Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Jace Crosby at Mainwave Media

Jace Crosby sent this nice note, and a picture of his new Naked Eye ribbon mic in front of an amp, but we thought you'd be more interested in the picture of Jace.. He wrote with his amp picture:

"this mic is excellent for the price. This is it in front of a custom cab with a vintage 30 and a greenback.
We were tracking a Melancon Tele with a P-90 through a '69 Bassman. Very cool mic. lots of
compliments on the look."

Jace Crosby
Mainwave Media
Houma, Louisiana

Thanks Jace! Mainwave Media does high definition video production.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Recordist Update

The popularity of the Recordist and Recordist Ensemble Stereo kit surprised us - we had no idea of how many classical recordings were waiting for Blumlein nor did we anticipate the fast growth of high quality portable field recorders. Some of these new recorders do such a great job that they are replacing other high quality systems only a few years old.

Battery life is the limiting factor now that storage cards exceeding 4 GB are available at reasonable cost, so recordists are getting long recording times when phantom power isn't needed.

Herb Singleton of Cross Spectrum labs stopped in today to say hi and drop off a couple of mics that he tested, and soon (promise) we will have a data sheet for the Recordist Ribbon mic like all the rest of the Crowley and Tripp line. Herb confirms the strict formal symmetry of this mic and we asked him to measure a collection of mics all at once so we can put them in context.

Users are reporting excelllent results with this setup so I am very pleased with the result, and happy that I will get more free music to listen to.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Web tracks using Naked Eye

Here is a link to Emusician where there are a bunch of links to test tracks done using the Naked Eye. Check out the hammond, and the guitar through the Fender bassman. Listening to these makes me feel very good.

Put on your headphones.

And in particular, compare the first two tracks where an AEA R84 is used as a comparison. This is one of the best little examples of what we have been talking about for a long time with respect to definition in recorded sound.

Sharp Central Core

Although Naked Eye obviously has plenty of highs in that recording, note what we call "high articulation" when compared to the other mic in the test. Naked Eye still has that blending and smoothing action up close the guitar cabinet, but Naked Eye maintains its sharp central core, and doesn't sound masked, or veiled. The result is a satisfying sound.

That's the difference in all of our ribbon mics actually. Having that definition and high articulation reduces dependency on what I think is the artificially hyped, hissy, tizz sound from many (nearly all) condenser mics. What we once called "sparkle" in the forgiving days of tape and limited dynamic range, sounds harsh, and even ridiculous, in the nearly ubiquitous digital domain.

Uvula Fan

I like the uvula and epiglottis as much as the next person, but I'm not sure I need to hear tonsils rattling.
Naked Eye Ribbon Microphone Reviews R84 R92 Royer 121 R121 Neumann Crowley Tripp ribbon mic best ribbon guitar classic

April 19th is Patriot's Day

At least it is here in Massachusetts, and in Maine, to commemorate the beginning of The American Revolution, when a bunch of successful business people and thought leaders decided it was time to stop paying punitive taxes to the King of England. British Redcoats arrived in Boston and began a march on April 18th to quell the rebellious colonists, and Paul Revere got on his horse to ride North from Boston through Medford and down into Lexington to warn the local militia, a collection of farmers and others who sided with the revolutionaries. The next morning, April 19th, the colonists confronted the Redcoats, muskets blared, and the Revolutionary War began.

Paul Revere is known for his role in that event and as an important industrialist who owned several manufacturing operations producing metal objects, tin sheet, copper sheet, and wire - all subject to various English taxes in one way or another. Here is a famous portrait of Paul the silversmith, a fine craft he was trained in. Revere silver is incredibly valuable today and the quality is easy to discern. But Revere spent most of his time running growing businesses in Boston and outlying areas, and on the banks of the Charles River in what is now Watertown Square. All just a stone's throw from where Crowley and Tripp and Co. hammer stainless steel, copper and silver into ribbon microphones today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Would Paul Revere approve of this bottom?

Here's a shot of a non-production prototype Crowley and Tripp ribbon mic with a machined flat bottom. Actually this is the very first mic we ever made that looks like today's products. It seems like ages ago. We don't sell the mics made this way because Switchcraft, the American maker of XLR connectors and sockets, doesn't have a low profile design that mounts flush to a panel or a mic bottom, unless it is machined flat after assembly. Doing that makes it nice and flush, but then you have the exposed cast material with the plating taken off. We avoided this dilemma with Naked Eye, which uses a protruding, integrated low noise connector shell that is continuous with the transformer and ribbon motor.

They also don't have a flange mount countersunk deep enough to accept any high strength stainless steel flathead screws. We tried deepening the countersink to correct that, but it exposed the cast base metal, inviting corrosion in 20 or so years.

So, we are working on a new "proximal end" as they say in the medical industry. Soon people will be turning over their new mics to see which bottom is which, perhaps in hopes of spotting a rare and desirable mark, such as Minton, Weller, or Paul Revere.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This is an ad

Thought I'd put this ad up a couple of days before it appears in some magazines. A bit tongue-in-cheek, but very basic, and to the point.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Duralumin in ribbon microphones

B&O used what we refer to as "Duralumin" in their 1950's era ribbon mics. Here is a perfectly preserved example of the BEO-3 (BM3 B&O) with the original ribbon.

Duralumin was an early high strength aluminum alloy used in aircraft, such as zeppelins. Today there are many high strength aluminum alloys with various concentrations of zinc, silicon, copper and other constituent metals.

Here is a link to a table of aluminum alloys.

3 series and 6 series aluminum are common alloys. 3 series has high ductility and toughness, 6 series has medium strength and good weldability, and 7 series has very high tensile strength. Pure aluminum has high resistance to corrosion, but some of the alloys are much more prone to corrosion, which is a concern in aluminum ribbon microphones. That's one reason why B&O ribbon mics with original ribbons are scarce.

Notice that B&O has corrugated the ribbon at the ends, and made an offset convex portion through the middle. Nice idea, though it doesn't do much. The idea seems to have been to mimic the profile of a foil dynamic or crystal tympanic membrane and produce a stiff section supported by flexible sections at the end.

Things have improved a lot since the 50s. Magnets are much stronger, engineers are more careful about transformers, and the uniformity of modern aluminum foils is also much better than anything that was available in the 50s.

New and better materials are being developed all the time. Designers have a much larger choice of properties and can select from a wide range of strength, durability, uniformity, electrical and environmental attributes. Entirely new categories are also emerging, some from the so-called "nano" fields - nano is a buzzword, being misused of course by Apple and others - but what the nano scaled materials allow are properties that have not even been thought possible before.

Crowley and Tripp are working in the nanoscale to produce materials such as Acoustic Nanofilm TM, and other carbon nanotube and composite transducer technologies for a variety of applications including high quality recording microphones. In doing so, some of the old limitations of strength and durability are being completely eliminated, and this appears to be leading to the realization that, eventually, maybe soon, aluminum foils will become obsolete for transducer applications.