The microphones

A lot of vintage microphones remain in daily use; some in the studio, others by reporters. Microphones dating from the Fifties, Sixties, or real late ones from the Seventies.

STC-4104  Sennheiser-MD-21-silver-E  Shure-545-SD  Sennheiser-MD-421_E  LEM-DO-20

Above: STC 4104, since 1951; Sennheiser MD 21, since 1952; Shure 545, since 1960; Sennheiser MD 421, since 1960 and LEM DO 20, since 1965. All these models are still widely used and remain in production.

But even the quality of the earlier mikes is underestimated…

Most people think that old microphones had a very limited sound quality, and produce lots of hiss and crackle noises. That is because the only way to judge the quality is by listening to old recordings, but that is just the thing: old recordings themselves are full of hiss and crackle, and since they were often recorded on acetate, they are peppered with ticks and other noises.

Listen to Winston Churchill’s war speech, recorded with an STC 4017 dynamic microphone, used by the BBC:                       STC-4017_S

and here is a modern recording with the same microphone. Of course Winston was no longer available, so I repeated the words myself:

The result is evident: I would have failed to inspire the people of the United Kingdom entirely, but the sound quality is very reasonable.