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Crowley and Tripp Ribbon Microphones - Roswellite FAQ
Last Updated: 01/09/2009
Roswellite is the trademarked name of a new nano-enabled ribbon material invented, patented and produced by Soundwave Research Laboratories, Inc. and used in certain Crowley and Tripp microphones. Roswellite is also known as "acoustic nanofilm". It is an extremely strong, low mass, superelastic, paramagnetic composite with high inherent conductivity and shape memory properties. Roswellite can be employed to replace the "foils" such as those used in ribbon microphones. Due to its high strength, toughness and shape retaining properties, Roswellite can withstand windblast, plosives, phantom power applications, and high sound pressure levels, even at low frequencies.

Where is Roswellite made?

Roswellite is Made in USA.

What is the advantage of Roswellite?

Roswellite is far stronger and more responsive than the "foils" that have been traditionally use in ribbon microphones. For this reason, it is essentially a permanent ribbon, in the same way a capsule or element in any condenser or dynamic microphone is. Roswellite completely overcomes any strength, fragility or application limitations associated with traditional "foil" ribbon microphones. Roswellite has other advantages in processing: The shape memory feature of the material and its extreme durability and elasticity, and the manner in which it is manufactured, affords far greater piece-to-piece consistency. This saves time in the assembly, and produces a more uniform product.

What is "shape memory"?

Shape Memory is the ability of a material to return to a predetermined shape after distortion. Shape memory processes are those in which a material is made that has certain characteristics that favor a specific or multiplicity of shapes and states.

What does it sound like?

I think that a Roswellite fitted ribbon mic is hard to tell from a traditional ribbon. There are some slight differences, and they tend to be subjective ones. At moderate volume levels, a "foil" ribbon will sound similar to a Roswellite ribbon. At extreme SPLs, the Roswellite ribbon is obviously able to maintain its integrity, so the dynamic range is significantly improved.This is why a Roswellite ribbon placed in or near a kick drum has such a clean,solid sound.

How does it compare with foil ribbons?

There really is a big difference. The foil ribbon is sensitive to sound but has far lower tensile strength and excursion ability than Roswellite. The conductivity of Roswellite approaches that of elemental aluminum, yet is at least 5 time stronger. The lateral flexibility and elastic modulus of Roswellite exceed aluminum by a wide margin.

What is the warranty?

Crowley and Tripp provide a lifetime warranty on any legally obtained microphone made with Roswellite. This warranty is limited to microphones that have not been altered, disassembled, or otherwise modified by anyone other than an authorized Crowley and Tripp representative. Repair or replacement at our option. Specifications are guaranteed for life.

One person has asked what "lifetime" really means, and if it refers to their lifetime, or ours. It refers to ours, for all practical purposes, but we promise to leave instructions upon our eventual departure.

What is the maximum SPL that it will take?

We aren't sure. The test equipment required to actually produce and measure distortion at over 146 db isn't available to us right now. We have to build a properly loud calibrated source, and that will take some time. We can withstand actual percussive sounds like those produced by a kick drum, easily, and the waveforms we see do not appear to be distorted. We have been thinking about building a pistonphone but these devices are not very useful above a few hundred cycles, at best. There is evidence that the material behaves linearly up to very high levels - probably well past 146 dB at any frequency. That is very high indeed.

What microphones have Roswellite and what do they sound like?

Right now el Diablo and Naked Eye Roswellite have Roswellite in them. The el Diablo is a unique microphone voiced somewhat like a U47fet, and with a rising response not unlike a large diaphragm condenser, but with a presumed bigger dynamic range at the bottom. The reason I say "presumed" is that we do not yet have a good test setup for measuring distortion at extreme excursions. Naked Eye Roswellite sounds very much like Naked Eye Classic, to the point where most people regard it as the same. Once again, however, the higher SPL handling of Roswellite, especially at the bottom end, should result in a bigger dynamic range than its aluminum cousin, but it is probably not very different sounding in normal use.

Is the Q of Roswellite different than foils?

Roswellite used alone in air does have a slightly lower Q than aluminum foil. However, all Crowley and Tripp microphones are a system designed to have a Q of very close to 1 at any frequency in the passband. In other words, the ribbons in any of our mics including those with or without Roswellite, are virtually non-resonant.

Do you plan to release more products with Roswellite?

Yes, we hope to in the future.

Can you describe the process of making Roswellite?

We don't provide details of our processes.

Can I replace the ribbon in my microphone with Roswellite?

No, at least not at this time. Some ribbon microphones can be modified for use with Roswellite, and we have done so here at our laboratory for testing and comparison purposes only.

Do you supply samples of Roswellite?

We do not.

If Roswellite works so well, why use "foil" anymore?

It seems to us that this is a fair question, but one that will take some time to answer. The higher cost of Roswellite would be one reason it might not be appropriate in some circumstances. Over time, as more of the material can be made at lower cost, I think Roswellite may replace foils.

Will Crowley and Tripp be supplying its acoustic nanomaterials to other manufacturers?

We have an active licensing program with several technologies. Please contact us for more information.

I am a manufacturer. How can I find out about these materials for my application?

Please call us and we will discuss your application and, if appropriate, we will recommend one or more of our nanomaterials for that application.

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