STC 4017-C Dead or Alive ???


My freshly unwrapped STC4017C

Bought ……. ‘sold as seen’……’not known if working’….. from a house clearance sale on ebay. This microphone was previously owned by Kenneth Chaplin, who worked for the BBC from 1935 to 1981. Question is……. will my newly purchased STC 4017-C turn out to be:-

a)  A Classicic World War 2 BBC Outside Broadcast microphone in perfect working order…………’We will fight them on the beaches’… etc etc.


b) An expensive  copper paperweight/doorstop!!!

What’s your guess?   a) or b)                                                                           

All I’ve got to do now is make up a special lead and find out!!!

2 Days Later ………STC4017-C wired Showing + and - and Earth To find out what happens when I plug it in  CLICK HERE!

I was going to write some technical blurb on this mic, but the information on Stan Coutant’s wonderful ‘Welcome to Microphones’ site is so comprehensive I would thoroughly recommend reading that!

Many historic 20th century broadcasts and recordings were made with the STC4017 (probably more than any other microphone) and many famous people have had their picture taken with it! Here is a great photograph of the writer George Orwell

Great photograph of George Orwell with STC4017C

Marlene Dietrich 1944

Marlene Dietrich 1944 performing for the BBC Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme.

Here is another famous user:-

The 14 year old future Queen makes her first broadcast in 1940

More PicsSTC4017-C Front aboveSTC4017-C side viewSTC4017C diaphragmSTC4017C Showing equalising tubeSTC4017C internal side view showing equalising tubeSTC4017c Internal side view.STC4017C internal view with serial numberLucky to find this elegant, original BBC stand for a bargain price on ebay!Lucky to find this elegant, original BBC stand for a bargain price on ebay!

Another sound clip CLICK HERE>


Live concert Solo violin recording

Tasty guitar clip.

STC4017-C Delivering 'Peace in Our Time'

STC4017-C Delivering the famous ‘Peace in Our Time’ speech. Sept 30th 1938 Chamberlain returns from Munich with agreement from Hitler!

Chamberlain Declares War on Germany 1939

‘Mark my words, that Adolf Hitler is a very naughty boy!’ Headmaster Neville Chamberlain Declares War on Germany 1939
P.S. I wonder why they mic’d up his right hand??

Here below are links to to more interesting information :-

war time use of the STC4017 by the BBC.

John Snagge reporting D-Day landings June 6th 1944

America Declares War on Japan. President Roosevelt’s Speech using the original  Western Electric 618a. (Same as STC4017a)

A variation of this microphone also used by the Royal Navy in the form of the Vitavox Admiralty Pattern No 1359

Following the years of wartime reporting, below a battery of  STC4017s assists in cementing the peace.  

Ist Meeting of the UN General Assembly Jan 10th 1946

The first session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on 10 January 1946 at Central Hall in London. Here, Secretary-General Trygve, speaks at his installation ceremony. (2 February 1946) UN Photo/Marcel Bolomey

17 responses to “STC 4017-C Dead or Alive ???

  1. I think it will work! Those old dynamics are quite rugged and the rest looks free of oxidation!


    • This was the assumption I was working on!….. Then when it arrived I wondered if it was so polished because it had already been used as an ornament!
      I am at home on Sunday and will have some time to wire it up and discover the truth…… fingers crossed!!


  2. 75 years on and it sounds great!


  3. Definitely a mic that I will be using!


  4. I wonder how it would sound on vocals or guitar and all the more.


  5. Hi Martin, I’ve just got the same mic and I’m trying to wire it up, not sure what the previous owner was thinking. I’ve now got the coil wired to the 2 terminals and the earth terminal to the chassis but I’m confused by the XLR, is it pin 1 to ground and the coil to 2 and 3?


    • Hi Rob,
      If you look at the picture of my temporary test wiring it is screen (E) to pin 1 on the XLR. The brown wire goes to pin 2 and the white to pin 3.
      Which, I think, is what you are saying? Hope that helps.


    • P.S.
      I’m not any sort of expert on repairing these things. I would take a look inside mine and send you some pics but the front is screwed on so tight I can’t undo it without using force, and as it is working well I wouldn’t risk it! There is,however, an exploded diagram and a wiring diagram on Stan Coutant’s site:-
      Good Luck!


  6. Hi, that did help thanks I’m confident it’s wired up correctly now. I wouldn’t ask you to start undoing yours if it’s working, strangely mine won’t respond to talking into it but it does if you tap it, might be hope yet!


  7. Sounds like you are on the right track. Hope you get it going.


  8. Hi there, this a great history page! Thanks. I have been collecting vintage audio equipment for a while. I can’t find any of these old mics for sale… where can I find one and what do they go for?


    • I have bought most of mine on ebay or occasionally at carboot sales. The prices vary enormously. I paid £80 for my STC4017 and only £10 for my STC 4021. However, that was before they became fashionable! Now they often go for £300 or more. I think you just have to keep a look out. Good luck!

      P.S. Just noticed this one currently on eBay Not guaranteed working!! Sooner or later he will probably bring it down to a more realistic price! He has even use a couple of photos off my blog! 🙂


  9. Hello, and thank you for a fantastic mic-related resource! A somewhat old thread, but I have a question if I may about a nice-looking boxed old STC 4017C I picked up recently (quite a low serial number, No. 97, and so I imagine at least 90 years old).

    It was sold as untested and unfortunately doesn’t appear to work – no vital signs at all. The question (and possibly a stupid one at that) I had though was about the actual connections at the rear. I simply wrapped the bare wires of my mic cable (in line with the pictures in the blog post) round the terminals and wound down the screws – but would there have been (or should there be) some form of insulating washer underneath the terminal nuts (between the nuts and the body of the mic) that have perhaps perished meaning the signal if there is one is just being grounded? I am just an enthusiastic amateur and so may be well off-piste here!

    If I can get the front off (currently absolutely stuck tight!) I’ll have a poke around for any other obvious issues. If all else fails I will have a fine looking ornament or paperweight! Thanks, and all the best!


    • Hi Neil, Thanks for your message. Could you perhaps email me some photos of the mic so that I can confirm if the connectors look OK. My email address is :- The thread on the front grill is often very tight, especially if it has never previously been undone. All the Best Martin


  10. Thank you Martin – I will do that! All the best, Neil


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