Diaphragm shapes

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You've stated your belief that ribbon mics are better than condensors for stereo miking, partly (or mainly) because of the narrowness of the transducer in a ribbon mic. Is this because of a reduction in phase anomalies, or for some other reason?

-- John Leary (leary@FAKE.msfi.com), June 24, 1998


Very sorry for delay in answering. Yes, I believe that the superiority is due simply to the difference in the shape of the diaphragm, which, as you say, lessons phase anomalies, at least in the 'horizontal' plane. (I put 'horizontal' in quotes because of course the real plane it is depends on the orientation of the microphone; perhaps a better way to say it is "the plane that will be heard in playback as the horizontal plane.") Note however that it may be problematic to make a condenser mike with non-circular diaphragm, because you'll get a build up of charge at the 'corners.' There have been such microphones; I don't know there are any now. But certainly none with diaphragms anywhere near so narrow as a ribbon.

--James Boyk

-- James Boyk (boyk@caltech.edu), July 09, 1998.

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