We used this mic in front of a drum kit at a studio I used to work at in London and it was THE SOUND. Out of the 13 other mics set up in the room for the kit, this one soloed in the mix impressed the band more than anything else. Impress the band. Buy the mic.
This is my secret weapon on stringed instruments. It gives me the tone Iím looking for without the need for adding additional processing. The bottom end is full and present without becoming muddy. The mids are warm and smooth. The high end is clear and detailed without being overly bright or harsh. Acoustic or electric guitars especially benefit from the sonic characteristics of this mic. Donít pass it by.
As a multi-instrumentalist horn player of 34 years with my own project studio, I had previously reviewed this mic on acoustic guitars, as many of my studio clients and music partners are acoustic players. I purchased the M160 and M130 as the combo, and have gotten great results. Since tracking acoustic guitars recently, I've used it on percussion, acoustic instruments, vocal overdubs, guitar cabs, you name it. The thing I love about this mic is its smooth response. You really don't need to do much to the tracks if you place this mic in the right place and set your gain properly. I really dig the warmth of this mic. Over the past couple of weeks I tracked my tenor sax on an album where multiple songs needed sax parts & solos, and this mic really blew me away. On many tracks, I didn't even use EQ or compression, which I always incorporate. The sound was just so dang professional with no EQ or comp! I'm also a trumpet player, and although I wasn't quite as impressed on trumpet, the brass tracks were still great. More experimentation forthcoming on trumpet. As opposed to open trumpet, I'm sure this mic would absolutely kill it on a Harmon / bubble muted trumpet. Seriously, I'm telling you, this mic will give you a contemporary sound on tenor sax like you wouldn't believe. I am seriously wanting another to utilize on drums, whether it be for overheads or side-snare mic'ing. This mic has a character all its own. I've read where the Royer 121 mics respond a little more like condensers in terms of frequency response, but this mic brings something amazing to the table. This mic has immediately become one of my "go to" mics for many sources. Pair it with a good pre and you will have a friend for life.
Met & Exceeded Expectations
It may be premature, but I wanted to go ahead & share my first experience with this mic. I just got my M160 a few days ago and finally tracked acoustic guitars with it last night, along with an M130 for M/S configuration. I had also purchased an AEA Ribbon Pre 2-channel preamp for both mics, since I often track acoustic instruments and wanted to add a couple of ribbons to my mic locker. All I can say is, you will love this mic. I did an A/B with two good condensers in M/S configuration, tracked at the same time, and the sound was much fuller, with an amazing low end. Of course, good ribbon mics are not hyped in the upper registers, but still offer a full, natural sound. This mic doesn't disappoint. Pointed at the 12th fret about 10"-12" out, this mic had a surprisingly HUGE proximity effect in the low end. You will probably need a high-pass filter on this mic. Coupled with the AEA pre, the tone was amazing, clear and articulate, and the floor noise practically non-existent. Can't wait to try it on horns, guitar cabs, select drum applications & whatever else. If this mic yields similar results on other sources, I may have to add another as my studio grows.
I had high hopes for this mic based on it's history. I definitely wasn't let down. Super smooth on guitars and drums, and just what I need when recording pokey percussion parts. I already want a pair!
Sounds great I almost everything I put it on!
This is an excellent microphone. In the price range I believe no other microphone can touch the M-160. The mic has already a history that makes it dare I say legendary. Bonzos drum sound on "When The Levee Breaks" and every guitar sound recorded ever by probably the greatest guitar player in Rock history Jimi Hendrix. Do you really need to say anymore? I was skeptical of all the hype when I first bought it but that all disappeared the first time I used a stereo pair in front of a drum set. The most fantastic drum sound I've ever gotten in my studio. Pair this mic with a 1073 or a comparable clone and you understand why this mic is so legendary. Sounds amazing of a guitar amp. Sound downright creamy on Harmonica. I'm still discovering sources to use it on! Forget Royer and Coles get two M-160s.
I bought the m160 and m130 together for mid-side mic'ing of acoustic guitars. Yeah. This is really cool. There is no way to explain the sound in words. It opens up your head,
An Amazing mic !
For the money, you can't get a better ribbon mic. I own a pair of Cole 4038 at about $1300 per mic. The Coles are great, but when I use the M160 on a guitar amp, WOW ! What an amazing tone. The creamy mid-range, the soft top end. Everything is there. Combined with a 57 for the bite, a perfect combination. To top it off, I just put a Cole 4038 8-10 feet away from the amp, mix the 3 mics, no EQ, stunning ...
Do yourself a favor pick one up, and have fun !
One of the great all time mics
This mic was great in the 70's when I used it on hi hat. I remember people looking surprised sometimes when they saw it at first. (I guess maybe there weren't many of them around in the New York studios. But when they heard the thing, it was all smiles. It's got the kind of detail you want without an artificial quality to it. It's design characteristics make it the perfect choice for drum kit close micing or as an overhead. It also sounds amazing on sax, especially if it's a slightly shrill sounding instrument (piccolo, too). I'd say if money's not an issue every mic cabinet should have at least two.
The M 130, the figure 8 version of this mic, is also excellent.
Great mic... but it requires a specialize Preamp
This mic is really nice, it has a really natural response, but there is a caveat to it: it requires a specialize preamp. Ribbon mics are specialty mics. I liked the sound plenty, but with a "regular" preamp, I really had to crank the gain to get a good signal. Keep in mind that this mic is about as sensitive as an SM-57. By the time I cranked the gain up to a decent level, the signal had a lot of noise from the preamp (and this is even with a GOOD preamp... I had similar types of noise with a PreSonus Eureka and an Avalon 737). I'm convinced that with a dedicated ribbon preamp (e.g. the AEA The Ribbon Mic Pre) this mic would sound amazing.
A fantastic, do-it-all mic
I have to say that this mic takes the cake.
I used it as a single drum overhead. The sound is so natural, and beats out just about any other mic for getting realistic sounding drums. You can EQ the heck out of ribbon mics, so you can really manipulate the signal you get to get a great sound.
I've also used it to mic acoustic guitar (about 8" from 14th fret) and got exactly the sound I was looking for on the first try.
I have yet to try it on a guitar amp, but I'm sure I'll be pleased.
The really cool thing about this hypercardioid ribbon mic is its directionality across frequencies. It's one of few mics I know of that not only gets more directional as you move up to the midrange, but it opens up again as you move up to higher frequencies. It sort of sounds like the mic opens up for air again, so it can almost make a room sound bigger than it really is.
Won 2nd place in Microphone shootout
As most audio engineers do from time to time. We do comparisons test where a bunch of mic's are plugged in at random so no one will know what they are listening to. We did 12 mic's in all. U87, AKG 414, and ten others. Some were over $2000. This test was totally by the ears. 5 people with golden ears did the rating. Everyone pick a unanimous #1 , #2 ,and #3. After that the mic's all started to sound about the same. Not a LOT of difference. To no one's surprise the U67 tube Neuman came in first place. What shocked everyone was #2. The Beyer M160. (some even voted it #1) #3 was a U87. The M160 mic is great on anything. It pops very easy. Use wind screen. I will buy 4 more. Try it on Piano, String instruments, horns, drums. Do your own test. You WILL WANT MORE.
Remember: Use your ears and not your eyes.