Review: Nude Microphones Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone

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Review: Nude Microphones Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone

Nude Microphones
Words by Mixdown Staff

Nude Microphones - Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone | Nude Microphones | RRP 499

Nude microphones understand that the role of tracking engineer is a multi-faceted one, existing in the overlap where art and science meet. On the one hand, you are the person responsible for ensuring that the dry, technical requirements of a recording are met. Things like phase coherence, mono compatibility, translatability at playback, room acoustics as well as a whole host of electro-acoustic decision making and troubleshooting all contribute to what we hear as a fundamentally sound recording at the scientific level— the meat and potatoes so to speak. 

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The other, more ethereal component comes by way of the various creative decisions we make along the way to enhance a song’s artistic meaning. When it comes to this kind of creative approach to micing instruments in the open air, one of the most powerful tools in a tracking engineer’s arsenal are the various stereo micing techniques used to manipulate one’s perception of instruments in the stereo field. 

You’ve probably heard of the various go-to, cardioid adjacent stereo techniques like A/B, X/Y and ORTF, but beyond these standard configurations lies a world of interesting and powerful stereo micing techniques, with the ability to provide just the right je ne se quois to your recordings—the most famous of these techniques being the legendary Blumlein technique. 

Blumlein technique

Invented by Alan Blumlein, the Blumlein uses two figure-8 microphones on a 90° axis to one another, meaning that each of the capsules is facing out in an ‘X’ shape. This is seemingly simple, though to position the mics, usually with one upside down and doing your best to avoid them bumping or audibly ‘clacking’ together isn’t so easy. For this reason, Nude Microphones have produced the Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone, two perfectly matched ribbon microphone capsules mounted as close as  physically possible to each other: housed within the same unit.

The Nude Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone is known as their “Swiss Army Microphone” because of its ability to accurately and easily capture whatever source it’s placed in front of. The microphone itself features two capsules on top of one another, in that ‘X’ pattern discussed earlier, with a single (included) 5-pin cable connecting the microphone to a passive splitting box for you to record both capsules.

Creatively speaking, the unique flavour afforded by recording instruments in Blumlein is liberating to say the least and the ease of setup afforded by the Nude Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone facilitates this in the easiest way possible. The Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone requires one mic stand, and the included, single 5-pin cable is long enough to get the splitter box out of the way.

Nude Microphones Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone

The microphone itself is well-built, with the included cradle and accessories also being of high quality for a microphone at this price point. Speaking of price point, this is one area of particular note, particularly when we take into account the major players in the ribbon market and the comparative cost of their Blumlein offerings. Coming in at AU$499, it’s an accessible and simple way to get into both figure-8 and Blumlein micing, with minimal investment, which makes it a great mic for experimenting with new placements and applications beyond your standard setup. 

Sonically, the Nude mic doesn’t feature a roll off as noticeable in the high end as other ribbons, and because of this, makes for a much more versatile mic to have handy. Electric guitars have clarity, retaining depth and warmth, and you can always just use one capsule if two feels like overkill. On a guitar amp, the speaker-facing capsules capture detail without harshness, mids without mud and space without echo and flutter, while the side-facing capsule can serve as a subtle room sound offering a bandpassed sounding response with a little ambience to round out a guitar tone.

Nude Microphones sound

Drum rooms feel complete, and you could find yourself using the Nude sound alone for most of your mix, using spot mics here and there to build on the solid foundation that a pair of ribbon mics offer. The low end is present without being boisterous, and harshness from cymbals is rolled off in a smooth, pleasing way. Place the Nude Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone in an adjacent room if you have one, and the slight delay of your drums has your room recording sounding huge without being cavernous.  You can record in a cave for that!

Obviously not relegated to just loud, rock sources, the Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone captures a great sense of space in larger theatres or recording studios for strings and the like. An acoustic guitar, and just about any acoustic instrument like strings or other orchestral additions, feels balanced and well-treated. The Nude mic gives depth to the stereo field, the main source popping out in a pleasing fashion, all the way producing a true-to-source response. 

Nude Microphones 2

Being able to play ball with ribbon mics ten times its price, let alone a pair, the Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone can serve as a single ribbon on a guitar, vocal or balanced drum overhead if you wish, while adding the second serves to add depth, width and clarity to a recording.

Nude’s “Swiss Army Microphone” is referred to as such for good reason, you’ll find it being the right choice on more sources than you expect, and for the price you might as well incorporate it into your regular stock of mics! The beauty of the mic design being that you can capture both capsules every time, and do away with whatever you feel doesn’t work, or toggle the sound in and out of focus. The Nude Stereo Blumlein Ribbon Microphone is a recording, mix and production tool for the masses.

For more info, visit Nude Microphones here.