Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lafayette Dynamic with acoustic load circa 1964

I recall seeing this mic in several old catalogs, including the Lafayette Radio Electronics catalog, and one from Allied and another from Radio Shack.

Back in the day there were numerous interesing Japanese manufacturers providing lowest-cost branded products in much the same way that Chinese manufacturers do today, with similar emphasis on looks, and economy class innards.

What is interesting about this particular piece, which has a style reminiscent of a cross between a Shure 330 and 55 Chevy grille, is the use of a stepped acoustic loading chamber, like an acoustic suspension system, to house the small and otherwise anemic dynamic element. The chamber is designed to fit into the mic body and is held in place with two screws off the back, and is made of a cast potmetal, very nicely done, and well finished. Just air inside and a little tube connected to a teeny hole at the top, which doesn't seem to do much at all. The sound from this microphone in stock form is predominantly telephonic, and capable of producing a vocal tone similar to The Black Keys.

We converted this neat looking mic body to accept a custom ribbon motor which we built and tuned for the enclosure. If you look very closely you might be able to spot the two gold plated motor mounting screws protruding slightly from the bottm. It's quite a nice sounding item now, with a fairly symmetric pattern and a lot of bass. Sharp-eyed viewers will note that the nameplate presently on this unit is a Realistic brand label. I swapped the nicer Lafayette label that was on it for another converted mic that I use on the air, at home.

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