Superlux R102 Ribbon Microphone Review

by About.com: Home Recording

written by Joe Shambro

 

 

The Bottom Line

The Superlux R102 is a fantastic bargain -- and yet another reminder that the days of ribbon microphones only being affordable to those with large budgets for their studios. Featuring a rich, dynamic sound and a surprisingly superior construction for the price -- only $225 -- the R102 is one of the best bang-for-the-buck values in microphones available now.
 

Pros

Extraordinarily robust construction.

Superior sound quality.

Great included accessories.

Easily swappable ribbon element.

Cons

None.

Description

Phantom powered ribbon microphone.

2.5 micron thick ribbon, modular and field-replaceable.

Frequency response: 20hz to 15kHz.

SPL rating: >140dB

Included accessories: microphone mount, right angle XLR cable, carrying case.

 

Guide Review - Review: Superlux R102 Ribbon Microphone

I first met the folks from Avlex, the company that offers the Superlux microphone line, at the NAMM show in January 2008. From the first meeting, it was obvious that Avlex is very passionate about their products, and rightfully so.
 
Throughout their Superlux microphone line, you'll find several microphones aimed at the budget-conscious recording or live sound engineer. Let's take a look at their R102 phantom powered ribbon microphone, which Avlex kindly sent over for a review.
 
 
 

Build Quality

Right out of the box, the R102 is impressive. A very heavy metal construction sets this mic apart from many other ribbons in the same price range; this isn't a mic that'll disappoint you in build quality.
 
The microphone comes packed in a sturdy padded carrying case which also houses the included accessories, a stand adapter and a very heavy-duty right-angle XLR cable.
 
 

Sound Quality

The R102 really shines when used on louder sources. I used the R102 on several loud guitar amps, and the tone was incredible; full, rich, and without the mid-range deficiencies seen in many other "value" ribbons.
 
The R102 also did well on acoustic guitar; I found that the R102 reproduced acoustic instruments with a kind of warmth and reality that condenser microphones, especially in this price range, lack.
 
 

Additional Features

The R102 features two very distinct features: a field-replaceable, modular 2.5 micron thick ribbon element, allowing replacement of a blown ribbon without an expensive trip to the manufacturer. This is a fantastic feature, as any engineer who's blown a ribbon will tell you (myself included).
 
Also, a phantom powered preamp stage allows higher sensitivity while retaining classic ribbon detailing and warmth.
 
Overall, the R102 is a superior product in the price range -- and a worthy addition to any mic collection.