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However, if the mic cable is damaged (shorting pin two or three to ground), or if the phantom supply is seriously unbalanced, then the resulting current flowing through the diaphragm will be sufficient to make it jump forward or back with enough force to snap it in half. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. In fact, the R84 was far better suited for this kind of close miking application than the venerable Coles 4038, which tends to 'suffer' from a rather overblown bottom end when used in this way. AEA suggest that the sound quality is related to the diaphragm resonance. 5501 U.S. Hwy 30 W, Fort Wayne, IN 46818 The benefits of adding active electronics to a ribbon microphone, according to AEA, are: A large-geometry ribbon mic optimised specifically for close-miking applications, which is able to compete effectively on quality terms with capacitor mics in the same price bracket. Should you be in any doubt as to the polarity of each face of the R84, markings on the top of the casing will set you straight.Photo: Mike CameronThe overall frequency response of the R84 is 'humped', for want of a better description. The figure-of-eight pattern won't suit every application or recording environment, but where it can be used the R84 makes a good alternative to any high-end condenser mic, and one I suspect many musicians may prefer once they have auditioned it for themselves. One other aspect of the R84's construction which affects its tonal quality is the use of two layers of grille cloth on the rear side of the mic, while there is only one on the front. However, despite the shape of the response, the mic doesn't sound dull at all; it sounds detailed and precise, but smooth and remarkably natural. However, the ribbon mic has a character and tonality all its own, and the R84 is a very good example of just what this technology has to offer. The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. This new mic is also a lot more affordable than its big brothers, costing about a third as much as the R44C in the UK, although many would still categorise it as an expensive high-end microphone. Happy customers, one piece of gear at a time! Consequently, it has a proximity effect (a characteristic which is often a tad overpowering in ribbon mics intended for more distant placements) which is unusually well-controlled. The R84A is the perfect companion to a touring or studio musician that relies on the sound and quality a ribbon mic delivers, but requires the consistency and risk-free performance no matter the size of the stage or quality of the studio. Although ribbons generally have low output levels, the R84's isn't too bad. The R84 is certainly on a par with capacitor mics of a similar price, but it delivers a very different kind of sound which can become quite addictive, and makes a very worthy addition to a well-stocked mic cupboard. For comparison, the Coles 4038 ribbon (a stalwart of the BBC radio studio) has a sensitivity of -64dBu or 0.5mV/Pa. The mic itself is surprisingly light for its size — its dimensions are 300 x 70mm (8 x 2.7 inches), but it weighs only about 0.9kg (just under 2lbs). 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