Test Driving the DIYAC RM-5 Ribbon Mic (+how to build your own for <$100) November 07, 2011 12:28 7 Comments
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:
- Artur's RE-154 Ribbon Motor $59
- Edcor RMX1 Transformer $22.77 (same transformer used in the RM-5
- Male XLR Connector ≈$3
- Microphone body, be creative!
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!