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

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A Modern Mic For That U47 Sound
Sonic State, August 13th

Studios and individuals who want the timeless 47 sound will find it in the Bock 407 at half the price of a vintage unit and without the reliability and serviceability issues for which vintage microphones are so horribly notorious. Indeed, David Bock...Read more

Martina McBride to Play Van Wezel, 10/16
Broadway World, August 12th

Everlasting features powerful interpretations of iconic soul songs and pays tribute to the original 1950s and 60s recording process by utilizing vintage microphones, instruments, amps and recording equipment. In support of the new album, the live tour...Read more

Bock Audio Announces Bock 407 – New Tube Microphone With Vintage U47 ...
SonicScoop, August 12th

David Bock, the man behind Bock Audio, has designed a series of microphones to reproduce the stunning characteristics of vintage microphones we've all come to know and love. Bock's design goals are to accurately reproduce these expensive microphones ...Read more

Summer Jamboree: mercoledì la festa non si ferma in città
Vivere Senigallia, August 5th

Il Contrabbasso Slappato, Batteria ridotta all'osso, Chitarre Telecaster or Gretsch, Chitarra acustica e Vintage Microphone. Gli STRIKE in 6 anni di assidua attività hanno circa 750 Live in giro per la Sicilia e per tutta la penisola. Date su date...Read more

Super friends
Reno News & Review, July 31st

The Bonfire Set's fascination with '60s and '70s rock 'n' roll is evident in the recording process, as they used vintage equipment to forge their own retro sound. Vintage microphones and recording equipment, and a bonafide Hammond organ are a few...Read more

Rockin' it old-school: Musician converts recording studio from digital to analog
Spartanburg Herald Journal, July 27th

Matthew Knights. Matthew Knights adjusts his newly acquired antique microphone, "Gladys," for musician Brandon Turner at County Line Studios. TIM KIMZEY/ By Dan Armonaitis. Published: Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 3:15 a.m.. Last Modified...Read more

McBrides wanted 'Everlasting' perfection
The Tennessean, July 24th

Vintage microphones, some more than 60 years old, were also carefully selected to capture Martina McBride's famous, soulful voice. blackbird-studio. Blackbird Studio in Berry Hill is a monument to recording technology and audio engineering. Fleetwood...Read more

ON THE RECORD: 'Farewell Tours' all about $$
Troy Record, July 22nd

Famed broadcaster Curt Gowdy made some introductory remarks over Fenway Park's public address system from a vintage microphone, stationed near home plate. Williams then briefly addressed the crowd, such as it was. In all, the entire ceremony lasted ...Read more