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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Bankroll Fresh "Poppin Shit" Video
HotNewHipHop, February 6th

Bankroll Fresh is the night's headlining act, and he takes to the vintage microphone to drop some knowledge on what it means to be a gangster and a gentleman. Coming shortly after he put out his own film, "Take Over Your Trip," in which he starred, the...Read more

See Ashley Monroe's Soothing 'From Time to Time' at Sun Studio
RollingStone.com, February 4th

Surrounded by photos of the blues and country legends who recorded there and singing into one of the studio's vintage microphones, Monroe's measured performance shows she doesn't need state-of-the-art studio polish to make an emotional connection...Read more

Somewhere in the middle
Mountain View Voice, February 4th

The play opens on a sparse set (designed by Kuo-Hao Lo), consisting of a cold blue sky, the silhouette of rooftops, two framed windows, a park bench and a vintage microphone. We meet a character referred to as the "Mechanic," beautifully performed by ...Read more

Baker's Orange Doors opens doors to the musical mind
Cranbrook Daily Townsman, January 29th

With this new board all the scenes can be pre-programmed.” Bueckert says these new advances, plus a wonderful acoustic live room, several treated iso-booths and a comprehensive microphone collection have been getting the school attention from far and ...Read more

The Background Characters That Make The Force Awakens Come Alive
The Mary Sue, January 28th

Voiced by David Acord, GA-97's mouth looks and sounds basically like a vintage microphone ripped straight from the '40s and '50s (on our world). Alerting the Resistance to the location of BB-8, GA-97 is responsible for aiding in the eventual rescue of...Read more

Shuyler Jansen 'The Long Shadow' (album stream)
Exclaim!, January 20th

Edmonton-bred singer-songwriter Shuyler Jansen recently relocated to Vancouver and is revving up to release his latest LP The Long Shadow later this week. But before it officially hits shelves, Exclaim! is giving you an early listen to the album in its...Read more

Zayn Malik Goes Shirtless In Sexy New Italian Vogue Cover Shoot — See Pic
Hollywood Life, January 11th

Within the same hour, L'uomo Vogue posted another picture and soon after a third, but fans are already demanding more! The latest snapshot of the singer shows him more covered up than before, in front of a vintage microphone with a blurry, black and...Read more

Preview: Atlanta History Center's “Atlanta in 50 Objects” is as Eclectic as it ...
ArtsATL, January 11th

A vintage microphone, for example, from WSB is paired with a photo showing silent screen legend Rudolph Valentino during a 1923 broadcast from Atlanta. (Allegedly, it was the first time he was heard over the radio.) And there is definitely a sense of...Read more