Old microphones have an appeal not dissimilar to old guns. They’re metal, they’re heavy, and they represent or confer a kind of power.
Far left in the top picture is the Monarch TM-16 (Japan). The big tank next to it is the Stromberg-Carlson 12, USA. In the center is the most well-known of all the “Elvis” mikes, having appeared on a US postage stamp. It’s the Shure 55C (USA). Next, the rare and wonderful Astatic 600S with a plastic grille and chrome fins! Last is the RCA 74B “Junior Velocity” microphone from the 1940s (USA).
The next photo shows, left to right, the Shure “Uniron” 330, a variant of the Shure SM33 model Johnny Carson used on The Tonight Show for many years (USA). Next is the Kent DM-17 (Japan)–a mini knockoff of the famed RCA 77, Next is a Realistic 33-999 from Radio Shack (Japan), Shure 300 (USA), and Calrad DM-18 (Japan).
And in the photo with the black background are, from left, the Shure 705A “Ultra Wide Range Crystal” microphone (USA), next (in front) is the Astatic JT-30 (USA), and behind it a Shure crystal microphone, the 730B, followed by the Neat TM-3 dynamic mike from Onkyo Denki (Japan), and last is the Universal “5MM Velocity” microphone (USA).
Below: Aiwa CM-30 stereo condenser microphone with flip stand (Japan), Shure Spher-O-Dyne PE53 (USA), Electro-Voice 666 (USA), Electro-Voice RE15 (USA) —also well-known as an “Elvis mike,” Altec 683B (USA), Shure 585SAV Unisphere A with volume control (USA), a tiny ball mike on a tie clasp with no name or other markings but is probably from Japan, Universal “Handi-Mike” 200-TC (USA), and the Legend IC/TMC-IT Buships Stock No. S17-M-1876-897, which looks like a Turner 99 and probably is.
Few people seem to remember these days that the standard abbreviation for a microphone is “mike”— as in “hey you, get off the stage, gimme that mike.” For some years now, microphone has commonly been abbreviated as “Mic.” But this, of course, is not how it’s pronounced. I think the genesis of this abbreviation was on tape recorders, specifically small foreign-made ones, where labeling the microphone input jack required an abbreviation and the recorder’s maker was unfamiliar with the standard “mike” abbreviation. Naturally, appreciating old things as I do, I continue to use “mike” as I don’t see “mic” as any kind of improvement.
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