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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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

The summer concert schedule is in full swing right now and that means there is a tasty smörgåsbord of live music at various venues over the next week that is guaranteed to sate fans' appetites. Texas is represented by a veteran outlaw country singer...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