FHX Ribbon Kit

$ 449.00

The FHX is an upgrade kit for the Fat Head family of ribbon microphones. It includes a custom ribbon motor and transformer that are comparable in quality to what you'd find in ribbon mics costing over $1000.

Inexpensive ribbon microphones have for years provided a fantastic sonic contrast to condenser microphones. But they don't truly compete with premium ribbon microphones, which offer a smoother response, higher output, lower noise, and a more natural, pleasing sound. Just as we've seen with inexpensive condensers, low-cost ribbon microphones suffer from the need to meet a price point. They use inferior materials, and they're simply not built with the attention to detail that is required to produce a world-class ribbon microphone.

"Just replace the transformer" ?

Replacing the transformer in a low-cost ribbon microphone can indeed improve the mic's sound. But it is, at best, half a solution. If the audio signal from the ribbon is compromised, a better transformer can't fix it.

"Just replace the ribbon" ?

Installing a new ribbon in these microphones can help correct the worst of the problems that we've seen, such as stretched, loose, and saggy ribbons. But this sort of mod is beyond the reach of most DIY efforts: it is truly difficult to cut, corrugate, install, and tension a ribbon properly.

And even if you manage that, the ribbon is installed in a motor whose magnets are too short, within a gap that is too large (and probably not even). In other words, the motor is flawed in ways that a new ribbon won't fix. This mod still won't compete with a premium ribbon mic.

Introducing the FHX Ribbon Mod

Recognizing that the world's best ribbon microphones are designed as a complete system -- with a ribbon, motor, and transformer all built to complement one another -- we have conceived a completely new Fat Head microphone... that happens to fit inside the body of the Fat Head that you already own.

The new motor is precision-machined to exacting specifications. It houses high-strength, rare-earth magnets that are longer than those in the microphone's original motor. It features a very short audio path, to improve the microphone's high-frequency response.

The ribbon element is very thin 1.8-micron aluminum, corrugated with a proprietary process that does not require the mic to be stored vertically. Unlike the ribbons from some other manufacturers, this one will hold its corrugation no matter how the mic is stored.

The transformer in this kit is a toroidal design. This type of transformer is found in many premium ribbon microphones, as it provides lower noise and superior imaging.

Our FHX ribbon motor and toroidal transformer were designed and are manufactured in the US by Samar Audio Design, recognized experts in ribbon microphone technology.

Ribbon Motor Comparison

Chinese Ribbon Motor FHX Ribbon Motor
Magnet Length 37mm 50mm
Ribbon Length 44mm 54mm
Audio Path Length ~36mm ~15mm

Compatibility

The FHX motor is known to fit the Cascade Fat Head, Fat Head II, and Fat Head BE.

This kit will not fit the MXL R44/R144.

If you're buying a new microphone specifically for this mod, we recommend the Cascade Fat Head BE.

Installation Overview

Removing the mic's original motor and transformer requires 10 minutes, a screwdriver, and a wire cutter.

Installing the new motor and transformer requires soldering 4 wires -- two primary wires (onto the motor), and two secondaries (to the XLR pins).

If you have never soldered before, we do not recommend this mod.

Soldering the signal wire onto the ribbon motor requires an unusual procedure and special care. The process is detailed in the installation guide, and is within reach of anyone with a decent amount of soldering experience.

Availability & Shipping Information

This product is stocked in the US warehouse only, but can be shipped anywhere in the world. All orders will via USPS Priority, with insurance.

Comments from the beta tester

"This thing sounds amazing. I'm amazed at the smooth response all the way across the spectrum."

"I'm really kind of blown away at how great this thing sounds."

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