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The Amperite RBH bi-directional ribbon microphone, from 1937, was a professional model from the New York city based Amperite Factory.

It was available in different versions: RBHn - high impedance, RBMn - 200 Ohm low impedance, both with cable connector and switch, plus the RBSn and RHSn with slightly less output and a fixed cable. Available colours were gun-metal, slate grey, egg-shell, and chrome.

Oddly enough the one in my collection is labeled RAH, which suggests it is a very early version. This microphone was expertly restored by Stewart Tavener, from Xaudia.

I am very attached to it since it came from the Dutch Profilti Film Company. Well-known Dutch commentator Philip Bloemendal spoke through it for the weekly Cinema news: Polygoon Journaal, in the years 1946-1950.

Bloemendal would commentate the newsreels for 40 years and became known as 'The Voice of the Polygoon Journaal'.

Amperite extended the range with the model RBHk (later RSHK) and RBMk which had an 'acoustic compensator' to increase high frequencies (for use up close, where it was necessary to compensate the boomy sound of the proximity-effect), this made it adjustable for both close talking and distant pickup. See the second ad, at bottom of this page.

The Amperite company was founded in New York, in 1922 by Samuel Ruttenberg, and started out producing automatic adjusting resistors for tube-operated radio sets, and controlling devices.

At the end of the Thirties they also developed a line of microphones. These were advertised as 'Studio microphones at PA prices, the ultimate in microphone quality' and were guaranteed to withstand severe 'knocking around'.

Since Amperite was the main microphone producing company of New York, the mikes were used in many of the clubs, ballrooms, and studios, in the Big Band era.

They would become a favourite of many vocalists in New York in the late Thirties and the Forties, like Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.

Amperite also made a contact microphone: the Kontak SKH Musicians Mike for all stringed instruments, including piano's, plus harmonica's and accordeons.

In 2002 Amperite became part of the Olympic Controls Corporation, it is still based in New York. Production of microphones ended in the Fifties.

These and many more types feature in my book Witnesses of Words. More information about that can be found at

wow cover


Amperite RSHK
Amperite RSH ad 1937


Top: Amperite RBH, chrome version

Middle: 1937 ad & RAH shield

Below: Billie Holiday & Acoustic Compensator ad

Billie Holiday with Amperite RSH