Well known around the web’s pro audio forums as Marik, Dr. Mark Fouxman has been designing, building, repairing, and modifying both ribbon and condenser microphones for many years. He pioneered many modifications, and his numerous articles on theoretical and practical aspects of modification of such diverse microphones as ECM8000, TNC6802, Nady 1050, Apex 460, MXL603, 990, 67V, 2001, as well as ACM3, Apex 205, 210, etc. remain an authoritative source of information.
Currently, Dr. Fouxman concentrates on servicing and modification of ribbon microphones and the AKG C1000S condenser. He also manufactures high-end boutique ribbon microphones and transformers under the name Samar Audio Design, LLC.
Ribbon Microphone Mods and Services
Dr. Fouxman offers modifications for “classic” and vintage microphones. He offers re-ribboning services, as well as motor re-machining and upgrades for ribbon microphones from B&O, Tannoy, Grampian, Reslo, Geloso, RCA, etc.
His ribbon mic tune-ups involve ribbon, magnet, motor, transformer, and electronic upgrades, with specific parts being determined by application. For example, replacement ribbon thickness varies by specific needs (usually between 1.5-2.5 micron), and features a special type of corrugation to ensure long life, stability, and immunity to stretching. Tired ceramic and Alnico magnets can be replaced with Neodymium, typically increasing the mic’s output by 9–15dB. Transformers can be replaced with one of Samar Audio Design high-end low-noise toroidal transformers, which boast low noise and very low distortion. Dr. Fouxman produces numerous ratios to match a wide variety of ribbon microphones and applications.
Because beyerdynamic no longer offers support for their classic ribbon microphones, Dr. Fouxman is the single aftermarket source of replacement ribbons with beyerdynamic’s “piston” corrugation. The advantages of this type of corrugation are:
- Piston corrugation is more efficient, giving 2–3dB more output for the same ribbon gauge.
- Piston ribbons are shorter, resulting in lower noise and DC resistance.
- Piston ribbons have fewer resonant modes and better transient response, and less distortion throughout the audio spectrum.
- Piston ribbons have superior bass response.
- Due to the reduction in resonant modes, especially in the lower mids, piston ribbon microphones sound less “boxy.”
- The piston corrugation is more durable.
For this service, Dr. Fouxman uses aluminum, which unlike the original Duralum material will not grow brittle over time. Aluminum ribbons produce a more open and “relaxed” sound, with less boxiness, better definition in the lows and low mids, compared to a Duralum ribbon.
This re-ribboning service is also available for B&O microphones with piston corrugation.
Condenser Microphone Mods
Although Dr. Fouxman has been known for his popular mods to low-cost microphones from MXL, Nady, MCA, and Oktava condensers, his modification service for condensers is currently limited to the AKG C1000S.
Critical surface-mount components on the microphone’s amplifier circuit are upgraded to high-grade parts. The stock capsule is re-mounted to improve the acoustical environment. The circuit is optimized, and the resulting microphone delivers a significantly improved sound.