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    

Pair Of Electro-voice 729sr Cardioid Microphones Stands 60s 70s Clean In BoxNeumann U47 Tube 1959 Vintage Microphone Estate Find No Issues Checked Out 100%Vintage Microphone Collection: Rca, Shure,astatic, EvExtra Special Rca 74-b Ribbon Microphone Neumann U67 Original Vintage Tube Mic Set W/stephen Paul 3 Micron ModificationsTelefunken Neumann U67 Vintage Tube MicrophoneShure Sm7b MicrophoneNice Vintage Sennheiser Professional Microphone Mic - Dynamic - Model Md421-u-5Galaxy Pluto Cb Radio $1 No Reserve As Is Parts Repair Vintage Cobra MicRare Vintage Russian Vacuum Tube Condenser Microphone Oktava Mk-13m Look! Vintage Astatic Jt-30 Crystal Harp Microphone - Tested &working Great!! Clean!Neumann Km84 I Vintage Microphone With CaseVintage Astatic Silver Eagle Mic & Box Microphone Desk Cb Ham Radio Old CrystalVintage 1950's Electro-voice Model 611 MicrophoneVintage Ev Electro Voice Model 664 Microphone Vintage Original Smith Miller Mic Ironson Yellow Dump TruckVintage Electro-voice Re10 MicrophoneRca 5b Ribbon Microphone With Rca Desk StandVintage Astatic 77 MicrophneVintage Turner Ssb +2 Transistorized Microphone Cb Ham Works.Vintage Tube Amp Microphone Input Transformers Triad Hs1 PairPair Vintage Altec M30 Tube Microphones Condenser Cardioid Tested No Ps2-groove Tubes Mp-1 Mic Preamps W/power SupplyVintage Mic Shure 546 Unidyne Iii Microphone 545 SinatraVintage Sennheiser Microphone Made In GermanyVintage Turner "cd" Crystal Microphone - Non Working. No Dents.Vintage Sears Ssb Roadtalker 40 Base Cb Radio Model 934.3831 With MicrophoneAltec 1592a Mixer Mic Preamp (2) 1588a Microphone (2) 15095 Pre With CaseB-stock Kam R3 Ribbon Mic With Warm Vintage ToneVintage Turner "bx" Crystal Microphone - Non-working. Original Brown Paint.Shure Model 440sl Controlled Magnetic High Impedance Microphone On Desk StandPair Vintage Altec M53 Microphones Condenser 201a 42a CardioidVintage Rare 1952 Shure Unidyne 55s Elvis Presley Microphone Super CondtionVintage Microphone Crystal Brown Bullet, Harp Harmonica Mic Art DecoTruly Vintage Microphone Shure Electrovoice ? Studio Used Band Guitar Music CordLot Of 3 Vintage Ham / Amateur Radio / Cb Base Station Microphones Mic RealisticVintage Shure 707a Bullet Harmonica Microphone W/ 99a94 ElementVintage Altec M49 Microphone Parts Only Not WorkingVintage Shure 55s Microphone-excellent Original-no ReserveVintage Us Army Signal Corps Radio, Microphone & Loudspeaker Ww Ii ~ KoreaVintage Astatic # D-104 Microphone And Astatic T-ug8 Microphone StandVintage 1930s Era Shure Model 560 Crystal Microphone With Vintage Stand.Vintage 1960's Calrad 500 C Crystal Microphone Pill Style-japanese-rca W/standVintage Marshall Mxl V77 Tube Microphone System Complete In Carry Around BoxVintage Electro Voice Re11 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone XlrVintage Electro Voice Model 664 MicrophoneNib Rca Look-a-like Pill MicrophoneAstatic Bullet Model 200 Microphone 1948 ‘velvet Voice’Vintage Neumann Km Series Leather Mic Case W/ KeyVintage Electro Voice Mercury Microphone Model 911Rca Mi-6203-b " Lo" Microphone - Vintage - For Parts Or Repair Vintage Ronette R510(?) Crystal Microphone - Tested &working Great!! Clean!Very Early Rca MicrophoneVintage Astatic D-104 Microphone Vgc TestedHeil Sound The Fin Vintage Live Recording Broadcast Microphone Black Red LedVintage Shure Mic 548 Hand Held Microphone Unidyne Iv 58 545 Zepplin Plant1948 Astatic Microphone With Box And InstructionsVintage, Original, Shure Microphone Model 444dVintage Wgn Radio Tv Chicago Microphone Flag Only Rca 44 Western Electric 633aTl Audio - Pa-2 - Duel Valve Mic Preamp / Di - Vintage - Free Freight Usa

Recent News: Microphones

Source: Google News

Bankroll Fresh "Poppin Shit" Video
HotNewHipHop, February 6th

Bankroll Fresh is the night's headlining act, and he takes to the vintage microphone to drop some knowledge on what it means to be a gangster and a gentleman. Coming shortly after he put out his own film, "Take Over Your Trip," in which he starred, the...Read more

See Ashley Monroe's Soothing 'From Time to Time' at Sun Studio
RollingStone.com, February 4th

Surrounded by photos of the blues and country legends who recorded there and singing into one of the studio's vintage microphones, Monroe's measured performance shows she doesn't need state-of-the-art studio polish to make an emotional connection...Read more

Somewhere in the middle
Palo Alto Online, February 4th

The play opens on a sparse set (designed by Kuo-Hao Lo), consisting of a cold blue sky, the silhouette of rooftops, two framed windows, a park bench and a vintage microphone. We meet a character referred to as the "Mechanic," beautifully performed by ...Read more

Baker's Orange Doors opens doors to the musical mind
Cranbrook Daily Townsman, January 29th

With this new board all the scenes can be pre-programmed.” Bueckert says these new advances, plus a wonderful acoustic live room, several treated iso-booths and a comprehensive microphone collection have been getting the school attention from far and ...Read more

The Background Characters That Make The Force Awakens Come Alive
The Mary Sue, January 28th

Voiced by David Acord, GA-97's mouth looks and sounds basically like a vintage microphone ripped straight from the '40s and '50s (on our world). Alerting the Resistance to the location of BB-8, GA-97 is responsible for aiding in the eventual rescue of...Read more

Christina Aguilera's 'Back to Basics' & The Vision of Her Riskiest Album
fuse.tv, January 27th

There was the Andrews Sisters-inspired "Candyman," the burlesque romp "Nasty Naughty Boy," the old-timey intro of "Enter the Circus"/"Welcome" and, most remarkably, "I Got Trouble," which was recorded with a vintage microphone to give off a Billie ...Read more

Shuyler Jansen 'The Long Shadow' (album stream)
Exclaim!, January 20th

Edmonton-bred singer-songwriter Shuyler Jansen recently relocated to Vancouver and is revving up to release his latest LP The Long Shadow later this week. But before it officially hits shelves, Exclaim! is giving you an early listen to the album in its...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