In this installment of our drum overhead shootout series, we put 4 of our favorite ribbon mics head-to-head: the Royer R121, the Shure KSM 313, the Coles 4038, and the AEA R84. All microphones were run through our Phoenix DRS8 mic pre, and into the first generation Apogee Symphony.

Can you tell which ribbon mic is which? Does a clear winner stand out to you?

Once you’re ready for the answers, shoot us an email at, or give us a call at (919) 682-5552 (you can also reach out to us on Facebook). Also, every mic in this shootout is available for our Try Before You Buy demo program, so you can do some testing for yourself with no obligation to purchase.

This is the final video of our drum overhead shootout series. Be sure to check out the other installments:

LDC Drum Overhead Shootout: Click HERE

SDC Drum Overhead Shootout: Click HERE

LDC vs. SDC vs. Ribbon Overhead Shootout: Click HERE


The Contenders

Royer Labs R-121 Ribbon Microphone

Coles 4038 Ribbon Microphone

Coles 4038 Ribbon Microphone

Shure KSM313/NE Dual-Voice Ribbon Mic with Roswellite Ribbon

AEA R84 Ribbon Microphone

Why Do We Do Our Shootouts Blind?

Good question! In our own experience as recording engineers and musicians, we’ve found we have unconscious biases that favor one microphone, preamp, instrument, etc. over another based merely on preconceptions and brand associations. We’re often surprised at the results and want to present that same unbiased listening opportunity for you.

Also, we hope you request the hi res files, because YouTube compression affects the audio considerably. And, last but not least, we want to help you purchase the right gear for your exact needs and setup. This is a shootout on one specific recording application, and it can give you some great info, but the devil is in the details! We specialize in the details and are here to assist you with your choice.