Tag Archives: AKG 2 Way Mics

Philips LBB9050/05 Dual Capsule Dynamic Microphone 1970

 Philips LBB9050-05

 Philips LBB9050-05

Philips LBB9050-05

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.

Philips LBB9050-05

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.

Box for Philips LBB9050/05

 Philips LBB9050-05 Bass Capsule Ports

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.

LBB9050 microphone,

leafletLBB9050 microphone, leaflet, 1971

So What Does It Sound Like CLICK HERE for a short clip of Blues Guitar

In Conclusion

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!

 

OKTAVA MD-186 A Classic Clone?

It is quite a few years since AKG stopped manufacturing the remarkable D224 cardioid dynamic. There are still some appearing on eBay but the supply of ones in good working order is dwindling. I was therefore very curious when I spotted a Russian microphone which I had never seen, or heard of before, that looked somewhat reminiscent of the D224. It had a similar twin capsule design with separate elements for treble and bass, which means that like the 224 it would not exhibit proximity effect. It also appeared that the frequency response was not dissimilar (30Hz – 18kHz).  It even had an almost identical-looking stepped roll-off filter at 50Hz.  So to satisfy my curiosity I bought 2!

Oktava MD186

When the mics arrived I was immediately reminded of a well-known brand of margarine which has the slogan ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter!’ However, unlike the margarine that wouldn’t fool anyone, these Russian microphones look and sound very similar to their Austrian counterparts. Even the nickel plating appears to be as good as anything found on an AKG. It rapidly became clear that the Oktava MD-186 is not simply a cheap ‘knock off’.  It is a very solid, well-engineered, high quality, professional microphone.

Oktava MD186 Logo Closeup

Oktava MD186 Roll-off switch

Oktava MD186 Frequency Response Graph

Oktava MD186 Frequency Response Graph

So does it really sound anything like the classic AKG D224 ?  

Below are links to 3 very different sample recordings:-

CLICK HERE for Voice recording comparing an AKGD224 and the Oktava MD-186.

CLICK HERE for  Clarinet recorded on the MD-186

CLICK HERE for Live recording of Guitar and Cajon on MD-186 x2 

My two MD-186s are from the tail end of the Soviet era (1989 & 1990) when Oktava was still wholly owned by the Russian State. Although manufactured around a year apart they sound identical to one another. So much so that I would  not hesitate to use them as a stereo pair.

In Conclusion.

Looking on Oktava’s Russian website I was excited to find that the MD-186 appears to be still in production!

http://www.en.oktavatula.ru/production/dynamic_mic/

However, upon further investigation I can find no retail outlet actually selling them! It has been suggested to me that maybe they are only on sale to Russian TV and Radio Stations.  Or it could be that they are no longer manufactured and Oktava simply haven’t updated this web page on their Russian site! Whatever the explanation it seems a great pity that these classic dual element dynamic microphones are no longer available from Oktava………… or AKG !

AKG D224E (circa 1968) The Best Dynamic Microphone Ever Made?

AKG D224E

The AKG D224E is an extraordinary combination of revolutionary design and high quality engineering, which conspires to challenge  preconceptions about the capabilities of a dynamic microphone. Not only does it have the expected performance of a quality dynamic:-

  • ability to handle high SPLs,
  •  fat, punchy midrange,
  • tonally smooth high end,
  • no requirement for external power,

BUT…………….. It also has all the characteristics of a good condenser!

  • Wide flat frequency response 20hz to 20Khz !!
  • Excellent transient response.
  • Tight, uniform, cardioid polar pattern.
  • Sound arriving from any angle of incidence is completely uncoloured.
  • Rear attenuation is -20db at all frequencies, giving excellent rejection characteristics.

AKG D 224E Leaflet

IN ADDITION

The D224 (in common with the D200, D202 and D222) does not exhibit proximity effect.

This AKG Brochure below, from 1970, gives detailed technical information and fully explains the design of this extraordinary microphone.

AKG 2 Way Mics 1970

Here also is the original 1965  AKG Patent for Dual Capsule Microphones.

So what does it sound like?                                                                            On the morning this mic arrived from my usual supplier (ebay) the sun was shining (as it always does when a new mic arrives!) and the birds outside in the garden were singing loudly. I set up a mic stand outside my back door .

Click here for my first recording with the D224.

Here is another sound clip recorded at a live Rock’n’Roll show. It demonstrates the ability of the D224E to handle high level transients and reject unwanted sounds.

Click here for Rock’n’Roll Guitar.

Over the coming weeks I will add some more recorded examples. I really do like the sound of this mic!

P.S.

As with the AKG D222, the accurate off axis response of the D224 has , over many years , been perfect for politicians who don’t tend to talk straight ( into the mic)!

Tony Blair AKG D224

Notice the use of the additional pop shield, to prevent wind (and hot air) imploding on the low end capsule!

P.P.S.  If you are a fan of the D224 you may also be interested to check out the Oktava MD-186.