Are These Microphones Chinese?
I source NUDE Microphones from Chinese and East European manufacturing plants. Chinese manufacturing is often synonymous with poor quality. To some extent this is deserved. To some extent the Chinese have shot themselves in the foot in terms of positioning themselves fairly firmly at the value end of the market place. The truth lies somewhere in between. Chinese manufacturing has now matured to the point where I believe that they are capable of manufacturing microphones of sonic and build quality to rival any company globally. The question becomes at what price point do you want do you want the product delivered. I have a few manufacturers now that I have a good relationship with based on their committment to good engineering principals, good quality control and they are producing microphones that are sonically in the ballpark of branded microphones that retail for 10 times the price.Most importantly, like me, they are actually interested in mics.
What brands are these Microphones?
The manufacturers supplying NUDE Microphones to me are supplying at least a half a dozen brands that I know of. Several in the EU and a few big american brands. I've been advised that quoting individual brands might leave me open to litigation and or piss off the bigger players and cut my supply lines. If you snoop around on the net a bit you'll soon figure what's what. One thing to bear in mind though is that not all mics are equal. You will typically see a number of mics that you think you recognize as similar to NUDE Microphones. The thing to understand is that there are numerous manufacturers often sharing the same machining template (cosmetic), the internals become optional, different quality transformers can be fitted to alter the unit price and typically around 60% of ribbon mics I get to test have incorrect ribbon tension (ribbon sag), some manufacturers are producing dynamics from the same machining template that others are using to deliver ribbon designs. Buying NUDE Microphones takes the guesswork out selecting a microphone from the value sector of the market as all NUDE Microphones have been hand selected off the manufacturing line based on actual electro-acoustic testing to ensure excellent ribbon tension, output transformer performance and optimal frequency response.
Will I need a specific preamp for NUDE ribbon Microphones?
You will typically need more gain for ribbon microphones as the sensitivity is lower than dynamics or condensers. That said you should be able to crank the gain as the self noise spec. of all NUDE Microphones is very good. Most buyers find their soundcard gain-range is sufficient. Many recording folks swear by their favourite preamp as adding that special "flavour". There are many preamps I would recommend, at the high end I love Neve 1073's, LA audio and Avalon. At the lower end of the spectrum I would highly recommend FMR RNP8380--Really Nice Mic-Pre. (Tip) I have some of these and am also great wraps for there really nice compressor which is probably one of the nicest sounding, transparent operating compressors around especially in "super nice mode"!
Do NUDE Microphones ship with spare ribbons?
No! It just doesn't make financial sense. Consider the price point of NUDE Microphones. If you added a spare ribbon and factored in the time and money required to have a suitably qualified technician fit and appropriately tension the replacement ribbon then suddenly you are no longer buying a lower cost ribbon microphone. The advantage of NUDE Microphones is their low price point. If the ribbon fails through damage/misuse (blown ribbon motor) or loss of tension over a long period of time then it is finacially a better option to consider merely replacing the microphone. NUDE Microphones have now been in use in professional and project studios all over Australia for over 5 years and ship with optimized ribbon tension and continue to receive glowing reviews from buyers with respect to the build quality and sonic character of the microphones. If a lifelong guarantee is what you are seeking in a microphone purchase then I recommend that you consider a Royer.
Are Ribbon Mics safe to use with Phantom Power?
The short answer is NO! All NUDE mics have a well engineered differentially balanced (transformer isolated) output stages. In theory modern ribbons should ignore phantom power for this reason...... However......
As a general rule of thumb it is always a good idea to disable any phantom power supplies when using ribbons. There are a couple of fault conditions that exist with certain wiring topologies (mis-wired balanced to unbalanced leads) that can expose a ribbon to having +48v DC applied directly to the ribbon motor. If this happens, your finely tuned ribbon is being put into service as a little heater element! So try and avoid this at all costs. Disable individual channel phantom and if using a desk with a global supply, turn it off.