Some products are announced immediately before shipping, others have a rather longer gestation period — like the aesthetically stunning stainless-steel RM1-B large-format ribbon mic from Ocean Way Audio. It might seem familiar; it has appeared in the SOS news pages before, following an outing at AES Los Angeles in 2016, and was even filmed at that show by the SOS video crew (the original news item and video can be seen here. However, the prototype mic exhibited there was never widely released as seen; original designers Cliff Hendricksen and Allen Sides subsequently embarked on a long programme of design improvements, refining the interaction between the magnet and the ribbon, and making the mic sturdier to prevent damage when shipping.
Mechanical improvements have also been made to render the mic less prone to falling when stand-mounted. This was a concern due to the sheer weight of the RM1-B’s neodymium assembly, which generates what the designers call “the greatest magnetic force ever available in a ribbon mic”. The “high-intensity neodymium-powered magnet super circuit” contributes to the mic’s relatively high output level (comparable to that of premium condenser mics, according to Ocean Way), as well as its enhanced sensitivity and frequency response (allegedly 20Hz to 25kHz, and without the high-frequency roll‑off typically associated with ribbon mics). Thanks to a discrete-component, custom-built phantom-powered mic preamp included with the mic, low-noise performance is also promised.
Of course, bespoke design like this is rarely associated with budget equipment; the RM1-B ships for a suggested retail price of $3250 in the USA (UK pricing is yet to be confirmed). But with the mic finally ready for commercial release internationally, we will be getting our hands on one for review very soon — so we can put Ocean Way’s claims to the test at last!