Xaudia offer microphone re-ribboning and repair services.


A mount for an STC 4017 dynamic mic

A customer asked me to make a mount for his STC 4017 dynamic mic without modifying the microphone itself. Often these come with a handle or a threaded stud for mounting, but this one came with nothing at all.

My first thought was to make some kind of ring clamp, but that would require a large diameter brass tube and was starting to look quite expensive and bulky. So I came up with this…

It is simply a folded strip of aluminium screwed to a threaded brass cylinder. The bass of the cylinder is threaded to fit a 5/8" mic stand. The mic slides into a slot in the aluminium and is held by its own ground clamp.

Some shrink sleeve ensures that the signal outputs are not shorted by the new mount.



What's inside a Beyerdynamic M260?

This is what happens when one dissects a couple of Beyerdynamic ribbon mics: bodies, grills, motors, transformers, XLR or DIN output connectors. Nothing surprising there….

But what are those grey plastic tubes?

These are in fact acoustic chambers that provide back pressure to the ribbon, changing it from its natural figure-8 pattern towards being hyper-cardioid. It is also critical to the microphone's sound - if you make an M260 without one, it sounds pretty awful.

There is one more important ingredient to the mic, and that is a piece of string. This is stuffed into the chamber to break up internal reflections. Sometimes simple works!


B&O BM3 ribbon mic - Black Viking edition!

The Black Viking is Xaudia's latest take on the B&O BM3. The vikings came from Denmark and invaded our home town of York, so it seems a fitting name for the mic.

This one has new magnets, new ribbon, a 300 ohm output transformer and XLR output connector. Re-finished in a tough black powder-coating, it is ready for a few more decades of action.

More available soon!


MOTM Tannoy MD422 cardioid ribbon mic

Here is Tannoy's cardioid ribbon microphone - the MD422.

Tannoy MD422 ribbon mic, front

Firstly, Tannoy lose a point for the name. 'MD' should surely mean "microphone dynamic" in any sensible society! Perhaps the D stands for "directional"? Who knows, but it puts them at odds with other the Sennheiser MD421, and it is just plain confusing.

Tannoy MD422 ribbon mic, rear

Whatever the D stands for, the mic itself has an industrial look, and this one is finished in a bronze-ish coloured paint. To the best of my knowledge this is the only cardioid ribbon model that Tannoy ever produced, and it uses an acoustic labyrinth to provide the necessary back pressure to the rear of the ribbon. The chamber is the black cylinder in the photo below.

Tannoy MD422 ribbon mic, chamber

Some of the parts were made to a budget, or perhaps a short production run, with thin stamped metal for the base and top cap, along with two layers of off-the-shelf mesh to protect the mic from dirt and wind.

The ribbon assembly and magnets are the same as found in the type 2 Tannoy 'pitchfork' microphone, which would have saved costs by sharing components.

Tannoy MD422 inside, showing ribbon motor

The MD422 was subject of a BBC technical report, which concluded:"..this microphone has nothing to commend it for use in the Television Service". That assessment seems rather harsh, but at the time the Corporation's selection criteria were flat, uncoloured responses and good signal/noise performance.

In the report, the bi-directional BBC-Marconi AXBT was used as a comparison, which was much more expensive, a different pattern, and therefore a tough benchmark. Cardioid (and non-directional) ribbon mics generally use an acoustic chamber on one side of the ribbon to apply pressure, and this damps the ribbon motion, reducing the output compared with its natural bi-directional response.

Drawing of the Tannoy MD422 from BBC technical document.

Unlike my mic, the BBC's example had a yoke mount rather than a fixed base, although there are mounting screw holes in the side of mine.

Despite my irritation with the model number, and the BBCs damning assessment,  I like this microphone very much. It has a gentle warm tone. More importantly, it was an attempt at technical innovation, which is always to be celebrated.