Above: best ad ever. “Yu Brother” (what???) of Taiwan introduces their line of microphones and guitar effect pedals in 1981. “From popular to professional type, we have got it all!” Yes you do, brother. This might as well be from another planet.
Models covered, with text, specs, and photos, include: Fostex M85RP, M88RP, M80RP, M77RP, and M55RP.
These mics, like the Fostex RP headphones, use a unique method of transduction that combines elements of dynamic, ribbon, and condenser-mic design. I’m not 100% sure why they are termed ‘regular phase,’ but I suspect that it might be because the design works without any driver suspension. You may not have realized before, but consider a generic woofer, and the acordian folds in the suspension: at any moment of driver excursion, portions of the suspension will necessarily be moving out-of-phase with the cone. This is a significant cause of transducer distortion. By eliminating the suspension, that particular distortion factor is eliminated. Here’s a cutaway of the Fostex design:
I’ve seen a few of these things on eBay from time to time, generally from ex-US sellers, and I’ve never seen one in the flesh, so I imagine that they are pretty rare in the US. The catalog that I’ve scanned above was actually printed in Canada, so I can’t even say for sure if these were sold in the US. I am super-curious, though, as I have always really loved the Fostex RP headphone line (I own a pair of T50, a pair of T40, and several pairs of T20s), and I’ve also had good luck with the classic Fostex full-range Banana Cone hi-fi drivers, so these mics seem like something I might dig. Anyone?
Models covered, with text, specs, and photos, include: Neumann KM 83, KM 84, KM 85, 87, and 88; KMS 85; U87, U47 FET, SM 69 FET, and KMA lav mic.
For our scan of the 1980 Neumann FET 80 catalog, click here…
As the image above suggests, these operate exactly as you’d expect: there are separate ‘woofer’ and ‘tweeter’ elements, with a crossover at 500hz. Although the specs are quite good, i’ve never picked these up when I had the chance… just seems like they’ve gotta sound a little weird? Anyone? Anyone still using these? How do they compare to (x)?
Not to be confused with the RCA BK-4 “Starmaker” hand-held ribbon mic of the 1950s, these later Starmakers were cheap prosumer and consumer units. Models on offer included the Starmaker 96, 97, 98, 101, 99, and 100. The top-of-the-range 96 has decent specs and useful features; gonna keep an eye out for that one.
“Top artists told us what they wanted, and we listened.”
In 1981 you could apparently purchase an Anvil-briefcase loaded with seven ATM-41 mics, each in a different color. Seven corresponding mic cables were also included, as well as… touch-up-paint. The price of admission to this zenith of vanity? $1595 (list), aka $4080 at the pump this week.
Alright so this is a little confusing… Above is an advert for the Fairchild F-22 microphone, as published in 1965. This mic is known to be identical to the Syncron AU7A (see previous post)… so why was it advertised earlier, with a higher price, under the Fairchild name? Maybe I am getting my dates mixed up here… anyway, Primal Gear in Nashville had a pair of these things for pretty cheap recently, but I was scared-off by the necessity for updating the internal power supply, as Syncron mics require certain mercury cells that are no longer made (or legal, likely). Anyway… any of y’all using/have used the F22/AU7A? Let us know… living here in central CT, once-home of Syncron labs, I feel fairly certain that I will eventually stumble upon one of these things… no luck yet tho.
Today: just a round-up of some broadcast mics that caught my eye for some or another reason: above, the ‘Stanford-Omega’ condenser mic. This is an odd one. Anyone?
EV (electrovoice) 666. I think I have mentioned this one about a million times already: it’s the predecessor to the RE-20, a mic that I have used+ dig more than almost any other. EV 666’s appear in just a ton of great-sounding old TV music-broadcasts… Miles Davis on PBS comes to mind… I must have bid on these things on eBay about 20 times. No luck yet. Soon enough. Oh but BTW I finally did get an RE15 (and not cheap either…) and it is really, really underwhelming. Still my faith persists…
AKG D-12 and C-60 circa 1963, a few years before the D-12 became the industry-standard in kick-drum mic’ing. AKG recently sent me one of their new D-12 ‘VR’ models to review, and it’s pretty great, although not a re-issue in any strict sense… full review to come soon.
Today at PS dot com: 70’s month nears its close with a quick look at some promising but lesser-known mics of the 70s. If you are using any of these pieces in the studio these days, drop us a line and weigh in. above: the Shure SM53, a high-end dynamic cardiod that seems to maybe have been Shure’s answer to the RE15? I’ve been trying to pick one these up on eBay, no luck yet… anyone?
And speaking of the RE15… after watching the prices slowly rise on eBay for the past year, I finally picked up one of these.. expect some audio clips/shoot-out here soon. I always ignored these in the past, i figured, I have an RE20, what’s the point… but I finally had to know. I recently worked with a contractor/tech from a major live-sound company who had 1/2 the stage mic’d with these things, swears by ’em… anyway, I am super-curious. They are apparently very hi-fi with very accurate off-axis response. More to come…
While on the subject of dynamic mics… above, the Turner Model 10 circa 1972. Those of you who’ve been following PS for a while will know that I am a big fan of obscure Turner models, especially the flagship models like the 510… I recently bought my second 510 for Gold Coast Recorders and I have to sadly report that it is not as awesome as the example I have had for years… Anyway, the Model 10 seems to have been a replacement for the 500/510 series… there is a super-rare Model 11 (likely the ‘selected’ hi-fi version of the Model 10) on eBay right now for really cheap… might be a good purchase for anyone looking for more interesting dynmics mics…
Above, the AKG D190 and D124! Finally some info on the D124… these turn up in my old 70s AKG catalogs (most of which you can download here on PS dot com), and I actually use this as the console talkback mic at GCR, but I had not realized that it was the replacement for the D-24. The D-124 is an amazing little piece of engineering, very nice smooth sound and incredibly small in size. D-190s are much more common, I tend to see these on CRList quite often.
Above: Shure SM5 circa 1969. I love the similar SM7, use it regularly, it seems to have become somewhat of a standard-bearer vocal mic these days… artists actually ask for it in the studio the same way some will ask for an 87 or 47 or 58…. The SM5 is much less common, no longer made, and consequently extremely expensive. Are any of y’all using SM5s for music or vocal recording these days? Thoughts?
Above: the Electrovoice RE55 is introduced (1969). Interesting to see that the RE55 was the successor to the 655. I have a pair of 655 at GCR, very very old pair circa 1950, and wow they sound great. Fairly high self-noise for a dynamic, but for drum overheads it’s never a problem. Anyone using the RE55? Seem pretty uncommon…
DOWNLOAD PART 1: Altec_1976_part1
DOWNLOAD PART 2: Altec_1976_part2
Products covered, with text, specs, and photos, include: Altec 1240B, 1208B, and 1218A ‘Voice of the Theatre’ speaker systems; 1221A stage monitor, 1219B speaker and 1224A Bi Amplifier, Altec A2, A4, A4X, A5X, A7-8, A7-500-8, and A-8 VOTT; Altec 9845A, 9844A, 814A, 849A, 210, 211A, 612C, 614D, 815A, 816A, and 828B speakers; 604-8G, 620-A, 9844, 9845A, 9849-8A, 9849-8D studio speakers, Altec 203B, 311-60, 311-90, 803B, 805B, 1003B, 1005B, 1505B, 32B, 511A, 511E, 31A, 511B, AND 811B horns; Altec 1211A and 1217A column loudspeakers; 417, 418, 421, and 425 musical instrument speaker; plus many many more speakers and speaker components. We also see the Altec 1220AC mono console, 351C, 1590C, 159B, 1594B, 9440A, 1224A, 1609A amplifiers and 1606A, 1607A, 1608A, and 1611A mixer/amps; Altec 1628A, 1592B, 1599A, and 1589A mixer/preamps; 1603 coupler, 1605A expander, 1612A compressor, 1650 EQ, 9430A digital delay (looks like a lexicon-made unit) and 9880A filter; a load of other bits and bobs, and microphones including the Altec 650, 654, 656, 655, 677, 676, 668, 699, M53, M54, 624, 626, and 687.