Ribbon Microphones - A type of velocity microphone.
A velocity microphone responds to the velocity of air molecules passing it rather than the Sound Pressure Level, which is what most other microphones respond to.
In many cases this functional difference isn't important, but it can certainly be an issue on a windy day. Very old ribbon mics could be destroyed from the air velocity by just carrying it across the room.
Today's ribbon mics can handle the daily rigors primarily in studios.
A Ribbon mic is really 2 mics in one. When distances are two feet and closer, the back of a ribbon mic can be brighter than the front side. The difference in the sound is similar to blending roughly 10% of a condenser mic in with your ribbon mic signal. A ribbon mic can also withstand high sound pressure levels up to 135dB without damaging it acting very much like a dynamic mic.
Ribbon mics DO NOT need phantom power in order to operate.
Ribbon mics were the first commercially successful directional microphones.
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USB Microphones - One of the hottest developments in recent microphone technology.
Contains all the elements of a traditional microphone: capsule, diaphragm, etc
Includes two additional circuits: an onboard preamp and an analog-to-digital (A/D) converter.
Ideal for integration with your computer DAW.
Preamp makes it unnecessary for the USB mic to be connected to a mixer or external mic preamp.
The A/D converter changes the mic’s output from analog (voltage) to digital (data) so it can be plugged directly into a computer and read by recording software.