Summer is here, and it is Reslo season.

Another typical day at the Xaudia studio & workshop…

Outside the studio …. flowers, blue sky and cows.

And inside, in the basement workshop…. a Reslo production line!
We see a lot of these little British microphones. The original ribbons are quite thick and have an unusual ‘square wave’ corrugation. Very often these have oxidised and become noisy, and after 50 years they usually benefit from a clean and a fresh ribbon.

Microphone of the Month – Framez ribbon microphone.

April’s microphone of the month (MOTM) is this glamorous shiny blue ribbon microphone by Framez (not to be confused with Framus!)

This has no model or serial number, but is probably from later 1950s or early 60s. Framez were an Italian brand related to Meazzi – according to one source the name is a contraction of Fratelli Meazzi (trans. Meazzi Brothers), which does sound plausible. Framez / Meazzi also made some cool oddball guitars, and were associated with Wandré Pioli. Fetish guitars have much more information about these guitars.

Back to the microphone! This looks very much like a copy of the RCA 74b ‘junior’ microphone, but us physically somewhat smaller. And it is a pretty good microphone in its own right. The magnets have retained their strength over the years, measuring a healthy 4500 gauss between the pole pieces.  It has a hefty transformer with taps for both low and high impedance, making it suitable for both recording and PA use.

This one arrived with a thick flat ribbon – probably a DIY ‘kitchen foil’ repair. With a proper 2.5 micrometer ribbon installed, and the mic rewired for balanced, low impedance operation, the sound is clear with a strong output, just lacking a little of the low end proximity boost that you find with many ribbon microphones. The ‘low’ impedance tap is 1:45 ratio, which gives around a 450 ohm output with the 2.5 micron ribbon.

I’m actually very impressed with this little microphone, and it looks great too!

Update 23/4/11

We managed to get hold of a Meazzi ribbon microphone for comparison. It’s a little less glamorous, and has a similar ribbon dimensions, but a very different motor assembly.

Strange things you find inside mics, part 2

A few months ago I wrote this blog post about the strange things that I had seen inside ribbon microphones. In those cases the ‘strange things’ in question were put in there deliberately by previous owners or techs trying to repair or improve the microphone.

Since then I have come across a couple of microphones which contained even weirder things – insects!

Before modern foams, felted wool was widely used in microphones for shock mounts, wind shields and the like. Unfortunately, moths love this stuff too.

Here’s an old STC4033. You can see the moth eggs on the lower block of green felt.
Worse still, one of the moths had become lodged behind the ribbon:
Moths also seem to like the wool lining and felt mounts on AKG D12s – here you can see the eggs and damage to the lining in the inside corner of the grill:
Anyway, I guess the lesson to be learned is that microphones should be stored in dry, clean places and not in the garage, or at the bottom of the wardrobe. 
(thanks to Steve Parry  )