If you work in an office or business like we do, you are bound to get cold callers trying to sell cleaning services, wall to wall carpet, financial advice, local magazine advertising, and, our "favorite", toner for copiers.
Every call center in Mumbai seems to have our number and wants to sell us toner, which we use little of. We pay very little attention to it and try to get off the phone and back to mic making as soon as we can. It has been busy! But we did take a time out to look at two imported Chinese ribbon microphones a company wants to sell to us: One is the ubiquitous lollipop style you see everywhere with that "head" shape like a D-104. That one is under $30 in quantity and the quality reminds us of the Argonne mics that the Japanese used to make. They were very inexpensive and looked pretty neat, and they did put out sound.
The mic you see here being tested in front of the Hofner is one of those very familiar pill shaped ribbon mics you see all over ebay, except this one has a 12AX7 in it, and an outboard power supply. The design is simple, and uses a small transformer into the grid of one half of the tube (the 12AX7 is a dual triode), then another transformer out. Pretty cool for only $100 in quantities, we thought. But the sound is, well, like a very boomy, hard room, though the noise isn't bad. I think this explains why this particular model isn't being seen much these days. You get a lot to play around with though: A nice case, a power supply with filament, bias and enough B+ to give you a shock, a suspension mount, two cables, and of course the mic, which is delightfully easy to take apart by unscrewing the bottom. I think I could make a ham radio transmitter out of it!
It would be easy to get sidetracked into fiddling around with these mics and they do seem to call for significant mods. We also get asked by others to modify these mics and put in "the good stuff", but we have to explain that it isn't worth putting a hemi in a Yugo. My sister-in-law once had a Yugo. I was quited amused when she and her mother pulled up the drive in this minimalistic conveyance, which she said "won't do over 60, but it seems fast". As I recall, it was a light yellow color, which was somehow appropriate.