Saturday, March 10, 2007
Astatic D-104 Microphonium
The venerable and ubiquitous D-104 is an example of one of most emblematic and prototypical microphone designs of all time. Its origins date back the 1920s as a Brush Manufacturing Company spring-suspended housing style for many carbon and later crystal microphone types, and even in its last iterations retains the four peripheral screw positions where hooks once were. The D-104, also shown by Astatic as the D104, was first sold as that model in 1933, according to the manufacturer. Here is a link to the Astatic literature discussing the history of this mic and their company.
And it is not a lo-fi device. Not at all, which is remarkable for a crystal mic. The curve, which aggressively rises up to about 8K, is relatively smooth and supports excellent vocal bass response when properly terminated into a high impedance load.
The D-104 would seem to get its designation from "10" signals which were in use by certain communications groups and later the CB types who chattered "that's a big 10-4 good buddy" until that 1970-era craze's merciful death. Broderick Crawford, from Highway Patrol, a 50s TV show, would say "ten-four" at least once in every episode.
D-104s show up at antique shows and are always way overpriced. Perhaps this can be excused, given the vintage, early style of this famous mic.
Posted by Bob Crowley at 12:15 AM