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”)

Microphones

Microphones

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]

AntiqueRadios.com

AntiqueRadios.com

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

Radiomuseum.org

Radiomuseum.org

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]

Radiophile.com

Radiophile.com

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]

Radio-Guy

Radio-Guy

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 Neve Audio Suitcase Mixer, Microphone Mixer With (8) 34128 Modules2 Vintage Altec Peerless 4722 Mic Line Step Up Input Transformers McVintage Electro-voice 666 Microphone With Rare Connector2 Vintage Triad Hs-1 Mic Line Step Up Input Transformers Mc2 Vintage Rca Mi-12399 Mic Line Step Up Input Transformers McVintage Cobra 148gtl Cb Radio & Mic., Usb Am LsbVintage 1950's Smith Miller Mic Toy Official Tow TruckVintage 1940s Old Modernistic Turner Shark Fin Antique Mid Century MicrophoneVintage Shure Green Bullet 520 Mic, Old Bullet Harmonica Microphone, Blues Harp Vintage Cobra 148gtl Cb Radio & Mic., Usb Am Lsb, Doesn't Turn On2 X Microphone Akg D190e Vintage Austria Akgd190e D 190 E Free PostTelefunken/schoeps Cmv 51/9 Mic + Cmn 51/9 Psu + Cmkv 51/9 Cable No CapsuleVintage 1960s Old American Gem Mint Virgin Never Used Chrome Working MicrophoneVintage Nos Triad Hs-1 Mic Line Step Up Input Transformer McVtg Antique Golden Sennheiser Md421 Vintage Microphone #no Serial Md-421 UsedVintage 1960s Modernistic Lafayette Art Deco Mid Century Old Chrome Microphone Used Shure Unidyne 55sh Series Ii Classic Elvis Vintage Pro Vocal Mic MicrophoneVintage 1950s Astatic Art Deco Old Cb Ham Radio Mid Century Bullet Microphone Vintage Astatic T-3 Microphone Chrome Bullet In Original Box With Utc TransformrVintage Navy Pilot Flight Helmet Gentex Post-vietnam Microphone Dual Visors Vintage American Chrome Mid Century Art Deco Old Antique Harp MicrophoneSuper Rare Vintage Astatic Bullet Microphone C-2644 With Stand All ChromeVtg Altec Lansing 1567a Mixer Tube Pre Amp Microphone Amplifier Carry CaseVintage 1950's Smith Miller Mic Toy Official Dump Truck (amazing Condition)Vintage 1930s Old All Chrome Depression Era Machine Age Philco Microphone Electro-voice Ev 664 Vintage Dynamic Cardiod MicrophoneRca 77d Ribbon MicrophoneVery Scarce Shure 22n Double Button Carbon MicrophoneVintage Microphone Brown With Cord Astatic Biscuit ?? Art DecoVintage Astatic 200 Bullet Mic Microphone Shell Blues HarpWorking Rca Op-6 Vintage Portable Tube Mic Preamp Mi-11202-a - Priced To Sell!Beat A Diddle With Microphone Liddle Kiddle Doll Vintage 1966-67 Mattel Vintage Shure Bros. Crystal Microphone-mod. 98220-w/15ft Of Cord-harp Mic? Vintage Turner Microphone 40's? Cx Crystal Art Deco,music,bandVintage Turner Ssb +3 Microphone 2 Vintage Cobra 29ltd Classic Cb Radio With MicVintage Astatic Microphone Model 31 Working Shure Bros. Chicago S36Vintage Shure Revere Cr-81 Controlled Reluctance Harp Microphone Mic1 Vintage Rca Mi-12399 Mic Line Step Up Input Transformer McHarp Mic/microphone Rca Crystal Vintage Vintage Ge Shure Brothers Microphone Ham Cb Radio 97u29 Mike Base S36 Blue NrVintage Royce Cb Radio Ssb/am Am-usb-lsb, Tested And Working, Mic IncludedVintage Beyerdynamic M380 MicrophoneVintage Uniden Washington President Cb Radio 40-ch Am/ssb Transceiver Base & MicShure 55sh Series 2 Elvis MicrophoneVintage Electro Voice 635a MicrophoneVintage Turner Ssb +2 MicrophoneLot Of 2 Vintage Microphones Cb Ham RadioVintage Astatic Dn Hz Microphone - Art Deco 40s 50sradio Harp Bullet UntestedSuperb Nineteen Fifties Shure 51 MicrophoneVintage 1993 Astatic Golden Eagle Desk Microphone Sn00230 Diamond AnniversaryVintage Shure Bros Controlled Magnetic Model 444 Microphone. For Radio Or P.a.Astatic D104 Microphone Head Only Vintage Mic Parts Ham Cb Radio ( Last One )Vintage Turner Ssb +2 Microphone Vintage Rca Dog Ribbon Microphone Ashtray Cigarette Match Holder AntiqueExcellent Shure Pg-81 Condenser MicrophoneVintage Sbe Cb Ham Radio Base Station Mic MicrophoneVintage Turner Ssb +2 Microphone Transistorized Desktop Microphone WorkingNakamichi Cm300 Cm 300 Microphone W Cp-1 Cp-2 Capsules Case HolderVtg 1940s Western Electric 396a Chest Microphone Telephone Operator & Neck Strap

Recent News: Microphones

Source: Google News

Robbie Nicol: The Kiwi John Oliver
Stuff.co.nz, July 18th

If ever there was an era when the news needed explaining it's today and Robbie Nicol reckons he is the man for the job. Journalism 2015 is snackable and shareable. Cellphones battle newspapers and info-tainment is a word. On television, in place of ...Read more

Add vocal richness at no cost with our Mic Room and iRig Mic Studio giveaway
AppAdvice, July 14th

Tucked behind a sliding menu are further, less frequently adjusted, configuration options as well as a store to expand your microphone collection. Conveniently, Mic Room is compatible with a variety of input options, e.g., integrated iDevice microphone...Read more

Behind the Music of 'Minions': Watch
Billboard, July 13th

Much of Minions takes place in the '60s, so, when appropriate, Pereira recorded using vintage microphones from 50 years ago previously used by acts like The Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra. “It was an opportunity, in my own humble way, to pay homage to ...Read more

Mix Regional News: Bay Area
MIX, July 6th

According to Jeremy Goody, Megasonic Sound owner/engineer, Cogan brings “a wealth of knowledge—and some amazing vintage microphones—from his extensive time running the Bay Records facility in Berkeley.” Cogan has been busy on recent sessions ...Read more

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 of Tunes
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

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

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