Mark’s Introduction to his microphone collection…
I have always had a (sad) passion for vintage audio equipment and have been collecting the weird and wonderful for decades. Indeed, I was husbanding what I regarded as small objects of audio desire in an age when much of what I treasured was being consigned to rubbish dumps on the basis that it was obsolete, old fashioned and worthless.
Shortly after moving to London in the early 1980s after a short-lived sojourn in beautiful (not) Rotten Park in Birmingham, I discovered The Old Stables Market in Camden Town – a selection of trashy ‘antique’ stalls offering the weird, the wonderful and the esoteric of yesteryear for a few quid. I became a regular visitor in search of anything and everything that an impecunious musician could afford. In particular I regularly came across vintage microphones amongst the crockery, door furniture and cooking utensils displayed for sale. I loved these relics from recording history and, it seems, was the only customer for these gems. Word soon went round the stallholders that there was a bonkers customer prepared to pay £30 for any old microphones they came across, so they went out of their way to unearth mics from the county fairs, car-boot sales and junk shops they frequented to buy stock. The upshot was that I acquired over 120 vintage mics in the following decade (until fashion caught up with me and supply dried up as prices sky-rocketed).
Of course, these mics were collected for show – I have another eighty or so vintage and modern mics that are in regular use at my SNAP! Studios, several of which were acquired from market stalls (including a mint early Coles 4038 in its original box; £30 well spent!). Amongst my collection are some true gems that I treasure as works of art and I’ll be posting photos and brief descriptions on the website, Facebook and social media in coming weeks and months to share my passion with readers. Many will be familiar but a few are so rare that I’ve never seen them anywhere else.
“One of my favourites and a real oddity.”
“Glitzy and brash but groovy.”
“Unusual and decades ahead of its time, the 4033 combines both ribbon and dynamic elements to offer a distinctive, albeit ‘middley’ sound.”
“It makes sense to follow my STC (Coles) 4033 mic with some blurb on my Altec Birdcage as both are dual (ribbon and dynamic) element.”
“I have a couple of these chunky devils and they always catch the eye.”
“I bought this beautiful BBC Marconi type A microphone from my friend Adrian Kerridge (of CTS/Lansdowne/Cadac fame) a few years before his sad death.”
“I bought this little beauty last year because I couldn’t resist.”
“Reslosound were a British company based in Romford who made some of the most recognisable mics in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.”
“The SR1 was actually designed and produced as a studio microphone rather than general purpose/public address.”
“Here’s a beautiful looking lump of chrome, although from what I can gather is rather lo-fi”
More coming soon…