Studio Gears

8 of The Best Budget Ribbon Microphones for Home Studio 2020

Before we start, make sure you have the basic knowledge of studio microphones, if not, check the ultimate guide to studio microphones, where I went through different types of microphones and what those technical specs mean. I’m not going to talk about the character of ribbon microphones again, so better check it out if you missed it.

 

OK, let’s go…

1. MXL R144

Ribbon microphones are relatively more expensive than dynamic and condenser microphones, but here’s an exception. MXL R144 has a very affordable price with the classic ribbon microphone sound. The thin ribbon gives it sensitivity and clean sound that great for vocal and broadcast. MXL R144 can be the first ribbon microphone in your budget home studio.

  • Passive
  • Figure 8
  • Ribbon type: 1.8-micron aluminum ribbon
  • Frequency response: 20 – 17,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 250 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 130 dB
  • Sensitivity: 1.58 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

2. Golden Age Project R1 MK2

Golden Age Project R1 MK2 is a vintage style ribbon microphone. It has the natural and warm sound of classic ribbon microphones. The amazing high Max SPL give it the ability to handle loud sounds, like overhead, guitar cabinet or even kick drum. If you want a microphone that carries all vintage ribbon microphone characters with affordable price, you can’t go wrong with Golden Age Project R1 MK2.

  • Passive
  • Figure 8
  • Ribbon type: 2-micron aluminum ribbon
  • Frequency response: 30 – 18,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 600 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 160 dB
  • Sensitivity: 2.51 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

Now Golde Age Project gives you the active version, the R1 MK3. It’s more sensitive and has a lower output impedance so you can run it with a longer cable.

Golden Age Project R1 MK3

  • Active
  • Figure 8
  • Ribbon type: 2-micron aluminum ribbon
  • Frequency response: 30 – 18,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 160 dB
  • Sensitivity: 7.94 mV / Pa
  • Self Noise: 18 dB-A
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 76 dB-A

CHECK PRICE : THOMANN

3. Avantone CR-14

As you can see, it’s really hard to find cheap ribbon microphones. Here’s one ribbon microphone carries the quality that will normally cost you an arm and a leg. Avantone CR-14 has nice brightness in the high end. The low mass ribbon gives it sensitivity and makes it responses quicker to sounds. Among all passive ribbon microphones, Avatone CR-14 really impressed me.

  • Passive
  • Figure 8
  • Ribbon type: Dual 2-micron aluminum ribbon
  • Frequency response: 30 – 15,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 600 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 145 dB
  • Sensitivity: 2.51 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

4. sE Electronics VR1 Voodoo

sE Electronics VR1 Voodoo is not like other classic ribbon microphones, it combines the smoothness of ribbon microphones with the high-end extension of condenser microphones. Just like the famous sE Electronics RNR1, VR1 Voodoo is also a full-frequency ribbon microphone but with a cheaper price.

  • Passive
  • Figure 8
  • Ribbon type: 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon
  • Frequency response: 20 – 18,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 300 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 135 dB
  • Sensitivity: 1.78 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

The active version of VR1 Voodoo, VR2 Voodoo is based on the VR1’s design. Both microphones sound similar, only it’s much more sensitive and has a lower output impedance.

sE Electronics VR2 Voodoo

  • Active
  • Figure 8
  • Ribbon type: 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon
  • Frequency response: 20 – 18,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 135 dB
  • Sensitivity: 10 mV / Pa
  • Self Noise: 18 dB-A
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 76 dB-A

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

5. sE Electronics X1R

If you want a ribbon microphone also combine the high-end extension of condenser microphones just like sE Electronics VR1, here is a cheaper alternative. sE Electronics X1R is versatile and deliver high-quality clean sound. Overall it’s a pocket-friendly ribbon microphone that inherits the quality of two Voodoo models.

  • Passive
  • Figure 8
  • Ribbon type: 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon
  • Frequency response: 20 – 16,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 135 dB
  • Sensitivity: 1.78 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

6. Audio Technica AT4081

Normally active ribbon microphones are very expensive, Audio Technica AT4081 is another affordable active ribbon microphone. The low-profile stick design gives you more placement options. The high Max SPL allows it to handle any loud sounds. Audio Technica AT4081 sounds great on guitar cabinets, it has a nice smooth and warm sound.

  • Active
  • Figure 8
  • Ribbon type: Dual micro-linear ribbon
  • Frequency response: 30 – 18,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 100 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 150 dB
  • Sensitivity: 7.9 mV / Pa
  • Self Noise: 25 dB-A
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 69 dB-A

CHECK PRICE : AMAZON

7. Rode NTR

Rode NTR has a wide and smooth frequency response from 20 to 20K Hz. Unlike other ribbon microphones, Rode NTR has an amazing high sensitivity, it’s great for recording and broadcast use. The special internal shockmount design reduces any movement and vibration noise. Rode is known for its high quality and reasonable price, NTR is no exception.

  • Active
  • Figure 8
  • Ribbon type: 1.8-micron aluminum ribbon
  • Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Max SPL: 130 dB
  • Sensitivity: 30 mV / Pa
  • Self Noise: 15 dB-A
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 79 dB-A

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN

8. Beyerdynamic M160

Almost every ribbon microphones are figure 8 polar pattern, and it’s quite annoying for certain recording situations. The good news is, we now have a hypercardioid polar pattern ribbon microphone, Beyerdynamic M160. Although the Max SPL does not state in its manual, we believe it has a high Max SPL because it can handle loud sounds without breaking the ribbon. Beyerdynamic M160 is extremely versatile and sound really smooth. It’s a must have ribbon microphone for most studios.

  • Passive
  • Hypercardioid
  • Ribbon type: Dual aluminum ribbon
  • Frequency response: 40 – 18,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Max SPL: N/A
  • Sensitivity: 1 mV / Pa

COMPARE PRICE : AMAZON THOMANN


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