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Calrec (Calder Recording Ltd) is a manufacturer of professional audio equipment, especially known for its good mixing consoles. In the sixties, seventies and eighties, the company also made condenser microphones, which are still appreciated for their subtle sound; silky smooth, unlike many other capacitor microphones that quite often can sound shrill. Especially when recording cymbals the difference is remarkable: a clear and 'fat' sound. Acoustic guitars, brass and piano often sound very pleasant through these microphones as well.

The 1050 C (cardioid - direction sensitive) was one of the last two models that were produced, the other model, the 2050 with the same technical specifications, was a modular system consisting of a pre-amplifier on which various capsules could be mounted.

The BBC was among the satisfied users of the 1050 C microphones, they were often used instead of the Neumann KM 84s, that reproduced the sound of drums and other acoustic instruments much more analytic, with less warmth. The Calrecs were also a lot cheaper and were 'made in Britain'.

In U.K recording studios these Calrecs were also widely used, amongst others for the drum sound of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham and later The Prodigy.

In 1978, Calrec developed a special microphone: the three-dimensional Soundfield microphone, with four unidirectional condenser capsules (like those in the 1050 Cs) in a tetrahedron (pyramid) shape. This particular microphone, with its dedicated contoller, is especially suitable for the recording of Ambience and Surround sound. In 1993, a separate company was set up to develop this system further and Calrec ceased all production of microphones.

In England, Calrecs are still serviced by Saturn Sound. Eventually, around 2005, a new production line was launched and the microphones are manufactured again, now under the name Hebden Sound.


This is one of the types that feature in my book Witnesses of Words, which was recently released. More information about that can be found at

wow cover

Calrec 1050 C
Calrec 80s series