Meet the RNR1 - the world's first mic from Mr. Rupert Neve.
With custom transformers and discrete circuitry from the man behind the recording industry as we know it, the RNR1 hears more than any other ribbon on the planet.
Ribbon mics have been around for a long time, and have always been particularly prized for the exceptionally "natural" sound they provide. Not too forward, never bright or shiny, they capture midrange detail with a pleasant intimacy and usually sit quite easily in a mix.
One downside of their mellow nature used to be physical delicacy, but that challenge was conquered long ago with more rugged, reliable materials. But the other main negative with ribbon mics is the high-frequency roll-off inherent in their design, which had never been dealt with until Rupert Neve - the father of the recording console - decided to make a microphone.
Nobody knows audio transformers better than Rupert Neve, and ribbon mics require more transformer attention than any other. This is because the transformer that couples the ribbon to the output needs to accomplish a fairly massive impedance conversion.
With the RNR1, two custom Rupert Neve-designed transformers form the buffer between the ribbon and the outside world. The circuitry between those transformers helps maintain the ultra-wide frequency response, compensating for the ribbon's natural predisposition to roll it off, and thus high-frequency content is preserved.
During the RNR1's development, a full year was spent working on crafting a ribbon element that would provide the extended response that Mr. Neve demanded.
After experimenting with ribbon materials available from all corners of the world, the design team landed on the 2.5µm aluminum ribbon used in the RNR1, striking the perfect balance of flexibility and stiffness needed for this microphone's exceptional performance.
As with many sE microphones, the RNR1 has an unusual and bold design aesthetic, with the form following the function.
The precision-machined and scalloped edges don't just look vibrant and dramatic, they have also been custom-designed to provide the ribbon with an acoustically ideal setting for the best possible frequency response.
MATTE BLACK FINISH
The matte black finish means the mic remains unobtrusive and doesn't draw any unnecessary attention to itself under harsh stage or studio lighting.
CUSTOM SHOCK MOUNT
The RNR1 includes a custom-designed and easy-to-use shock mount, which is essential in use to reduce the unwanted effects of vibration or knocks to the supporting microphone stand.
Acoustic Operating Principle: Electrodynamic pressure gradient with active electronics
Generating Element: Hand-tensioned 2.5µm aluminum ribbon
Directional Pattern: Figure-8
Frequency range: 20 Hz - 25 kHz
Impedance: 200 Ohms
Sensitivity: 22.39 mV/Pa (-33 dB)
Max SPL: 135 dB (0.5% THD @ 1kHz)
Signal to Noise Ratio: 76 dB
Self Noise: 18 dB(A)
Low Cut Filter Switch: 100 Hz
Matching Connectors: XLR3F
Power requirement: 48V phantom
Weight: 860g / 30.34oz
"...these new sE Electronics Rupert Neve RNR1 microphones we are using on the amps. They brought out far more sonic nuance..."
- Keith Urban, Musician (full interview in Guitar Player Magazine)
"My favorite ribbon mic in the entire world...A pair of those on a Steinway is about as good as it gets. They have that lovely extension on the top end that normal ribbons don’t have, but still have all the characteristics that I love."
- Simon Franglen, GRAMMY®-winning Composer/Producer ('Avatar', 'Titanic', 'Skyfall') - sE Artist
“Starting with a choir in a large church, the results were truly stunning. Results were as close to being "in the space" as I have heard. That wasn't simply due to the usual ribbon characteristics of warm lows and spacious mids, but also an added level of detail that extends right through the high frequencies. This high frequency detailing is an area that ribbons often seem to struggle with; in the case of the RNR1, there were no problems at all.”
“I put the RNR1 up alongside a number of well-known, large-diaphragm condenser and ribbon microphones from a range of manufacturers, and then invited colleagues to assess in a blind test…the RNR1 was universally identified as the preferred choice by all. The surprising thing was how quickly all settled on this choice, commenting on the sense of space and high-end clarity.”
- Simon Tillbrook, Pro Sound News
"The RNR1 was fantastic. I used it on solo ethnic winds, which can be really tinny and one-dimensional with the wrong mic. But the RNR1 sounded fantastic - three-dimensional and huge. I had to do nothing but light compression in the mix. No EQ."
- Chris Fogel, Scoring Engineer ('The Wolf of Wall Street', 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty', 'Old School')
“On brass instruments, they’re just terrific. Very forgiving…they get rid of all the artifacts, and you’re left with a nice, rounded brass sound.”
“Quite interesting on piano. Good for heavily transient instruments too - smoothing out the initial impulse.”
- Simon Rhodes, Recordist / Mixer (Spectre, Skyfall, Grand Budapest Hotel) - sE Artist
"The RNR1 is the next level in ribbon mic design; it's simply the most detailed sounding ribbon mic I’ve ever heard. It's stunning in all the obvious applications, and for my taste it's the first ribbon I’ve been truly happy to use on lead vocal."
- John O'Mahony, Mixer / Producer (Vance Joy, Sarah Bareilles, Coldplay, Metric) - sE Artist
"Building high-quality audio transformers is costly, but in this case it seems to have paid off, because the end result is a ribbon mic that retains the classic ribbon warmth, but at the same time delivers a better transient response than a conventional ribbon model."
"...in comparison with a number of other well‑known ribbon mics in the tests at AIR, the RNR1 presented a real sense of 'air' and definition. At the same time, though, the character of the sound was unmistakably 'ribbon' — warm and comfortable to listen to, with a smooth, non‑fatiguing character."
- Paul White, Sound On Sound (full review)
"In terms of high frequency definition the RNR-1 outshines all other ribbon mics."
"it's definitely a ribbon sounding mic...just minus the need to bump the high end or augment with a second mic to catch the HF you always missed with one."
"Yes, it is expensive - but, so is good Scotch."
"I bought it to be a ribbon mic, it turned out to be much more. I've used plenty of high-end mics - this is now my absolute #1 favorite instrument microphone. I've used it on anything from steel string acoustic guitar to flute to accordion to tambourine to bass drum to snare to classical guitar to electric guitar to hand clap to secondary vocal mic...I consider it a God-send."
"I thought the SE Rupert Neve RNR1 would be a very good workhorse instrument mic, but I found it made a phenomenal one."
- Assorted Gearslutz Reviewers (full reviews via Gearslutz.com)
"Where this mic stands out is at the extremes of the frequency spectrum, which is where the input of Rupert Neve becomes apparent. We have ribbon mics that we favor for LF work, but the RNR1 just seems to go down an extra octave to produce some of the most glorious lows we've ever encountered."
"At the other end of the spectrum the same extension and transient response occurs with a smooth and accurate response that never blurs complex harmonic interrelationships. It also allows the airy realism of a source and its acoustic space to come through without hype or harshness."
- Future Music / Music Radar (full review)