Nady Systems TRM-6 Tube Ribbon Microphone

A tube ribbon microphone.
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The Nady TRM-6 is an active ribbon microphone that uses a tube in the output circuit.

Nady Systems' latest offering in accessibly priced studio microphones is the TRM-6 Tube Ribbon Microphone ($499.95), a hybrid that combines a classic ribbon design with an internal tube preamp. The 12AX7A triode provides higher output levels than you would get from a standard ribbon mic, allowing the TRM-6 to be used with any external preamp.

I received a pair of TRM-6s for testing. Each mic came in a vinyl zippered pouch, neatly packaged in its own lockable, foam-padded aluminum flight case. Also included was a TMPS-6 remote power supply, an AC power cord, an elastic suspension shockmount, a foam windscreen, and a 33-foot cable with 7-pin XLR plug to connect the mic to its power supply.

The TRM-6 has a low-tension, 2-micron-thick aluminum ribbon in a machined cylindrical housing that is internally shockmounted and topped with a sturdy mesh-lined grille. The mic is substantial, weighing in at just over 1.75 pounds. The TRM-6 has a bidirectional, figure-8 pickup pattern, a frequency response of 30 Hz to 18 kHz (±3 dB), and the ability to handle SPLs up to 135 dB.

On the Job

I used the TRM-6 to record saxophone, clarinet, electric and acoustic guitars, and male and female vocals. I even used it as a room mic with a drum set during a live recording. I ran the mics through a Langevin Dual Vocal Combo, a Focusrite Green Series preamp, and a Mackie 1202-VLZ mixer to see how the levels fared under each circumstance. The mic's output was hot enough that I didn't have to crank the preamp gain to its limit in any of the situations in order to get a good level. I recorded the results to Digidesign Pro Tools in the studio and to DAT during live situations. The pair of mics were sonically consistent and I found them to be pretty well matched.

In general, the TRM-6 sounded smooth, with a midrange fullness that was complimentary to a female vocalist with a smoky voice and a male vocalist with a midrangy timbre. While there wasn't as much clarity in the high end as with a condenser mic, the TRM-6's sound was still detailed and present with a nice, intimate quality. The mic's sonic characteristic worked especially well with saxophone and clarinet, sounding silky and rich.

The TRM-6's attributes really shone on electric guitar during a jazz session, enhancing the beautiful, round tone of the instrument while still providing good presence. On acoustic guitar, the TRM-6 was clear sounding, though not as transparent as a condenser microphone, which is my preferred transducer for this application. I found the ribbon mic's lows to be a bit on the boomy side for my taste in this case.

While recording a drum set in a resonant room with a cement floor, the TRM-6 sounded big thanks to its bidirectional pattern. The smoothness in the mic's high end quelled the edgy harshness from the cymbals' being played in such a reflective space.

Good Deal

Overall, the TRM-6 offers a rich sound with a full midrange presence, big lows, and a smooth high end. The tube-and-ribbon combination offers a pleasing sonic alternative to condensers and moving coil microphones, and it is especially well suited to capturing electric guitars, reeds, and vocals. Listing for under $500 and backed by a three-year warranty, the TRM-6 is an attractively priced choice for recordists looking to expand their mic closet.

Value (1 through 5): 4
Nady Systems