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    

Vintage Sennheiser Md 421-u-4 Microphone W/ Storage Case & ClipVintage Astatic Jt-30 Mid Century Art Deco Old Antique Bullet Harp MicrophoneVintage Shure 55 Sw Microphone W/ StandVintage Shure Brothers, Inc. Microphone Model 55s Elvis DecoVintage Shure Elvis Multi Impedance Working Microphone Mid Century + In BoxVintage Smith Miller Ironson Mic California Tow Truck 1950s Vintage Shure Brothers 520 Sl Controlled Reluctance Microphone On S36 StandVintage Astatic Jt-30 Bullet Harmonica Microphone Mic W/ Cable *untested*Vintage Art-deco Rca Type 74b Mi-4036 Junior Velocity 74b Ribbon MicrophoneShure Model 520sl Controlled Magnetic Reluctance Microphone On Desk StandVintage Shure Model 545 Unidyne Iii Unidirectional Dynamic Microphone Unused MibShure Sm33 Vintage Ribbon Microphone Working Condition - "johnny Carson Mic"Vintage Hohner Harmonica Mic In Original Box2 Vintage Rca Mi-12399 Mic Line Step Up Input Transformers Mc Last PairVintage Elgin Watch Co. American D4t Salt Shaker Style MicrophoneTapesonic 70 Esf Electronics In Case Tapesonic Information Analog Mic PreampsVintage Turner Plus Three Table Top Mic Microphone ConracVintage Astatic Jt30 Bullet Harmonica Microphone Harp Mic Does Not Work Jt-30Vintage Shure Sm58 Dynamic Microphone With PouchVintage 1940s Electro Voice V-1 Ribbon Microphone Tested Works!Vintage Shure Brothers 520 Sl Microphone On S36 StandNib Astatic D-104 Silver Eagle Microphone Ham Radio Transceiver Vtg Nr L@@k!!!!!Vintage Calrec Rqp 4400 Quad-stereo Mic Preamp - For Parts Or Repair OnlyShure Sm 53 Vintage MicrophoneVintage Shure Commando Model 430 Microphone New Old Store Stock In BoxVintage Rca 77-d Ribbon Microphone 77d MicShure - Unidyne Ii (pe55sh) Vocal - Handheld - Vintage Style MicrophoneVintage Astatic Silver Eagle Desk Lollipop Microphone On StandVintage 1940s Shure " Billie Holiday " Art Deco Old Microphone & Cool Pattern !!Vintage Astatic Model D-104 Desk Lollipop Microphone On Model G StandShure 55s Microphones -lot Of 2 With One Desk StandShure S56 Elvis Vintage Microphone With Cable And Xlr ConnectorVintage Astatic D-104 Cb Lollipop Microphone & T-up9 Stand Working :)Super Nice Vintage Shure Model 545sd Unidyne Iii Dynamic MicrophoneVintage Shure Brothers Model 520 Sl Microphone On S36 Model BaseVintage 1950's Shure Brothers 55 S Microphone Elvis Deco Old Sun Records 55s 50sVintage Shure Model 819 Microphone New Old Store Stock In BoxVintage, Star Wars,figure,weapon,lot,cape,microphone,blaster,jabba,bib,staffVintage Nos Astatic D104 Microphone, New In BoxVintage Stromberg Carlson Microphone Model Md30-a With Stand & CableVintage 1940s Shure Brothers 708 A Microphone Antique Classic Art Deco MicYaesu Ft-227r 2m Mobile Fm Transceiver W/ Orig Manual + Hand Mic Vintage (works)Vintage Rare 1950's Shure 55 Microphone Fatboy Elvis Retro Parts Or RepairVintage Astatic Model Dn-50 Ham Radio Microphone With G StandRare Reslo Ribbon Rbh Microphone Made In EnglandVintage Rca 74b Clone--heil Classic Microphone With Flag & Stand - Sounds Great!Vintage American Carbon Button MicrophoneVintage Shure Sm57 Dynamic Microphone With PouchVintage Rca Microphone With CableVintage Astatic Ham Radio Microphone Model D-104 Four Pin T-ug8 Stand UntestedVintage Turner 211 Harp Bullet Dynamic MicrophoneVintage Textron Inc. American Model D4t Omni-directional Microphone W/ Box PaperVintage Universal Turner Dynamic Microphone Model #u9s Serial #5556Vintage Guitar Parts Body Face Pickups Gibson Tone Volume Mic ControlsB34 Vintage Barbie: Live Action Pj On Stage #1153 ’71 Stage/microphone + ExtrasVintage Shure 730b Uniplex Crystal MicrophoneVintage Classic 1940's Turner Crystal 22x Microphone Mic 22 X Bullet Art DecoVintage Shure 55 Sw Microphone W/ StandVintage 1940's Shure Brothers 556a Broadcast Unidyne Dynamic MicrophoneVintage Nos Electro Voice 300 Microphone Clip Mount Fits Ev 666, 676 & More! Nib

Recent News: Microphones

Source: Google News

Keith Urban Releases 'John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16' Video.
antiMUSIC.com, August 31st

Urban uses a vintage microphone to go along with the theme of his film. "It was a blast. I had a great time doing it with Shane Drake. We'd never worked before other than on the Tim McGraw and Taylor video for "Highway Don't Care," said Keith. "It was...Read more

Watch: Keith Urban Rocks Out in New “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” Video
Radio.com Music and Entertainment News, August 28th

Keith Urban released his video for “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” and it's a trip down memory lane. The clip shows off Keith playing his bass guitar between snippets of nostalgic scenes that include old stores, young loves, family, cars...Read more

Vintage radio play of Sherlock Holmes at Kearny Public Library
NJ.com, August 25th

The vintage radio play of Arthur Conan Doyle's 1902 crime novel will feature a functioning antique microphone, costumes, theatrical lights and live sound effects. The Raconteur Radio troupe previously visited the Kearny Public Library in October 2013, ...Read more

Interview: Bath singer Gabrielle Aplin on new album Light Up The Dark ...
Bath Chronicle, August 21st

Then there's Heavy Heart, currently Gabrielle's personal favourite, a bluesy groove that showcases the new depth and range to her voice, and which was recorded on a vintage microphone. "I didn't think mics mattered before, but they really do," she says...Read more

John Mellencamp's No Better Than This was a darkly inspiring triumph
Something Else! Reviews, August 18th

Burnett and John Mellencamp carried around a half-century old monophonic tape recorder and a single, vintage microphone – recording without overdubs or other studio add-ons at places like Memphis' Sun Studios, where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and ...Read more

Review: The Missing Hancocks - Live In Edinburgh! (Show B)
Edinburgh Evening News, August 14th

The staging is simple. A row of five seats upstage and two vintage microphones down stage. The first adventure finds Hancock standing for Parliament. You need to be of a certain age or have a good grasp of history to appreciate all the nuances of the...Read more

Mood relaxed as Diana Krall plays Fort Wayne's Embassy Theatre
News Sentinel, August 5th

Several strategically placed vintage radios of different shapes and sizes onstage as well as lighting above the stage that looked like vintage microphones added to that nostalgic feeling along with silent-era film footage that was projected behind the...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