From the earliest days of outside broadcasting and recording, keeping the microphone dry has always been something of a challenge. Condenser microphones in particular don’t function well in damp conditions, and pretty much any mic can be completely ruined by a good soaking.
These days’ companies such as Rycote make windshields and water resistant protection to cover a wide range of different professional microphones. Back in 1955 STC came up with their own neat and convenient solution to the problem.
Advertised rather grandly as being ‘an all weather instrument’ with ‘full marine and tropical protection,’ the STC4032 is a robust hand-held, omnidirectional, dynamic microphone with a moisture resistant black Bakelite body. The grill is a dual layer of fine stainless steel mesh and an optional windshield (pictured above) may be added to give an additional 15db noise free performance in high winds and additional protection from the rain. The handle incorporates a switch, which can be wired to provide muting or remote start/stop function for a tape recorder (such as the E.M.I Midget).
This super lightweight setup was used by BBC outside broadcasters from 1955 until the mid-60’s and weighed a mere 14lbs! You may laugh…….. But this was a vast improvement on carting round the previous equipment…….. a BBC Type C portable disc recorder weighing 44lbs!!! (see pic below) Perfect for recording in a gondola! Michael Reynolds reporting for the BBC in Venice 1946.
Can’t imagine the rocking of the boat helped the disc cutter very much. The mic is an STC4017c and none of this gear is waterproof (apart from Michael’s sturdy military raincoat!)
Legendary sports commentator David Coleman with his trusty STC4032 in hand.
The following is a hilarious period piece, almost like something out of Monty Python:
Alan Whicker interviews Beatniks in Newquay in 1960 (STC4032 appears at 5min 50secs)
This picture of actress and opera singer Rosalina Neri being interviewed for the BBC really deserves a suitable caption! ………………………………………………………………………………
Although it looks somewhat like a World War 2 battlefield telephone, in terms of technical performance the STC4032 is exactly the same as the STC4035 studio microphone, and very similar to the famous Apple & Biscuit STC4021. It has a notably smooth frequency response from 30Hz to around 10 kHz, with a presence peak of around 5db at 6.5kHz . The only difference with the 4032 is the water resistant case.
Here is a short demonstration of the STC4032-D
Although ostensibly designed for outside broadcasting, the STC4032 is a high quality dynamic microphone that could be used for many different tasks.
Click Here for a short except from Suite for Soprano Saxophone and Church Organ – ‘In Remembrance’ composed and performed by Patsy Gamble with Jonathan Hope on Sat 11th Aug 2018 in Gloucester Cathedral. Photograph by Duncan Laker.
Click Here for a short clip of Acoustic Guitar. Many thanks to Joe Martin for the brief impromptu solo.
For those who are interested in the history of broadcast recording I would thoroughly recommend these 3 sites which are a rich source of fascinating information:-