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Even though RCA is well-known for their superb ribbon microphones, manufacturers in other countries succeeded to produce models of equal quality; in the U.K. the BBC and Marconi launched the type A(XBT) , in France the Melodium 42 B was the answer.

The Dutch Philips company made several different models, of which the 9559 is the best, both in quality and appearance. It dates from shortly after World War Two and was, like the competition, meant for broadcast, recording studios and film. The stylish look is enhanced by the silver plated mesh, which also makes it more transparent than the RCA 44s, the standard type used in the USA for recording and broadcast. Like most ribbons, it has a 'figure of eight' directional pattern, but in this design the flow of the soundwaves is smoother, because of the rounded shape and curved Tyconal magnets inside; the 44s have a squared form. These factors should make the 9559 the best sounding design, but other things play a role too. Often it is the transformer which plays a major role in the sound ot a microphone. The 9559 has three different output inmpedances: 200, 500 & 10.000 Ohms, where the RCA 44s had an output of 250 Ohms. This alone will influence the sound and I leave it up to you to decide which is the winner, but this Philips is definitely a very worthy competitor for the title.

The round base contains an anti-vibration mechanism and has a threaded hole in the bottom for connection to a stand.

Ribbons are known to have a huge proximity effect ( low frequencies are exaggerated when the sound source is very close), and some manufacturers add a resistor to compensate this, if the use of the microphone is limited to speech. This 9559, which was expertly re-ribbonned by Stewart Tavener of Xaudia, he also removed this resistor ( in the 3rd picture) which restored the lush sound of this microphone in full. Like its foreign brethern this great ribbon is once again ready for studio work.

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


Philips 9559
Philips 9559 magnet
Philips 9559 with resistor

The magnet construction

Side-view with resistor