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

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' 8 Blind Audition: Could 15-yr-old Sawyer Fredericks win it all?
Examiner.com, February 25th

Shelton said it sounded like Fredericks was "singing into an old vintage microphone." In the end, Fredericks chose Pharrell Williams for his coach. This prompted the Grammy winner to do a little dance to celebrate and Adam Levine to walk off the set...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?
BreakingNews.ie, 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 Wood Brothers | Eugene, OR | Review
Grateful Web, February 11th

At one point, the trio amplified the intimacy of their amazing set with an antique microphone, “Big Mike,” which enabled quiet echoes of “radio days.” The Brothers huddled around “Big Mike” and cunningly drew the crowd even closer. Chris released his...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