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Recently, a collector friend gave me a microphone that I actually already had in my collection, but then again I didn't.

It's a microphone of Dutch manufacture, made shortly after, or even during, the Second World War: the Amerdyne type D.

I already had a Mercurius (Mercury) in my collection; both microphones were made in Amsterdam and look exactly the same outwardly. Internally they are different: the Amerdyne type D is a dynamic model, the Mercurius is a crystal microphone. Unfortunately, I don't know whether both microphones come from the same manufacturer. The design is clearly based on the Electro-Voice S 35, which was a ribbon type :-).

For a long time it was also common in the United States to supply microphones with the same housing in both crystal and dynamic versions. The dynamic versions were always a bit more expensive, they sounded 'fatter' and usually lasted longer. The crystal elements were sensitive to moisture and temperature, so they often broke down sooner, while the dynamic capsules continued to work.

You could actually compare it to cars, which are often the same outwardly, but can differ considerably under the hood; petrol or diesel, four cylinders or six, or, as is becoming more common these days, with an electric motor. They all drive, but they behave differently and the sound also varies considerably.

Crystal microphones are no longer made these days, the dynamic ones have emerged victorious. The crystals are only used as an effect microphone, often by harmonica players, who often swear by this type, which fits perfectly with the bluesy harmonica sound.

Shure has even gone so far as to have a dynamic element mimic the limited sound of a crystal element: it is used in the 'green bullet' microphone. In the past, this model, popular with harmonica players, was equipped with a crystal element, but not anymore. Because harmonica players not only blow air, but also a lot of saliva into the microphone, the original elements often did not survive long, the new dynamic version no longer suffers from this.

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

wow cover

Amerdyne Model 7 D
Amerdyne open Mercurius open

Top: Amerdyne Model 7 D & Mercurius shells

Mid: Amerdyne & Mercurius opened

Below: sounds, Amerdyne sheet & EV S35

Listen to the sound of the Amerdyne or Mercurius

Amerdyne 7 D Sheet
Electro-Voice S35
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