The motivation behind this is the recent changes to import laws from the UK into Europe.
For orders of new goods under €150, we can ship direct without any additional taxes to be paid on import to the EU. The customer still pays the tax but it is collected by Reverb at the point of sale. This means that there are no unexpected bills to pay when you receive the order. Consequently we would encourage our friends in the EU to buy accessories though our Reverb store.
The store sells our thread adapters, transform boxes and splitters.
This only works for lower value orders and so the shop will just be for parts and accessories. If you wish to order Extinct Audio microphones then you will still need to either buy direct from the Extinct Audio web shop, or from one of our international dealers.
To the best of my knowledge, this M30 is the earliest production model Beyer ribbon microphone. (Do please send me a message if you know of an earlier one). Here it is pictured with a modern M160 for scale.
This microphone came in for repair with most of the original piston ribbon in place. The first thing that leaps out is that, from the outset, Beyer went in their own direction for corrugating the ribbon.
I have heard a couple of suggestions about why this may be. Pistonic ribbons are in theory more efficient as the ribbon moves through the magnetic flux in a flat manner although my own measurements suggest that it only gives a couple of dB at best. Perhaps the most convincing one was Wes Dooley’s suggestion that they were circumventing RCA patents for the more common wiggly ribbons.
The magnetic circuit itself is a work of art, bringing the field from the large block magnet to the sides of the ribbon through four arms. The body of the microphone is chromed brass with one of the most substantial grills that I have ever seen. And the output transformer is a large toroidal type similar to those found in the earliest Oktava microphones and also old Siemens M201 ribbon mics.
I have talked to a lot of customers about this subject and there is a roughly equal split on which type of ribbon sounds ‘better’, with some preferring RCA style and others insisting that pistonic is best. The reader can make their own mind up about that! However, from a technical perspective, I have the equipment to make the wiggly ribbons but not the pistons.
From a historical perpective, it was nice to see the old ribbon. But it was somewhat damaged, a little corroded and stuck to the side of the motor. I took lots of photos and asked Marco, the owner, if he wanted a museum piece or a working microphone. It can be hard to make these decisions but we went ahead and repaired the microphone, which sounds rather lovely with a new ribbon in place.
Marco kindly shared a recording he made with the M30. The microphone was positioned around 40-50 cm from the singer, and the band performed in a ‘small shack’ of about 4,5 x 3,5 m. There is naturally some spill from other instruments in the M30 but it gives a good indication of how well an old ribbon microphone like this can perform.
Thanks to Raphael and Carsten at Echoschall in Germany for sharing this page from an old Beyer catalog. The page shows that the M30 was priced at 700 Deutschmarks which was a lot of money at the time. There was also an M31, which I have never seen. The term “Geschwindigkeitsmikrofon” translates as “velocity microphone“.
This is a really common problem with B&O stereo microphones. They snap in half! At the time of writing I have over ten broken BM5s in my inventory and some repairs for customers, and so clearly something needs to be done.
The rotating mechanisms were (usually*) made from plastic. With time and use, the plastic parts become brittle and the teeth break away. First the mic becomes wobbly and then can break away completely. These parts are also make the top part of the microphone difficult to service because it can be impossible to remove the collet without causing further damage.
And so I commissioned some replacement collets and can now offer repairs for this problem.
The replacement part is machined from brass and won’t break easily. There is some re-wiring to be done. The BM5 used a 9 pin socket which was not easy to replicate. And so we simply run the wires through a hole in the collet and solder together. The socket can get oxidised and noisy anyway, and there is no real need to remove the top part in general use.
Using a brass collet has the additional benefit of making a good electrical contact between the top and bottom mic, which means better grounding.**
Here is the repaired rotating mechanism which should be good for another few decades of use.
These parts are made specifically for Xaudia in the North of England.
* Some later BM5s used a different design with steel parts. B&O clearly realised that they had a problem.