10 Best Ribbon Mics Under $200 — Top Picks Reviewed in 2019

Our #2 Rated
Golden Age Project R1 MKII Ribbon Microphone
Our #3 rated
MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone with Shockmount
Our #1 Rated
Nady RSM-4 Unique Style Ribbon Microphone for vocals, guitar cabinets, horns – Classic vintage sound
Our #4 Rated
Cascade Microphones 98-G-A FAT HEAD Ribbon Microphone, Brown Body/Gold Grill
Our #5 Rated
MXL Mics R-150 Ribbon Microphone, Figure 8
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Passive microphone with Figure 8 polar pattern
Delivers classic ribbon sound with smooth mids
Fast and accurate transient response with 165dB SPL capability
Has Figure 8 symmetrical polar pattern
Has high SPL handling capability for recording high-frequency sounds
Can be used for vocals and instruments, including brass, percussion, and strings
High SPL capability that gives outstanding side rejection
Comes with internal shock mount construction for stability and structural integrity
Made with 99% pure aluminum and a 2.5-micron ribbon
Front and rear recording for in-between instruments application
Has maximum SPL handling of 160dB
Compact design, very easy to set up
Has -55dB sensitivity with a frequency response from 30Hz to 18kHz
With the increased sensitivity of -56 dB
Great side rejection and directivity with its Figure 8 polar pickup pattern
Vintage-style, delivers sweet and smooth sound, great for recording vocals and instruments
Provides the classic ribbon sound, excellent for vocals and instruments, this mic is a perfect add-on to your home studio set up
Delivers vintage ribbon sound, versatile design — perfect for studio recordings
Designed to take on heavy recordings, increased sensitivity for recording piano, vocals, horns, strings, guitars and more
Simple with a straightforward application, this mic is just the thing you need for your studio
Our #2 Rated
Golden Age Project R1 MKII Ribbon Microphone
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Passive microphone with Figure 8 polar pattern
Can be used for vocals and instruments, including brass, percussion, and strings
Has maximum SPL handling of 160dB
Vintage-style, delivers sweet and smooth sound, great for recording vocals and instruments
Our #3 rated
MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone with Shockmount
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Delivers classic ribbon sound with smooth mids
High SPL capability that gives outstanding side rejection
Compact design, very easy to set up
Provides the classic ribbon sound, excellent for vocals and instruments, this mic is a perfect add-on to your home studio set up
Our #1 Rated
Nady RSM-4 Unique Style Ribbon Microphone for vocals, guitar cabinets, horns – Classic vintage sound
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Fast and accurate transient response with 165dB SPL capability
Comes with internal shock mount construction for stability and structural integrity
Has -55dB sensitivity with a frequency response from 30Hz to 18kHz
Delivers vintage ribbon sound, versatile design — perfect for studio recordings
Our #4 Rated
Cascade Microphones 98-G-A FAT HEAD Ribbon Microphone, Brown Body/Gold Grill
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Has Figure 8 symmetrical polar pattern
Made with 99% pure aluminum and a 2.5-micron ribbon
With the increased sensitivity of -56 dB
Designed to take on heavy recordings, increased sensitivity for recording piano, vocals, horns, strings, guitars and more
Our #5 Rated
MXL Mics R-150 Ribbon Microphone, Figure 8
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Has high SPL handling capability for recording high-frequency sounds
Front and rear recording for in-between instruments application
Great side rejection and directivity with its Figure 8 polar pickup pattern
Simple with a straightforward application, this mic is just the thing you need for your studio

OUR #1 RATED BEST BEST RIBBON MIC UNDER $200

Like other types of microphones, there are also low-cost ribbon mics which are still pretty decent. But, if you don’t have much knowledge about mics, it’s hard to point the one solution to your recording needs.

So, we made a research on some budget-friendly, yet, reliable mics that you can buy with your $200. There are lots of them, and we had a hard time picking the 10 products we have here. But, here they are, and we are eager to share our reviews with you.

We include pros and cons — our own words combined with user’s review — to give you general information, as well as to warn you for some drawbacks that these cheap products may have. But, overall, they are great for the money you can afford to lose.

 

Top 10 Best Ribbon Mics Under $200

Nady RSM-4 Ribbon Microphone

Nady RSM-4 Unique Style Ribbon Microphone for vocals, guitar cabinets, horns – Classic vintage sound
  • The legendary sound of a ribbon microphone now available for your studio
  • Add the ribbon sound to your arsenal! Versatile design for numerous performance and recording uses
  • Unmatched fast, accurate transient response, ultra-high 165 dB SPL capability, and overall stunning realism
  • Manufactured with the finest materials, machined housing, and advanced internal shock-mount construction for structural integrity and rugged reliability
  • Ships with microphone, microphone clip, and velvet drawstring storage bag

It’s perfect to add a ribbon sound to your home studio setup with Nady RSM-4 Ribbon Microphone. Figure 8 pickup pattern mic, it gives an unmatched fast and accurate transient response with high 165 dB SPL capability for more recording versatility.

Large ribbon geometry type, it has a versatile physical and acoustic design, great for vocal and instrument recordings.

Crafted with high-quality materials, it comes with an advanced internal shock mount for stability, structural integrity, and reliability. Its low tension aluminum ribbon design delivers large, mellow sound with smooth lows and high ends.

It has -55dB sensitivity at 30Hz to 18kHz (± 3dB) with 1000Ohms maximum recommended load impedance.

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Pros
  • Sound is warm and natural with usable low end
  • Very dynamic
  • Needs a lot of compression
  • Better for drum overhead use

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Cons
  • Not punchy as the condenser mics
  • Need to store vertically to reduce stress to the ribbon
  • Internal vibrations may cause noise

 

Golden Age Project R1 MK2 Ribbon Microphone

Golden Age Project R1 MKII Ribbon Microphone
  • Passive Ribbon Microphone with Figure-8 Polar Pattern

Golden Age Project R1 MK2 Ribbon Microphone is a Figure 8 passive mic that offers naturally smooth, sweet and velvety sound. It has -52dB at 1kHz sensitivity in the frequency range from 30Hz to 18kHz.

With maximum SPL capability of 160dB, it can take on loud source recordings, including horns and kick drum.

This ribbon mic has 3000 ohms of load impedance and has three-pin XLR output connector. Overall, it’s a perfect tool for recording percussion, strings, and brass. With all these features, the mic deserves a place in your mic locker to be used when the right time comes.

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Pros
  • Delivers excellent detail of your sound recording
  • Gives full and rich tone in a wide range of applications
  • With -10dB pad makes the mic more flexible

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Cons
  • Weak and unreliable mount
  • Need to be extra careful
  • Shock mount is not easily replaceable
  • Warranty is limited
  • Again handle this mic with care

 

MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone

MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone with Shockmount
  • Classic ribbon sound with a rich smooth midrange
  • Figure-8 polar pattern that naturally captures instruments and room sound
  • High SPL capability—ideal for horns and electric guitars
  • Compact design that makes mic placement easy
  • Great mic to broaden the tonal palette of your sound

Comes with Figure 8 pickup polar pattern and 1.8-micron aluminum ribbon, MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone is great for vocals and instrument recordings.

It’s a perfect mic to be placed between instruments to have an efficient signal pickup and 90° off access noise rejection. With its compact design, it’s very easy to set up, no matter what recording setting you want to use this mic.

Made by the leading manufacturers of quality audio products, this ribbon mic is widely embraced by producers, engineers, artists and many more. The front of this mic (with the MXL logo) is the ‘in-phase, while the reverse side is the inverted phase.

For this mic, it’s highly recommended to use a high-gain preamp with the input impedance of 1500ohms.

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Pros
  • Really nice on vocals
  • Spacious and classy
  • Responsive to EQ adjustments
  • Good build quality and has an attractive design

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Cons
  • Has low and muddy output
  • High pitch buzzing occurs when recording low notes
  • Lower sensitivity
  • So you need a nice preamp to get better results

 

Cascade Microphones 98-G-A FATHEAD Ribbon Microphone

SALE at $17.74 OFF
Cascade Microphones 98-G-A FAT HEAD Ribbon Microphone, Brown Body/Gold Grill
  • Brown Body/ Gold Grill
  • Includes FAT HEAD Ribbon Microphone
  • Molded Flight Case
  • Mic Clip
  • Leatherette Pouch

Cascade Microphones 98-G-A FATHEAD Ribbon Microphone incorporates the legendary Figure 8 symmetrical ribbon design — the true Figure 8 pattern. It comes with a corrugated aluminum membrane at the center to produce a balanced audio input signal consistent on both sides of the ribbon assembly.

This design and configuration is ideal for recording mid-side or Blumlein setup or live stage performances.

You can expect a full-bodied signature with increased sensitivity up to -56 dB in this mic. With the reliable 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon, you’ll be surprised at how great this mic is. It’s perfect to be used on guitars, strings, vocals, drum overheads and so much more.

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Pros
  • Great mic ribbon for the price
  • Sound and response is surprisingly better
  • Ideal for studio applications

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Cons
  • May not be a good mic for professional use
  • Produces noise
  • Though it blends with the sound

 

MXL Mics R-150 Ribbon Microphone

MXL Mics R-150 Ribbon Microphone, Figure 8
  • Figure eight pattern for great side rejection of unwanted sound(s)
  • High SPL to handle loud recording sources
  • Ideal for all recordings of voice and all instruments

Another Figure 8 ribbon mic, MXL Mics R-150 Ribbon Microphone is ideal for all types of recordings. Producing rich and dimensional sound, it’s a perfect ribbon mic for all recording demands.

Since it has higher SPL capability, you can record loud screams and electric guitars without distortion issues even at higher frequencies.

This is a Figure 8 mic as mentioned, which means that it offers front and rear recordings — capture vocals/instruments in the front with room sound at the back. Or, you can have two instruments and put this mic between them. Maybe it takes practice and some time, but, this mic is really a good add-on to your setup.

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Pros
  • Gives nice and natural sound
  • Great price for a ribbon microphone

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Cons
  • With low output and bassy sound
  • Interior is a bit unreliable
  • Proximity effect is very pronounced

 

Peavey RAC1 Ribbon Microphone

Peavey RAC1 Ribbon Microphone
  • Type: Large Ribbon Geometry (LRG) ribbon (velocity) Microphone
  • Aluminum Ribbon: 2.5 micron
  • Pickup Polar Pattern: Figure8
  • Sensitivity: -53dB(0dB= 1V/Pa)
  • Frequency Response: 30 to 18,000Hz

A large ribbon microphone, Peavey RAC1 Ribbon Microphone comes with 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon with a Figure 8 polar pattern. Its unique tubular shape is perfect to deliver rich, warm and classic ribbon sound.

With its transient response in the frequency range from 30Hz to 18kHz, this mic is suitable for various recording situations.

It has an excellent sensitivity of -53dB with the legendary Peavey reliability. Don’t let a poor-quality mic stop you from making a great craft. With maximum SPL handling capability of 140dB, you are really worry-free even when recording loud sound sources.

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Pros
  • Produce warm old-style sound
  • Slightly distorted sound
  • Better for blues music

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Cons
  • Not very versatile with all vocals
  • No other noticeable disadvantage for this mic

 

Samson VR88 Velocity Ribbon Microphone

Samson VR88 Velocity Ribbon Microphone
  • Low mass, 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon microphone
  • Strong neodymium magnets, precision electronics provide increased sensitivity, low self-noise
  • Bidirectional (figure-8) pickup pattern with excellent off-axis rejection
  • Includes shock mount and carry case
  • Samson Audio (Author)

Combined both traditional ribbon technology and active electronics, Samson VR88 Velocity Ribbon Microphone is a great ribbon mic under $200. With its strong Neodymium magnets and precise electronics, it paves the way to increased sensitivity, low self-noise, and better sound quality.

Like most ribbon mics, it has Figure 8 polar pattern, which is excellent in off-axis rejection to capture the natural sound of the source.

It has low-mass, 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon, perfect to capture warm, natural audio in a wide variety of live and studio applications. So, whether you are making vocals, recording acoustic instruments or electric guitars, you can rely on this ribbon mic.

You’ll get a shock mount and carry case when you buy this mic.

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Pros
  • With a reliable hard case and a nice shock mount
  • It’s active
  • So no need for a high-gain preamp

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Cons
  • Have a strong proximity effect
  • Less mechanically robust compared to other types of mic

 

MXL R80 Ribbon Microphone

MXL R80 Ribbon Microphone Level 1
  • Audio
  • Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  • Max SPL: 130 dB
  • Connectivity: XLR
  • Pattern and type

Great quality inside and out, MXL R80 Ribbon Microphone has everything you need including the modern elements. Comes with high maximum SPL capability of 130dB, it’s suitable to record guitar cabinets, horns, and electric guitars. This mic excels on stage and studio recordings with XLR connectivity.

With its Figure 8 polar pattern, sound rolls from both sides, creating full-sound recordings. Additionally, the mic picks up sounds from the front and back sides, maintaining a large amount of rejection to the sides. Overall, it’s durable with metal construction, so it can withstand regular use.

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Pros
  • Good for loud singing
  • Made for recording/capturing high output instruments
  • Produce warm and nice sound quality

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Cons
  • Need preamp with a lot of gain to record vocals
  • Definitely not symmetrical capturing of sounds in front and rear
  • Mic is not working as advertised

 

Superlux R102 Ribbon Microphone

Superlux R102 Ribbon Microphone With Mount
  • Includes: One 7.5mmx6M two-core shielded cableOE, one mounting
  • Wide and extended frequency response
  • High sensitivity, wide dynamic range, low distortion and decreased noise
  • Stable performance, unaffected by the surrounding temperature and humidity.

Superlux R102 Ribbon Microphone is an active aluminum mic primarily designed for studio recordings. It comes with the high sensitivity character of a condenser mic, yet gives smoother and transient frequency response. Compared to other active mics, R102 has the most optimal speed response.

It consists of two parts — an electromagnetic transducer and an impedance converting circuit. The former applies a unique magnetic circuit field with Nd magnet. The ribbon is 2.5 microns suspended between two poles that vibrates when a sound source is detected.

With its low-mass diaphragm, it boasts a premium transient response to convert acoustic energy to electronic signals. Whether low or high pressure sounds, this mic is reliable in capturing the most natural sound of the source.

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Pros
  • Well-built and has a rigid construction
  • Sounds great on piano
  • Brass and guitar amps
  • Great value for a ribbon microphones

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Cons
  • Not that versatile
  • Can’t take on with those premium alternatives

 

ART AR5 ACTIVE RIBBON MICROPHONE

ART AR5 ACTIVE RIBBON MICROPHONE
  • ART AR5 ACTIVE RIBBON MICROPHONE

Engineered to deliver open and natural sound recordings, ART AR5 ACTIVE RIBBON MICROPHONE is classic and active ribbon mic. With its classic ribbon diaphragm design, you’ll be able to achieve that sound quality, not accessible by other types of mic.

It has fast and accurate transient response — perfect for today’s demanding digital recordings.

It has an integrated active preamp module that takes advantage of increased output with a stable and dynamic response to various input channels.

This mic has a high SPL handling of 150dB and with low-tension 2-micron aluminum ribbon for smooth and natural audio reproduction. Figure 8 pickup pattern accurately reproduces the natural sound and the ambient reverberation of a studio room.

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Pros
  • Has an ample output, given its ribbon type
  • It’s a nice-sounding mic
  • Smooth and not too dark-sounding with good high-end

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Cons
  • Has some pops
  • Like recording some electric charge
  • Shock mount is tight
  • Unable to fit the mic

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST RIBBON MIC UNDER $200

For starters, you might just pick up any ribbon mic in the market. However, there are still a few things that might be helpful in your hunt. Among them are the following:

Passive vs Active Ribbon mics

In the beginning, there are only passive ribbon mics. This type of mic is easily destroyed with the introduction of phantom power.

However, there are actually active ribbon mics that are the same with the passive mics, except that they have electronics onboard and may tolerate (even need) phantom power.

Active ribbon mics have higher input levels than passive. They have a more consistent output impedance, comparing to passive’s dependent impedance. And, active mics have lower SPL handling capability than passive mics.

Best Ribbon Mics Under 200 dollar

Proximity Effect

As you draw the mic near the main sound source, it will be more sensitive to low frequencies. Although the high frequencies are roughly the same, the low frequencies get boosted, that’s why there’s high-frequency roll-off in most ribbon mics.

For optimal use, you have to move the mic to position it properly. You can get a more detailed explanation about this from Royer Labs.

High-frequency Roll-off

This feature helps achieve the smooth and warm sound typical for ribbon mics, explained AEA. Unlike condenser, which boosts the high frequencies, ribbon mics gets the natural and honest sound of the source. Additionally, for ribbon mics, rolling off high frequencies are gentle and not drastic.

Frequency Response

This gives you the information on the frequency range the mic can transduce. Human hearing spectra ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz. Get a ribbon mic with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz if you want to record drums and other instruments. However, for optimum vocal recordings, you need a mic with 80Hz to 15kHz frequency response.

From this YouTube video you’ll see how important ribbon mic is, especially in recordings. You will also learn more about how it differs from condenser and dynamic microphones. So, take time to watch the video as you’ll surely learn so much from it.

OUR CHOICE FOR THE BEST RIBBON MIC UNDER $200

Now that you understand why you don’t need to spend too much for a ribbon mic, it’s time for you to reveal your best bet. Actually, it’s time for us to reveals ours.

We think both the ART AR5 ACTIVE RIBBON MICROPHONE and the Superlux R102 Ribbon Microphone are great in terms of overall capability. Though their price tag isn’t also that distant, they are also not that expensive.

But, if we are to dig deeper, the ART AR5 might have something that the other may lack.

Additionally, it’s also designed to really achieve the most natural-sounding recordings, hence, it’s our best ribbon mic under $200. What’s yours?

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