Endangered Species

sela_4

Sela – Sweden (mid 1950’s to mid 1960’s) Mic illustrated – T24 (#5848)

Sela manufactured microphones, small audio mixers and broadcast consoles largely for film studios, television and concert halls. Four mics were made, all using Neumann K47 capsules – T24, T25, T26 and T27. The mic illustrated uses a K47 capsule and AC701 tube (the same combination as the Neumann M49), but visually resembles a miniature U47 with the capsule mounted at 45 degrees to reduce the overall size. I understand around 200 were made, of which half may survive. The sound is full and warm, very much like the M49.

ficord_4

Ficord – England. 1960’s Mic Illustrated FC1200.

I must profess to some ignorance, but I believe that these mics were manufactured for Ficord (a company best known for open reel tape recorders) by Calrec of Heden Bridge, Yorkshire. The mic is a Nu-Vista (miniature tube) and has a very distinctive, bright and sparkly sound, but with a beautiful balance. It is easily my favourite mic for acoustic guitars, especially 12 string. I often notice them in use in BBC TV recordings from the 1960’s and early 1970’s, including vocals for Marc Bolan in many T Rex broadcasts.

percy_bear_4

Percy Bear – England (London) 1970’s. Mic Illustrated C12.

I know little about the manufacture of these mics although the construction is almost pure AKG, the capsule being original C12 and the rest of the electronics compromising of half an AKG C24 board. I’ve had several through my hands, (apart from David Lord, users now include Soul II Soul and Jonathan Miles.) and I regret not keeping one – I’ll definitely keep the next one I get. The mic sounds just like what it is – a C12, but with a slightly lower output level. It’s almost as nice as my Phillips/AKG C11A and better than many C12s I’ve had. Rumour has it that Percy Bear also made a stereo mic (would this be called the C24?). If any reader can fill in the huge gaps in my knowledge about this company/person or bear, I’d be most grateful.

speiden_4

Speiden – USA (New York) (1980’s/1990’s) Mic illustrated SP12

I recently purchased this beautiful ribbon mic under the recommendation of voice guru Ron Illes from Ireland, who describes New York microphone maker, Bob Speiden, as a genius. I’ve yet to try the mic, so I can’t personally confirm Ron’s huge enthusiasm for a stereo ribbon mic he describes as the most accurate he knows, if a little low in output. I gather some 30 of these were made, but again I’m keen to know more about the mic, others Bob may have made, and the manufacturer himself.

Lustraphone – UK (1950’s-1960’s)

Like Ficord, Lustraphone were early pioneers of open reel tape recorders, and it may well be that these mics were manufactured for the company rather than by the company. Solid and well made, the sound is a little more ‘useable’ than the more familiar and equally attractive Reslo and Grampian ribbon mics, but certainly for specialist applications only. Again, I’m pig ignorant about facts or figures, so feedback from out reader or his friend are welcomed.