Polyribbon Preview

I’ve been working with Les Watts for some years now on a new microphone design. Les calls it the Polyribbon. It’s the first multi-pattern ribbon mic built since (I believe) the old RCA 77DX ribbon mic, last built in 1967. The problem with the 77, though, is pretty dismal high frequency response, which drops of around 8k.

The Polyribbon is flat to over 16k. And the output is higher, about the same as a SM57. So far, there’s only one retail-ready version of this mic built, serial number 81501.  And it just arrived at my house.

Polyribbon2.jpg

This one is still undergoing some functional tests, but I couldn’t wait to show it off, so here a re a few pictures. I’m going to rep these mics for Les, so contact me for an audition if you’re in the Atlanta-Nashville-Knoxville area. Retail price for these will be $3,895. This mic is 100% handmade in the USA and uses no Chinese motors or subassemblies. (The case for this first mic was made overseas, but we’re trying to source some nice handmade wooden boxes as well.)

Polyribbon1a.jpg

The inside of this mic is complex to say the least, and is full of resonators, wave plates, labyrinths, etc. The basic design is a dual ribbon, with one having a horn-loaded back through an acoustic labyrinth chamber. (more about this later.) Les includes a cutaway illustration in the manual, and it goes without saying that you don’t want to open this thing up and poke around inside. Everything is sealed… even the shafts of the low-cut filter and pattern selector switches are sealed with O-rings.

Some sample audio files will be coming up shortly, as well as response curves, etc. It’s an incredible instrument, with a sonic character that’s Frank-Sinatra-smooth… something that you can only get with a ribbon mic. (And Les’ custom-designed, hand-wound transformer doesn’t hurt, either. Watch this space for more information!

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