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UGA Special Collections Library Online Exhibitions

Inventive Shapes


Throughout the course of vintage microphone history, many strangely shaped microphones were invented. This page is dedicated to the many strange and wonderful microphones contained in the Steele Vintage Microphone Collection.



Figure S1


Figure S3

Machine-gun Microphones

"Machine-gun" microphones were invented with the purpose of collecting sounds from many different distances away simultaneously. This allowed sounds from varying distances from the microphone to be recorded. These were very useful for locations where several sound sources at difference distances needed to be captured using only one microphone.

RCA 10006A                                              Figure S2

Figure S3 is an advertisement for an early "machine-gun" microphone. The Western Electric 618A/E99098 (Figure S1), and the RCA 10006A (Figure S2) are two examples of early "machine-gun" microphones. They were often referred to as "machine-gun" mics because of their machine gun-like appearance when mounted on tripods, as seen in Figure S4. 



Shotgun Microphones

Improvements were made to the original "machine-gun" design, resulting in the "shotgun" mic. The Electro-Voice Microphone in Figure S5, and the Electro-Voice 643 advertised in Figure S6, are two examples of early "shotgun" microphones. These were incredibly long, and more modern "shotgun" microphones are substantially smaller and easier to handle.


Figure S5

Figure S6


Western Electric 640AA with amplifier

Miniature Condenser Microphones

The Western Electric Model 640AA, at right, is a type of miniature condenser microphone. These were very small microphones which were placed on an amplifier; the amplifier section of this particular model is the rounded part which gives it a "spaceship-like" shape. Aside from Western Electric, many other manufacturers produced similar miniature condenser microphones, but this is the only one of its kind held in the Steele Collection.

Below is an advertisement for this particular model of mini condenser microphone.


Advertisement for Western Electric 640AA with RA-1095 Amplifier

Flexible Condenser Microphones

652evdata copy.jpg

Electro-Voice Engineering Data sheet for Model 652 and 652A.


RCA MI3043/Type KU2A

The RCA Model MI3043

At right is an RCA MI3043, also referred to as the Type KU2A. This microphone is a uni-directional microphone which is often suspended above the sound being captured. The technical specs for this particular model are featured on the Technical Data sheet below.


Technical Data Sheet for RCA KU-2A