The most affordable high class ribbon microphone?
Hey everyone, I want to share my opinion on the Nohype Audio LRM-2 ribbon microphone that I recently discovered online and ordered for my studio.
I was looking for a matched pair of ribbons for Blumlein stereo recordings (room mics and drum overheads) and I also wanted to use them individually on guitar cabs, vocals, etc.
Nohype Audio is a small company from Belgium run by Jean-Pol Gerard who started to design ribbon microphones a few years ago. His first model LRM-1 was an immediate success and it’s now replaced by its successor LRM-2. (Update 11/2018: Nohype Audio just released the LRM-V and the LRM-2b). Jean-Pol is selling the microphones directly to customers with his online shop. In Germany, Nohype Audio products can also be ordered via THS Medien.
What’s in the box
First things first – I’m stunned by the quality offered for such a low price (175 € per microphone). It seems insane and buying the Nohype Audio LRM-2 is the best deal I’ve done in the last years.
With quality I mean the quality of the product itself and the sound quality, but also the customer service.
I ordered the mics from Belgium on Monday and they arrived two days later in my studio in Berlin, Germany. All the questions I had asked before were answered within hours by the owner of the company, Jean-Pol Gerard. The mics came very well packed: two individual boxes filled with foam (one for each mic) in one bigger box.
There’s no fancy suitcase like so many Chinese manufacturers offer, but all the accessories make perfect sense. The mics come with a soft bag made of neoprene, and with a shock mount made of metal that is very efficient (listen to the files). No plastic parts here except the elastic cord :)
The mic itself has a unique design, it comes in a beautiful matte black finish and is about as big as an MD421. I instantly fell in love with the looks and feel. It’s absolutely flawless.
Quality control is the key
Just to compare the mic with another well regarded low cost mic, I ordered a MXL 144 to test them side by side. It’s immediately obvious that the MXL can’t reach the quality level of the Nohype Audio LRM-2. The mic itself looks ok, but the packaging, the plastic box and the shock mount are of low quality. I also noticed that the MXL came with a slight ribbon sag, meaning that the tension of the ribbon was not perfect anymore and a bit curved. The quality control can be an issue when ordering a ribbon mic from one of the big manufacturers in China. Here, the final assembly and matching of the LRM-2 take place in Belgium, and for me as a buyer, it’s great to know that someone actually checked and built the mic by hand just days before shipping.
The Nohype Audio LRM-2 in action
During the test I’ve used 3 different preamps for the recordings:
The Warm Audio WA-12, the built-in preamps of the RME UFX and a custom made tube preamp made by Rerun Electronics.
The files are not processed in any way. No compressor, no EQ and no normalisation.
The MXL ribbon has a 4 dB lower output than the Nohype LRM-2, the Nohype on the other hand has a 20 dB lower output than the Audio Technica 4050 / CM5. For those of you who have a low quality preamp, a Triton audio preamp (also available when ordering the mic) can add 20 dB of clean gain.
The LRM-2 models I ordered are the one with the stock transformer (a version with Lundahl transformer is available for 100 € extra). They came perfectly matched and, as the sound of the front and the back is basically the same, they are perfect for Blumlein recording situations. For a ribbon mic, the frequency response is very well balanced which reminds me of the Coles 4038. With the supplied shock mount, it’s very easy to position the LRM-2.
Here are some audio samples of the Nohype Audio LRM-2.
About the audio files
Please note that the MXLR144 is not as sensitive as the Nohype Audio LRM-2. The MXL r144 is about 4db less sensitive at the same preamp gain setting.
I did some Blumlein test and checked the sound of the front and the back of the microphones. When I started to use the RME UFX preamp, I had 3 identical preamps and so I also took an Audio Technica 4050/CM5 (a condenser mic with obviously a very different sound) for comparison.
The file called “Walking” is a shock mount test. It’s the only file where the volume is adjusted to the same level.
Preamp info: The RME UFX preamp has a 2Kohm impedance and quite a lot of bass response. The Warm Audio WA-12 has a 600 Ohm impedance (the “warm” button is not pressed).
The tube preamp is handmade by Rerun Electronics – I love to use it on distorted electric guitars. It has a “natural” bass roll off which favors the ribbon microphones.
Have fun listening to the samples, and feel free to ask if you have any question.
The Nohype Audio LRM-2 is an excellent ribbon microphone with an unbelievable price point. I can recommend this microphone to anyone looking for a well built, open sounding ribbon. The LRM-2 delivers the classic, soft ribbon sound on many sources like vocals, amps, drums, etc. It’s a unique design, the mic is easy to place and comes with an effective shockmount and a carrying bag. My stereo pair was well matched and is therefore amazing for Blumlein stereo recording.
+ open and balanced sound for a ribbon microphone
+ very well built
+ effective shock mount
+ very easy to position
+ extremely affordable
+ perfectly matched stereo pair
175 € (2016)
I’m not related to the company in any way nor did I get paid to write this review. I simply hope for them that there will be more hype about their great microphones in the future! :)