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

Source: Google News

Andrew Combs, 'Nothing To Lose'
WPSU, January 26th

In an elegantly rumpled suit jacket and loosened bolo tie, Combs sings into a vintage microphone. He needs a shave. "Pride got the best of me; she took the rest of me," he murmurs as the music swirls around him. The camera pans to reveal Combs's band; ...Read more

Go Out This Week: Ricky Skaggs, 'The 78 Project Movie,' Tournées French Film ...
Memphis Commercial Appeal, January 26th

The movie follows filmmakers Alex Steyermark (who shot the punk-rock comedy “Losers Take All” in Memphis) and Lavinia Jones Wright as they travel around the country, armed with a vintage microphone, an authentic 1930s Presto direct-to-acetate disc ...Read more

Fans remember Elvis as a legend on his 80th birthday
Republican & Herald, January 7th

On a sunny afternoon in April, he got the chance to stand behind a vintage microphone Elvis Presley used in January 1954 when he began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label, recording songs including a cover of Arthur “Big Boy” ...Read more

Track By Track: Blue King Brown – 'Born Free'
Tone Deaf, January 6th

Capturing the roots reggae feel of 'Rize Up' onto the recorded format was important to us and we had a lot of fun using all the vintage microphones, amps and instruments that Sing Sing has on offer. Lyrically this track captures the underlying theme of...Read more

The Great BBC Sell-off: latest auction raises more than £200000
The Guardian, January 2nd

The slew of quirky collectable items included historical broadcast equipment, such as a vintage microphone embossed with the BBC logo which sold for £862, and items from Studio 8, where Fawlty Towers and Monty Python's Flying Circus were filmed...Read more

Classic Tracks: The Making of LeAnn Rimes' “Blue”
MIX, December 30th

Muhair's electric guitars were recorded direct through a DigiTech RP-1 effects processor. When it came to capturing LeAnn's voice, a few different microphones were used—having access to the Norman Petty microphone collection allowed for many choices...Read more

A Miracle on 34th Street Classic Radiocast: Penfold Theatre's well-executed ...
Austin Chronicle, December 17th

The Old Settlers Hall in Round Rock is dressed to transport audience members to radio studios of yore: black curtain backdrops, a Foley table, three vintage microphones, and even a light-up 'Applause' sign. The actors play (or voice, really) a myriad...Read more

SpinArt Co-Founder Dealing Ecstatic Electric, Vintage Microphones
SonicScoop, June 17th

“I happened to know the guy who owned the VintageMicrophones.com domain name, so I got it from him and started the site. Ecstatic Electric is still going strong, and now Vintage Microphones is open to the public for boutique microphone and pro audio ...Read more