Launched in 1970 the LBB9050/05 was Philips flagship dynamic microphone, and was heralded in Philips literature as being a ‘revolutionary new design incorporating high and low frequency systems’. However, a small amount of research reveals more than a passing similarity in technical specifications between the LBB9050/05 and the popular D200 series of microphones by AKG, which had been around for several years.
The mystery unravels further, and the true origins of this microphone become clear when we observe the words ‘Made in Austria’ on the packaging, the storage case, and on the microphone itself. Michael Amon, top technician at AKG for 30 years, has confirmed to me that the LBB9050/05 was indeed made by AKG for Philips in 1969.
Picture above shows Tuchel socket, and ports for the LF capsule.
The Dual Capsule Design.
The original Austrian patent dates from 1960. The full specification appears in the English patent registered by AKG in 1965, and shown below. This makes an interesting read if you want to understand how this clever piece of technology works.
Original AKG Patent for Dual Capsule Microphones
Philips Advertising Leaflets Courtesy of Philips Company Archives.
leafletLBB9050 microphone, leaflet, 1971
So What Does It Sound Like CLICK HERE for a short clip of Blues Guitar
Just like its AKG cousins the D200, D202, D222 and the D224, the Philips LBB9050/05 is a serious quality professional microphone, exhibiting a wide frequency response, tight cardioid polar pattern, and no proximity effect. Sadly, these days it is much less well known than the AKG models. But maybe Philips is to blame? If you were to choose a completely unmemorable name for a product you really couldn’t do better than to call it the LBB9050/05! Two minutes from now you will probably have forgotten it!
Posted in 1960's Microphone, 1970's Microphone, AKG D202E, Philips LBB9050/05, Uncategorized, Vintage Brochures and Tech Specs, Vintage Microphones, Vintage PA Microphone
Tagged 1960's Microphone, 1970's Microphone, AKG 2 Way Mics, AKG D224E, AKG dual capsule, The Best Dynamic Microphone, Vintage Microphone, Vintage PA microphones
My eBay bargain with K2-U powering module and MZF 802-U 100Hz filter.
Below, page from ‘Telemike’ manual.
Sennheiser’s ‘Telemike’ is an extremely versatile, high quality, modular, electret microphone system originally designed for reporters and film makers. It consists of a powering module K1, K2 or K3, a metre long telescopic boom arm MZS 802, (how cool is that?) and a choice of 3 interchangeable microphone modules (ME-20 Omni, ME-40 Super-Cardioid or ME-80 Shotgun) There were also a number of accessories such as the 100Hz filter, windscreens and various clip mounts and table stands.
Unlike all of the other Sennheiser microphones in my collection ‘Telemike’ is extremely light. Even with the ME80 attached to the telescopic boom it adds very little weight to a camera or portable tape machine, making it an attractive tool for location recording. Back in the 70’s an additional benefit of the telescopic boom was that it kept the microphone at a distance from the motor noise of the camera or tape machine.
Apart from professional users ‘Telemike’ also attracted an army of amateur video camera owners and tape recording enthusiasts. It was easy to use and came with a handy booklet of instructions on how to connect Sennheiser mics to a huge range of tape recorders from 51 different manufacturers!! (No that isn’t a typo!) My Dad was a tape enthusiast with an interest in local history, and so when I was a child we always had at least 2 tape recorders in the house! The microphones that were supplied with domestic machines were usually of poor quality. These Sennheiser mics offered the keen amateur a huge improvement in sound quality. They also produced excellent results with more professional machines such as the Revox A77 and B77 which did not provide on board phantom power.
CLICK HERE for a short voice demo of ”Telemike” featuring all 3 capsules.
Original Users guide and Technical Specifications
Sennheiser MKE 202. (with K2pre-amp)Sennheiser MKE803 (K3 pre-amp with 3 position bass roll-off)
These versatile modules can also be simply used either hand held or stand mounted. All in all, a very useful set of microphones!
Posted in 1970's Microphone, Accessories, Microphone Tech Specs, Microphone techniques Ancient & Modern, Sennheiser Telemike, Shotgun Microphones, Uncategorized, Vintage Broadcasting, Vintage Brochures and Tech Specs, Vintage film recording, Vintage Microphones
Tagged 1970's Microphone, Microphones for Television, Vintage Microphone
Looking like a cross between a Van Gogh Sunflower and a pepper pot, the Mélodium 76a is a shining gem of chrome and aluminium. A classic of French design!
In the 1960’s Mélodium developed a variety of modular parts and accessories to give their range of microphones greater versatility and customers more options.
The basic 76A microphone (head) came with a choice of 10 ohms or 200 ohms impedance.
The mic could be used plugged straight into the cable. (Great for harmonica players!)
If required this handy plug-in transformer converts the 76A from 200 ohms to Hi-Z.
There was also a choice of handles.
In this 1970’s Mélodium Catalogue (below) the technical details of the microphones are presented along with a full range of parts and accessories, including goosenecks, tall stands, short stands, table stands and a large selection of adapters, switches and transformers. It is a very comprehensive selection, to cover every possible application.
CLICK Here for MelodiumCatalog
Sadly these days it is hard to find much information about Mélodium. Even in its heyday the company was little known outside of the French speaking world. By the end of the 1970’s Mélodium were no longer in business. Probably wiped out by the superior German and American competition.
Having finished re-soldering all of the joints in my eBay ‘bargain’, I just need to plug it in and find out what it sounds like!
CLICK HERE for Sound clip of Voice and Blackbird in the garden.
When the previous owner mentioned in the description that there were ‘a few wiring issues’ with this vintage French PA microphone he wasn’t kidding! (It looked perfect enough in the eBay photograph!)
Was that why it was so cheap, and no one else bid? Hmmm…….
So now for a bit of fun wiring it back together!
I’ll report back if it by some miracle it works!!
P.S. Just to make things a little more exciting Mélodium have their own plugs and sockets that only fit Mélodium microphones. They are made so that the pins can be moved about in various configurations up to 5 pins! This 431 socket will be 3 pin…… when I get them in the right holes!
P.P.S Just noticed that there should be a rubber gland inside the knurled ring at the top!
Following on somewhat from the theme of the previous post.
Launched in 1971 as Sennheiser’s flagship dynamic the MD441 has remained in production ever since. Famous users include David Bowie, Stevie Nicks and Elton John. It is a superb example of German design and engineering, and even today has few competitors. However, a microphone of this quality does not come cheap. A new MD441-U will set you back around £700.00 !
When AKG produced the remarkable D224 (c1967) they went to great lengths with their twin capsule design to eliminate proximity effect, and create a wide, flat frequency response from 30Hz-20 kHz, regardless of distance from source. With the MD441 Sennheiser took a rather different approach. Whist the frequency response is similar to the AKG (30Hz-20kHz), Sennheiser allow the user of the MD441 to have creative control over proximity effect and also high end brilliance.
This is achieved using a five position bass roll-off switch and a 2 position brilliance switch. This provides a choice of 10 different frequency curves to suit the needs of a wide range of applications!
The Sennheiser MD441 User Manual below explains very thoroughly the operation and characteristics this extraordinary dynamic microphone.
Sennheiser MD441 Manual.
So What Does It Sound Like? CLICK HERE for a drum clip illustrating the wide frequency response, dynamic range and highly detailed transient response.
CLICK HERE for Tenor sax and clarinet.
Whether you choose heavy metal guitar at full volume, or a solo violin, a baroque recorder, or a baritone sax, the MD441 delivers! There is little to distinguish between what goes in and what comes out! It sounds remarkably natural on a wide range of acoustic instruments and the human voice. The Sennheiser MD441-U has all the subtlety normally associated with a high quality condenser combined with the smoothness and punch of a great dynamic. If I was only allowed one microphone in my ‘desert island’ studio this would probably be it!
It was the mid 1960’s and I was a teenager at school in Manchester. Only 30 miles from Liverpool. Before the age of discos. It was a fantastic time for live music. The Mersey boom was at its height and the pubs and clubs were rocking to the latest beat groups. (It is worth noting that none of the music clubs such as The Cavern in Liverpool, or The Twisted Wheel in Manchester, were licensed to sell alcohol. Nevertheless on a Saturday night their subterranean vaults were crammed with teenagers who had often queued for hours to see their favourite bands!)
In the 5th form some of my school mates formed a group. I used to lig along to their rehearsals in the school music room. They had a couple of Vox AC30 guitar amps and an old Selmer which was used for PA. I can remember the singer turning up one day with a very shiny new microphone. All black enamel and chrome, like the headlamp on a classic British motorcycle. Removed from it’s bright blue box the mic was duly plugged into the Selmer amp. The lads then launched into their version of Buddy Holly’s ‘Peggy Sue’. The assembled hangers-on (including myself) thought it sounded amazing!
I was therefore overjoyed a few weeks ago when a friend kindly gave me this bright blue box. I recognised it straight away!
Just below the chrome bezel there is a ribbed rubber ring designed to prevent the mic rolling off flat surfaces. Brilliant feature!
If you buy a DP4 make sure it comes with the 2 pin mic connector as these are as rare as hen’s teeth!
Here in the UK although the Grampian DP4 enjoyed a good deal of popularity as a PA microphone, and also with amateur tape recording enthusiasts, it was never really thought of as a top quality professional instrument. Sennheiser had launched it’s superb MD21 in 1953 and followed it in 1960 with the MD421. Around the same time AKG gave us the D19 and the D24. The poor old Grampian was not quite in the same league. However, for a while the DP4 was used by the BBC for outside broadcasts and by their Wildlife Department in conjunction with the Grampian Parabolic Reflector. (As seen on the front cover of this issue of Tape Recording Magazine from 1969 )
A few weeks ago on TV I saw an old film clip featuring an impossibly young David Attenborough in the middle of the jungle somewhere clutching a Grampian Parabolic reflector with a DP4 mounted on it.
In the end Grampian Microphones were no match for the German. Austrian and American competition. As the 1960’s rolled on bands got louder, PAs got bigger, stage monitors were introduced and the omni-directional dynamic microphone fell out of use. Cardioids simply had more gain before feed back! By the mid-1970s the Grampian DP4 had disappeared from the stage and eventually the company went out of business.
So what does it sound like?
CLICK HERE for a short vocal trip down memory lane!
Grampian Brochures and Technical Information (These came in the box with my DP4.)
On the day I chose to record the voice-over for this video the wind was lashing the trees and bushes in my garden and the branches were swaying backwards and forwards. So I thought it would be a great idea to demonstrate the effectiveness of this vintage Rycote windshield by recording the voice-over sitting on a bench at the bottom of the garden!
Sennheiser MKH 815T Manual