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Period 1920 - 1940

  Reisz M 109

Reisz microphone

Since its invention in 1923 this was widely used for Radio, by many European radio stations, and for speeches by Heads of State and Royals. It was a carbon mic, and the first with a pretty even frequency pick up.

 
   
 
  WE 600A

Western Electric 600 A

From 1925, mostly used in the United States, for Radio and speeches of Presidents and other dignitaries, like Charles Lindberg, after his succesful crossing of the Atlantic in 1929. This was a quality 'double button' carbon type.

 
   
 
  CMV 3 A

Neumann CMV 3

 

This is 'the mother of all condenser microphones', produced since 1928 and used for Radio and P.A. until after 1945. One of the most well-known users was Adolf Hitler, who always had an extra mic placed near his feet, to amplify his footstomping during speeches. These mics were also used during the Olympics of 1936 in Berlin.

 

 
   
 
  Mehrkammer

Gerätenbau Lichtenrade

A German 'Chamber mic'; a carbon type with segments, which gave a better signal to noise ratio. These were used for P.A. , and at the end of the Twenties, at Berlin horse race tracks

 
   
 
  Claravox

Görler "Claravox"

Gorler 'Clear Voice', another German carbon microphone from the end of the Twenties. Used by the Comedian Harmonists, an internationally famous all-male Close Harmony choir, from Germany (1928-1934).

 
   
 
  Philips reisz

Philips 4245

Philips carbon mic with a marble casing, from 1929, based on the Reisz design.

 
   
 
  Bernic

Bernic

Little is known about this one, it is a reporter mic from Denmark.

 
   
 
  G L bottle

Gerätenbau Lichtenrade

Tube microphone from Berlin, from around 1930. Mostly used for P.A. and paging.

 
   
 
  RCA carbon

RCA 'double button'

Early RCA carbon microphone, made for the Victor /RCA ' Home Recording Victrola' system. This allowed people at home to record their own records, probably on aluminum. It was also used in Radio. It stayed in production until after WW 2.

 
   
 
  WE 618

Western Electric 618

This first professional dynamic is from 1931 and was widely used in Radio. U.S. President Roosevelt spoke his 'Fireside Chats' into these, to lift the spirit of Radio listeners during the Great Depression. Winston Churchill used the English version for his War time speeches. At the BBC it remained in active duty into the Fifties.

 
   
 
  Astatic D 104

Astatic D 104

This Astatic was produced since 1933 until 2001, which is an incredible long time and probably longer than any other type. At first it was used for P.A., but when CB Radio became widespread, this was a hit among CB enthousiasts. Its nick name is 'Silver Eagle'.

 
   
 
  Ardente

Ardente

Early dynamic from England, made by a company that had started out as a hearing aid manufacturer.

 
   
 
  Shure 70s

Shure 70 S

The Shure 70 S dates from 1935, it can be taken from the base to be used as a hand mike. They were often used in the U.S. until 1950.

 
   
 
  RCA 74

RCA 74 B "Junior Velocity"

RCA produced this cheaper version of their 44 BX flagship in 1935. It was used in Radio, but also in recording studio's and remained in production into the Fifties. The shape of this microphone is known by many.

 
   
 
  WE 630

Western Electric 630

Yet another mic from the same year; WE made this small dynamic for studio, reporters and P.A. It was nicknamed "the Eightball" because of the resemblance with a pool ball. See also mic of the month September.

   
 
  AXB BBCmic

BBC Type A

 

This A(XBT) was developed by the BBC and made by the Marconi Company especially for the BBC. It was the standard for many years in BBC studio's. It was also well known by Europeans during WW 2, when these mics were used by Leaders of State in exile, who broadcasted from London to their occupied countries. See also mic of the month December

 
   
 
  WE 633

Western Electric 633

 

The Western Electric 633 was the last dynamic microphone, the company produced, it was introduced in 1936.
It was rugged and low cost, targeted at Broadcast, ham radio, aula's and churches.

The 633 can be heard on many Stax recordings, where they were used to record the snare drum sound.

 
   
 
  Amperite PGH

Amperite PGH

An art-deco American type, from around 1937, mostly used for P.A., not often used in Europe.

 
   
 
  EV V1

Electro Voice V 1

This Electro Voice is much smaller than most ribbon mics, but has a great look.

 
   
 
  Shure 55 S

Shure 55 S

The Shure 55 S is another icon; its nickname is 'Fat Elvis', which has nothing to do with the weight of the singer that was often seen with this mic, but marks the difference with the later produced smaller Shure 55 SH. This is probably the most well known microphone shape in the World.

 
         

Period 1940 - 1960

  Turner 99

Turner 99

A classic microphone shape. Turner produced this microphone, amongst others, for the U.S. Army, during World War 2.

 
         
  Henry

Henry Radio HM 3

Henry Radio, from Vienna, Austria, made this type for Siemens Germany. When the factory was no longer able to produce it, because of the War, Jorg Sennheiser with his company 'Labor W' started to make exact copies of it for Siemens (Germany's telecom giant). Because of the timeconsuming design of the microphone, Sennheiser decided to design his own model, which led to the highly successful Sennheiser company.

 
         
  RCA 77 D

RCA 77 D

One of the most well-known models, from 1945. It was meant for Radio, movies and music. Elvis and other Rock and Roll artists used it, as can be seen on many photos and film. This remains one of the most iconic mic shapes in history.

 
         
  RCA Varacoustic

RCA Varacoustic

'The Gaspedal', a low budget version of the 77D (above). RCA gave it the unsexy designation MIA 6203. It was used, amongst many others, by Jerry Lee Lewis.

 
         
  Philips 6010

Philips EL 6010

A Dutch product, often used in the formal Dutch Colonies, but also in Eastern Europe, especially Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Philips advertised it as fit for the Tropics, as well as the Poles, which could not be said of many other microphones.

 
         
  AKG Dyn 60

AKG Dyn 60

The first ever produced by AKG, in 1947, handmade by one of the five employees of the firm. The first range consisted of both reporter- and studio-types.

 
         
  Shure Monoplex

Shure Monoplex

Shure crystal microphone from 1948, as used by John Lee Hooker. Crystal elements were of lesser quality, compared to dynamic models. Until about 1960, crystal mikes were widespread because of their attractive pricing.

 
         
  Ronette 110

Ronette B 110

The Ronette 'Reporter' is also Dutch: the Ronette facory only produced crystal microphones, this model is the most well-known. It was made of polopas, a plastic, because metal was scarce in Holland, after WW 2.

 
         
  AKG D 12

AKG D 12

A real classic, still popular for recording bass instruments, but originally intended for vocals and speech. This was the bassdrum mic of Abbey Road, used by the Beatles and many others.

 
         
  Shure 51

Shure 51

Shure from 1948, in a wonderful 'Space Age' design. It can often be seen as vocal stage mike of Motown vocalists.

 
         
  Astatic DN 50

Astatic 7 C 40

Astatic crystal microphone, for CB radio and P.A..

 
         
  Grampian

Grampian

English microphone in a pre-war design. Until the mid 1950s, the influence of the Second World War was clearly visible in Euro-design: it had not developed since the Thirties, but was simply continued. This model was used for P.A.

 
         
  Turner 200

Turner 200

Quality microphone, from the end of the Forties, for Radio and P.A.

 
         
  Philips EL 6030

Philips EL 6030

 

Interesting large Philips dynamic; designed by the Electro Acoustic division of the company. It was produced for over ten years and used in studios and P.A. One of its famous users was Sarah Vaughan at a concert in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, in 1958.

 

 
         
  RCA BK 1

RCA BK 1

De RCA BK 1, from 1952, was the very first type with an axial design. Until then all microphones were side adressed, because the capsules were mounted on a side of the microphone housing. The dynamic 'Icecone' could be pointed at the sound source and an interviewer could stick it in someone's face for comment. It also became the Presidential microphone in the United States.

 
         
  Shure 55 SH

Shure 55 SH

Successor of the 'Fat Elvis'. This smaller model would become the icon of Rock & Roll and can be seen in the movie 'Good Morning Vietnam' as D.J. microphone for Robin Williams.

With modernised innards, it is still in production. Shure claims: 'it is the most recognizable microphone in the World', which I think is true.

 
         
  Turner Challenger

Turner Challenger

Marvelous mic, for CB radio and paging. It was fitted with either a crystal or a dynamic element.

 
         
  American d 22

American D 22

Slim 'Full Vision' model, the shape did no longer hide the artist behind the microphone. Used for Radio, Television and P.A..

 
         
  Turner 101

Turner 101

Turner 'Big Boy', with two capsules; a ribbon and a dynamic (like the Western Electric 639). It was meant for Radio and P.A..

 
         
  Labor W DM 2

Labor W DM 3

The Labor W DM 3 was one of the first products of the (later rebranded as Sennheiser) firm. It is a dynamic, and adjustable in length to 1.6 metres. The actual capsule was hidden in the base of the microphone, the sound reached it through the long metal tube. It was also used in the U.S., for instance by Elvis Presley, for 'Hound Dog'. The DM 3 can also be seen on the cover of that record.

 
         
  Astatic DR 10

Astatic DR 10

The DR 10 'Synabar' crystal mic, a big mic by Astatic, for P.A., Radio and CB radio..

 
         
  EV 726

Electro Voice 726 Cardyne

This Electro Voice, from 1941, had to take on the competition of the Shure 55 S and shows a wonderful 'Space Age' design. It was designated for use in Radio, Film and P.A..

 
         
  Shure 333

Shure 333

Shure's top of the line, the Uni(directional) R(ibb)on 'Concert line'. While other companies had been producing ribbon microphones since the Thirties, Shure entered that market not before 1952. It was a lot more expensive than the RCA's. A famous user was Marlene Dietrich.

This was also the 'Tonight Show microphone', America's best known talkshow host, Johnny Carson, had the 333 in front of him on his desk. In the early Eighties. 'The microphone that launched countless entertainment careers' was rescued from the trash heap and sold for $50.787,50, at an auction, where the audience applauded it for the last time.

 
         
  Beyer M 26

Beyer M 26

A nice art-deco reporter mic by Beyer. Later the company was forced by Pharma giant Bayer, to change their name to Beyer Dynamic, to rule out confusion about the name.

 
         
  Philips EL 6131

Philips EL 6031

The Philips EL 6031 'Tulip', left in the original style, produced between 1955 and 1960, and right the later version.They were made for P.A. and were used in the Dutch Parliament. Mick Jagger sang through it at Rolling Stones concerts, and can also be seen with it during a concert on British T.V. Fidel Castro used them for his exhausting speeches to Cuban audiences.

 
         
 

Electro Voice 664

Nice Fifties model by Electro Voice, with good sound quality. Marilyn Monroe sang for President John F Kennedy, through this mic, 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President', in Madison Square Gardens, New York. The 664 was Electro Voice's biggest commercial succes. ZZ Top uses them nowadays in live shows, but with modernized innards.

 
         
  B&O BM 3

B&O BM 3

Original Danish design, a high quality ribbon type. It was used in the United Nations building, in New York. These days Royer, an American company, produces a number of models based on B&O designs.

 
         
  Turner

Turner 22

Another Turner in 'Space Age' design, made for P.A. and CB radio, it was alsosold badged as RCA.

 
         
  EV Cardax

Electro Voice Cardax

Beautiful crystal microphone by E.V., for CB radio, paging and P.A.

 
         
  Astatic DR 77

Astatic DR 77

The dynamic topmodel of Astatic, this one too was aimed to compete with the Shure 55SH. The DR 77 was often used by Bob Dylan, as vocal mic.

 
         
  Turner 34

Turner 34 X

One of the truly great shapes in microphone design, again by the Turner Company, that succeeded to produce an amazing number of wonderful and imaginative designs. Again a crystal mic for CB radio and paging. The Heil company makes an up to date copy of this wonderful classic.

 
         
  Astatic DK 1

Astatic DK 1

This small UFO-like crystal has an uncommon design; the sound reaches the upwards facing element, through small holes around the top.

Small Astatic crystal mics are highly favoured by harmonica players, for their excellent tone.

 
         
  Astatic WR 20 B

Astatic WR 20

Another luxury crystal microphone by Astatic. It contains two identical capsules (providing higher output) and was intended for P.A., Radio and C.B.

 
         
 

 

     
         

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