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

Google presents interactive web tour of Abbey Road Studios
Entertainment Weekly (blog), April 15th

Let it be known that Abbey Road Studios can now be seen across the universe via a new interactive website presented by Google. Inside Abbey Road lets you take a virtual tour of almost every inch of one of the most famous recording studios—host to ...Read more

Sawyer Fredericks talks about his latest advance on 'The Voice'
Albany Times Union, April 9th

"It was almost as though you were singing into an old vintage microphone, because it had that distorted, bad-ass, awesome sound," Shelton told him. Williams sounded the same note: "As soon as you started singing, that actually took me to another time...Read more

Why I'm not buying an Apple Watch... yet
ZDNet, April 9th

With Apple now primed to start taking preorders for the Apple Watch, it's time for me to answer a question that I've been asked a bazillion times since the product was announced. Must See Gallery. The best HDMI operating system sticks. There's a new...Read more

Michael Des Barres Puts His Heart on His Sleeve for 'The Key to the Universe'
PopMatters, April 9th

During the recording, Des Barres sung his vocals into vintage microphones dating back to World War II, lending that sense of authenticity to the process. “I sang the whole album in [what] was the most exquisite week I've ever spent creatively,” he says...Read more

'Eleanor, the First Lady of Radio' premieres Friday
Lynchburg News and Advance, April 8th

AGAR's Lynn Kable said in the release she is excited about borrowing a vintage microphone from the WAMV Radio in Amherst for the production. “Bob Langstaff, the station's general manager, hardly ever lets that antique out of his sight, because he loves...Read more

Pet sound: Mavericks' Raul Malo falls for mono, April 7th

The 12-song release was recorded — in mostly live single performances, in monoaural sound, with limited overdubbing — at Nashville's Blackbird Studio, famous for its collection of vintage microphones and other equipment. Malo was joined by guitarist ...Read more

'Hound of Baskervilles' comes alive for Sherlockians, March 27th

Raconteur Radio is a Metuchen-based troupe that stages radio-style dramas, complete with sound effects, music cues and actors in period costumes standing in front of a vintage microphone. On April 10 at Madeline's in Bound Brook, the actors will...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