The Xaudia Blog

David Broad’s LEM ribbon microphone

I re-built this old LEM ribbon microphone for David, with improved magnets, new ribbon and a medium impedance transformer. You can hear the results on David’s videos.

Reslo Beeb drum recordings by Joe Montague

It’s always great to see and hear how our customers use the microphones we send out.

Joe Montague was kind enough to share these recordings and video of our Reslo Beebs in action. The microphones were set up as a stereo pair in front of the kit.

The recording in the video/sound clips is just the Beebs, no other mics at all, and just a touch of EQ and compression. It is an impressive result from just two microphones. Of course, you need a good kit as well as good microphones, and being a great drummer helps too!

Here are some further sound clips from Joe.

Drum groove 1
Drum groove 2 
Drum groove 3 
Drum groove 4
Drum groove 5

Joe can be found at

BM9 Ribbon microphones from Extinct Audio

I haven’t had much time to blog this year, which has been partly due to working hard on a new project. Finally, after years of fixing, testing, upgrading and procrastinating…. Adam and I finally launched our own brand of ribbon microphones. 

Introducing the BM9 from Extinct Audio. I have been heavily involved in all stages of the design and manufacture of this baby. It is a general purpose ribbon microphone with a true figure-8 pattern, low noise and a big proximity effect. The aim was to produce an excellent blend of vintage sound and modern utility.

Electric Guitar


– there are now many much better recordings over at the recordings pages of the Extinct website. But these were the first recordings that Adam and I made with the first production microphones, so let’s leave them here for a little bit of history. 

Oktava MK18 vs Russell Technologies Mod

Oktava MK18

A pair of Oktava MK18 condenser mics have been knocking about the workshop for a few years. Both mics had similar faults, with weird inconsistent dropouts especially when changing patterns. I suspected leakage somewhere but could not track it down. The capsules seemed OK but the mics were unusable as they were, so I put them to one side and waited for inspiration to strike

The MK18 is an ancestor of the MK219, so when I came across some circuit boards from Russell Technologies designed for the MK 219, it looked like the perfect opportunity to revisit and rehabilitate these microphones.

Oktava MK219 PCB from Russell Technologies

The boards are nice quality and arrived with full instructions, which makes assembly very easy – or at least it would be with the intended MK219. In the case of the MK18 there is some hacking to be done.

Inside the MK18  – the PCB is smaller than that of the MK219

The capsule mount in the MK18 is longer than that in the MK219, so it needed to be chopped, milled and drilled to fit the board. The MK18 also has a 5 pin DIN output, which was drilled out on the lathe with a 19mm bit to make room for an XLR socket.

That done, I discovered that I had lost, sold or binned the original transformers. However, I found a pair of spare BV107s (from Neumann KM84s), which fitted nicely.

MK18 with Russell Technologies mod

I omitted the pad and high pass control switches. And I went for cardioid pattern, using just one side of the MK18s double sided capsule, although it would be easy to wire both sides of the capsule in parallel to have an omni pickup.*

Against the popular tide, I also added a layer of fine stainless mesh, to keep dirt and damp air away from the capsule. These mics are bright enough, so I am happy to risk losing a fraction at the top end.

Modified MK18s – ready for overhead action

The result is good. I like the sound and I think they would make a nice pair of overheads or stereo instrument mics.

*Or even figure-8. I will let the reader think about that one. 😉

Inside a Beyer M130

Here is the motor from inside a Beyer M130 figure-8 microphone.

The mic has two ribbons, similar to the M160, and the metal spiral acts as a magnetic return path.

Reslo Beebs in action with Layla Lane

Pop duo Layla Lane kindly shared their video of their cover of ‘In My Life’ by the Beatles, which which extensively used a Reslo RB microphone with Xaudia’s ‘Beeb’ upgrades. 

The guitar, piano and all the vocals were recorded with the Beeb connected into an Ampex 350 preamp and Urei 1176 compressor. You can read more details about the recording at their youtube page.

Layla Lane are Heday Ikumo and Valerie Stern, who together have written music for Coca-Cola and Mello Yello commercials, recorded a song for the Ashton Kutcher film Killers, toured Japan, and produced/wrote songs for big Japanese artists such as Sunplaza Nakano-kun and Yoko Oginome.

Ribbon Mics in Action: Tidal Love by Nothing Places

Thanks to Oswaldo Terrones, who works in Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, for sharing the album Tidal Love by alternative rockers Nothing Places.

Oswaldo made extensive use of ribbon microphones for the recordings, using a B&O BM5 stereo set for the drum room mics, an RCA 74B for guitar cabinets, Coles 4038 as the overhead and Beyer 160s on the lead guitars, percussion, etc. The music itself defies description, but you can listen for yourself at their bandcamp page.

The album was released on Spanish indie label Foehn Records, which champions new artists and “the less traditional facets of pop, rock and electronics.”

Having myself once tried (and failed) to run a little record label, I have the utmost respect for those who have the tireless enthusiasm to make it work!

Witnesses of Words by Marco C. van der Hoeven. (Book Review)

This beautiful book arrived in the post last week. There aren’t enough good books about the history of microphones, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that Marco van der Hoeven had written this wonderful volume. Marco is a musician, engineer and historian, and he has a very impressive collection of microphones too.

But Marco’s book is much more than a history of the microphones themselves – it is also a potted history of the 20th Century, as witnessed by the microphones of the era. Whenever and wherever a crowd was rallied, a war started or a peace brokered, there was a man or a women addressing the public – with a microphone and some kind of PA system.

A large part of the first half of the book shows how microphones were used by some of history’s heroes and villains –  scientists and singers, actors and astronauts, dictators and comedians alike are shown with the current technology.

Marco identifies who used which microphone, and gives little discourses about them and why they did so. Perhaps many readers may already know that Hitler favoured the Neumann bottle-shaped microphones, but here you can also find the microphones used by Mahatma Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher and Marilyn Monroe, amongst many others.

And often the choice of equipment would have made a political statement: for example, Charles de Gaulle is shown addressing a liberated crowd through a Melodium 42B. It was very important for the new leader of a country recently freed from occupation during WW2, to be pictured with a French microphone.

The book is rich in detail, anecdotes and Marco’s unique perspective, showing his passion for the history of recording and broadcast, and a wider view of its global context.

All the microphones shown are part of his own impressive collection, which includes everything from rare examples that would be at home in a museum, through recording studio and broadcast classics, to numerous small, cheap microphones that might have been used for amateur radio, taxi ranks and tape recorders.

This reminds us that most people who needed to communicate did not always need a Neumann or AKG recording classic, and had probably never even heard of them!

The latter pages of the book show numerous, diverse examples, along with various microphone-related paraphernalia such as advertising documents, stamps, toys and record sleeves. It is the combination of the social, historical and technical perspectives that makes this book unique. And it would make a great Christmas present for the microphone lover in your life!

Witnesses of Words is available for €27.95 from