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BEYERDYNAMIC M 500- A Ribbon Classic



Beyerdynamic does it again: the company, known for its ribbon microphones, has retired their model specially designed for stage use.
This time it concerns the TG V90R, made since 2016, but around 1990 they did the same with it's predecessor, the M500 (and in 2018, with the M260, MOTM March 2018).

What remains at Beyerdynamic are only the ribbon microphones M130 (two-sided recording pattern) and M160 (hyper cardioid), which were mainly developed for studio purposes. Although the M160 is also sometimes used on stage; this year at Glastonbury, as a hi-hat mic. These classics have been part of the German company's portfolio since the early 1960s.

As far as I'm concerned, this limited offer is a disappointing development; ribbon mics have a unique sound and are a nice addition to the more common dynamic and condenser mics used by musicians on stage.

That is why this month light is shed on the M500, which was released in 1969 and was highly regarded by many musicians; Cosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Eagles, among others, used them for their vocals.

The microphone has a hypercardioid characteristic; more directional than the 'standard' Shure SM58 vocal microphone, and delivers unusually good high-frequency reproduction for a ribbon microphone, it is also particularly suitable for amplifying wind instruments and acoustic and electric guitars.

The short and ultra-light aluminum ribbon, which records the sound, has a much smaller mass than the diaphragm of dynamic microphones and can therefore record sound much more precise.The basket (56mm in diameter, 5mm more than the SM58) offers fourfold protection against pop noises and the microphone can handle a sound pressure level of 130dB; enough for the loudest singers.

The distance to the mouth determines the sound: very close by, the low tones are emphasized (by the proximity effect, which is always large with ribbon mics), further away the sound is more neutral and even at a greater distance the microphone still sounds very good, unlike dynamics.

The M500 shares many similarities with the iconic RCA BK5, which has unfortunately become unaffordable for those on a budget. Lovers of vintage microphones, like myself, like to use the M500s instead, for recording, or for vocals on stage. Quite a few have been made, but prices on the second-hand market have risen sharply in recent years, although they remain much cheaper than the RCA BK5.

Realizing that they could not take the microphone out of production with impunity, Beyerdynamic delivered a limited 'classic' version of 999 silver M500s in 1990.

Beyerdynamic probably no longer supplies ribbon microphones for vocalists, because they no longer have the technique to use them properly; nowadays people always sing close to the microphone.

These and many more types feature in my book Witnesses of Words. More information about that can be found at

wow cover

Beyerdynamic M500
Beyerdynamic M500 Classic

Top: Beyerdynamic M500 & Classic M500

Below: sounds, spec sheet & TG V90R sheet

M500 sound at: 0,4M/ 0,2M / 0,03M

Beyerdynamic specsheet p1

Beyerdynamic TG V90R sheet p1