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MICROPHONE OF THE MONTH DECEMBER 2019

ALTEC LANSING D 645 / ELECTRO-VOICE RE 15

 

 

This month' mic, the Altec Lansing D 645 dynamic supercardioid, is in fact an Electro-Voice RE 15 badged for Altec. Apart from the label both are identical.

In 1968 Electro-Voice presented a new microphone, intended for vocal use, handheld or on a stand, and on a sound-pole as boom microphone for television. It was the successor of EV's 666, a proven succes (mic of the month September 2015), and the first model with EV's 'Variable D' technique.

The new RE 15, which looks strongly resemble those of the AKG D 19, was a further development of that technique: openings in the housing, at varying distances, allow sound to reach the back of the capsule, resulting in a sound uninfluenced by the 'Proximity Effect' which makes other mics sound 'booming' when used close. The 666 had three openings, the RE 15 had slots all along the body.

With the RE 15, it did not matter whether performers 'swallowed' the mic, or held it far away: the sound would stay the same, only the level varied, not the tonal balance. This was unique.

The supercardiod pick up pattern is relatively wide (150 degrees of-axis rejection) and almost 'dead' at the rear, very suitable for boom-use. The frequency response is smooth and natural. To reduce unwanted low frequency sounds, a buiit-in low-cut filter can be switched on.

The RE 15 transducer's internal parts are nested on within the other, a nearly solid mechanical structure, highly resistant to damage from mechanical shock.

EV soon presented a whole Variable D range: the RE 16 vocal type, with extra popshield, RE 10 & RE 11 budget versions of the RE 15 and 16, and the RE 20 broadcast version (Mic of the month april 2014).

Elvis chose the RE 15 for his 1968 'Come Back Show' and would use it for years, live and in the studio, other famous artists followed.

Dolly Parton sang into a RE 15 for most of her studio recordings, like 'Jolene' and 'Nine To Five'. That mic was kept in a box in the CBS studio, only to be used by her.

On the second hand market these mics are bought by a new generation, eager to use them; live or in the studio.

These and many more types feature in my book Witnesses of Words. Still the only book on the subject. Visit the site for more information: www.witnessesofwords.com

wow cover

Altec D645
Altec D645 b

Elvis with RE15

Top: the slim D 645/RE 15, same diameter as the XLR plug

Middle: the side showing slots and recessed switch & Elvis

Below: again the D 645 and EV's 1968 introduction of the RE 15

Altec D645 straight

Listen to the sound of the Altec D 645

RE 15 ad 1968
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