A couple of weekends ago, I attended a friend’s birthday at the Latvian society of Philadelphia. Knowing almost nothing about Latvia except the excellent microphones of Juris Zarins (Violet) and my friend Artur Fisher (which I’ll get to in a second), I picked the bartender’s brain about his home country while I sipped my first Latvian beer. Turned out Latvia’s history was fascinating enough to keep me riveted to my bar stool for an hour or two while the party raged at increasing volume around me. For instance, did you know that the class that entered university this year were the first to have been born in the modern state of Latvia?
But I digress… this post is about microphones! My unplanned introduction to Latvian culture and beer turned out to be of the fortuitous kind, as just the week before I had received one of Artur Fisher’s RM-5 ribbon microphones to try out. Artur’s microphones are made by hand (in Latvia, of course) with his own RE-154 ribbon motor. Visually, the RM-5 is right up my alley: elegant, simple, utilitarian, and unbranded. Sonically, it delivers everything I had imagined a high-end ribbon mic should: rounded, almost tape-esque transients, a full low-end, and detailed, but gentle reproduction of the high-end.
The track below was recorded with the RM-5 only, with no EQ and very moderate compression.
So what does this mean for DIY? You can build your own microphone with Artur’s RE-154 ribbon for about $100. Here’s what you need:
As you heard above, you’ll end up with a great mic. Being able to build it for the price of an SM57 is, to my mind, almost absurd. Absurdly awesome. Long live DIY!
Musical production question: recording vocals
I have a phantom powered condenser microphone and I want to know how to get it to work and connect to a computer sound card. I have a notebook computer and think I need to get some type of external sound card- basically something better than the factory card I have now. If I won't be able connect it to a sound card, what do I need to get it to record directly to my editing software, Adobe Audition 3.0, with very high quality? Trying to get a truly professional sound for a song I've written.
Here is the mic:
Also I've got a AudioTechnica battery powered condenser thats pretty good for overhead mic or acoustic.
Battery powered mics are electret condensers. Phantom powered mics are usually regular diaphram condenser. Its a slightly different mic.
Some electret condensers are very good, but these usually also run on phantom power too and I find they sound better with actual phantom power. The AKG C1000 is sort of an industry standard for certain applications and its battery powered.