Monthly Archives: April 2012

AKG D1200E (1974) MY FIRST MIC! (The beginning of addiction!)

I bought this brand new in 1974 for £42 from Ray Electrical Store in Cheltenham. I had joined a band called Madrigal (playing electric violin) and was persuaded (against my better judgement ) to do backing vocals. The shop owner Harry Rose assured me that the D1200 was ‘the best’ (actually everything in his shop was ‘the best’)…….. and I’ve enjoyed it ever since. Still use the D1200 live for snare, as the 2 position roll-off switch gets rid of most of the bass drum. Also good on horns (especially tenor sax.)

Click on tech spec image below to enlarge.

Here is a short sound clip of speech and tenor sax.

Marconi-Reisz Carbon Microphone (circa 1930) Just the job for a Kings Speech or two! Also very popular with other personalities of 1930’s European showbiz!

Using this microphone requires the wearing of a dinner jacket and a black bow tie! (or a Fascist military uniform!)  Designed by the young George Neumann, working for Eugen Reisz, before he saw sense, and went on to make condensers! It is carved out of a solid octagonal block of marble, and filled with carbon granules (coal dust) behind a mica diaphragm.     (Short sound clip.)

Marconi Reisz showing screw holes to top up the carbon granules.

View inside Marconi Reisz Microphone

View inside my Marconi-Riesz with the front cover and wind screen removed. The thin mica diaphragm is glued on to the marble and the chamber containing the carbon granules is clearly visible. The screw holes in the marble have neat little fibre rawl plugs to hold the screws tight.

A great look for a mad Italian dictator!
Eh!… Benito I’m likin’ da mics!

Here is the original Reisz Patent from June 1925

Below is a simple circuit diagram for a pre-amp to power carbon microphones

Carbon Mic Preamp for Blog

CLICK HERE For new sound clip using this pre-amp.

Also an interesting technical article.

Shure 55S (1955- onwards) ‘The Elvis Mic’ The most photographed microphone in history! Shining like the grill on a Cadillac!

Shure 55SW.

The epitome of 1950s style. If you look at this 55 and the EV664 and then compare them to the Sennheiser MD21 you can see why it was the Americans and not the Germans who invented Rock’n’Roll !!!!

Beyerdynamic M260N (circa1965) A classic of ribbon mic design.

Beyer M260N.

Bought 2 of these from a flea market in France for 10 Euros!! Had this one refurbished by Beyer. It has a hypercardioid polar pattern and an almost flat frequency response from 40hz to 18khz . Sounds fantastic on anything with rapid transients. Tambourine, shakers, hi-hat,etc Also great on guitar cabs, providing a serious amount of  low-mid punch and crisp clean highs.

There is also this version of the original M260 that comes with a M-S (Music & Speech) switch which in S mode produces an LF roll-off from 50hz

Here is an interesting picture of the M260 ribbon assembly. The strange shaped plastic horn, which is glued to the magnet, helps to produce the hypercardioid polar pattern by causing a shift in the phase relationship between the front and rear of the ribbon.                                                                                                                                                                      N.B. The ribbon (as seen in the centre, beneath the wire gauze) is crimped at either end but pleated (to produce rigidity) down most of it’s length creating a piston-like movement as sound strikes the ribbon.

Tech Spec below from 1965 catalogue

Beyer M260N(C)S.

This is my 1980s Beyer M260N(C) shortly before I put it back on ebay. Many of these later models have a fixed roll-off from 80Hz. Nothing wrong with it….. but (to my ears) the older model just sounded better on almost everything!  Maybe one to file under …………………  Beware of ‘Up-grades’  …….

Electro-Voice EV664 (1954-64) ‘The Buchanan Hammer’

Electrovoice EV664

Manufactured in Buchanan Michigan it is possibly the coolest looking microphone ever made? It is so heavy and solid that it used to be said that if you didn’t want to use it to sing, you could always knock nails in with it ! Has appeared in many pop videos and on over 40 album covers. A single-element, dynamic mic, it was the first model to incorporate the company’s patented Variable-D design, which means that although it is a cardioid it has no proximity effect.  It is especially good on male singers with ‘boomy’  voices. One of the few vocal mics of this period that still sounds good on a modern PA.    Also…… here is a tip for fans of Heavy Rock and Metal…..Used in a bass drum close to the beater, along with an AKG D112  somewhat  further back, adds a very solid ‘smack’ !

Oooo shiny!

Bob Dylan 1963 .Twice as Rock’n’Roll with 2 EV664s !

Electro-Voice Advert for EV664  Explaining the Variable-D design.

Link to New Post on EV664

AKG D202E ‘Sound Rocket’ (1967-1980s) An icon of 60s design by Ernst Graf.



A revolutionary design using plastic and sintered bronze, this twin capsule mic is terrific on toms,snare and most percusssion.
Fantastic frequency response (almost flat 30hz-18khz) …..Its a dynamic that thinks its a condenser! Very popular with 70s Heavy Rockers.



Chosen by the BBC for the British House of Commons (above) the AKG D222 is very similar to the D202, with superb off-axis frequency response, allowing the speaker plenty of scope for ducking and weaving and dodging the issue!

Click on tech spec below to enlarge.

Here also is the original 1965 AKG Patent for Dual Capsule Microphones.

Sennheiser MD21 (1953-onwards ) Fantastic drum overhead. Great on guitar cabs.

Beatles Star Club Hamburg

Beatles at the Star Club Hamburg 1961.
‘Eh up! lads this sounds better than a Reslo! ‘

Sennheiser MD21

Sennheiser MD21

Sennheiser MD21 Grill

Looks boring…. Sounds Great! First appeared in 1953 and is still in production! It was designed to be ‘indestructible in everyday use.’  Bought 2 of these on ebay for £10.00! Also very useful mic with breathy flute players….. being ommni directional  it has no proximity effect and, (originally designed for reporting) is almost impervious to wind noise.

MD21 user Manual from 1970

Here is a great clip of a very youthful Steve Winwood & Spencer Davis Group with MD21 vocal mics.

STC 4021 (Apple & Biscuit) 1935-1960s One of my all time favourite mics!

Through my Focusrite Twintrack the STC4021 sounds absolutely gorgeous on acoustic guitar, cello,and flute. Due to its spherical shape and the properties of its ‘Romanow’ screen, the frequency response is extremely uniform from any angle (.Tech Spec STC4021 )  As a drum ambient mic (up in the air over the drummer’s right shoulder) it gives a big punchy sound with loads of bottom end weight and smooth silky cymbals.. Not what you would expect from a mic designed in 1935!
Certainly begs the question ‘Has microphone design improved much in the last 75years?’ !!!!!


A number of people have asked me about the wiring of this mic. Pin 1 is hot (ie pin 2 on an XLR)  G is  earth (pin 1 on an XLR) and pin 2 is cold (pin 3 on an an XLR)

Also, How does the ‘Biscuit’ work?

In order to understand how the ‘Romanow’ screen on this microphone helps to create the truly omnidirectional response of the 4021 here below is the 1935 patent describing its function.

Romanow Screen Patent 1935


And now……. My very first YouTube video which just happens to be about this mic!