Monthly Archives: August 2012

Nakamichi CM-300.(circa 1980). A 9volt Battery Problem!

Back in the 1960s Philips invented a truly awful (even worse than mp3!!) system for reproducing sound ….. The Compact Cassette, which rapidly became hugely popular with the great unwashed, undiscerning, record-copying masses! Originally designed for low-grade speech applications it was left to the genius of Japanese manufacturers to develop it into a more-or-less acceptable  means of reproducing music!

The most successful of these Japanese manufacturers (in terms of quality) was undoubtedly Nakamichi, who produced a range of cassette decks which came very close to the technical specifications of up-market reel-to-reel recorders. Needless to say the Nakamichi models were not cheap. (I paid £850 for mine in 1989) However, because these machines were fairly portable they attracted a following amongst both amateur and professional sound engineers for stereo location recording.

Because the Nakamichi recorders did not supply phantom power they produced a number of high quality, small diaphragm, electret condenser mics, including the excellent CM-300, that ran on a 9v battery. See  cm300user manual   PROBLEM………. THE RECOMMENDED BATTERIES ARE NOW OBSOLETE! I have seen it suggested that an ordinary AA ( 1 ½v )  battery will do the job. That is fine if you don’t mind a greatly reduced output, increased noise, and a mangled frequency response ! (Though, if you are still recording on to cassette maybe it doesn’t matter!!!)  This mic does need 8 to 9volts to function properly!  A trip down your local photographic store or electronic shop will solve the problem with a couple of camera batteries. A  4LR44  lithium 6volt and a CR2 3volt lithium . Together these turn out to be the right length and wrapped with a bit of insulating tape or rubber bands can be made to fit perfectly in the battery compartment. These are nice sounding mics and well worth the trouble!

My Nakamichi CM-300 with omni and cardioid capsules, pop shield and 2 new batteries.

15th October 2012                                                                                               NEWS FLASH UPDATE ON THIS POST                                                      Just had an email to say…………..                                                                 THE SMALL BATTERY COMPANY IS NOW RE-STOCKING THE ORIGINAL 9volt BATTERIES.                                                        http://www.smallbattery.company.org.uk/sbc_a1611.htm

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My Rare 1930s Siemens Ribbon Microphone Bursts into Life!

Today I finished re-ribboning  my giant 1930s  Siemens Ribbon Mic (see previous posts)  and it burst into life for the first time in at least 40 years.  Here is a very short clip of it’s first words! So pleased with my handiwork, as I never really thought I would manage to get it working! Aluminium foil 2 microns thick is a real pig to work with!!

Will post some proper recordings with this mic quite soon.