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BOB PAQUETTE 1929 - 2018



This month I would like to pay tribute to a real hero of mine: Bob Paquette, the World's foremost expert on microphones.
Sadly he passed away on November 29, at the respectable age of 88; he will be dearly missed by many microphone enthousiasts and myself.

Bob had been collecting microphones since 1950, he started the World's only microphone museum in 1970, in Milwaukee, and in 1999 published the book 'The History & Evolution Of The Microphone' (840 pages/2698 gram ! ).

As I learned of the existence of the book, I knew I had to obtain a copy. When I ordered it I had the pleasure to talk to Bob on the phone. He immedeatily invited me to visit his museum. Although I have had the book for over ten years, I missed out on the chance to pay him and his wonderful museum a visit.
The book has been a major source on the subject of microphones; it has invaluable information on all sorts of microphones, their development and use.

Bob's main interest was the history and evolution of American microphones, from their invention in the 19th century until about 1950. He did a great deal of research, often by retrieving info from the original companies or experts, and was highly respected by anyone who knew him. On the subject of microphones and sound he was completely self-tought.

His microphone collection is by far the biggest and the best there will ever be. Some of the items are unique: prototypes, pre production models and items that were produced on a very limited scale.

Although his main interest was American broadcast microphones, he also had a large number of quality microphones from other countries like Germany and the U.K. Apart from those he had many items related to microphones that never failed to impress people who were lucky enough to lay eyes on them.

Bob Paquette Obituary:

Robert Paquette was born on December 18, 1929, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lived all his life and was a beloved member of the community.
At the age of 10, he became interested in telegraphy and radio and started building his first crystal radio receivers.
In his high school years he built radios and amplifiers, he quit school at 16 to work for a commercial sound contractor. There he built and repaired radios, amplifiers and phonographs.
He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1948, where he took various radio and math courses and taught basic electricity in armament school.

From 1950 until 1958, he worked for commercial sound contractors. In 1958 he started his own sound company: 'Select Sound Service', which still exists today.
Since 1950, he collected microphones and related information. Together with his wife Ruth he traveled the US to find many special items.

In 1970 he opened the 'Bob Paquette Microphone Museum', which has a collection of about 1200 microphones on display (It may stll be possible to pay it a visit, if you contact Select Sound Service).

Bob has given numerous talks about the history and evolution of the microphone and wrote many articles on the subject. He was probably the most knowledgeable person on the subject ever.

His work was one the major influences on my book Witnesses of Words. More information about the book can be found at

wow cover

Bob n museum
WE 397
RCA 74 prototype
RCA Hi Sensitivity mic
mic book book intro

Top: Bob Paquette in his museum

Middle: First Western Electric condenser, RCA 74 B prototype & RCA Hi Sensitive mic

Left: The book & Bob's illustrations


Bob youtube

Bob Paquette Microphone Museum on Youtube