Tutorial: Build a Ribbon Microphone

Ribbon Microphones are very expensive but with a careful hand you can make one. Here is a video how the Royer Ribbon Microphone is made.


Showing a clip from the TV show “How Stuff’s Made” isn’t exactly the quality tutorial we typically do at WavReport Tutorial. So we found some more videos and 3D printable parts so you can make your own.

Here is a video of how to make the microphone ribbon and motor assembly.

Parts Needed:

  • Foil: The thinner the foil the greater the highs but less durable. 4 Microns will give you the most durablity but a strong base. 2.5 Microns is a good middle ground. http://shop.geistnote.com/foil.asp#gsc.tab=0
  • Magnets .25″x.25″x1.5″: I could only find a source for 1″ long magnets that fit the specs. http://www.magnet4less.com/product_info.php?cPath=1_122&products_id=1156
  • 3D Model of the Motor Assembly: CLICK HERE (Cost ~$30 to print at the UPS store, some feature 3D printers)
  • 1/4″ plexiglass
  • Copper Tape
  • 4x Matching Tiny Screws (if you are like me, you have a scrape screw jar sitting on your desk from old teardowns)
  • Geistnote GN-C36 (the one used in the above video is half way down the page for $22USD)
  • Panel Mount XLR  connector (this will vary based on what oyu choose for your housing.
  • 2-Part Epoxy and Sandpaper
  • Crimper: They all cost about the same ~$13 http://shop.geistnote.com/corrugators.asp#gsc.tab=0
  • Steel Mesh, Steel Tube, Cotton, Housing, Band Saw, Dremel, Etc… all will vary based on what you want your microphone to look like.


This parts list will get you started. Some of the purchases are things you can use again and again if you find that making ribbon microphones is a lot of fun.  If you really want to get into this you can also look at upgrading to much better transformers. But this is a basic kit to get started.


Now if working from scratch does not appeal to you than you are in luck. There are a few small microphone companies that will sell you kits that just require you to assemble the parts they have combined.

Here is the Austin DIY Ribbon MXL 990 Mod Kit. This kit will mount inside your MXL 990 and convert it from a 17mm condenser capsule microphone to a ribbon microphone.


*Note: You must own a MXL 990 donor housing. One does not come with the kit.

Or you can buy a premium kit from MicrophoneParts.com that is precision milled and assembled-ish. You still need to install it into your donor housing but you don’t need to build the motor.


Now the Microphone-Parts kit is the most expensive method to building your own but when you are measuring stuff on your parts list in microns the little details make the difference.

I was watching another video today of a guy who compared the dirt cheap BM-800 chinese microphone to a Shure SM7B to a U87. And he finished it with, you can get a decent sound out of a discount microphone, you great sound out of a standard microphone but to get amazing sound cost real money. And to get the last bits of details right is the hardest part.

I hope you enjoyed the article. Making a ribbon microphone is a great afternoon project.



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