This project was begun in June of 2000 in response to my students’ requests for information on microphones that was not available in our course textbook, and by my one-hundred-year-old mother’s remark that she thought all microphones are alike. Since then a wealth of information has been gleaned, and is now presented here for your ediﬁcation. Signiﬁcant amounts of technical data were obtained from the microphone manufacturers themselves. This is especially true with regard to the older RCA ribbon types, and I thank preservationists who have made available the historical notes for the rest of us to use, appreciate, and thereby become enlightened.
Those I would like to acknowledge are Sheldon Hochheiser, Ph.D. who is Corporate Historian at AT&T Labs, Mr. Ethan Wetzell who is a Technical Applications and Service representative of the Pro Audio Group at Telex Communications, Inc., Mr. John R. Misenhimer of the Pasadena High School Industrial Arts Department, Mr. Wes Dooley of Audio Engineering Associates, Mr. Ron Streicher of Paciﬁc Audio-Visual Enterprises, Prof. Gary Mraz of Citrus College, Mr. James U. Steele of WKBX Radio, Mr. Jerry Silvia of Silvia Classics Microphone Restoration, Mr. Ekkehart Willms of Vintage-Phone Antiques, Mr. Michael Henry of the Broadcast Pioneers Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland, Mr. Douglas N. Johnson of KPCC Radio, Mr. Jeff Rudisill of the Performing and Communication Arts Division at Pasadena City College, and Prof. Robert L. Shrader, former Chairman of Electronics at Laney College.
Others who have helped along the way include Prof. Stanley R. Alten of Syracuse University, Prof. Harvey D. D. Hetland of the Engineering and Technology Division at Pasadena City College, Prof. A. Kenneth Johnson of the Communications Division at Pasadena City College, Mr. Michael D. Callaghan of KIIS Radio, Mr. Maurice Mischook of KBIG/KOST Radio, Pasadena City College’s Director of Electronic Maintenance Larry Teffeteller, Mr. Stephen Sank of the Champlain Valley Speaker Co., Mr. Michael Dorrough and Mrs. Kay Dorrough of Dorrough Electronics, Mr. Bob Jefferis, electronics engineer; Mr. Dennis Schrank, Mr. Gary Sanders, Mr. Sean Brady, Mr. Ellis Dawson, Mr. Jeff Scarborough, and Mr. Jim Webb, the man with the fabulous microphone collection, and his son, Mr. Kenneth Webb.
Many of the microphone photos were found in eBay auctions. Celebrity photos are accredited on the pages where they appear. Photos remaining uncredited were obtained during Web searches in which attribution was not provided. The photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, the photo of the woman at Radio RCB, the photo of President Franklin Roosevelt, and the photo of Mr. Nikita Khrushchev standing with President Richard Nixon were purchased from the Corbis Corporation. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds session photos were provided by Capitol Records/EMI-Capitol Entertainment Properties, used here with permission. Acknowledgement omission is unintentional, and should be brought to my attention. I hope this Web site will prove to be useful, especially to my former students working in the broadcast and music recording industries.
Several mics displayed on this site are missing sound samples. If you own one or two of these, or have access to same, it would be grand if you could record and email me the ﬁles (mp3, aiff, or wav). Attribution will be included. Spoken content is to be “This is the sound of the [brand name] [model] [polar pattern] [transducer type] microphone.” An example: “This is the sound of the Shure Model SM85 cardioid condenser microphone.” Use no processing, in particular no equalization. The ﬂatter the response the better. Anyone’s voice is ﬁne, man or woman, owner of the mic or not, in any language. It’s the sample that’s needed more than the content.
Make “Microphones” the subject of messages you send, and attach sound ﬁles. Include your name as you would like it to appear in the attribution. Address them to
HyperText Markup Language was built using BBEdit, an HTML and text editor for the Mac, published by Bare Bones Software. Fractions were built using Mr. Ben Schattinger’s free Unicode Fraction Creator, at https://lights0123.com/fractions/, a marvelous utility that speeds up production, especially while using the Georgia font. (How else can one generate ⁴¹⁄₁₅₂ with such elegance and ease?) When using HTML with the Fraction Creator, syntax errors can be avoided by using UTF-8 encoding.
—Prof. S. O. Coutant, retired