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MICROPHONE OF THE MONTH JULY 2018

BEYER M 19 B First pro dynamic

 

 

The Beyer M 19 b (1939) Omni was the first dynamic microphone for studio use. It made history as the standard microphone for outdoor applications of the 'Reichs Rundfunk-Gesellschaft' (Germany's national broadcasting service).

It had been rigorously tested before it was approved; one of the tests had been a two-storey drop, which it withstood without a problem.

The M 19 B was very good for the reproduction of speech and music, with a frequency range of 50 to 12.000 Hz, and was great for outdoor use since it was small (109 x 66 mm) and did not need an external power source to operate (like the more fragile and bulky Neumann CMV 3 condensers of the era).

There was of course another aspect of the microphone that made it perfect for the Reich: it was German.

After World War 2, the M 19 B was a familiar sight at RIAS (Radio In American Sector, Berlin 1946-1993). Reporter Jurgen Graf (1927-2007) the network's principal correspondent , known as "Mr Rias', was photographed on many occasions using a Beyer M 19 B.
The M 19 was also used by Sender Freies Berlin, where Western propaganda was broadcast in radio transmissions directed at people behind the Iron Curtain.

In later years the aluminium grill of the microphone was changed; a woven metal basket replaced it. Possibly because this was better for the soundflow, but it could also be because of material scarceness.

Another early Beyer, the M 20 B, has the same dimensions but a rounder shape. The cartridge is probably the same. It is hard to date, but may be from the later Forties or early Fifties.

Eugen Beyer was both friend and colleague of Georg Neumann, when he founded the Beyer Company in 1924, in Berlin. The first products were loudspeakers for cinema.

When Beyer went onto make microphones, it is said he made a deal: Neumann would produce condenser microphones and Beyer dynamics. Both did very well in their market niche. Beyer also made very good small ribbon microphones, which are still produced today.

In 1960 the company moved from Berlin to Heilbronn , where a new factory was build.

Later the company was forced to change the brand name to Beyerdynamic, after they were taken to court by the multinational Bayer A.G., which stated that the similarity in names might lead to confusion.

These days Beyerdynamic produces a wide range of quality microphones, including condensers.
In 1937 Beyer invented the first dynamic headphones the DT 48, which were in production until 2012!

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 www.witnessesofwords.com

wow cover

 

Beyer M 19 b
Beyer M 19 sheet
Beyer M 20

Mr Rias

Top: First version of the M 19 B, from 1939

Middle: Original product sheet, the mysterious M 20 b, and Reporter Jurgen Graf 'Mr Rias' (L) in action

Below: Propaganda poster for Radio across the Iron Curtain, from the Fifties

Radio Free Europe
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