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Hey All
So, I have a friend who makes ribbon mics for acoustic bass. His name is Brandon (an excellent bassist here in the bay area) His mic is called the Troll Ribbon mic. I have had one on trial before and really loved the sound for bass. Brandon called me up the other day to offer me one for long term loan and we got to talking about micing the Vibes with Ribbons. He suggested a long tube suspended under the vibes with ten ribbon motors... He said that might eliminate phasing and evenly mic the vibes with little off axis bleed. He said he would be willing to build the thing so we could try it....
The questions I have for all you vibists out there: What are the pitfalls, insights, suggestions that you might have to further this project without us making a lot of stupid mistakes. John Piper once suggested putting mics down in each resonator and we are thinking about that too, but that gets expensive (37 ribbon mics) and might introduce phasing. But 5 to 10 ribbon motors in a tube suspended under the bars (really I am thinking a foot or so down) might work?
Insights? Suggestions? Comments?


piro Sun, 10/20/2013 - 12:02

In reply to by John Keene

Thanks John
Yeah I am presently micing my vibes from underneath (for gigs without PA support) and I find that while there is a little less fatness to the sound (then micing from above) and a little more noise from the frame (I isolate the mics too) ...really it works pretty well. My main insight lately has been that I really need to have the vibes sound made directional (thru a speaker) because every time I play with a band acoustically, the sound just dissipates in a big wash. ( the sounds off of vibes are omnidirectional )
I have used a lot of different mics and while the differences are sure reduced when you are playing with a lot of ambient noise, still a warm bass responsive mic (like a ribbon) makes a difference in the character and presence of the sound.
Im going to pick up 2 Ribbons from him today and try it in various places and see how it holds up at gigs...

Steve Shapiro Sun, 10/20/2013 - 22:39

I've done tons of experimenting with all of this, including putting individual mic elements in each resonator (poor results there). Using mics underneath does work well for live purposes, and ribbon mics often sound good on vibes for recording. But I think they are rarely used in sound reinforcement. Most of the time by nature, they are bi-directional in pattern. There are some that are cardiod, which is more what you want for rejecting leakage from other source, which is the biggest problem when micing live. Also, I found that using any more than 3 mics under the vibes offers very diminished returns.

I will say that after a longtime using K&K pickups, then only mics for the last 15 years -- I am now trying out the vanderPlas pickups. I am getting better results than I used to get in the "old" days, and will post more on the site when I can. Ideally, it is best to use some mics as well, esp. in a larger room. But when it comes to getting better amplification without all the muddy leakage, the pickups have their advantages.


piro Mon, 11/04/2013 - 17:31

In reply to by Steve Shapiro

Thanks Steve,
I too am getting very good results with Mics right now one ATM 35 (the old expensive version) and a DPA 4099. Together thru an acoustic image 2 channel bass amp and EA wizzy 10 speaker is a really good sound that has a lot of rejection. I suspend both mics underneath.
But the Troll works so well for bass (and has a huge amount of rejection) is so warm and works so well live that I am really hopeful it will sound great under the vibes as well.