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t.bone RB 500

Test & Review

Do you want to equip your studio with a versatile recording instrument with a vintage look and solid design? Why not opt ​​for the t.bone RB 500 microphone. It is a very versatile passive ribbon microphone which displays a bidirectional or figure 8 directivity. It is very practical for recording two singers or recording acoustic instruments, whether in a professional studio or a home studio. Discover the complete test through this guide, as well as our opinion on this microphone.

test and review of the t.bone RB 500

🎤 by Kevin Jung

Summary of the article 👇

Are you looking for a microphone to record your voice or musical instruments? Why not equip your home studio with a versatile ribbon microphone : the t.bone RB 500? This microphone is renowned for its natural sound reproduction . But that's not its only asset. Discover the full review of the t.bone RB 500 as well as our opinion on this microphone.

Focus on the The t.bone brand

The t.bone is the house brand of the musical instrument store Thomann . It was founded in 1954 by Hans Thomann Sen. Their products are very popular with sound professionals.

In fact, 1 in 7 Thomann customers buy at least one item from The t.bone . It must be said that with this brand, the quality is always there. Furthermore, the price of their microphones remains affordable.

The t.bone offers a wide range of products . In its catalog, we find in particular headphones, microphones and many other accessories.

As for microphones, the brand lists various categories: dynamic microphone for drums, micro-USB, lavalier microphone, studio microphone, condenser microphone, micro-drum set... The brand also specializes in the design of microphones with ribbon .

The t.bone RB 500
Picture from Audiofanzine.com

In this article, we will look at t.bone's most popular ribbon microphone : the RB 500. Here are the results of our test.

t.bone RB 500 Microphone Overview

The t.bone RB 500 is a ribbon microphone just like the famous Beyerdynamic M160 . The design of this type of microphone is quite similar to that of dynamic microphones . Except that instead of a moving coil, there is a thin metal ribbon . It is the latter which actually plays the role of diaphragm .

Let's move on to unpacking: we immediately see that the microphone does not come by itself. It comes with a cable of approximately 1.5 m with an XLR connector at the end.

Additionally, the mic is packaged in a soft storage case. This is quite practical for protecting it from magnets which attract metal particles to the tape. When you are not using the microphone, get into the habit of storing it in its pouch. This way, you will keep the performance of the RB 500 optimal in the long term.

t.bone-RB-500-purchase
T.Bone RB 500

AT THE LOWEST PRICE 👇

In terms of design, the quality is there, like all t.bone models. The RB 500 particularly seduces with its vintage look . It was designed to resemble the most popular microphones . With its head having a large metal mesh, its body is identical to that of the RCA 44, the R44 or the AEA R84.

The lower part of the mic body is decorated with a gold “The t.bone RB 500” logo. It also benefits from a solid design . Its aluminum tape is two inches long and 2 µm .

At 1.2 kg, the t.bone RB 500 still weighs no more than other classic ribbon microphones such as the LM7 ( 0.57 kg ). Rather, it plays in the same category as the COLES 4038 microphone , the Rode NTR and the Oktava ML-52-02. The latter weigh 1.08 kg , 1.5 kg and 1.58 kg respectively.

Note that this is a passive ribbon microphone . No need for phantom power to operate it. Simply use the XLR cable that comes with the microphone to start recording.

The t.bone RB 500 microphone and its bidirectional directivity

Like most ribbon microphones , the t.bone RB 500 features a bidirectional or figure 8 polar . The directivity of this type of microphone is so called because their polar diagram is in the form of a number 8 .

t.bone RB 500 microphone review
Picture from Adverts.ie

The RB 500 functions as an acoustic pressure gradient sensor . This means that the sound pressure will be distributed evenly between the front and back of the membrane . In other words, if you speak to the sides of the microphone, you won't be heard. This is because it is only sensitive to sound sources coming from the front and rear.

Its bidirectional directivity makes it useful for implementing stereo recording like Mid/Side . We will come back to this in more detail a little further down in this article.

t.bone RB 500: a model designed for multiple applications

Thanks to its bidirectional pattern, the t.bone RB 500 is very practical for recording two singers on either side of the microphone. But this model is not designed just for singing. It can also be used to capture other sound sources .

You can use it in particular to record acoustic instruments such as a piano, a violin or even a guitar. It is even possible to use it as a room mic for drum recordings.

t.bone-RB-500-purchase
T.Bone RB 500

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In short, the RB 500 is mainly used for or home studio sound recording . If you're looking for a microphone for gaming, streaming and/or YouTube videos, opt for a versatile USB microphone . You will certainly find what you are looking for by using, for example, the Blue Yeti X USB microphone and its four directivities to choose from.

A powerful microphone when recording Mid/Side, Blumlein and Faulkner Array

We saw above that t.bone RB 500 can adapt to multiple sound sources . Well, know that it is particularly practical when recording in stereo. Among other things, it is useful when you want to apply one of the following three recording methods:

  • The MS technique (Mid/Side)
  • The Blumlein technique
  • The Faulkner Array technique

And of course, knowing how to place microphones correctly is important to obtain good quality sounds . But this is not enough. You also need good equipment. And the RB 500 is effective when recording using these 3 techniques.

microphone t.bone RB 500
Picture from Fatllama.com

The MS technique with the t.bone RB 500

You can use this microphone to control the stereo picture from your speakers. The Mid/Side method is most suitable for acoustic guitar recording.

This involves using two microphones: a Mid microphone and a Side microphone. The first is placed in front of your guitar. Simply position it to capture the best sound (as if you were using the mic alone). As for the second microphone, it is placed perpendicularly below the first.

For the technique to work, the Mid mic must have a cardioid or hypercardioid . As for the Side mic, it must have a figure 8 pattern to pick up sound from left to right. This is where the RB 500 from the t.bone comes in.

t.bone-RB-500-purchase
T.Bone RB 500

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In addition, you can also consult our complete test guide for the Royer Labs R-10 , a ribbon microphone with a figure-8 directivity. Discover in this test guide the complete overview of this microphone, its technology, the efficiency of its operation, its technical characteristics, as well as its sound quality.

The Blumlein technique with the t.bone RB 500

Another use of this microphone: the Blumlein technique . This stereo recording method involves positioning two bidirectional microphones to form a 90° angle . The principle is quite similar to the XY technique . However, the Blumlein stereo jack captures more of the ambiance of the room.

To implement this method of sound recording, you can pair two different microphones . As long as their directivity displays a figure 8, it can work. However, to make your task easier, it would be best to buy two RB 500 microphones.

The t.bone RB 500 in the studio
Picture from Audiofanzine.com

The Faulkner Array technique with the t.bone RB 500

Furthermore, using the t.bone RB 500 would also be a good choice if you want to apply the Faulkner Array technique .

Again, you will need a pair of figure-8 microphones . But this time, the two microphones are arranged to form an angle of 0° . Regarding their spacing, the ideal is 20 cm . This method is recommended for recording ambience in a larger room.

Zoom on the sound quality of the t.bone RB 500

Impossible to review the t.bone RB 500 without mentioning its sound quality. This is also its greatest strength. It produces a sound specific to ribbon microphones, that is to say at the same time natural , soft and warm . This may be because they pick up sound from both sides of the diaphragm .

Among all the t.bone brand microphone models, the RB 500 has the widest frequency response . It is notably capable of responding to frequencies from 30 Hz to 18 kHz . It also benefits from good frequency stability.

Ribbon mics are notorious for being fragile. But this one can handle up to 148 dB , which can be enough to handle loud noises. However, don't take any risks. When recording a kick drum, use a pop shield to protect the ribbon inside the mic.

t.boneRB 500 ribbon microphone
Image from Vmt.in

As it is a ribbon microphone, the t.bone RB 500 is subject to proximity effect. So, the closer you move the microphone to the source, the more low frequencies will be amplified .

The fact that this microphone is sensitive to proximity effect can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your needs. It will certainly delight singers with thin voices . On the other hand, if you have a deep voice, it is better to stand a little further from the microphone.

Also note that this ribbon microphone is sensitive to plosives . This is why it is recommended to use a pop filter. This device will help you eliminate plosive consonants and thus obtain a cleaner sound . Furthermore, it can also serve as a barrier to attenuate the proximity effect.

This microphone will certainly delight acoustic guitarists who love the stereo pickup with the Mid/Side technique . Indeed, used as a side microphone, it provides a surprisingly natural sound reproduction of the guitar. The result is also stunning when used to apply the Blumlein system or the Faulkner Array in a large recording room.

Since the RB 500 is a figure-8 pickup , I wanted to test it for recording a duo of singers facing each other. And unsurprisingly, the result is exceptional. The sound produced is notably well balanced . This is likely a result of the mic's bidirectional pattern which effectively isolates sound sources to the sides.

t.bone-RB-500-purchase
T.Bone RB 500

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The technical characteristics of the t.bone RB 500

  • Type: ribbon microphone
  • 2” aluminum tape (resistance: 2 µm)
  • Directivity: bidirectional (figure 8)
  • Frequency response: 30 Hz – 18 kHz
  • Sensitivity: – 60 dB/1mV/PA ( 0 dB = 1V/PA at 1kHz )
  • Maximum SPL: 148 dB
  • Impedance: 260 ohms
  • Output connector: XLR
  • Dimensions: 17.9 cm x 7 cm
  • Weight: 1240g
passive ribbon microphone  t.bone RB 500
Picture from Audiofanzine.com
t.bone-RB-500-purchase
Our Overall Opinion

Overall Sound Quality

4,8 /5
4.8/5

Value for money

4,6 /5
4.6/5

Global mark

4,7 /5
4.7/5

Our opinion on the t.bone RB 500 microphone

From the first test (voice recording), I immediately fell in love with the t.bone RB 500. It provides a natural sound characteristic of ribbon microphones. What's more, it adapts to multiple uses. From guitar amp to drums to guitar to vocals, it can suit all kinds of sound sources. An advantage that it shares with the Blue Microphones Snowball.

And what about his exceptional performance on the MS, Blumlein and Faulkner Array shots. This mic is of great use when implementing these three stereo recording techniques.

All at a price accessible to home studio users. For the job it does, I find the price of the t.bone RB 500 to be pretty decent.

That said, if your budget allows, don't hesitate to buy two to make a Blumlein or Faulkner Array stereo recording. You will not be disappointed with the results. If you want Mid/Side sound recording, you can pair it with a cardioid microphone like the Sontronics STC-20 Pack for example.

In short, after testing the t.bone RB 500 on several sound sources and recording techniques, I can only recommend it. However, be sure to use a pop filter to avoid damaging the ribbon. I also advise you not to bring the microphone too close to the source. And finally, consider using a good quality preamp to obtain impeccable sound.

t.bone RB 500 demo

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