. All these tubes are often ridden and require an external power source to be heated correctly.

Condenser microphones are almost always active.

Impedance converters: non-tube impedance converters are produced from solid-state field-effect transistors, which need less electricity than capsules, but require power yet. This electricity could be provided by several methods (electret material, the DC bias voltage, phantom power) based upon the microphone.

Capsules: “accurate” condenser microphones need external power to control their pills correctly. Electret condensers have a quasi-permanent fee on their tablets through electret material.

Printed circuit boards: PCBs encircle the primary circuitry of a mike. Some condenser microphones have PCBs, and some PCBs demand power to run their active elements (such as amplifiers).

Ribbon microphones are usually passive.

As previously mentioned, ribbon mics work on electromagnetic induction, which demands no ability to happen. Ribbon mics generally have output transformers that are also passive.

A comparatively straightforward circuit of this ribbon baffle and the output-coupled transformer constitutes a significant number of ribbon microphones.

But some ribbon mics are created with active elements Ribbon to help enhance their comparatively weak mic signs. These elements include vacuum tubes, printed circuit boards, amplifiers, as well as impedance converters.

If you are outside in the wind, you want to use some sort of wind protection. Passive vs Active Ribbon Microphones There are two basic microphone types of ribbon microphones passive ribbon microphones. Active ribbon microphones. A popular example of a passive ribbon microphone is the R-121 Studio Ribbon Microphone by Royer

Frequency Response

Ribbon Microphones vs Condenser: Frequency Response

Broadly, ribbon microphones have natural-sounding frequency answers, whereas condenser microphones have precise but sterile-sounding frequency answers.

A Condenser microphone has comparatively flat and elongated frequency answers, often with a minor increase in sensitivity at the upper-frequency range.

Most condenser microphones have a relatively flat frequency response across the audible spectrum (20 Hz – 20,000 Hz). This means they will capture sound very correctly.

Large-diaphragm condensers frequently have a slight increase from the high-end range, followed with a small roll-off in the exact high-end. This will help add presence to the microphone sign and lead to the mic to seem harsh.

Small-diaphragm condensers gain from prolonged frequency answers (occasionally well above the audible spectrum) and a flatter frequency response.

Condenser mic diaphragms are usually tuned so that their natural resonant frequencies have been diminished in their frequency response.

Ribbon microphones have comparatively flat frequency responses using slow, natural-sounding high-end roll-offs.

Most ribbon mics have a relatively flat frequency response till their descriptive gentle roll-off of significant frequencies. This roll-off is frequently described as extending “organic” because our ears eliminate sensitivity in those upper-frequency ranges.

Ribbon microphones are suspended somewhat loose inside their baffles, and therefore typically, their resonant frequency is well below the assortment of human hearing.

AEA R84 Ribbon Mic frequency Response

AEA R84 Ribbon Mic frequency Response

If we examine the history of mic recognition, we will notice that in the age of analog tape recording, ribbon microphones dropped from favor, and condensers shot over.

This is only because the “organic” high-end roll-off of these ribbon blades would compound together with the luxury roll-off of tape. Because of this, the ribbon mics sounded muted and dull.

On the other hand, a condenser microphone was bright and helped to cancel the analog gear and tape’s diminished luxury.

Fast forward into electronic recording times, and we also see a resurgence of ribbon microphones. The roll-off of this ribbon is today sounds fuller and more natural in the sterile recording of digital sound.

On the contrary, condenser mics are well known for sounding too bright and even unpleasant on electronic records because of their excellent high-end frequency response.

Ribbon Microphones And Condenser: Transient Reaction

Generally, the transient responses of ribbon and condenser mics are accurate. On the other hand, the advantage of passing response would need to visit ribbon microphones.

Condenser mics have speedy and precise transient responses.

The diaphragms of condenser microphones usually are very thin and quite responsive to the sound pressure variations at their surfaces. This implies their passing responses are highly accurate.

Large-diaphragm condenser diaphragms are usually slower because of their dimensions and weight, while small-diaphragm condenser is quicker.

Regrettably, some condenser diaphragms are slightly overly reactive and portray what’s known as “overshoot,” in which they unnaturally accentuate transients. Much like any mic feature, this could be both an expert and a con depending upon the program.

Ribbon microphones have quite natural passing answers.

The thin yet comparatively finely suspended diaphragm or a ribbon microphone generally responds to transients quite obviously.

The standard ribbon microphone includes a transient response that quite closely reflects the actual transients from the audio around it. Rarely is their overshoot, and does the ribbon behave slower than the genuine sound passing in its diaphragm.

Ribbon Microphones And Condenser: Polar Pattern

Polar Pattern A mic’s polar pattern is its sensitivity as a function of the position of the sound source. This means the perceived loudness or volume of the signal varies as either: we move the mic in relation to the sound source we move the sound source in relation to the mic A typical figure 8 polar pattern. This figure 8 polar pattern makes them pick up equally well from the front and the back.

While condenser microphones can easily accomplish any polar pattern (often multi-pattern), ribbon mics are bidirectional.

Condenser mics may have some polar patterns.

Condenser mics capsule can easily be made to portray any polar pattern that the maker needs.

These capsules can be equipped with a single diaphragm and any acoustic labyrinth to make omnidirectional or unidirectional patterns. Shotgun/lobar patterns are attainable by adding a very long disturbance tube facing the capsule.

Condenser mics may have some polar patterns.

Condenser capsules may also be equipped with dual-diaphragms to attain the bidirectional pattern and permit several switchable polar patterns inside precisely the same microphone.

Ribbon mics have a bidirectional polar pattern by default.

Most ribbon mics on the market will have a bidirectional polar pattern because of the nature of the own design.

The manner ribbon microphone baffle functions are it has a ribbon suspended using its front and rear open to noise and its sides tightly surrounded by a magnetic arrangement.

Hence, the ribbon is equally sensitive to noises from the front and rear.

Other polar patterns are attainable by changing the acoustic labyrinth around the diaphragm, which offsets or prevents the sound from hitting a single facet of the ribbon diaphragm.

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Between ribbon, lively, and condenser microphones, ribbon mics are usually the least sensitive, while condensers are generally the most sensitive.

Condenser mics are susceptible.

As we have discussed, condenser microphones have inner elements that genuinely amplify the microphone signal or boost its degrees in different manners.

This usually means that the available condenser mics will have a more excellent sensitivity score than its passive counterparts.

Ribbon microphones are not too sensitive.

Nearly all ribbon microphones are now passive. They rely upon a strong magnetic field to induce an adequate mic level signal in the diaphragm in addition to a high-quality output signal to help enhance the voltage of this sign. These passive electromagnetic devices don’t create a clear mic sign and, thus, ribbon mics don’t have extensive sensitivity evaluations.

That said, some ribbon microphones are busy and have comparable active elements to condenser mics.

Lively ribbon collars may have relatively large sensitivity evaluations. This is frequently a massive advantage since we don’t have to rely heavily on the preamp profit to improve high-sensitivity mic signals to the line!


Self-noise ratings belong to busy pellets, and so condenser and active ribbons have self-noise while passive ribbons don’t.

Condenser microphones have self-noise.

The active elements (impedance converters, printed circuit boards, vacuum tubes) all create a little sound. Quiet as it might be, this sound is picked up from the mike.

However, the most critical issue concerning self-noise is that the sound of these active elements increases the signal. Whenever that the microphone signal is amplified, there’s potential for your noise-floor of this sign also to be improved.

Lively ribbon mics have self-noise, but passive ribbon mics don’t.

For the reasons mentioned above, lively ribbon microphones have self-noise.

On the other hand, Exotic ribbon blades don’t possess self-noise evaluations since there aren’t any devices from the mics that add noise to the signal.

Maximum Sound Pressure Level

Maximum Sound Pressure Level

A mic’s maximum sound pressure level denotes the SPL in the microphone diaphragm, which will create the mic to generate a distorted audio signal.

Condenser microphones have a maximum SPL.

Each condenser microphones will have a maximum SPL rating, as it’s simple to figure the point where their inner circuits will probably get overloaded. This top SPL score is often in a sensible range for natural sound resources a mic might be asked to capture.

Ribbon microphones also generally have a maximum SPL.

On the other hand, Ribbon microphones have a maximum SPL score that refers to the stage once the ribbon diaphragm itself will probably start to behave non-linearly. It is much simpler to “overload” the thin ribbon diaphragm than it would be to overload the inactive electronic equipment of a ribbon microphone.

This maximum SPL score is often (although not necessarily ) over the moderate sound pressure levels from a ribbon microphone will be subjected.

Based upon the internal circuitry and elements of a dynamic ribbon mic, we can have a maximum SPL at the selection of potential.


At the start of this guide, I said the prevalence of the two ribbon and condenser microphones in the studio. Although studio microphones don’t have to be the most durable, it is still an essential facet of mic durability. Condenser mics are generally pretty stable, while ribbons often call for somewhat more care and caution when in use and if not being used.

Many condensers are lasting.

Though I’d never advocate foul play any mike, many condensers are constructed to last.

This is very true of these solid-state (FET) condenser microphones. The printed circuit boards are both stationary and durable; the condenser capsule is usually relatively resistant to harm, and the whole mic is coated with the microphone and grille.

Some multi-pattern condensers might be at greater risk of damage because they have more moving parts. Nevertheless, in my experience, solid-state condensers will persist for a very long time provided that they are not exposed to high humidity or bodily harm.

Tube condensers, on the other hand, are somewhat less durable. Vacuum tubes are made from glass and are rather delicate. They are sensitive to temperature and may break if subjected to cold. Furthermore, vacuum tubes will gradually work out while solid-state electronic equipment will continue considerably longer.

Ribbons are rather delicate.

Ribbon diaphragms are notoriously fragile.

The advantage of passive ribbon mics is they are relatively resistant to humidity and temperature.

However, the drawback is their diaphragms are readily snapped or elongated.

Sharp particles of the atmosphere are known to rip a ribbon diaphragm or 2, so care should be taken when transferring a ribbon microphone around.

Shorting the link to some ribbon microphone when any sort of DC prejudice or phantom power is online can harm the ribbon too. It is ideal for preventing hot flashes with a ribbon microphone altogether.


Ribbon and condenser microphones have pretty wide price ranges, even though the condenser microphones easily out-range the ribbons.

Cost Assortment of condenser microphones

Condenser mics price vary from less than $0.01 (for bulk orders of inexpensive electret mics) to well over $10,000 (for classic tube condenser microphones). You will find condenser microphones at each price point between these two broadly defined limitations.

Cost Assortment of ribbon blades

Ribbon microphone prices vary from under $100 to get consumer-grade ribbon blades to multiple million dollars for its luxury (mostly lively ) ribbon mics and classic models.


Now that you know how this mic works, you can now easily choose the right mic for your requirements. Determine what you need in the mic before and then experience their sound, and you will get the ideal mic. We hope this article has made it easier for you to choose equipment for your studio.

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