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MF MD HG Ask Our Gearheads 07-08-14

MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone  

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#H69305000000000
Top Rated

Overview

  • Low cost, high quality
  • No active electronics to color sound
Description & Specs
  • MSRP:
    $199.99
  • Your Savings:
    - $40.00
  • Your Price:
    $15999
1 Used From $140.79

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Gold Coverage: (What’s This?)

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      MXL

      Robust ribbon mic sets a new standard for price and durability.

      The MXL R40 is a solidly built, elegant-looking ribbon mic that features passive circuitry to keep the signal as pure as possible. By employing just two main components—ribbon motor and transformer—the R40 maintains the classic, smooth sound that makes ribbon mics a top choice for recording rich-sounding vocals.

      In keeping with its straightforward design, the bi-directional R40 has no switches in the circuit path, just like any high-end ribbon mic-just an XLR connector at the base. The MXL R40 excels at vocal recording, as well as guitar, horns, and other acoustic instruments.

      *Note: While the R40 boasts a sturdy design, care should be taken placing it in front of high-SPL sources. Extreme close-miking at very high SLP can damage any ribbon mic.

      **Do not use phantom power with the R40. Phantom power will damage a passive ribbon mic.

      Features

      • Low cost, high quality
      • No active electronics to color sound

      The rich sound of ribbon mics made affordable for the home studio. Order today!

       

      R40 Ribbon Microphone Specifications:

      • Frequency range: 20Hz-17kHz
      • Polar pattern: Figure 8
      Customer Reviews
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      Review Snapshot®

      by PowerReviews
      MXLR40 Ribbon Microphone
       
      4.3

      (based on 50 reviews)

      Ratings Distribution

      • 5 Stars

         

        (20)

      • 4 Stars

         

        (26)

      • 3 Stars

         

        (3)

      • 2 Stars

         

        (1)

      • 1 Stars

         

        (0)

      96%

      of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

      Pros

      • Good audio (19)
      • Easy to use (11)
      • Versatile (9)
      • Durable (5)

      Cons

      • Not durable (5)

      Best Uses

      • Home studio (20)
      • Amateur recording (14)
      • Professional recording (13)
        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Experienced (17), Professional musician (11)

      Most Liked Positive Review

       

      Pretty Decent for the Price Point

      If you are old enough to remember the DX-77 and this is your first jump into the rhelm of Chinese ribbon microphones, the R40 is not going to rock your world in comparison....Read complete review

      If you are old enough to remember the DX-77 and this is your first jump into the rhelm of Chinese ribbon microphones, the R40 is not going to rock your world in comparison. However, if you consider the difference of a couple of grand in cold hard bucks then the R40 is well worth a shot.

      Engineers who crave that crispy clear high end and tend to spend all their time doing pop, rock and hip-hop are lkely not going to keep a ribbon around for long. If they do they will have to adjust and learn to appreciate the design and application aspects of Ribbon mics. Ribbon engines do not sound like condensors. Where ribbons excel is in produccing a warm classic sound with voice ( ie: Frank, Sammy, Doris Day, etc) and warming up strings and piano - particullarly when a more classic sound is part of the plan. Although a ribbon and dynamic or condensor combo will do a few tricks on cabinets, most small project studios dont go around putting multiple mics on guitar cabinets. If they do then they get what being out of phase and out of pocket are about.

      There is not a day that goes by that i don't hear a recording that could have been a bit better with a nice warm ribbon microphone, but because of the traditional cost factor ribbon microphones have been almost forgotten until recent years. The R40 is a great starting point for anyone wanting to tinker and gain experience in the workd of ribbon microphone application. The R40 is not quite as dark as most other ribbons, especially the R144. For the price, especially when there is a promotion, you just can not beat this as a cost effective ribbon. Try it on strings, when you want a classic voice sound or do what the pros do and play around a bit and see what you come up with. If you are looking for a near classic touch the R40 wil do the job inexpensively.

      With all that said there are a couple of points to be made about the influx of Chinese manufactured ribbon mics and your engineering skils. That is to say that a HUGE number of these microphones have issues with sagging ribbons and you better be prepared to lift the hood and do some slightly articulate tech work to maintain your ribbon mic. If possible you might want to store your ribbon in an upright position, especially when you have those 2 micron alluminum foil ribbons in your engine. Just search the internet for sagging ribbon" and you will get a notion of basic care.

      For the engineers wiling to invest the effort the R40 is at a super price point and a great place to learn how ribbons can enhance your skillset.
      If you are old enough to remember the DX-77 and this is your first jump into the rhelm of Chinese ribbon microphones, the R40 is not going to rock your world in comparison. However, if you consider the difference of a couple of grand in cold hard bucks then the R40 is well worth a shot.

      Engineers who crave that crispy clear high end and tend to spend all their time doing pop, rock and hip-hop are lkely not going to keep a ribbon around for long. If they do they will have to adjust and learn to appreciate the design and application aspects of Ribbon mics. Ribbon engines do not sound like condensors. Where ribbons excel is in produccing a warm classic sound with voice ( ie: Frank, Sammy, Doris Day, etc) and warming up strings and piano - particullarly when a more classic sound is part of the plan. Although a ribbon and dynamic or condensor combo will do a few tricks on cabinets, most small project studios dont go around putting multiple mics on guitar cabinets. If they do then they get what being out of phase and out of pocket are about.

      There is not a day that goes by that i don't hear a recording that could have been a bit better with a nice warm ribbon microphone, but because of the traditional cost factor ribbon microphones have been almost forgotten until recent years. The R40 is a great starting point for anyone wanting to tinker and gain experience in the workd of ribbon microphone application. The R40 is not quite as dark as most other ribbons, especially the R144. For the price, especially when there is a promotion, you just can not beat this as a cost effective ribbon. Try it on strings, when you want a classic voice sound or do what the pros do and play around a bit and see what you come up with. If you are looking for a near classic touch the R40 wil do the job inexpensively.

      With all that said there are a couple of points to be made about the influx of Chinese manufactured ribbon mics and your engineering skils. That is to say that a HUGE number of these microphones have issues with sagging ribbons and you better be prepared to lift the hood and do some slightly articulate tech work to maintain your ribbon mic. If possible you might want to store your ribbon in an upright position, especially when you have those 2 micron alluminum foil ribbons in your engine. Just search the internet for sagging ribbon" and you will get a notion of basic care.

      For the engineers wiling to invest the effort the R40 is at a super price point and a great place to learn how ribbons can enhance your skillset.

      VS

      Most Liked Negative Review

       

      Mine came with an extra long ribbon

      I bought this from a SDotD for a very low price, and I was worried about getting one with a stretched ribbon. Sure enough, mice came with the extra long ribbon. The mic...Read complete review

      I bought this from a SDotD for a very low price, and I was worried about getting one with a stretched ribbon. Sure enough, mice came with the extra long ribbon. The mic works, but the output is very low (even lower than a normal ribbon) because a good part of the ribbon is hanging out of the gap. I could send it back, I suppose, but maybe I just get it modded.

      Be aware that with inexpensive ribbons, it's a gamble whether or not the ribbon is stretched.

      Reviewed by 50 customers

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      Displaying reviews 1-10

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      4.0

      Not for the feint of heart

      By Rex

      from Bloomington, IN

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

      • Clear Sound

      Cons

      • Breaks Easily

      Best Uses

      • Home Studio

      Comments about MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone:

      First of all, the microphone was virtually unusable out of the box but I was half expecting that. Talk about ribbon sag!! I bought this partially to experiment with - I have used and maintained RCA 77DXs and 44BXs in the past and did an emergency re-ribbon on an Altec birdcage and wanted to get back into the ribbon world. After re-tensioning the R40 ribbon, the mic came alive. I will be doing some of that experimenting after vacation but in the meantime, the mic worked quite well on my voice - which needs all the help it can get. If you don't want to experiment and be prepared to work at it, this mic is not for you. It's not an RCA but when it's on sale, it's a great buy.

      Comment on this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Awesome microphone for guitar cabinet

      By David G

      from Jupiter

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

      • Clear Sound

      Cons

      • Fragile

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone:

      Incredible reproduction of guitar cabinet. Perfect because input is low. I upgraded the transformer to a Lindhal 2912 which made it gain even more clarity. Replacing the transformer is expensive and tricky so proceed with caution. Ribbon mikes are very sensitive so store them standing up. Like many other comments my ribbon was sagging. Losened two screws and very carefuly removed the sag without giving tension with magnetic free tweezers. This microphone reproduces the guitar combo amp sound better than my e906 which wsa designed for this. The e609 is more for live applications where durability is needed. The R40 sounds two times better.

      Comment on this review

       
      4.0

      Great value- but buyer beware

      By misterspockyall

      from Midwest USA

      About Me Novice

      Pros

      • Price
      • Vintage Sound

      Cons

      • Loose Ribbon Potential

      Best Uses

        Comments about MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone:

        I am outfitting a modest home studio for personal projects, and with research found this to be the best affordable ribbon option for me.

        The sound is what I expected, and I would purchase it again today, but beware loose ribbons on cheap chinese mics such as these.

        As many others before me have found, these mics sometimes come with a loose ribbon, which can cause sound degradation at least. Doing a "flop test", I heard my ribbon "click". I opened the cover to find a sagging ribbon.

        The surgery only took 20 mins or so, but tensioning the ribbon requires a steady hand, and I ripped the end off of it. Luckily I had enough left to tension it properly.

        With this done, I love my r40. Very smooth on vocals and even sloppy EQ sounds natural. I recommend it, but only to folks that know what they may be getting into in terms of maintenance.

        Comment on this review

         
        5.0

        Great for guitar and brass

        By Guitar jammer dude 500

        from New York City

        About Me Professional Musician

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Clear Sound
        • Easy To Use

        Cons

        • Breaks Easily

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Home Studio
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone:

        For what I'm using it for this is a great microphone. price point unbeatable,I have used Mike's that cost thousands and with only a little better performance.This microphone is a very good value. Used it for trombone saxophone and electric guitar with great success. Frequency response is excellent sound very natural and full with very little noise. For the price performance and quality of this ribbon microphone it cannot be beat. If you like to record music and enjoy good quality sound at a great price you should get yourself one of these excellent microphones.

        Comment on this review

         
        5.0

        At these prices, yes, please ...

        By Doc

        from Key West

        About Me Professional Musician

        Pros

        • Clear Sound

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone:

            Use these on vocal and run them through a tube mic pre and you get a big warm, natural sound. Record acoustic guitars with a pair of these at the bridge and the 12th fret -- set em and go ... sounds awesome! Also excellent room mics for all sorts of applications.

            Comment on this review

             
            5.0

            Great Mic for the price

            By Xbell

            from Napa CA

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Clear Sound
            • Solid

            Cons

            • none

            Best Uses

            • Home Studio
            • Professional Recording

            Comments about MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone:

            This is a great mic when you need a bright recording. I add it to a large diaphram for vocals, use it alone for strings,acoustic gtr, adds a sharp element which is great when mixing. Great for the toolbox. I bought two.

            Comment on this review

            (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            3.0

            R40 Ribbon Microphone works LOL

            By Foocare

            from Saint Paul Minnesota

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Not Sure Yet

            Cons

            • Took Forever To Get It

            Best Uses

            • Amateur Recording
            • Home Studio
            • Professional Recording

            Comments about MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone:

            After a couple months I finally got my microphone, took for ever to get it. I haven't had a chance to really check it out but it works when I got it.

            Comment on this review

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Good for the money

            By Papa D

            from Eugene, OR

            About Me Professional Musician

            Ask me a question

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Economical

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Home Studio

              Comments about MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone:

              Been wanting to check out ribbon mics for a while and the sale price and decent reviews made this a must-check-out. Bought it with sax in mind, but since I'm not a sax player had to record voice & (acoustic) guitar first, to give it a run through. Decent sound but I like my large diaphragm condenser better. When I did get the chance to try it on sax (tenor) and clarinet I heard the benefits of a ribbon over condenser. Warm and full sounding. Yes, it does need a lot of gain, but any decent preamp will give you that.
              A good deal for the money and glad to have it in my mic locker, though now, I'm curious about what a higher end ribbon mic would sound like in comparison.

              Comment on this review

               
              5.0

              Great addition to the studio

              By MRICH

              from Lafayette HIll, PA

              About Me Professional Musician

              Pros

              • Clear Sound
              • Easy To Use
              • Quiet
              • Warm

              Cons

              • none

              Best Uses

              • Amateur Recording
              • Professional Recording

              Comments about MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone:

              Works great as a close mic for acoustic guitar. It does need a preamp to boost the level a bit. I position it directly in front of the bridge area of my classical guitar and it gets a balanced warm sound.

              Comment on this review

              (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Rich, warm sound

              By Jimmyjuju

              from Way up north

              About Me Experienced

              Ask me a question

              Pros

              • Warm Tone

              Cons

              • Fragile

              Best Uses

              • Amateur Recording

              Comments about MXL R40 Ribbon Microphone:

              I purchased this as a "stupid Deal of the Day", just because I always wanted to try a ribbon microphone. Really, I wasn't expecting much for the price, as ribbon mics are usually very expensive. The item arrived in a white cardboard box instead of a hard plastic case, but the foam insert holds the mic and the included shock mount securely, and provides an adequate level of protection. The shock mount threads onto your mic stand, and functions as intended without problems. My microphone arrived with a dented grille, but it was easily put back to shape with the rounded plastic end of a large screwdriver. I have read where many inexpensive Chinese ribbon mics have stretched ribbons. I took mine apart (it unscrews in the middle) to have a look. I am not a mic technician, but the ribbon appeared to be properly installed and tensioned. It also passed the test of plugging it in and flipping it to a horizontal position to listen for a metallic click or slap. Ribbon mics are by nature rather fragile and are easily damaged by rough treatment or dropping. I wouldn't recommend using it for a hammer to drive nails while building a stage at Woodstock (as was reportedly done with a Shure SM58 dynamic mic, which I used for a sound comparison). The SM58 is my mainstay vocal mic for practice at home. I was amazed at the difference in tone with the ribbon mic! It is not as loud, but it has a deep richness and warm quality which is just not there with the dynamic mic. I really like this mic. I don't imagine it would be a good choice for a live barroom performance, and you have to treat it gently, as the ribbon is easily damaged. This mic should be used with a pop filter (not included). But if you want to try a ribbon mic to see what it will do for your tone and sound quality, this mic is a good place to start.

              Comment on this review

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