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

Artist of the Week: Emmit Brooks
Las Cruces Sun-News, May 22nd

Emmit Brooks, here working on a recording by NMSU jazz musicians, incorporates his vintage microphones with the latest in digital recording advances. (Photos by Jett Loe — Sun-News). Click photo to enlarge. Wrought-iron musical notes offer a clue to ...Read more

Leon Bridges "Better Man" (video)
Exclaim!, May 12th

There's a very good chance that this year will belong to Fort Worth, Texas soul sensation Leon Bridges, whose early singles have us anticipating his Coming Home LP and whose live show is blowing minds. Before we get more new music from the impossibly ...Read more

What's happening around town this weekend
Sydney Morning Herald, May 8th

MUSIC. CLASSICAL. Toru Takemitsu's composition Nostalghia is a tribute to the final film made by Soviet cinematic giant Andrei Tarkovsky, and harks back to the filmmaker's signature mood and style. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will perform ...Read more

Studio Spotlight: Parr Street, Liverpool
Audio Media International, May 1st

We also have an enviable microphone collection including a rare valve Neumann M269 (the European version of the U67). "Studio A's large control room is based around a stunning Neve VR60 Legend. Recording is taken care of via Pro Tools HD or a Studer ...Read more

Nightcrawler: Jam at The Roadhouse in Airmont
The Journal News | LoHud.com, April 30th

He also has a collection of vintage microphones behind the bar. •On tap: They keep it local with a selection of New York brewed beers – Defiant, Newburgh East Kölsch, Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale and Single Cut Jan Olympic White. Oh, and of ...Read more

Bob Dylan creates nocturnal mood at Saenger Theatre
The New Orleans Advocate, April 30th

Having recently released a set of standards, he cast himself as a vaudeville-era crooner not just by looking the part — a gambler's suit with one hand dipped into a coat pocket, the other leaning a vintage microphone stand his way — but also in...Read more

Festival's strong Americana offering
Shetland News, April 29th

Created live around a few vintage microphones in Michigan last autumn, the instrument-swapping four-piece's newest, overdub-free work provides the perfect vehicle for frontwoman Lindsay Lou's sweet vocal delivery. Speaking to Shetland News at the ...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