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CardioidSamar Audio Design TF08

Cardioid Hybrid Microphone

The Samar Audio Design TF08 is an active ribbon microphone with a Cardioid polar pattern. It is based on a unique dual transducer system that combines a ribbon element with a condenser capsule. The signal from the figure-8 ribbon is mixed with the signal from the omnidirectional condenser to cancel the rear lobe of the ribbon’s polar pattern, effectively delivering a Cardioid signal.

Designer Mark Fouxman’s initial prototype for this concept was announced in 2004 in a forum posting; read more about the Samar Hybrid Prototype.

Combining omni and figure-8 patterns to generate cardioid is not an original idea, but has not been implemented within a modern microphone before the TF08. The pattern math works, at least in theory, as follows: At 0° (on axis), the front lobe of the ribbon’s figure-8 pattern is added to the equal-polarity signal from the omni capsule, resulting in doubled sensitivity (assuming equal gain). At 90°, the ribbon’s sensitivity drops to 0, but the omni capsule’s sensitivity doesn’t change. Adding the two together results in an effective halving of sensitivity, narrowing the polar pattern. At 180°, the rear side of the ribbon is reversed in polarity with respect to the omnidirectional capsule’s signal. Combining the two results in cancellation.

The TF08 ribbon motor uses Neodymium magnets and a corrugated aluminum ribbon measuring 2 inches by 0.25 inches. As in all ribbon microphones, the transducer is connected directly to a step-up transformer, custom wound in this case by Samar Audio Design, to produce a usable signal level and workable impedance.

The condenser capsule is a pre-polarized design; its diameter is not specified but is known to be a small-diaphragm model.

According to Fouxman, these two transducers were selected and refined over several years’ worth of research and development for the way they complement one another. For example, “where the condenser capsule’s pattern begins turning Cardioid (as a function of its size), the ribbon starts rolling off, ensuring a smooth and natural acoustical transition without need for an electronic crossover.”

The circuit that combines the two transducers’ signals also applies gain. This gives the microphone high sensitivity, higher in fact than many large-diaphragm condensers.

The mic has a transformerless output.

The TF08 will be officially introduced at AES SF in October, 2012. The microphone ships with a custom shockmount in a wooden storage case. The mic, shockmount, and case are made in the US.

We will update this profile as additional specifications become available.

Hear the TF08, the Silvia SC-5C, the AEA KU4, and other directional ribbons in Randy Coppinger’s review (starring voice artist Corey Burton). See link in sidebar.

Permalink: Samar Audio Design TF08

The mic was released in 2012.


Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Cardioid (n/a mV/Pa; n/a)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
n/a n/a
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
n/a n/a n/a
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Requires phantom power
  • Phantom voltage: 48v

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