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Help me identify this vintage microphone

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Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby Edmond Trussell » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:03 am

Hey,
I picked up this microphone at an estate sale and I can't find a make or model on it. Check out the pictures.

Image
Image

Image
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby Arpangel » Sun Oct 04, 2020 8:43 am

Audio Technica? I had one that looked very much like this, but I may be wrong, someone (Hugh :) ) will be along shortly to clear this up I’m sure.
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:08 am

Possibly a Sony from the 1970s/80s. Certainly some of them were battery-only electrets with that M-V switch.

Check out ECM270 (omni) and ECM 280 (cardioid) for a family resemblance.

Any other bits that came with it that you can show us?
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby James Perrett » Sun Oct 04, 2020 2:27 pm

I'd say it was possibly an OEM mic that would have been sold under all kinds of different brands (Eagle International and TTC Foster being two in the UK). I had one branded A&F that had similar looking switches and capsule although the PCB was different as it had a ball shaped head.
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby John Willett » Sun Oct 04, 2020 2:52 pm

James Perrett wrote:I'd say it was possibly an OEM mic that would have been sold under all kinds of different brands (Eagle International and TTC Foster being two in the UK). I had one branded A&F that had similar looking switches and capsule although the PCB was different as it had a ball shaped head.

With no visible branding, I would say that this is the most likely answer.

Internal AA size battery makes it most lilely a directional electret microphone.
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:36 pm

It's most likely to be a Realistic 33-1080 from Radio Shack/Tandy dating from 1980 or thereabouts. I had one... looked identical, but with a Realistic label just under the grille. Went noisy years ago and I threw it away... but I still have the leaflet in my files! Quite possible that it was made by Sony as an OEM mic and sold under other brands, although I don't recall seeing it elsewhere.

Assuming it really is the 33-1080, it's a cardioid back-electret mic. The switch is labelled for Music (M) and Voice (V), where the M position has a flat response, and the V position introduces a high-pass filter at around 200Hz, intended to reduce proximity effect from close usage when singing on stage (or when otherwise placed very close to a source).

The frequency response in M mode is pretty flat, with only a very mild presence lift (+1dB) around 5kHz and a slightly reduced (-2dB) low end below 350Hz. The polar response is a reasonable cardioid, tending towards hypo-cardioid at low-frequencies and hyper-cardioid at high-frequencies, in the usual way!

Its specs suggest a quite a low output for an electret mic, at 2.5mV/Pa, which is not much more than a typical modern moving-coil mic. Although the supplied XLR cable was terminated in an unbalanced TS jack plug (for connecting to a guitar amp etc), the mic actually has an output transformer in it and is therefore capable of providing a balanced output if used with a normal XLR-XLR cable.

The transformer means the mic is immune to phantom power, so will tolerate it on a balanced cable connection quite happily -- but it can't make use of it, sadly. Instead, the mic can only be powered by internal battery, although the internal circuitry will accept any voltage between 1 and 12V DC which is unusual!

Normally, the mic would be powered with a 1.5V AA cell and will run for up to 3000 hours on that. The specs claim it is capable of handling 130dB SPL when powered in this way.

Alternatively, though, you can fit two PX28 batteries (or, rather, their modern equivalents since mercury cells are now banned) instead of the one AA, using the same battery tray (the just fit end-to end). The higher combined voltage of two PX28s approaches the 12V supply limit and when powered this way it is claimed to permit 140dB SPL -- simply through having greater headroom in the impedance converter!

Given that this is a 1980s back-electret, it is possible that some (or all) of the internal static charge in the capsule may have leaked away, which will reduce the output level and increase the noise floor.... Modern electrets are rather better at hanging on to their charge than those from the 70s and 80s.... but you may be lucky and find it still works well.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby Edmond Trussell » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:49 pm

I did figure out that it is a Realistic 33-1080 that was probably made by Sony. Someone suggested I do an image search on google images and it popped up just like that.

It came in a box with an EV PL5 and PL9 for almost nothing. Needless to say, I'm very happy!
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:52 pm

:thumbup:
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby CS70 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:56 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Given that this is a 1980s back-electret, it is possible that some (or all) of the internal static charge may have leaked away, which will reduce the output level and increase the noise floor.... Modern electrets are rather better at hanging on to their charge than those from the 70s and 80s.... but you may be lucky and find it still works well.

I have no electret mics, neither modern nor vintage, but out of curiosity.. is it possible to "recharge" one in some simple way? Or is it really down to the material, that needs to be replaced?
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:59 pm

CS70 wrote: ...out of curiosity.. is it possible to "recharge" one in some simple way? Or is it really down to the material, that needs to be replaced?

No, it requires specialist very high-voltage equipment and has to be done during manufacture. The dismantling that would be involved to access the relevant bit of the capsule means it's not cost-effective or practical to 'recharge' an old capsule.
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby CS70 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:03 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
CS70 wrote: ...out of curiosity.. is it possible to "recharge" one in some simple way? Or is it really down to the material, that needs to be replaced?

No, it requires specialist very high-voltage equipment and has to be done during manufacture. The dismantling that would be involved to access the relevant bit of the capsule means it's not cost-effective or practical to 'recharge' an old capsule.

Lovely cigar holding tubes, then!

Thank you :)
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Re: Help me identify this vintage microphone

Postby cyrano.mac » Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:17 pm

James and Hugh are right, of course. I've got one that's branded "Eagle". I doubt if they're made by Sony, though.
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