Monthly Archives: May 2012

Guess the Weight of the Gigantic Mystery Microphone!!

A Shure SM57 weighs 10oz. (for Music Tech students thats the one on the left!).
Q     So how many SM57s is this huge ribbon mic?                                                                     A  …………………………………………………………………………..

SM57 French Election Update.

As  Francois Hollande celebrates victory in the French Presidential Elections it just goes to show that the French people weren’t fooled by dodgy geezer  with a pair of borrowed SM57s!! (see previous post)

French Election Special. Its a Shure thing!!

In a desperate bid to improve his Presidential Election image Mr Sarkozy appears to have borrowed the SM57s from the White House!!             ‘Thanks Barack, you can have ’em  back next week!’

‘No problem Nic I’ve got these spares!’

Ever since it first appeared in 1965 the SM57 has shared the podium with successive US Presidents announcing war and peace, trips into space, triumphs and disasters and in doing so has become woven into the iconography of political power.                                                                                                                                      However, on the Shure website the SM57 is (rather more appropriately) recommended for:- Brass/Saxophone Acoustic Guitar Guitar Amp Bass Amp Harmonica Kick Drum Snare Drum Rack/Floor Toms Congas Percussion !! Still never mind eh! it is probably the finest piece of product placement in history!

Lustraphone Dynamic Microphone Model C-51 (circa 1956) An interesting piece of aviation history!

Lustraphone C51

Shortly after buying this elderly British dynamic mic on ebay I received an interesting email from the previous owner…….

‘So glad you’re pleased with the mic, it sounds as though it’s found a good home. Anyway, as to its history, if you look on the back somewhere you’ll see a number: 10CA something or other. The CA stands for ‘Civil Aviation’ and it goes back to the heady days of the Ministry of Aviation, which went on to become the Ministry of Transport & Civil Aviation/Board of Trade Civil Aviation Dept/Dept of Trade & Industry Civil Aviation Dept/Civil Aviation Authority/National Air Traffic Services and now, today, finally known simply as NATS (headquarters now in Swanwick near Southampton).

Civil Aviation Number

The switch normally found on these mics has been removed, leaving it permanently ON, and replaced with the CA serial number .

This particular item harks back to about 1956 and was one of the desk mics used by the Communication Officers to broadcast air traffic information worldwide from the the huge HF transmitters at Birdlip in Gloucestershire. The aerial arrays were enormous and stretched across acres of land from Birdlip to Winstone. The place closed down in about 1978 and now the whole vast area has gone back to growing oil seed rape and linseed. Nobody would ever know. So it really has had interesting past, look after it.’

By complete coincidence I live in Cheltenham about 2miles from the old transmitter site mentioned in the email above !

Lustraphone Badge on C-51

Nice badge, but unfortunately the sound quality is similar to the paintwork! Still its a nice piece of local history.

Interior View  Lustraphone C51 Interior


Post Script.

Have just received the following message from Colin McKeeman

Interested in the comments re Birdlip/Winstone and I have just published the history of this station from 1940, if anyone is interested – see website below.