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.

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Recent News: Microphones

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Art, Nudity, and Porn: Zieroff's Back Door Befuddles and Entertains
The Daily Gazette, September 24th

The robed man proceeded to insert his vintage microphone and stand, which also purposed as a flashlight, into her buttocks. Immediately, a black, eyeless infant appeared on the woman and frantically wailed. Following this, the show slowly started to...Read more

Cold Blue Water introduces CD
Redwood Times, September 22nd

Bs' main focus for his band is the authentic sounds of the bands he grew up on; their sound comes from playing through vintage Les Paul guitars, tube amps, Leslie speakers and vintage microphones, not through fancy, modern-effects pedals. The night ...Read more

Mullet River Boys bring fast-paced bluegrass
Rapid City Journal, September 20th

Aided by their vintage microphones, the Mullet River Boys have a sound that is truly reminiscent of another era. The croony jazz vocals blend beautifully with their blue-grass beat and swinging trumpet. This lively bluegrass band will entertain the...Read more

Dollhouse brings Lolipop Records tour to Savannah's Hang Fire
Savannah Morning News, September 10th

At their homebase in Los Angeles, Lolipop's retail space is joined to an all-analog recording studio, outfitted with a full collection of vintage gear, including enough tape machines, tube compressors and vintage microphones to make gear nerds and...Read more

Butch Vig Talks 'Sonic Highways': Foo Fighter's 'Epic' New Album And HBO ...
93XRT Radio, August 30th

They laid down the first track on the album at Steve Albini's studio Electrical Audio which Vig noted as having an impressive microphone collection and being 'not posh or super fancy, but really well appointed.' Other stops on the recording tour did...Read more

Asbury Park's Bank on Mattison hosts comedy open mic
Asbury Park Press, August 28th

There's an old saying attributed to the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.'' And there's a new saying attributed to the obscure comedy correspondent Ed Kaz: "A career in comedy begins with a single...Read more