Since then I have had the opportunity to peek deeper inside the M360, and below is a picture showing the labyrinth. It is not a great photo as the shiny varnish on the top confused my autofocus, but we can see what is going on.
Beyer M360 labyrinth (left) and motor.
The magnet assembly is larger than the standard Beyer motor, in order to accommodate a smooth curved cavity at the rear of the ribbon. This tube curves through 90 degrees and out through a hole in the aluminium base plate. This connects to the inlet of the acoustic chamber, which consists of 25 interconnected tubes that go up and down through the block. There does not appear to be any kind of outlet at the far end, and the tubes are stuffed with string to damp internal reflections.
The mic is really directional, with relatively little pickup from the rear of the ribbon. The back pressure from the sealed rear chamber also has the consequence of making the output brighter and lower than it would otherwise be. These are really very bright sounding for ribbon mics.
The MR1 was an attempt by Reslosound to re-invigorate the classic RB model for a 1970s market, whilst trimming down the cost of manufacturing parts and assembly.
Reslo MR1 and RB models
The MR1 (left) has the same format as the RB, with the ribbon element and magnets housed in a tilting head attached to a cylindrical body that contains the transformer. The grills are now flat, rather than domed, and the custom pivot screw is replaced with a standard hex socket bolt.
Reslo MR1 and RB
The MR1 still usesd Reslo’s custom 3-pin connector, and still makes ground contact through the body only. One assumes that this was to ensure backward compatibility with their older mics and cables, but it seems like madness that they did not take the opportunity to switch to using XLR connectors, which were very well established by this time.
The classic stamped brass badge on the RB is replaced by a printed foil sticker that hides the join between the barrel of the mic and the cast base of the pivoting head. The sticker shouts ‘Reslo MR1’ – note that it no longer says ‘Reslosound’ – in a very trendy 1970’s style font, with fattened letters typical of the era. I am also 1970s vintage, and the label reminds me of watching programmes like Magpie on TV in my childhood!
Magpie – classic 70s font!
The ribbon and motor assembly (top in the picture below) is exactly the same as the RB, but the transformer is smaller. Over time, better understanding gave rise to alloys with higher magnetic permeability, enabling smaller transformers to be made with the same inductance properties. The RB mics used a EE24/25 size core (pictured below the motor). The MR1 has a narrower body and a smaller transformer marked 4414.
Top to bottom… Reslo MR1 motor, transformers from RB, MR1 and Xaudia
Xaudia, as you might expect, make a suitable replacement transformer (bottom) for upgrade and impedance matching duties. 😉
Compared to the RB, I see very few MR1s, and can only conclude that they were not a great success. By the 1970s, good dynamic mics were becoming the first choice for home recording, and professional recording studios would probably favour condenser microphones for many applications. Reslosound Ltd. disappeared sometime in the 1970s, and this must have been one of the last models that they produced.
Here is a scanned product sheet from Lustraphone, which includes the VR53 and VR64 ribbon microphones, along with dynamic microphones and accessories. Like many other manufacturers, they supplied stands and impedance matching transformers to use with their mics.
With a typically British quirkiness, the price of the VR65 stereo ribbon is given as 30 Guineas rather than pounds, shillings and pence. A guinea was equivalent to one pound and one shilling, so at about 4 times the cost of the mono VR64, the stereo VR65 was a very expensive mic!
In other Lustraphone related news, I have commissioned a batch of replacement enamel badges for Lustraphone VR53 and other microphones. They will be available through the Xaudia website very soon.
Here is a scan of an old Electro-Voice catalogue, probably from the 1950s or early 60s, featuring a wide range of microphones. It includes the multi-pattern Cardak, which appears to have been the flagship model, and the V-series ribbon mics. There is no date on the document, but at this point in time the V1 would set you back US$27.50, and the multi-impedance V3 was $50. The Cardak II would set you back a whopping $75!
In the velocity microphone description I was amused to read that “the woven housing allows the sound to pass through without reflection”. This neglects to mention the whopping magnet located at the rear of the ribbon! All of the dynamic ribbon mics were available in 50, 200, 500 ohm and high impedance models, which reflects the plethora of input types around at that time.
The second page deals with carbon and crystal microphones and accessories. The bottom of the page was uppermost in the box, and consequently is somewhat grubby.
Cadenza was a British brand remembered primarily for their ‘Rocket’ ribbon microphones. They are still quite common, and I have repaired many of them in the course of my work.
Cadenza microphone with ribbon element
Most of the Cadenza mics are grey or pale blue in colour, and have a removable stand. However, I have come across three or four of these mics with black bases and a fixed stand. These often have a crystal element rather than a ribbon motor, and I and speculated on their origins in a previous blog entry. When I first encountered one of these, I had thought that it was some kind of DIY ‘repair’ job, but having seen more than one, it seemed more likely that they came out of the factory this way.
Crystal element in a Cadenza body
Until now I had never seen an advertisement, manual or box that could confirm the existence of a Cadenza Crystal microphone. The photos in the auction show the original packaging, marked ‘Cadenza Crystal. So this was indeed a Cadenza product, using the same body as the ribbon microphones.