Italian ribbon microphones

Today we took delivery of some interesting microphones from Italy. Here they are with some other resident Italians.

Geloso double ribbon, Framez, Do-Re-Mi 351MN, CM, Magneti Marelli MC46, Riem and Meazzi

From left to right we have ribbon mics by Geloso, Framez, Do-Re-Mi, CM, Magneti Marelli, Riem and Meazzi.  On closer inspection it seems as though some of the different brands came from the same factories.

The motor of the Do-Re-Mi mic is the same as the Framez, and the Riem is a skinny version of the Meazzi. We also know from previous research that Framez and Meazzi were related companies. Magneti Marelli made 74B copies under license from RCA.

We know less about the RCA-shaped CM microphone. In fact nothing at all about it, other than it is a fairly standard design, made for public address use.

It seems as though there was once a a thriving ribbon mic industry in Italy, with numerous brands and models, but I don’t know of any modern Italian ribbon mics.

Update: I found this ad for the Riem ribbon microphone, from the magazine Selezione Radio, Feb 1952.

Meazzi and Framez ribbon mics revisited

April’s MOTM was a nice old Framez ribbon mic, and its chunky Meazzi sister also made an appearance. Here’s the article… and here are the microphones:

I’ve had the opportunity to compare these in the anechoic box – here’s how they look (click to enlarge).

Frequency plots for Meazzi and Framez mics

The Meazzi has an overall flatter frequency response, but in both cases there is a significant peak around 4KHz, which should add attack to recorded percussion and clarity & presence to vocals. The Framez is slightly more sensitive in the mid range, but falls away somewhat below 150 Hz.

Whilst revisiting these mics, it is worth looking at the Meazzi’s perforated backplate resonator, which contributes to the pickup pattern and frequency response.

(Nb. Both microphones were fitted with 1.8 micrometer ribbons and wired for low impedance.)

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 WandrĂ© 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.