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Author Topic: How To Become A Microphone Detective?  (Read 2664 times)

J.J. Blair

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How To Become A Microphone Detective?
« on: July 20, 2011, 04:27:32 pm »

(Responding to a depiction of a capsule in an M269): It would appear to be an unoriginal diaphragm.
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torsteinl

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Re: How To Become A Microphone Detective?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2011, 02:12:41 pm »

How can I learn to detect such modifications myself? Is there any kind of reference for the guts of vintage microphones (preferably online)?
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klaus

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Re: How To Become A Microphone Detective?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2011, 02:51:20 pm »

I love this question and split it out of another thread where someone inquired whether a capsule he showed had original diaphragms.

NO internet authentication tutorial for vintage microphones exists, and the few technical compendiums or picture aggregations on line are often unnecessarily esoteric, or lacking in detail, or unreliable because of errors and inaccuracies.

As of late, the internet is increasingly regarded as the ultimate knowledge base. But it is in essence void of an authoritative filter that lets you and me know what information is accurate or valuable, or what statements are plain garbage, no matter how convincingly posted.

I recently had an intense conversation with a small studio owner who asked me: What is the best way of selecting the right microphone for a specific application?

My answer: sign up as an intern in a commercial studio or negotiate a mentoring program with a respected audio professional.
My hypothesis: we are hard-wired for learning specialised skills most efficiently through direct observation and face-to-face, experiential interaction with a mentor in a long-term relationship.

Accumulating knowledge in other ways is helpful and often essential, but the ability to distinguish with some certainty which part of that accumulated knowledge is applicable, actionable, and therefore authoritative in a specific circumstance can be learned best from being in the same room with a knowledgeable person for an extended period of time.

This suggestion will of course not yield many takers, because, aside of the logistical problems connecting with mentors in a globally spread-out "village", we now expect instant and accurate learning through the internet, at no personal sacrifice or cost. But history has shown that the best way to pass on the knowledge of the masters is through personal interaction with them.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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J.J. Blair

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Re: How To Become A Microphone Detective?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2011, 08:58:59 pm »

Aside from learning tons through this forum, I started my own database of photos, schematics and info, for my own reference.  I save every internal photo from every mic on eBay, and any others that I find.  There is plenty you can learn just from studying photos.  I have also seen enough mics that have been serviced by enough of the usual suspects that I can usually tell who's worked on it, but what components are in it, or some other tell tale sign. 

But the single most useful thing I can recommend is coming to this forum with pictures of anything you find questionable and asking.  There are good people here, with a lot of experience, who enjoy helping.
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Nob Turner

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Re: How To Become A Microphone Detective?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2011, 01:52:39 am »

So Klaus, given your philosophy stated above, I hope you are taking on the occasional intern in hopes of mentoring others.

Clearly you have a great amount of knowledge regarding microphones in particular, and it would be a shame if that knowledge didn't propagate. I've heard several times on your fora that much knowledge of microphone construction has been lost as the old masters from the big manufacturers passed away. That has always seemed an awful shame to me.

klaus

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Re: How To Become A Microphone Detective?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2011, 04:11:12 am »

I agree with everything you say.

The problem lies in the logistics and professional outlook for participation in a mentoring process in the modern world.

In theory, mentorship could still be done today, but it would require a pool of willing aspirants with easy access to a place of learning. I live in a rural environment, a good forty five minutes away from a mid-sized city with a limited pool of audio professionals. How would one do this? Have the chap come to my castle, eat with the family, work until 2AM, then drive home, and all this for a decidedly limited financial outlook?

In a Mix Magazine interview a few years back, I attempted an answer to the question: why not simply train my son?
I attempted to describe a possible lure for him towards the end of that interview (http://mixonline.com/online_extras/klaus-heyne-interview/)
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com
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