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”)



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]

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

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]

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]



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    

Vintage Neumann Km64 Tube Microphone With N52t Psu Tlefunken Ac701 Plug And PlayVintage 1950s Old Rca Art Deco Antique Mid Century Ribbon Chrome MicrophoneBeautiful Classic Rca 77-dx Ribbon Microphone Rare Neumann M149 Microphone Set - Open Box New No Reserve (u87ai, U47, Vintage)Vintage Electro-voice V1 Or V2 Ribbon Velocity Ev Studio Mic Microphone WorkingRca 77 Antique Ribbon MicrophoneVintage 1960s Japanese Antique Art Deco Old Bakelite & Chrome Radio MicrophoneVtg Shure Unidyne Dynamic 55s Fat Boy Microphone Mic 1950's? Rare Rock-n-rollNeve 1081. Original Vintage Mic-pre Equalizer.Vintage Original Akg D12 Mic MicrophonePair Mv810 / 2 Mic-preamp Gdr Germany Gdr Neumann Tab SiemensVintage Akg D224c Two Way Dynamic Cardioid Studio Microphone.older Logo! Rare!!!Rca Microphone Junior Velocity Microphone - Vintage Mi-4036Vintage Shure Unidyne 55s Microphone Real Nice Shape !Sennheiser Md421 U4 Dynamic Professional Microphone Vintage.W Vtg Viet Nam Gentex Hgu 55 P Flight Helmet 12p Oxygen Mask, Mic Military PilotVintage Electro Voice 666 Microphone W/holder & Xlr CableAkg C451 Eb Vintage Cardioid Condenser Microphones (pair) - Early 90’sVintage Turner 211 Dynamic MicrophoneAltec 633 A "saltshaker" Microphone Rough Condition Vintage Pro AudioVintage 1940s Art Deco Modernistic Midcentury Antique American MicrophoneVintage 1920s Old Carbon Spring Double Button Metal Screen Radio Microphone !!!Wagner U47 Microphone With Vf14 Tube M7 CapsuleVintage Shure Microphone Element 99a86 Bb Mic/harmonica/harp High Impedence-usedVintage Shure Revere Cr81a Controlled Reluctance MicrophoneVintage Atlas-210x Solid State Transceiver With Base Station & Mic Clean!Vintage Sure Brothers Microphone Cr-81Vintage 1967 Altec Lansing 342b Tube Microphone Pa Amplifier Guitar Serviced WowVintage Agree` Ss3900 Super Star 3900 Cb Radio W/ Astatic D104-m6b MicrophoneVintage Custom Cobra 139 Cb Radio Base Station Ssb 40 Channel W Microphone L@@kVintage 1949? Microphone - Astatic 30?- Wood Handle, Biscuit Harp Mic?Vintage Shure Microphone Element 99a86 Bl Mic/harmonica/harp High Impedence-usedW Vintage Astatic Silver Eagle Microphone For Parts Or RepairWestern Electric 618a MicrophoneReslo Black Label Vintage British Ribbon Microphone Including Xlr Adapter CableVintage Vietnam Military Pilot Flight Helmet With MicrophoneVintage Rare Midland Model 79-892 Cb Radio 40 Channel With Ssb Microphone Box Astatic Jt-30 Microphone, Stem, Stand, And CordVintage Shure Model 330 Unidirectional Supercardioid Ribbon Microphone !! RareVintage Astatic Jt - 30 Wood Stem Bullet MicrophoneSbe Console Ii 2 23 Channel Ssb/cb Works Great Vintage Cb Transceiver With MicTurner #2 Transistorized Desk Power Microphone Vintage 9 Volt Without BatteryRca Double Button Carbon Microphone With NipperVintage Lafayette Dual Crystal Microphone With Box 99-4511 Rare Made In Japan Vintage Cobra 142 Gtl 40 Channel Cb Radio W/ Galaxy Microphone No AntennaSuperb Rca Bk-1a Broadcast MicrophoneVintage President Zachary "t" Cb Radio Base Station 40 Channel With MicrophoneVintage Astatic W-30 Microphone/sure'parts Or RepairW Vintage Astatic Model No D-104 Microphone For Parts Or RepairVtg 1950s Shure Brothers Model55s Unidyne Dynamic Microphone Mul-impedence WorksElectro Voice 661 Vintage Microphone & Case (re Series Components) No Reserve!Vtg Simpson Yellow Auto-racing Helmet Race Car Driver Motorcycle Mic+fast 7 5/8Vintage Revere Shure Brothers Model Cr-81a Controlled Reluctance MicrophoneShure 565sd Vintage Unisphere 1 Dynamic MicrophoneVintage Rca 44 B, Rca44b, 44b 44bx Ribbon Microphone, Mic1930'sNakamichi Vintage Microphone Package – Cm-300 And Cp-1,2,3 And 4. All Mint.Altec 1589b Vintage Microphone PreampVintage Alinco Desk Power Microphone For Ham Radio Transceivers, Working GreatNice Vintage Astatic K-2 Microphone With Shure S-41a Mic. Stand Included!!Vintage - Electro-voice Re10 Dynamic Supercardioid Microphone

Recent News: Microphones

Source: Google News

'The Voice': Meet Sawyer Fredericks
Niagara Frontier Publications, March 2nd

"It was almost as if you were singing into an old, vintage microphone, because it had that distorted, bad-@ss awesome sound," Blake added. "I just want to tell you that I think you're awesome," he said. "As soon as you started singing, that actually...Read more

Watch Anderson East Perform Forgotten Soul Song at Fame Studios, March 2nd

East mines that history on his upcoming debut, Delilah, where he hollers and howls over horns, upright piano, Wurlitzer organ and plenty of electric guitar. Producer Dave Cobb, whose vintage microphones lend a warm, analog-friendly glow to the sessions...Read more

Plenty of collectible microphones; plenty of collectors, too
Orillia Packet & Times, February 27th

Microphone collectors --- and there are legions of them -- tend to focus on the 1930s to 1960s as the prime period. Some collect vintage microphones because of their historical significance, and they look so good, but for most, the sound quality is...Read more

'The Voice' Season 8 Premiere Recap: C'mon, Get 'Happy'
Yahoo Music (blog), February 23rd

The Voice Season 8's premiere Monday night featured several stellar auditions, including a couple that inspired four-chair turnarounds. But the standout performance of the night actually came from a contestant who turned no chairs, after she got a...Read more

How did Hollywood's finest prepare for the Oscars?, February 22nd

The 2015 Academy Awards are finally upon us, and the red carpet is already awash with glammed-up stars of the big screen. But how does one prepare for such a momentous occasion? Here's our round up some of the best pre-ceremony updates from the ...Read more

Les Paul's "Black Beauty" Guitar Sells for $419900 at Auction
Exclaim!, February 20th

the auction catalog, "no other Les Paul guitars could exist in the form that we have come to know and love for all these decades." Other items of Paul's that went up for sale last night included a 16-track soundboard and vintage microphones from...Read more

Samson Meteor M2 speakers review
AndroidGuys, February 16th

The pair of speakers are completely surrounded by an aluminum shell, and provide the look of vintage microphones to be honest. Not that this is a bad thing, I actually really like the look of these speakers, as they are very unique. The M2's are...Read more

The Inventory: Philip Selway
Financial Times, February 6th

Yes. Both in the UK. Neumann U47 vintage microphone. Most wanted: a Neumann U47 vintage microphone. What would you like to own that you don't currently possess? A Neumann U47 vintage microphone in very good condition. I'd be in vocal heaven...Read more