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    

Embossed Fender Road Worn Guitar Sign Stratocaster Case Sunburst Strings MobilShure 556 Vintage "fatboy Elvis" Mic; Very Nice; No ReserveVintage 1940s Near Mint Western Electric Old Ribbon Microphone Tested & WorksB&o Bm3, Vintage Ribbon MicrophoneVintage Radio Station Rca 44 Ribbon Microphone W/ Type 91-c Desk StandVintage Telefunken / Schoeps Cm 61 Condenser Tube Microphone + Mic Stand Boxes Sm7b Professional Vocal Broadcast Mic Shure Sm-7b Sm7 BVintage Akg D202e "sound Rocket" Cardioid Dynamic Studio Microphone; No ReserveAkg C414 B-uls Vintage Condenser Microphone Free Insured Shipping W/ Buy It NowVintage Rca 41-b Tube Mic Preamp Rca 44 Ribbon Recording Western Electric 1930'sVintage Nakamichi Cm300 Microphone System; No ReserveAkg D25 Vintage MicrophonesVintage Electro-voice 950 Cardax Crystal Microphone W Stand; Minty; No ReserveVintage 40's Shure Bros. 55c Microphone With Shure S36 Desk Stand-works Great!Vintage Turner Plus Three 3 B Microphone Base Cb Ham Radio Amplified 4 Pin MicVintage Shure 330 Studio Ribbon MicrophoneVery Nice Shure 315 Ribbon MicrophoneVintage Microphone Lot For Parts Or Repair Brush Electro Voice Shure LqqkEmbossed Fender Road Worn Guitar Sign Stratocaster Case Sunburst Strings MobilAltec 689b Vintage Cardioid Microphone; No ReserveVintage Akg C460b Condenser Mic W/ck61 Cardioid CapsuleSuperb 1953 Shure 55s Elvis MicrophoneVintage Electro-voice 664 Rare "gold" Cardioid Dynamic Microphone: No ReserveAntique Vintage 1920's Universal Microphone Great Conditon Englewood California639a Western Electric Ribbon Mic With 18 Ft. Cord & 3 Prong Switchcraft AdapterVintage Shure Model 55sw Microphone - For Parts RepairVintage Shure Cr-81 Microphone.Vintage Rca Varacoustic Ribbon MicAstatic Silver Eagle Vintage Microphone Cb Ssb RadiosAntique Ecco Spring Suspension Microphone Mic Holder Vintage Radio Old Nr!Vintage American Microphone Co. Model D9at - Mic + Stand Vintage Astatic Mic LotVintage Astatic Microphone With Original Package Never UsedVintage Electro Voice Microphone Model 666 Rare!!! Free Shipping!!!Incredible Old Shure Space Age MicrophoneLarge Vintage Antique Microphone 200 Ohm Chinese? With Wooden Case Unique Look!!Vintage Rca Rack With Three Tube Microphone Pre AmplifiersVintage Shure 55s Elvis Rockabilly Mic AuthenticVintage Shure Brothers Controlled Reluctamoe Microphone Model Cr, RecorderVintage-shure 555-unidyne Dynamic Microphone-vocal-broadcast-ham-rockabilly-nrVintage Shure 508c 508 C Stratoliner Hi-z Dynamic Ribbon Microphone Bullet MicSennheiser Md421-u-5 Professional Cardioid Dynamic Microphone Vintage No ReserveElectrovoice Ev Re15 Rare 1970s Vintage Hyper-cardioid Dynamic MicrophoneVintage Electro-voice Model 630 Microphone Classic Harmonica Mic Bullet Style !!Vtg Turner Ssb +2 Transistorized Microphone Cb Base Station Ham Radio Desk Mic Vintage Elvis-like Electro-voice Cardax Chrome Microphone With Box Model 950Altec Lansing MicrophoneVintage Shure Model 315 Ribbon Microphone W Chord & StandVintage Shure Brothers Model 300 Gradient Bi Directional MicrophoneVintage Shure Green Bullet 440 Harmonica MicVintage Rare Model A Bullet Mic Astatic Jt-30 Type Microphone Serial # A 9359Awesome Vintage Astatic Golden Eagle Base Station Or Tabletop MicrophoneMilab Vm-41 Super-rare Cardioid Condensor Microphone Pre-vm44Vintage Shure Unidyne Directional Model U10s (bogen Sound Systems) MicrophoneElectro-voice 635 A MicrophoneVintage Shure S36 Microphone Stand Green Bullet Harp Harmonica 520 Rca AstaticVintage Neumann U87 Ai Vintage Professional Condenser Studio MicrophoneVintage President Zachary T Cb Radio Base Station W. 2 Microphones Astatic Electro-voice V-3 Velocity MicrophoneVintage Teisco Dm -301 Dynamic Microphone Made In Japan

Recent News: Microphones

Source: Google News

Industrialighting, a Nashville Based Custom Lighting Studio, Is Announcing Its ...
PR Web (press release), November 25th

The Vintage Microphone light has been hand crafted and specifically designed to reflect the spirit of the melodies that many of the customers have become attached to over the years. Each light is handmade and will now contain a 20-year extended life...Read more

'Question De Son' Studios In Paris Choose Amadeus For Acoustic Design And ...
Music Indistry News Network, November 20th

We build up vintage audio peripherals, our microphone collection goes from the 1940's to now, and some of our musical instruments date from our grandparents' generation," states sound engineer, producer and Question de Son Studios' co-founder Frederic ...Read more

Wednesday Video Spotlight: JD McPherson to release sophomore LP "Let the ...
NewsOK.com, November 19th

As previously reported, McPherson worked with producer Mark Neill on his follow-up to his 2010 breakout “Signs and Signfiers,” which he recorded with Jimmy Sutton of the roots music label Hi-Style Records using vintage microphones and a Berlant ...Read more

It's A Wonderful Life on the air at the Studio...
www.insideottawavalley.com/, November 14th

Imagine this: the stage of the Studio Theatre becomes a 1940s radio studio, complete with vintage microphones, a sound effects person (who primes your imagination with creaking doors, barking dogs, and footsteps in the snow) a live organist and, of...Read more

JD McPherson has his hometown covered with Cain's Ballroom gig in Tulsa
NewsOK.com, November 13th

McPherson, 37, got to pay homage to his favorite music with his 2010 debut album “Signs & Signifiers,” which he recorded with Jimmy Sutton of the roots music label Hi-Style Records using vintage microphones and a Berlant reel-to-reel recorder from the...Read more

Frigid Touch to Play CD Release Show at Mahall's
Cleveland Scene Weekly, November 13th

“While it was indeed recorded and mixed on a laptop, I used to run a recording studio, so there's my collection of vintage microphones, guitars and keyboards sprinkled throughout. We have always had a DIY approach. We shoot our own videos and do our ...Read more

Television Centre memorabilia sale raises thousands
BBC News, November 9th

Television Centre was built in 1960. The BBC sold it to developers in 2012 and moved operations to other buildings. Among the lots sold were a vintage microphone and a test card. Items from Studio 8 - which housed classic shows such as Fawlty Towers...Read more

Garret Players Set To Take Audiences Back In Time With "Vintage Hitchcock: A ...
WOUB, November 4th

Written by Joe Landry and directed by Dan Steele, the play is set in a 1940s metropolitan radio station, complete with vintage microphones and "on-air" and "applause" signs. Five actors will play radio personalities who perform Alfred Hitchcock radio...Read more