The T.bone RB100
The T.bone RB100

RB100, Ribbon Microphone from The T.bone.

miconmac 07/28/2008

The T.bone RB100 : miconmac's user review


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Value For Money : Excellent
Made by Alctron ) return false; "rel =" nofollow "target =" _blank ">, (, ) the RB100 Tbone is inspired by the famous Royer R- 121: engine-long tape format that is integrated in a tube equipped with side openings to slots.
The microphone comes in a wooden case, impractical (the clasp does not close ...) and with a suspension spider is not correct as it looks ....
The XLR is a bit difficult because to some proportionate force to connect / disconnect the cable.

The ribbon microphones are deemed very fragile. A site specializing in customing microphones ( ) estimates that there are almost a micro-ribbon Alctron which is sold in two failed. And that's unfortunately what I found myself out of the box, the RB100 proved both very sensitive to noise and yet the least attempt reconciliation of the source. As it was unusable ...
According to what I feared, this problem was the tape that is not sufficiently tight, banging against the magnets and the internal protective grilles. I decided not to return to Toto and try to repair it myself.

When you open the microwave, it is surprising in its simplicity: there is really nothing but a strip of aluminum that is between two magnets, plus a small transformer just before the XLR connection. Disassembly is easy: two screws to remove the cap, and two connection points desoldering.
There are two essential things to know before you "operate" a motor tape:
1. Do not use steel tools that will stick violently to the magnets. Screwdriver and plastic clamps required!
Even with adequate equipment, the risk of deforming or tearing the tape is large, since the aluminum is very thin (much more brittle than the foil is coated with chocolate bars ;-)
2. find a system that allows you to manipulate the tape without risking too much stress. Indeed, the tape is rolling, we risk the "smooth" and thus cause it to lose its elasticity just trying to reach. More on "unfolds" the tape and the more it loses its acoustic properties.
In other words, the operation is dangerous ... or the need to conveniently control the voltage level of the tape so that its resonance frequency is correct .... In any case, what is done in Royer (see ) All indications qu'Alctron does not care to adjust the tension of their micro-ribbons ... It may also explain the small price of these tapes Chinese ...

I think I was very lucky: despite having slightly twisted ribbon and realized too late that I was a spirit of resolve, it appears that the microphone works (PHEW!). I had me try several times, but the noise characteristic of a relaxed tape is gone: I can now turn the microphone from one side to another without hearing this wicked klang!
However, it is likely that my microphone does not work optimally.
And yet ....


I already knew a little sound characteristic of a ribbon mic bet a Beyer M500 (see, ProductID, 37029.html (,idproduit,37029.html ) ) that sounds in beautifully its kind: a very flat response curve, a transparent dream treble of a smooth and exceptionally pure ... but very little bass response.
What immediately surprised me with the RB100, is to find about the characteristics of the Beyer, but in the grave: the RB100 produces a low depth, purity and warmth to pale all the microphones I know! In fact, I find this "gravity" very special sound that reminds me of the old radio tube of my grandfather ;-) .
on the other hand, there was immediately a huge deficiency in the acute ...
Fortunately, something "magical" with the tapes is that you can without distorting or even ugly signal of the original: even drawing a huge bump in the highs, the microphone responds so positively believed to hallucinate: no appearance of saturation, no acidity, no imbalances .... just a sound that does not tire of twisting in all directions ;-) Whatever the biases of color, it responds and it's still music even if "extrapolle" treble that did not exist at the base .

We will always keep the sound texture is really special ... In fact, particularly in relation to part-condenser microphones, we did not like this feeling of "intrusion" in the heart of the sound source ... Sound tape is pregnant, it is dynamic, but ... - How to say? - .... "Modest"? In any case, in order to capture the sound that the "noble".
There are people who argue that a micro-strip is able to erase the chops of a voice, or weakness of a song. I think the feeling is that a micro-strip that does what you want to give him, he does not try to fill these clean "sound boxes" as a capacitor with a tendency to do so. Is the anti-thesis, for example, a AKG 414 (see, ProductID, 41811.html (,idproduit,41811.html ) )

However, a micro-strip as the RB100 quite tricky to use:
There first the proximity effect, which requires very strong to maintain a certain distance from the source. It is even less manageable than the microphone has a very low output level. The 61dB of Solo610 are far from enough to get a clean sound. So - like all the tapes "passive" microphone preamp with very demanding one puts behind. If you are relatively tolerant to the report s / n, an Onyx preamp go to capture a voice .... but will not be sufficient to transplant a folk, for example.
I still recover more 2dB sensitivity by simply removing the small grilles bonded magnets. This is a "modified" simple and effective but has its downside, however ...
For the other weakness of RB100 is that it supports the "drafts": even by superimposing two anti-pops, the breath of the voice can be violent "boomer" the microphone. You have to be especially careful that risk every time to relax a little the ribbon.
So it's a microphone that is extremely sensitive to mechanical pressure (but that seems very well stand the sound pressure)

The last point may be problematic for the suspension rather than the RB100 himself, he seems to suffer from hypersensitivity to sub-bass. The least not in the studio, the mere fact of keeping the foot of the microphone in his hand causing a hum. I prefer to suspend the XLR cable than using the clip even though it is less convenient. Strange as it may seem, the best is still to put the microphone vertically on a flat surface. Posed "on the head", the RB100 is much quieter ... provided that the support is not itself driver of infra-low ....

I remember my RB100 is not in perfect condition: maybe with a little luck I could have save me the inconvenience ...
N'entamment inconvenience, however, not my enthusiasm for micro-ribbons. Fortunately though, that it costs only € 77. ...