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The wackiest mic in your collection...


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...and how do you put it to use?

 

I thought this might be an interesting topic - it was inspired by my new SM82 purchase, but I don't think that's my strangest / wackiest mic. But before I start listing some of the stranger birds in my mic aviary, I thought I'd ask all of you to share your strangest, most bizarre mic. Pictures welcomed, and description of price paid, sonic character and what uses you've found for it are also encouraged. :)

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i'd say the blue dragonflies are pretty weird, cosmetically. i use them for guitar amps and drum overheads. while im on the topic of that mic, i think i'm about to move on a used serialized matched pair of the dragonfly deluxes (exact u67 capsule copy) at a great price.

 

peluso 2 251 is a weird mic in that i'm one of the only guys i know that's got one. and soon i'll have two. if you haven't seen one in person, which you probably haven't, the finish is so over-the-top-platinum-looking that it makes your eyes tear from the beauty.

 

the weirdest mic i've got, period, is probably my telefunken m411. it is a rebranded AKG D17 with the uber-cool telefunken badge on the top of the grill. dynamic cardioid. i use it on guitar and bass amps if they aren't too loud. it distorts pretty easily at higher volumes. it does sound as cool as it looks though. there's one on ebay right now that i wouldn't mind having, except that it's priced at about 200 dollars more than it's actually worth.

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I bought this CAD C400S which is a special make just for Guitar Center, back in 2001. I made a page to it here -- CAD *C400S* - AudioMaverick Page. CAD seemed embarrased to talk about it. I called them shortly after I bought it. The person I spoke to in short indicated that it wasn't a very good microphone. It was a short run. And, they weren't going to do that, again. I had picked it up as a clearance for $100, or something close to it. The thing isn't very pretty. But, it makes the neatest dry & breathy vocals! There is this radical 10dB push at 12kHz, and a secondary push at 5kHz. In late 2001 or early 2002, I found out that CAD & Global Audio had merged. Amoung there listings was a *GXL 2200* that very closely matches the specs. It is still out on the market with a CAD logo, for about $70. And, it looks nicer. It isn't great. but, it comes in handy, once in a while.

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I have an Audio Techinca ATR20 that I pull out once in awhile if I'm recording a dark-natured acoustic guitar. It seems to react well. It's not a bright mic but it almost teams with the dark nature to make a colorful, interesting sound.

 

I got it as a Christmas gift and now you can get it for under $20 at best buy. But hey, who's counting?

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My 18-month-old son, Max, and I have a pair of Echo Singing mics. It's these plastic mics for kids that sell for about $1 that have a spring in the bottom that creates a spring reverb effect that's around 4 seconds long.

 

Max like to make burp sounds into them. He also likes to get our dog to bark into them.

 

You wanted wacky. These things are wacky.

 

We've got a baby monitor with a mic and another base with a speaker in it. I've used these things before to get a grungy lo-fi effect on gtr cabs.

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I really like the cheap little omni test mic from Behringer. It was dirt cheap, and it is noisy so it won't really work for ambient room pick up on an acoustic instrument, for instance...

 

...but stick it right up on an acoustic guitar and it really sounds cool. Put it in the middle of a rhythm section tracking session and squeeze the heck out of it. You'll hear the bass player tenny's sliding across the floor as he goes into his "rocking stance".

 

It's not strange or wacky I guess, but it's the closest I could get.

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Without doubt my pair of EV 631 HI-Z omnis.

They'll overload pretty quick but I like them for some ambient room where they seem to do well. I've also used them for miking my PA cabs outdoors, from 4 to 5 feet away and they seem to handle that ok too.

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Electro Voice RE-10 supercardioid.

 

This mic has been beat to hell and back, yet anything that is recorded through it cuts through a mix like gasoline through styrofoam. It has a very 'present' tone to it. This mic is far from transparent.

 

I've used it on many things such as electric guitar, toms, harmonica, nylon acoustic and I've even used it for vocals once..considering it looks like hell, it still sounds pretty good.

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I've got a couple of bizzare original PZM microphones.

 

I've got a pair of handbuilt, hand numbered big plate PZM's that I lost the pre-amp boxes for. I need to find a schematic someday.

 

I also have a Crown CM310 that is pretty wacky. Basically, its got two PZM elements mounted back to back and out of phase. If you are not dead centered on this mic, you get nothing. The most amazing isolation I've ever found. I've used it on a drum vocal and it sounded like he was in booth! But if you stray ever so slightly, its gone.

 

I've used it to isolate certain things in a drum kit, like a second snare drum that's very close to the hats or some thing.

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I just came across a stereo pair of Olsen M264 dynamic mics. both were new old stock, never used, built in the late 1960's. my dad bought a bunch of old LP's and they were in the box and gave them to me. i plugged it into our UA 6176 and was immediately sent into a time warp of sound. they are very well made in japan, and were remarked by Olson out of Akrin Ohio. They are pencil like mics, with a square gold metal pop shield. very attractive. I plan on putting them up for auction. cant imagine getting more than 100 or 125 for the pair. very cool nontheless.

 

regards, rich.

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Originally posted by gearmike

I've got a couple of bizzare original PZM microphones.


I've got a pair of handbuilt, hand numbered big plate PZM's that I lost the pre-amp boxes for. I need to find a schematic someday.

 

:eek:

 

Mike, I have a sneaking suspicion that I just might make your day.

 

Tell me the 'brand' name on these mics...

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They are "PZM" brand mics. Hand drawn sticker on the back, from Downey California...a couple blocks from where I live...

 

These are obviously hand made. Just a rough cut piece of aluminum plate, no way to mount them on a mic stand...

 

 

What'cha got?

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Originally posted by Richard Farrell

I just came across a stereo pair of Olsen M264 dynamic mics. both were new old stock, never used, built in the late 1960's. my dad bought a bunch of old LP's and they were in the box and gave them to me. i plugged it into our UA 6176 and was immediately sent into a time warp of sound. they are very well made in japan, and were remarked by Olson out of Akrin Ohio. They are pencil like mics, with a square gold metal pop shield. very attractive. I plan on putting them up for auction. cant imagine getting more than 100 or 125 for the pair. very cool nontheless.


regards, rich.

 

Any indication of who the OEM builder in Japan was? What type of output connector do they use, or is the cable hardwired to the mic - and if so, what type of connector is at the end of the cable? What color are the mic bodies?

 

Those sound interesting Rich. :cool:

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I'm trying to think of what my most off the wall mic is... it's hard to say. My RCA ribbons don't really qualify, even though they're old, they're not that unusual. My EV's are all pretty weird - I have an old V1-A ribbon from the 1950's, as well as a few EV 664 dynamics. I don't see many of either of those these days - especially the ribbon mic.

 

I've also got an off the wall Audio Technica dynamic - I'll have to check the model number and get back to you. I have a Altec 626a condenser that's pretty unusual - it uses exchangeable capsules (I have several different caps for it), but it can't be phantom powered - it uses a battery. Frankly, it sounds like butt, and the battery life sucks. :eek::D My Shure 315 ribbon is a good little mic - it sounds great on harmonica / blues harp.

 

I also have an old Astatic mic that I've never seen a double for... it's not a tabletop "base station" type mic, and it's not a bullet style... it's somewhat like a 57 in shape, except it's smaller / shorter, and the body is squared off on the sides. I don't think there's a model number on it. It's silver (chromed metal body) in color, has an on / off switch and a hardwired cable with a 1/4" TS plug at the end. High impedance... probably a crystal element, but it could be an ultra cheap dynamic - I've never cracked it open to check... but it's got a really cool trashy sound, really bandpassed in nature. :D

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Originally posted by gearmike

They are "PZM" brand mics. Hand drawn sticker on the back, from Downey California...a couple blocks from where I live...


These are obviously hand made. Just a rough cut piece of aluminum plate, no way to mount them on a mic stand...



What'cha got?

 

Oh, shit...:eek:

 

Wahrenbrock Sound Associates, PZM130

 

9609 Cheddar Street...Downey, CA 90242

 

I got two. And the preamps.

 

AND...I have a way to mount them on a mic stand. In fact, I had documented this project--the mic stand mount--and actually started to write a little article (to contribute to any magazine that might've wanted it) about how I did it, but then figured no one would give a shit, so I dropped it.

 

PZM.jpg

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I have a few madcap and zany mics, but nothing I'd classify as wacky...

 

:p

 

So far, my humble mic collection consists of pretty much the usual suspects, so nothing too out-of-the-ordinary really. The only mic I have that I'd consider slightly weird is a Peavey PVM520. It's a large diaphragm dynamic mic and has the sonic characteristics you'd expect from a LDD mic. I bought it to use on bass drum, etc before I could afford an EV RE20. The only thing wacky about it is the swiveling mounting scheme. It looks like this:

 

sixstardj_1857_38830478

 

I have used various cheap-O tape recorder mics for effects over the years, as well as the baby monitor thing that was already mentioned. Great, now I gotta go out and look for something worthwhile to put in this thread! Never let it be said that I've been out-whacked! ;)

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