5 Reasons Why You Should Use a Ribbon Mic on Vocals

Ribbons On Vocals, A Treatise

For decades now, ribbon microphones have served as many audio engineers’ favorite choice when recording vocals. The AEA R44 series microphones are inspired by RCA’s R44BX, a legend of the music industry, used to record the likes of Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. The sound of the 44 is embedded in innumerable classic recordings and in turn, its unique character and tonality are recognizable to any who hear it.

Modern ribbon microphones and the continued proliferation of digital recording technology, have established a new norm in today’s studios. AEA produces an extensive line of ribbons, each with unique functionality and tone, to suit the needs of the modern musician and engineer. There is an AEA ribbon mic for every engineer and their specific vision in the studio or live on stage.

When it comes to vocals, AEA has several microphones that will lend singular sound to any project. Variations in tone, proximity effect, and optimal recording distance means there is always a ribbon right for the job.

5 arguments for ribbons on vocals

1. Sibilance sucks

If you often find yourself endlessly fussing with a de-esser, do yourself a favor and fix it with a ribbon mic instead of tiresome plugins.

2. Thin, nasally vocals are thin and nasally

A ribbon’s signature proximity effect will provide warmth and low-end to those less flattering vocals without the need for eq.

3. The treachery of high-end equalization

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.

4. Trust in the nulls

Ribbon mics have very effective nulls that can be used to reject unwanted sources when recording multiple instruments or in live settings.

5. Your tracks need some body

When recording a project with only a few instruments and tracks, the figure-of-8 polar pattern and proximity effect of a ribbon can add the richness and body the mix was missing.

Many of the issues that arise from vocal recording can be avoided simply by choosing a ribbon mic first. Rely on the strengths that are inherent in the mechanical design of ribbon mics and you’ll find your entire recording process to be more efficient and less stressful.

How-To
How To Record Vocals With the R44
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