Samson VR88 Velocity Ribbon Microphone Review

VR88-shockmount_v2PROS: Great sound; plenty of applications in the studio.
CONS: None.
PRICE: $399

Samson has always made good quality microphones at an inexpensive price point. With their new VR88 Velocity Ribbon Microphone, they’re digging into the specialty market, with excellent results.

For a quick primer on ribbon microphones; a light metal “ribbon” is suspended between the poles of a magnet. The ribbon vibrates from sound, and the magnet picks up the vibration, and like other microphones, translates the vibrations into voltage, and into analog sound. It’s a heavy mic, with a decent metal enclosure, and includes a vibration shock mount. No buttons, switches, or apps. Connect it to a cable, and setup is done.

Ribbon mics have a reputation for being fragile, but thanks to new technology, such as the VR88’s neodymium magnets, it’s quite robust. It might not be the best type of mic for a live gig, but for a studio it’s a must.

So what is it good for, and why should it be considered, especially considering it’s $399 street price? Well, for capturing vocals and acoustic instruments, it’s simply fantastic. It can tend to be a bit dark depending upon the placement, but moving it around the sound source can make a big difference. Applications such as electric guitar amps and as an overheard for drums are perfect uses for the VR88, as well. It’s one of those mics that can really change things up in a mix – so experimentation is key.

Included in the package is a small metal case, along with the aforementioned shock mount. Our test unit’s grill had a slight dent in it, but it didn’t affect the functionality. If there’s a studio (home or professional) looking to get into some exotic mic choices, but who doesn’t want to go “all in” for a mic that may be too much hype, this is one that is well worth the investment.

FEATURES

  • Hand-crafted, limited production
  • Pure aluminum corrugated foil ribbon
  • Handles high SPLs of up to 138 dB
  • Includes yoke mount, spider shockmount and right-angle XLR cable
  • Comes in durable, lightweight aluminum case
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