At last year's AES meeting in San Francisco, we had three new ribbon mics "mentioned" for possible future production. Though we haven't ruled out something inspired by the first two, only el Diablo got the funding and ad commitments needed to actually make the investment in the development of a new ribbon microphone and roll it out with an all-new ribbon material.
Our experience with superelastic materials used in medical devices was key; We had to adapt relatively heavy, magnetic forms of superelastic construction to a much lower mass, paramagnetic material suitable for use in a ribbon mic, and of course capable of very high SPLs, such as an ACTUAL SPL, at all freqencies, of 146db. You may see others out there that claim even higher SPL handling, but these are stated at 1 KHz, which is easy for standard ribbons. Try 146db at 30 Hz and see what happens to an aluminum ribbon! Roswellite handles it easily.
Mercenary Editions are a product marking that advertises Mercenary Audio and its indication that it has 1. influenced the design of the product and 2., approves of the result based on actual trials. This is certainly true with el Diablo, which made enough trips back and forth over the short drive between us and Mercenary in Foxboro until we tweaked it so that it sounded just so, suitable for placement in a kick drum, but also very useful for recording clean, flattering, high definition vocals, demanding bass, loud guitars, and other apps where tone and loundness are a factor. In doing so we have been able to keep the gains we made in the area of natural ribbon output, getting the ribbon mic to pass the output of an SM57 (or 58) while generating an artifact-free signal over a wide dynamic range. Very wide!
What about the Altec, or the EMI? We'll have to wait and see. Both of those would have centered on maintaining some of the old style while improving the sound quality and overall mic performance, unlike el Diablo, which started on a modern platform made by us and known to have specific sonic capabilities and with known and controlled manufacturing processes.We aren't into reproductions.
I hope to see you all at AES! Exciting stuff in our bag this year.