R/E/P > Klaus Heyne's Mic Lab Stickies

Vintage Mics- How to Authenticate And Buy Them

(1/2) > >>

Klaus Heyne:
a poster, quoted fron GearSlutz
 Is it reasonable to expect the seller to cooperate with the buyer in arranging a full inspection of the mic by a 3rd party before committing to purchase ?

Paying full market value for a vintage microphone without the opportunity to inspect it beforehand strikes me as a gamble.

In a parallel situation, from a different field, it's easy to see why: Would a vintage Ferrari being offered on e-bay sell at full market value without the high bidder being allowed to check under the hood?

If the seller refuses such inspection, I should ask myself: Am I that needy to let greed rule over common sense?

To incorporate my added risk, one should adjust the price one is willing to pay for a mic that cannot be inspected. Example:

U47 - no inspection allowed? Fine, I subtract $1000.- for a bad tube and $800.- for a bad capsule from my bid price.

With so many people plunking down thousands on vintage mics sight unseen, it would seem challenging to find a seller willing to go to the trouble and expense.  

An honorable and ethical seller will understand and have sympathy with the reasonable request for inspection:
Why would a seller want the stink of a bad deal hung around his neck forever (now that we live in an age where the Internet never forgets)?

Regarding trouble and expense: The buyer needs to assure the seller that he will volunteer for most trouble and all expenses that are incurred:

-Advance payment with negotiable funds, and in full (i.e. cashier's check or direct bank transfer only.)
An aside:
I advise against Pay-Pal: It's going to be Visa, not Pay-Pal you will have to fight with if the deal goes sour. A customer recently had to go to court to prove his mic fraud case to Visa, which underwrote Pay-Pal's insurance.

-Covering of all shipping, preferably by using the buyer's Fed Ex or UPS account number, for the ease of it.

-Agreeing to a speedy completion of the process (by five days maximum, the information needed to decide on the deal should be in)

The above steps undertaken by the buyer are going to show the seller that the buyer is professional and responsible.

When I get involved as a third party authenticator, I try to promise both parties a 48hr. maximum time after which I typically have enough relevant information ready to allow for a competent decision by the buyer.

Regarding Escrow:
I understand that in addition to third party authentication, escrow services are available in cases where buyers or sellers do not trust each other enough to transfer money or merchandise directly.
I am sure Fletcher, whose company, Mercenary Audio, offers these services, or others can give more details on how it works and what it costs.

    What would a typical inspection report look like?  What types of information should one expect to see on it?  


Klaus Heyne:
At minimum, a pre-purchase inspection should contain:

- identification and authentication (that is, type, serial number, state of originality, etc.) of all significant components, like mic, capsule head, power supply, tube (mportant with serial numbered tubes)

- cosmetic assessment ("showroom"... "pitted housing tube with driver's license engraving" ... "badge missing".. "frayed cable ends"... "aftermarket head grille"...)

- operating condition (..."passes signal but high background hiss...")

- measured operating voltages (on tube mics)

- capsule evaluation, including level of diaphragm tension, and level of contamination

Beyond that, authentication may include an assessment of where the system ranks vis a vis other similar systems ("...despite slight cosmetic blemishes, the system overall ranks comparably high in state of originality and performance...")

It also may include the approximate dollar-amount it would take to make the system fully operational or superior in performance to similar, stock systems.

Mark Lemaire:
With all the highly detailed, huge photos of capsules that folks have been posting on this board, what, in your estimation, is the use of them as a way to check the health of a capsule?

Klaus Heyne:
Internet pictures (especially well-focused close ups) are fairly useful for identification-
a proud new owner of a mint M49 e-mailed me a close up of his capsule, only to find out that it was an aftermarket reskin job!

However, JPGs are not useful in analyzing the proper functioning of a capsule or tube or processor.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version