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Old 25th October 2012 , 06:05 PM
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Default The SE X1R Passive Ribbon Microphone

This is a new microphone on the market but i was just wondering if any of you guys may have had a go of one?

It got a really good review in SOS this month. It's only ?149 (Apparently the RRP was originally set at ?299 but for whatever reason, they slashed that price.

I thought it might be worth a punt, especially considering the attractive price.
The review i read said it performed best on Guitar cabs, which is pretty much what i would be using it for. I already have a growing little collection of decent mics but I have yet to buy a ribbon. The Beyerdynamic m160 has been on my shopping list for a while and it's one I'll definitely buy in the future, mainly because Trev says it's a good mic, so I'm sort of in 2 minds as to whether to buy the SE or not.

I'm guessing ribbon mics all have their own kinda character just like dynamics and condensers so I thought it might be useful to have at least a couple to choose from when recording.

I thought it might be an idea to ask on here though because I sometimes think SOS reviews can be a little misleading in that they say something is good but what they really mean is that it's good, but good for that price point instead of being a good mic in it's own right regardless of the cost.
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Old 25th October 2012 , 08:09 PM
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Now, I know that you like new toys, and that you enjoy spending money ....
BUT ... tell me honestly .... what do you actually think a ribbon mike will give you that you most positively are lacking at the moment?
AND that you most definitely must have?
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Old 27th October 2012 , 11:13 AM
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That's an interesting question, Piano. I have been thinking about buying a ribbon mic, realising their is a characteristic ribbon mic sound. The more I have read about it, it appears that in the simplest of terms the character is similar to a condenser mic but with a frequency response that fades away at the top end. I have tried EQing my condenser mic to create that top end cut off but with a gentle pad starting around 8-12k and I got some really pleasing results. Given that I can do that for free I understand whis4ey's question.
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Old 28th October 2012 , 09:23 AM
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I know what you mean, but I just thought it might be worth having another option. I know Ribbons are known for tailing off in the higher frequencies and i suppose, like lester says, you can cut these frequencies yourself but surely Ribbons have a certain characteristic in their own right?

I haven't actually used one myself.

At the moment I use the Shure sm7b or sennheiser md421 on my Guitar cab but one mic I don't have is a Ribbon. Just thought given the positive reviews, and cheap price that it might be worth a pop.

Probably don't NEED it, but it's always nice to have other options

Haven't bought it yet, but it's coming up to that time of year when I like to buy a few things so I'm on the lookout for new goodies.
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Old 28th October 2012 , 09:37 AM
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Hi, I found this and thought you may be interested.
Personally, I think ribbon mics are too breakable but in the studio, with controlled conditions, probably a nice asset.

Sharing the same body as the X1 condenser, the X1R is SE?s latest passive ribbon mic. Huw Price tests.

Price: ?299.00
Manufacturer: SE Electronics
Website: http://www.seelectronics.com



SE is justifiably proud to emphasise that the X1R is ?the lowest-cost non-OEM ?big-brand? ribbon mic on the market by a country mile?. So what does this mean, exactly? Most of the cheap ? and sometimes not so cheap ? ribbon microphones of Chinese origin come from just one or two factories and are simply re-branded by famous-name companies. Since SE owns its own manufacturing facility, the X1R is an exclusive product that?s designed and built in-house.

Consequently, SE can oversee every aspect of the production process and quality control. It?s also confident enough to offer a three-year, zero-downtime warranty and 20-year guarantee. The result is a fine-looking, well-made microphone. Given its model designation, the rubbery black exterior is entirely appropriate and the overall feel puts many contenders to shame. Of course, things always comes down to sound quality, so we put the X1R head-to-head against some other well-known ribbon mics. There really is no substitute for A/B testing and the X1R acquitted itself very well.

Sensitive side
First off, the X1R is more sensitive than most ribbons, so output levels were very healthy. It?s not quite up there with the industry-standard (and much more expensive) Coles 4038, but the SE outgunned an Oktava ML52 and a Beyerdynamic M160 ? both of which are dual-ribbon designs.

Sonically, the X1R is different too, with a warmth and sense of scale that is also reminiscent of the 4038, albeit with a thicker midrange that reduces overall clarity and slightly less focus in the lows. However, the fact that we?re making this comparison at all is a credit to the X1R.

Another impressive feature is the SE?s upper-frequency detail. Of course, when we say ?upper frequency? these things are relative because, like all ribbons, the X1R displays some treble roll-off. It?s not as bright as the M160, but the X1R takes equalization very well. With a slight treble lift and a couple of notch filters around 260Hz and 1,200Hz, the SE captured a sense of realism on acoustic guitar that would shame many similarly priced condensers.

Ribbons are rarely go-to mics for getting vocals to cut through a dense mix, and the X1R is no exception. What it does deliver is smooth, fat, larger-than-life vocal tones that can make anyone sound like a pro voice-over artist or late-night jazz DJ. There?s plenty of proximity effect to play with, too.

Power trip
Ribbon mics are notoriously delicate items and we?d be remiss if we didn?t make at least some effort to break them during the review process. After all, if we can break them there?s a good chance you will, too. With that in mind we jammed the X1R against the speaker of a cranked-up guitar amp?

Thanks to the high SPL handling provided by an internal metal diffuser, the X1R was totally unruffled. In fact, it produced an uncommonly detailed, smooth and natural tone. As a final act of abuse we zapped the X1R with phantom power and once again it came through unscathed thanks to SE?s protection circuitry.

The SE X1R looks cool, the build quality is impressive and it does everything you could expect from a microphone of this type. It also comes closer to the traditional fat-and-treble-attenuated tone of old-skool ribbon mics than some of SE?s more cutting-edge ribbon designs. Although there are cheaper alternatives, SE points out that quality varies dramatically, so getting a good one involves a degree of chance. We concede that they have a point. As always, we?d advise trying before buying, but we can?t imagine that the X1R will disappoint. MTM

Verdict
WHY BUY
Smooth sonic quality
Larger-than-life sound
3-year free replacement warranty
20-year parts/labour warranty
7-day tryout service

WALK ON BY
No shockmount
Slight low-end wooliness

A very nice-sounding and well-made passive ribbon microphone

Score: 8 out of 10
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Last edited by Harleyjon; 28th October 2012 at 09:38 AM. . Reason: spekking mistake <
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Old 28th October 2012 , 08:09 PM
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Cheers man. The review I read in sos was also very positive.

I'm certainly tempted to pick one up, especially since the initial price of 299 quid has been halved!
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Old 29th October 2012 , 09:51 AM
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hehehe
Mefinks it's a done deal already
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Old 29th October 2012 , 05:56 PM
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Havent heard this one. Just to correct you on there being a "characteristic ribbon sound". There isn't. I have pairs of Coles 4038s, AEA r84s, Royer r121s, M160s and lundahl mod fatheads. They are all VERY different microphones that you can't just put in one metaphorical box (though that might seem to make life much easier). Sorry gents.
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Old 30th October 2012 , 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevCircleStudios View Post
Havent heard this one. Just to correct you on there being a "characteristic ribbon sound". There isn't. I have pairs of Coles 4038s, AEA r84s, Royer r121s, M160s and lundahl mod fatheads. They are all VERY different microphones that you can't just put in one metaphorical box (though that might seem to make life much easier). Sorry gents.
The cahacteristic ribbon sound is similar in effect to an RIAA preamp for use with MM and MC cartridges for record players. The ribbon mic really requires equalization (opposite to a magnetic cartridge), to boost the top end, producing a curved response.
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Old 30th October 2012 , 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harleyjon View Post
The cahacteristic ribbon sound is similar in effect to an RIAA preamp for use with MM and MC cartridges for record players. The ribbon mic really requires equalization (opposite to a magnetic cartridge), to boost the top end, producing a curved response.
That might have been correct in the 1950s. While I might agree if you had rightly said "many ribbons tend to roll off a bit on the mid to high frequencies" there is certainly no characteristic ribbon sound because they all vary very significantly below that. Indeed, there are many ribbons on the market now that have extended high ends: Take a look at this Royer r101 frequency response:



As you can see, it drops at 17-18khz. I don't know about you but as I can't hear above about 16k that doesnt really constitute any noticeable roll off to me!
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Old 30th October 2012 , 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevCircleStudios View Post
Havent heard this one. Just to correct you on there being a "characteristic ribbon sound". There isn't. I have pairs of Coles 4038s, AEA r84s, Royer r121s, M160s and lundahl mod fatheads. They are all VERY different microphones that you can't just put in one metaphorical box (though that might seem to make life much easier). Sorry gents.
Yeah, that's what I was meaning when I said that, surely each Ribbon mic will have a character in it's own right.

The only generlisation that people seem to make about Ribbons, and I can only assume this from what I have read as I haven't used one, and that is that they tend to be "smoother" or "tail off" or whatever you want to call it, in the high frequencies.
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Old 31st October 2012 , 09:51 AM
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An interesting question to Trevor would be " what sort of situation would you be in where you would say 'lets try a ribbon mike on that?'" or " a ribbon mike might sound better on that'
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Old 31st October 2012 , 09:02 PM
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I wouldn't really say let's put a (generic) ribbon mic on that. I'd tend to say "I want punchy drums so let's put up a 4038/I want hifi guitars, put up an r121/ I want smooth and detailed strings, put up an R84" etc. The characters of different ribbons vary just as much as, say, condensers so it's horses for courses. Make sense?
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Old 1st November 2012 , 09:59 AM
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Yes it does ... those sort of comments make for a better understanding of the various situations one might find oneself in
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