The phrase “vintage microphone” usually prompts images of a beveled, rectangular device with a radio or TV station's call letters emblazoned on its top or side. These are the big mics Bing Crosby sang into, or that Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air used to scare the bejeezus out of millions of people with their broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" on October 30, 1938. Microphones, good ones anyway, make things real.

In fact, realism is exactly what a German electrical engineer named Georg Neumann was striving for when he came out with his bottle-shaped CMV3 condenser microphone in 1928. In 1932 he upgraded the mic by releasing the CMV3a, which allowed users to swap out the mic’s heads to pick up sounds from a single-direction (as in a cardioid microphone), two-directions (sometimes called figure-8s) and all directions (omni). After World War II, Neumann rebuilt his Berlin factory and by 1949 he’d released the U47, which was distributed internationally by Telefunken and favored by recording engineers throughout the 1950s and ’60s. Artists as varied as Frank Sinatra and The Beatles used the U47 in the recording studio.

While Neumann was pushing microphone technology in Europe, RCA was doing the same in the United States, especially during the 1930s, the golden era of radio, when it released a number of bi-directional ribbon microphones, including the Photophone and Velocity models. These ribbon microphones take their name from the .0001-inch thick piece of corrugated aluminum (the ribbon) that’s placed between the ends of a horseshoe-shaped magnet. Another iconic ribbon microphone of the prewar period was the BBC-Marconi Type A, which was designed by a BBC technician named Dr. Alexander and manufactured by Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co. of London.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Microphones

Microphones

Testing 1, 2, 3. Stan Coutant's tribute to the vintage mic is clear and vibrant. Start at the table of contents fo… [read review or visit site]

The Vintage Knob

The Vintage Knob

The Vintage Knob is an extensive resource on all types of audio electronics organized by manufacturer, from Aiwa to… [read review or visit site]

Jim's Antique Radio Museum

Jim's Antique Radio Museum

Jim Tripp's showcase of radios from the 1920s to late 1950s, organized by style and theme (wood, console, plastic, … [read review or visit site]

The Radio Attic's Archives

The Radio Attic's Archives

This photo gallery of over 7800 vintage radios, categorized by manufacturer and model number, is a group effort wit… [read review or visit site]

AntiqueRadios.com

AntiqueRadios.com

Alan Voorhees' reference resource for vintage radio collectors includes a photo gallery, article library, PDF archi… [read review or visit site]

Radiomuseum.org

Radiomuseum.org

This vast archive and community of radio collectors features over 120,000 radio model listings and 350,000 photos a… [read review or visit site]

Phil's Old Radios

Phil's Old Radios

This extensive collection of antique radios includes beautiful photos and detailed historical descriptions. The sit… [read review or visit site]

Radiophile.com

Radiophile.com

John Pelham's collection of wood and plastic radios from the 1930's and 40's. What sets this site apart is the deta… [read review or visit site]

Radio-Guy

Radio-Guy

Steve Erenberg's extremely wacky and well-done collection of vintage mad-scientist devices and contraptions. Writte… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Neumann Km 86i Mt Vintage Fet Condenser Microphone. A Pair Of Akg C 414 Eb Vintage Condenser Microphone Excellent Cond - AustriaVintage 1920s Old Antique Radio Antique Pre Depression Carbon Spring MicrophoneRca 77dx Broadcasting Microphone 1940's Amarillo TexasVtg Ev Electrovoice Model 666 Microphone Mic Cannon Ua 3-11 Connector Not TestedVintage Rca Ribbon Microphone Mic Mi-4095-a Type 77 D & 91b Stand Tested Works2x Tab V72a Microphone Tube AmplifierAkg C 12 Vr Vintage Reissue Tube Microphone (neumann Telefunken Sony Shure Blue)Vintage Astatic Jt-30 Bullet Blues Harp Microphone Mic With 26 Feet Of CordVintage 1953 Shure 55s Microphone Elvis Mic Very Clean, With Original Cable NrVintage Astatic T-3 MicrophoneVintage Shure Brothers 55 Fatboy MicrophoneVintage Shure Brothers 707a Bullet Harp Mic Harmonica MicrophoneVintage Shure 556s Microphone Elvis Mic, Clean, With Box, Papers & Tag NrVintage Shure 55s Microphone Elvis Mic Very Clean, With Original Cable NrVintage 1930's Rare Bruno Velocity Ribbon Microphone Antique Old Nr Vintage 1981 The Dukes Of Hazzard Record Player & Record & Mini Microphone Vintage Mic Smith Miller Ironson 10 Wheel Hydraulic Dump Truck Parts Or RestoreVtg Unidyne Dynamic Microphone 556b Usa Shure Bros Broken Repair As Is #1Vintage Astatic 10-d MicrophoneVintage 1953 Shure 55s Microphone Elvis Mic Very Clean, With Original Cable NrEcholette Ed12/200 Akg D12 Kick Drum Bass Microphone VintageVintage 50s Turner Art Deco Mid Century Old Modernistic Radio MicrophoneVintage Shure Brown Bullet Crystal Microphone Tab U73 Microphone Tube Kompressor LimiterVintage Microphone. 1950's Australian Made Zephyr - Shure 55 Style. Working.Vintage 1930's Rare Bruno Velocity Ribbon Microphone Antique Radio Broadcast MicVintage Rca Broken Repair As Is Rca Dynamic Sk-1003 MicrophoneVintage Microphone CollectionEv Electro-voice Re16 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone VintageVintage Turner S33d Dynamic Microphone Art Deco Hi-z Harp Mic Retro Cool MintyVintage Turner Plus 3 B Ham Cb Radio MicrophoneVtg Ev 666—667—642 Microphone Mic Cable W/ Cannon Ua 3-11 Connectors Not TestedVintage Dukane 7a65 Microphone By Shure, 55s Elvis MicVintage 1940s Old Modernistic Turner Antique Mid Century MicrophoneElectro-voice Mercury 611 Dynamic Omni-virectional Microphone Art Deco NoirVintage Shure Brothers 99b86 High Impedance Microphone ElementVintage Uniden Washington Cb Radio Base Station + Vintage Cobra MicrophoneVintage 1950's Era Shure 55s Unidyne Dynamic Microphone Old Antique Elvis?Vintage Robyn Sb-520d Cb Base Mobile Transceiver Radio W Mic Excellent ConditionAstatic 575 M-6 Microphone Vintage In Original PackagingShure 55s Unidyne Dynamic Microphone Vintage Antique Elvis Tabletop DesktopVintage Turner +2 Microphone Transistorized Desktop Desk Cb Ham Radio Mic 5 Pin Vintage Atlas Sound Corps 45'' Microphone Stand&triangular 10'' Base W/ SupportsVintage 50's Astatic 77l Dynamic Microphone For Repair 77Vintage Rare Shure Brothers 9846b Brown Crystal Bullet Microphone MicVintage Kenwood Mc-60 Ham Radio MicrophoneVintage Shure Brothers Model 51 Multi Impedance MicrophoneVintage Electro-voice Model 664 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone -harp MicCollins W/ Cord Vintage Metal Dynamic Microphone #5952 Collins Radio CoElectro Voice Vintage Ev 664 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone! No Reserve!!Two American D-22 Microphones Beautiful Cosmetics Complete Not WorkingVintage Kenner Star Wars Figure Original Parts - Max Rebo Instrument MicrophonesVintage Electro-voice 635a Dynamic Omni-directional Professional Harp MicrophoneVintage Electro-voice 635a Dynamic Omni-directional Professional MicrophoneRca Condenser Microphone Unit Type Uz-4083-b Element Type For Rca 4aa MicrophoneVintage Turner Crystal Vt73 Bullet Harp Mic. Choice Of 1/4", Rca Or Coax Input.Vintage Electrovoice 664 Microphone Microphone With 16 Ft Cord & AdapterVintage Astatic Crystal MicrophonePoly Comm 23 (polytronics) Vintage Cb Tube Radio - Base Station With Microphone

Recent News: Microphones

Source: Google News

Watch Tyrese And Jennifer Hudson Take Us Back To The 60's In "Shame" Video
Vibe, June 30th

Hudson, dressed from head to toe in 60's garb channeled somewhat The Supremes with a big gray vintage microphones to match. While the Motown era inspired performance went on we also see brief interludes of Tyrese caught red-handed in the act...Read more

Songbyrd Music House Opens in AdMo with Burgers, Whiskey-Ades, and Plenty ...
Washingtonian.com (blog), June 30th

Bars on both floors pour straightforward cocktails like Green Hat gin and tonics or “whiskey-ade (whiskey, lemonade, ginger syrup), or beers from taps outfitted with vintage microphones. Like at the adjoining Record Café, chef Matthew Richardson...Read more

On Stage: Summer concert schedule 'heats up' across region
The Unionville Times, June 26th

Both my studios have pretty neat old gear — amazing vintage microphones and old guitar amps. And, we have digital too. With this album, we recorded digital and then the last stop was to go analog. The basic rules of western swing are fiddle, steel...Read more

Musical entrepreneur says Nambour is ready for arts revival
The Sunshine Coast Daily, June 22nd

The best part of ElevenPM isn't the tasteful nod to the past, with emerald walls and vintage microphones. Nor is it the old mixing desk, or meticulously planned layout. It's Pete. Pete has been classically trained in piano, violin and vocals from the...Read more

Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons – World Café Live, Philadelphia PA 6/11/15 ...
Glide Magazine, June 16th

Turner sang through what a appeared to be vintage microphones, and the songwriter cruised through his set with original songs that included, “See How Far I Get”, “I Killed the Girl (Because She was Killing Me)” and “Long Gone”. Turner channeled his...Read more

For fans of talented singing sisters, reason for their success is no secret
The Daily Progress, June 12th

They brought in Nashville session players and recorded on old-school equipment, including a vintage microphone and vintage tape. There were no computers, no bells and whistles, just two young singers who produced a sound and album from a bygone era ...Read more

Qi Zhong Tian
Time Out Hong Kong, June 7th

When we enter, lotus-themed ceiling plaster continues the ancient Chinese theme, but the chandeliers, a gramophone and a vintage microphone seem to indicate a more recent part of Chinese history. The menu doesn't reflect anything to do with ancient ...Read more

Stephen Bartlett on the pros and cons of vintage microphones
Audio Media International, March 24th

Producer and engineer steps into the classic vs modern debate and explains what to look out for when making a mic purchase. Producer and engineer Stephen Bartlett steps into the vintage versus modern debate and looks at how the choice of microphone ...Read more