Years ago, I mentioned in "Gear Geeking" the ErgoMart SAA7000 LCD monitor arm [Tape Op #56]. Back then, it was state-of-the-art — and the best LCD arm that I had seen. I recently upgraded the LCD monitor in my office, and after a lot of research, I purchased an Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Arm ($110-$150 street; It's fantastic — definitely a step up or two in quality and engineering above the old ErgoMart in my control room. I opted for the Tall Pole version for additional vertical height adjustment. The arm operates smoothly, and the monitor "glides" into position whenever I grab it to move it, always staying put when I let go. The arm's cable management is smart — hiding away the most visible portion of the cable-run without putting undue pressure on the cables or connectors, even at extreme positions. And the mounting base has both clamp-down and bolt-down options that work with a wide range of desk thicknesses. Many accessories for the stand are available, including keyboard trays, tablet cradles, and paper-sheet holders. It's definitely more of a "system" than just an LCD arm. Interestingly, you can find the Short Pole version of the arm rebranded by HP for $79 on (search for "HP Single Monitor Arm"). That's a steal! ••• If you like to clip your studio keys to a belt loop, I highly recommend the Nite Ize S-Biner range of carabiners ($2-$10 street; A standard carabiner can easily lose its contents when you open its gate. Not so with the S-Biner. With two gates and an S-shaped body, opening one gate does not compromise what's clipped into the other gate. Ingenious. Nite Ize offers plenty of colors and sizes — from tiny ones suitable for connecting two rings together, to large ones that can hold big coils of cable, and even ones with locking gates for extra security. ••• Garrett's review of the Austin True Blumlein ribbon mic kit and Scott's review of the Cascade Fat Head II A/P ribbon mic in this issue had me re-evaluating if phantom power can damage a modern ribbon mic. I own a number of ribbon mics from Cascade, SE Electronics, Beyerdynamic, Audio-Technica, and Royer Labs. Just to be safe, I've always double-checked that phantom power was off when connecting or disconnecting these mics, but I generally believed that my modern ribbons were immune to correctly-implemented phantom power. I asked Rick Wilkinson of Austin DIY Microphones, and here's what he said: "Phantom Power can be dangerous to all passive ribbon mics with aluminum ribbons. If phantom power is applied properly, there should be no adverse effects on any transformer-balanced ribbon microphone — Royer, RCA, DIY, or Chinese import. An equal 48.00 VDC voltage should exist on both sides of the ribbon, thus nulling-out each other. But phantom power is not perfect. And unlike a dynamic mic that has a coil of wire wound around a diaphragm (a reverse speaker), the ribbon in a ribbon mic is very, very thin (0.6 micron in my kits). Where a coil of wire can withstand a small voltage difference between pin 2 and pin 3 (say, 47.5 V and 48.5 V), the thin ribbon cannot, and it will act as a fuse or a resistor (heater), depending on the differential in voltage. Bad cables and dirty connectors can also play a role, but in extreme situations such as plugging in a TRS plug, where 48 V is connected to one side a split-second before the other, the entire 48 VDC can exist across the ribbon, and blow it like a fuse." Thanks for the great explanation, Rick! -AH

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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