Make your own DIY ribbon mic

A DIY mic made with stacked layers of veneer and a ribbon motor inspired by a RCA BK model.

Photo By Frank Olson Twins

Did you ever want to make a ribbon microphone? If so, the Frank Olson Twins website is the place to go. This site is a place where old audio technology not only lives, but "rules."

A ribbon microphone is a type of microphone that uses a thin aluminum, duraluminum, or nanofilm of electrically conductive ribbon placed between the poles of a magnet to produce a voltage by electromagnetic induction.

This microphone is inspired by an RCA Bk mic with Olson’s twists. In this ribbon microphone, a thin strip of corrugated metal suspended between the poles of magnets acts as a transducer. Stacked layers of walnut veneer make up the frame for the motor. The wood pieces are cut with a vinyl cutter, stacked up, and glued into a monolithic structure using cyanoacrylate glue.

To get an idea of how this is accomplished, watch the following video:


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).