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MICROPHONE OF THE MONTH MAY 2018

AMPERITE RBLG - 'BRUTUS MAXIMUS'

 

 

The Amperite RBLG ribbon microphone has one of the strangest shapes ever used in microphone design.
It dates from the end of the Forties, the aluminium form was probably deemed 'modernistic' and maybe even stylish, but I can not help wandering what the people at Amperite, in the city of New York, were thinking when they approved this design.

In my opinion it is not something that any artist would like to be seen with on stage and even in the (radio)studio it must have stood out amongst the rounded forms of other microphones. Therefore I nicknamed it 'Brutus Maximus' (the Big Brute), although I can imagine that people used other even less flattering names to describe its shape.

The RBLG had a 200 Ohm output, its brother, the RBHG was a High-Z version, which was also badged for IBM (in a gray version), perhaps that company thought it suited the design of their typewriters and early computers.
A very similar looking Amperite R80L was the studio version, this had a better transformer and vertical slits at the front, the sides were more open for better airflow.
These strange designs were the last Amperite ever made, although the company is still around, microphone production ended in the early Fifties.

The RBLG was a decent ribbon microphone for P A and radio use, advertised as 'Automatically Adjusted for Close or Distant Pick-Up' and 'Blastproof'. It could even be used outside, unlike most ribbons, it was not affected by wind. The front of the ribbon had acoustic dampening, the back was more open, so both sides sound different, as can be geard in the soundclip. The on/off switch was concealed at the back.

It is unlikely that many of these mics were ever made and they hardly ever surface second-hand, they are very rare.

Many more types of microphones feature in my book Witnesses of Words. Information about that can be found at www.witnessesofwords.com

wow cover

 

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