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Pop Quiz: April 2007

Test your knowledge of microphones.

TRUE OR FALSE

1. A ribbon microphone is an example of a dynamic type microphone.

2. Thomas Edison invented the microphone.

3. Although rarely actually used for this application, a shotgun microphone will provide the best gain before feedback for live sound because of its very narrow pick-up pattern.

4. None of the original microphone manufacturers make them anymore.


ANSWERS

1. TRUE. Although less popular and more fragile than a moving coil dynamic mic, ribbon mics are often thought to have better high-frequency response than a dynamic coil mic.

2. FALSE. Although Edison would have liked (and probably did take) credit for it, others are credited with the microphone's invention, including Emile Berliner, Elisha Gray, and Alexander Graham Bell, all around 1876. Berliner showed it for the first time at the U.S. Centennial Exposition in Washington.

3. FALSE. You might get more feedback before gain with a shotgun mic if there is a floor stage monitor firing into the rather large lobe that forms at the rear of the microphone.

4. TRUE. The original manufacturers of the early 1920s were Westinghouse, Western Electric and General Electric, none of which market microphones today. GE made the microphones branded RCA. Western Electric products became Altec, which also is out of the microphone business. Electro-Voice's first products were microphones, but they weren't incorporated until 1930. Sidney Shure started his company in 1925, but it didn't make microphones until 1931.

Sources: Shure Inc., Electro-Voice, Erik van de Voorde, about.com



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