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Mystery Microphone

Back to the Gear Room

Jan 19, 2010 6:15 AM GMT

I recently bought an old microphone because it was inexpensive and I thought that it might be the perfect shape for cupping. It isn't terribly lovely. See my photos and look in the "Mystery Mic" album. As I had hoped, the base will be able to be removed.

There are no brand names on the mic or the base. The mic is metal but the cover/grille appears to be bakelite or a similar material. I was able to get the cover off, and the element is made of metal, primarily cylindrical, and has the letter DMD, then a bunch of numbers, followed by 500 ohms. I thought I had written down the numbers, but I can't find them, and the mic is at the shop for rewiring. I don't yet know if it works or how it sounds.

Once it comes back, I'll give more details. Any ideas?

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Comments (13)

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Jan 20, 2010 7:49 PM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Well, I found out from the tech that it works, but I don't have it. More information on it ... and how it sounds with harp ... soon!

Jan 22, 2010 7:16 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

The tech was able to release the mic from its stand (two new photos in my profile), and it sounds rather good. It is not as hot or Chicago-sounding as a Green Bullet, but it is totally respectable. It may be the perfect shape and size for cupping, at least for my hands, and it feels like it is half the weight of a vintage Green Bullet. If I had to play for a long time, I'd take this one along for sure. Having played a number of different types of mics today, I'd say that the element is dynamic.

Jan 23, 2010 6:00 PM GMT
HarpSkunk Replied:

Hey there, your mic looks like a soviet Octavia or other eastern european make.


Jan 23, 2010 6:15 PM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Tim --

It would be completely cool with me if the mic were from Russia or Eastern Europe, but I doubt it. I didn't say in my original post that the mic was sold by someone who bought it with a 50's tube PA (very similar to the one I've posted about here) at a church. Also, I realized that I had a good photo of the printing on the element and that photo is now in my "pics" section of my profile under "Mystery Mic." Would it say ohms if it was from Russia or Eastern Europe? Is that a universal measure? I tried to look it up and Ohm himself was German.

Jan 23, 2010 6:21 PM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

The PA amp I just mentioned is in a thread here under Gear called "Speaker Cab for Harmonica." I have a small five inch speaker, and the PA sounds great for harmonica through the little speaker, but not so wonderful with guitar with that little speaker.

Jan 24, 2010 8:09 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

It's not likely that it's russian oktava. There is no Russian letters on element. It's impossible for Russian mic to have Screw-on connector to. All old russian mics are on 5din connectors (similar to midi connectors). Google don't find any info about DMD D389 capsule. How it sounds?

Jan 24, 2010 11:51 PM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Boris --

It sounds good, not as thick, gritty or bass-sensitive as a vintage Shure Green Bullet, but it has a good full sound, mostly clean but not too much treble. It isn't sensational in terms of sound, but it certainly is respectable. The biggest advantage is its very small weight and small size. I also have not been able to find anything about it by putting various combinations of what it says on the element into Google.

Jan 25, 2010 11:22 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Do you really love how this strange old mics sound?

I've just bought Audix Fireball and Shure SM57 and they are so relly great and has all frequencies that harmonica has, if you dislike some frequencies or want to boost other you can just use eq and have any tone with mic like SM57. Why you don't?

Jan 25, 2010 6:27 PM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Boris --

I do have a romantic attachment to old musical equipment. It seems to me that each vintage item already has songs in it, already can sing. I do have a couple of clean mics and I use them occasionally. Equalization can do amazing things, but I don't know if it can get exactly to where an old Shure Green Bullet can go. But much of it for me is the feel and history of these old mics.

Jan 25, 2010 10:02 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Are they have wide unipolar pickup diagrammmostly? Or do you have some cardioid wintage mikes?

Unipolar pattern is the main reason for me to avoid all this bullet microphones.

Jan 26, 2010 6:19 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

Boris --

I know what you mean, but I don't know how it affects the sound of the microphone. What do you notice that leads you to want to avoid the unipolar and favor the cardioid? Is it that the sound mainly comes into the center of the unipolar but is more spread in the cardioid? I don't know the patterns of the mics I have.

Jan 26, 2010 10:44 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Unipolar mics are usually have twice much tendency to feedback. Hypercardioid mics are opposite tends to not feedback at all.

Jan 26, 2010 6:47 PM GMT
FatJim Replied:

As soon as you cup a mic, you change it's response pattern. Cupping a cardioid mic like an SM58 and blocking the rear vents will change the response to omnidirectional.

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