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Superlux R102

Test & Review

Do you want to purchase a ribbon microphone that is intended for recording studios? Why not opt ​​for the Superlux R102? It is an active aluminum ribbon microphone which has a bidirectional directivity with a diagram in figure 8. Discover in this article our test and opinion on this microphone.

Superlux R102

🎤 by Kevin Jung

Summary of the Test 👇

For your recording studio, it is important to have the best equipment . For this, it is not enough to have the best amplifier or a good sufwoofer . Your studio equipment also consists of a microphone. There are several types of microphones on the market. One of them is the Superlux R102. Discover all the details of this product in this article.

Product overview Superlux R102

The Superlux R102 is an active ribbon microphone intended for recording studios. It is a hybrid microphone since it is very sensitive like a condenser microphone, but also has the smooth frequency and very good transition response of a ribbon microphone . The speed of its frequency response is also very fast considering other ribbon microphones of its kind.

The R102 dynamic aluminum microphone is made up of two parts: an electromagnetic transducer and an impedance conversion circuit .

This electromagnetic transducer is responsible for supporting a unique magnetic circuit field with an Nd magnet on the device. The ribbon of this dynamic microphone is made of a very thin aluminum alloy of only 2.5 microns. It is suspended between two poles and vibrates when the sound wave or acoustic energy comes into synchronization.

Superlux R102 microphone
Picture from Musicradar.com

With the extremely low mass material of the ribbon, the transducer of this type of microphone offers a very good quality interval response . In fact, it converts acoustic energy into an electrical signal.

Regardless of the frequency level: high frequencies or low frequencies and the sound pressure level (low or high sound pressure), the Superlux R102 dynamic microphone always offers clear and precise reproduction of the original sound, and even the noise of bottom.

It is important to know before purchasing a Superlux R102 microphone that it requires 48 Volt phantom power to operate.

Focus on Superlux R102 sound quality

One of the greatest advantages of ribbon microphones , especially the Superlux R102, is its sound reproduction. The sound it produces is very soft , clear and natural . If the poor reproduction of frequencies at 10 Hz can be seen as a disadvantage, the sound that emerges is warm, with a vintage effect .

Unlike other ribbon microphones that have a cardioid polar pattern , the Superlux R102 has a bidirectional polar pattern , with a diagram in Figure 8 . These are characteristics that provide good sound quality to the ribbon microphone . If you want to produce a very sensitive sound, with good dynamic and harmonic variations, you can choose this one offered by Superlux.

Superlux-R102-purchase
Superlux R102

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The ribbon microphone is mainly used for recording acoustic instruments such as guitar. However, you can also use it for vocals, drum overhead, and even as a guitar amplifier .

If you were to use the Superlux R102 for a dynamic instrument, it is best to protect the membrane with a windshield or wind filter.

The windshield and wind filter also serve to protect the tape against high acoustic pressure . If you don't have one, try to move it a little away from the sound source when using it.

The ribbon that makes up the Superlux R102 microphone is very fragile. This is especially why it is preferable to use it in the studio. Also, when you are not using it, try to store it so that the ribbon, however thin it may be, does not become loose. And don't worry about this protection. Your ribbon microphone comes with a protective case . You no longer have to worry about its condition between uses.

But the Superlux R102 microphone does not only have advantages. One of these main disadvantages is above all its low output level. However, you can easily remedy this by adding a preamplifier like the API Audio The Channel Strip or AMS Neve 4081. Of course, the quality of your recording will no longer depend only on the Superlux R102 microphone, but also on the quality of the preamp .

Also remember that the recording result depends on the amplifier. If you have a poor quality amplifier, you need to adjust the microphone and preamp to get a satisfactory recording .

Superlux R102 packaging
Picture from Audiofanzine.com

Superlux R102 technical characteristics

The technical characteristics of the Superlux R102 microphone make it one of the best microphones to use for a mixing desk , recording studios and as a vocal microphone . Here are the technical characteristics of the Superlux R102 ribbon microphone

  • Frequency range: 20 Hz and 18 kHz
  • Nominal impedance: 250 Ohms
  • Sensitivity for an open circuit voltage of 1000 Hz : -40 dBV , or 10 mV/Pa (knowing that one Pascal = 94 dB SPL
  • Polar diagram in figure of 8: capture towards the center
  • Maximum sound pressure level: 138 dB SPL (THD less than or equal to 0.5%) for a load of 1000 Ohms
  • Equivalent noise level: 18 dB A-weighted
  • Maximum load impedance: 1000 Ohms
  • Connector: 3-pin XLR – male
  • Polarity: positive pressure applied to the diaphragm produces a positive voltage on pin 2 relative to pin 3
  • Electric current consumption: 4 mA
  • Diaphragm: 2.5 micron aluminum tape
  • Magnet type: strong Nd
  • Element: active pressure gradient electromagnetic transducer
  • Dynamic range: 120 dB for a 1000 Ohm
  • Environmental conditions: Superlux R102 operates at temperatures between 10° and 50°C or 14°F and 122°F and relative humidity between 0 and 95%.
  • Dimensions: 60 x 196 x 44 mm (L x H x D)
  • Net weight: 500g
  • Gold grille finish
Superlux-R102-purchase
Superlux R102

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When to use the Superlux R102 microphone?

Despite its fragility, the ribbon microphone can be used for many events. Thus, it can be used for recordings , for broadcasts and for live performances .

It is also equipped with a USB cable. You can plug a Superlux R102 microphone into your computer and start recording at home.

Other types of microphones to know the difference

There are many types of microphones. The major recording companies are equipped with a microphone that they have designed themselves to meet their needs for the sounds they want to produce. There are also microphones built into headsets , phone speakers, and webcams. For smaller recordings, there are also USB microphones that you can use with your computer.

inside the Superlux R102
Picture from Khronscave.blogspot.com

But for your custom studio, it seems a bit difficult to design your own microphone. To remedy this, there are ready-made microphones available for sale at your sound store. There are mainly three types: the dynamic microphone, the condenser microphone and the ribbon microphone like the Superlux R102.

These different types of microphone each have their specificity, but also their common point, especially concerning the basis of the construction. A capsule (also called a deflector ) makes up the microphone. It captures sound and converts it into electrical energy .

Inside the capsule there is a diaphragm , a very thin membrane measured in microns that vibrates when sound waves come into contact with it. And it is this thin membrane that differentiates each of the microphones.

The dynamic microphone

A dynamic microphone is a microphone whose diaphragm inside the capsule is a moving coil ( the Shure SM58 microphone for example). This microphone, like all other microphones, works inversely to the speakers . That is to say, it is the sound wave or acoustic source that exerts pressure on the diaphragm which is wrapped around a magnet.

It is the movement of the moving coil around the magnet which will generate an electric current . This current corresponds to the sound wave produced by your instrument.

Superlux-R102-purchase
Superlux R102

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This design of the dynamic microphone makes it less precise compared to a condenser microphone. The diaphragm of the dynamic microphone must be more or less thin in thickness so that the coil can move. Thus, the capsule of the condenser microphone is thinner.

But despite this small drawback, a dynamic microphone can be used in several areas. With its robustness, the dynamic microphone requires very little maintenance. It can withstand high acoustic pressures . It is therefore most often used as an external microphone , where there is a lot of handling noise.

The most popular brand of dynamic microphone is undoubtedly sE Electronics ( the SE Electronics DynaCaster for example). In addition to producing dynamic microphones, the brand also produces ribbon microphones like that of the Superlux brand.

Condenser microphone or condenser microphone

Condenser microphones operate in the same way as static electricity, that is to say, with a capacitive effect. The capsule of this microphone has a very thin membrane , made of an easy-to-handle alloy such as gold , mylar or aluminum . This membrane is conductive, mobile and includes a non-removable electrode.

Superlux R102 package
Picture from Audiofanzine.com

Under the action of sound pressure, this thin membrane oscillates , thus transforming the sound wave. The membrane is separated from a polarized plate at different distances. Depending on the variation of this distance, the capacitance of the capsule differs, which will of course have an impact on the voltage and the sound signal.

Also, this electrostatic microphone requires a phantom power supply less than or equal to 48 Volts to function normally. This phantom power mainly allows the polarization of the plate.

Condenser microphones have some characteristics: great sound fidelity , wide bandwidth , unusual precision and it is also a very dynamic microphone.

It is thanks to its characteristics that a condenser microphone can be considered the studio microphone par excellence . On the other hand, this type of microphone is very sensitive to all types of noise.

Among the most popular condenser microphones is the Rode NT USB. This is a USB condenser microphone. In addition to this brand, there are also those from Neumann, AKG, Brauner, Canon microphone and Audio-Technica.

Superlux-R102-purchase
Superlux R102

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Ribbon Microphone

A ribbon microphone , like the Superlux R102 has a dynamic description. That is to say, this microphone picture a dynamic microphone . But instead of having a copper coil, the ribbon microphone has a thin aluminum wire suspended in a magnetic field. It is this aluminum ribbon that moves around the magnet under the pressure of the sound source.

The disadvantage of the ribbon microphone is that it requires very high amplification because of its very low electrical voltage. You may therefore have to buy a preamplifier and an amplifier to use it.

ribbon microphone  Superlux R102
Superlux-R102-purchase
Our Overall Opinion

Overall Sound Quality

4,3 /5
4.3/5

Value for money

4,7 /5
4.7/5

Global mark

4,5 /5
4.5/5

Our opinion on the Superlux R102 microphone

The use of the Superlux R102 ribbon microphone is especially ideal for small recordings in your living room and in a studio. With a full and particularly velvety sound, it produces no extraneous noise or buzzing.

With very precise mids, high sounds are almost imperceptible. Whether for low or high midrange, the R102 ribbon microphone from Superlux offers a very good quality and very fine design that you cannot find in other microphones of the same type.

The Superlux R102 microphone especially responds very well during volume fluctuations. And this, even when it is very sensitive and transmits spatial depth.

It is especially a microphone to be favored for rock or blues music genres. To do this, use it directly with a guitar amplifier and as an auxiliary microphone. On the other hand, to make your Superlux R102 last longer, it is preferable to add wind protection.

When using it, always consider the figure of eight diagram. This characteristic is very clear, so that the sound effects transform as soon as the source is not directed towards the center. In this sense, you must also take into account the opposite side of your sound source. In fact, everything that happens around the microphone is recorded.

With the Superlux R102 microphone, you can make stereo recordings with another microphone, even in live use.

Superlux R102 demo

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Superlux R102

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