Hello!

Xaudia offer microphone re-ribboning and repair services.

2010/01/07

New Toy!

AVO MkIII tube testerHere is our new pride and joy - a 1960's AVO mkIII valve characteristic meter. It's built like a tank, with wonderful vintage knobs and dials. And comes in handy for getting those amps and mics up and running.

2010/01/05

Teladi tube mic

Teladi K120 tube microphone

And here's something altogether nicer. It's an old Teladi end-address tube mic, probably from the 1950s. Construction wise, it feels very Gefell, with a small metal (nickel?) diaphragm and a U47 style connector.

I sketched out the schematic here....

2010/01/04

Cheap!

Broadly speaking, you get what you pay for.

Over the past 5 years or so the market has become saturated wth inexpensive made-in-china microphones which have brought condenser mics within the budget of home studios and, along with computer based recording, have arguably revolutionised the recording industry. But there has to be some corner cutting or trade-off in component quality or quality control, doesn't there? I picked this SE electronics 'miniSE' up on ebay for £40, which brings it in at about 15 times cheaper than the ex-demo Neumann TLM49 we bought earlier in the year. Like the neumann it is a cardioid-only transformerless mic. And unlike the Neumann, this came in a nice aluminium carrying case (as opposed to cardboard!)

On opening the case, I found the mic was rattling. 2 minutes with a screwdriver revealed that the capsule had not been properly screwed down. Also you can see that the circuit board is covered in flux. The capsule looks exactly the same as the CK12 copies found in MXL2001 mics and others. I've seen several of these now with bumps and wrinkles in the membrane. The metalwork is actually quite nice, so it may get one of the spare AKG capsules and a new circuit transplanted.

Update: Eventually I used this body for a DIY ribbon mic!

2010/01/03

Wetzel microphone on the bench


Here's a nice little tube mic for restoration. The manufacturer is Joachim Wetzel of Liepzig and looks to date from the 50s or 60s.
It is currently undergoing a recap and the capsule will be reskinned. The head amp is based on an ECC83, with two triode gain stages. There's something funny going on with this one. The power supply voltages are somewhat low, and it seems like the old diode rectifiers are causing problems. More on this later.


2010/01/02

Framus Television


Framus Television

It is quite sad to think that the success of the big American guitar manufacturers (F--, G--, you know who you are!) led not only to some excellent instruments and high standards of construction, but also to the demise of several smaller builders of quality guitars. Cheap imports from the East added to the problem. One such victim was the German manufacturer Framus, who went bankrupt and ceased production at the end of the '70s. (The company has since been reborn).

Framus made guitars of generally high quality with some interesting features. Here is a 1968 Framus Television semi-acoustic, the shape of which is clearly influenced by Fender's Jaguar/Jazzmaster (or was it the other way round?) . It has a pleasing asymmetry, with a single f-hole (as far as we can tell, most Televisions had two), three pickups, and a tremolo. The headstock shape is whacky - like a big hand - but we like it. Colour of this one is a beautiful stained carrot-orange-yellow, rather like certain Gretschs - we think they call this 'aniline yellow'. It has a laminate top and back.


This guitar arrived on the bench with toggle switches in place of the original sliders, as well as a couple of loose wires, which we of course replaced/fixed. The circuit is slightly unusual (which is why it is on this website at all!), so we've sketched a circuit diagram to help other owners.

Framus Television circuit

The circuit consists of two parallel output stages each with volume and tone pots (marked T&V in the diagram) , which the player may use to switch between 'rhythm' and 'lead' settings. This approach predates the days when everyone has booster pedals on the floor, and similar systems are also found on Jaguars and Jazzmasters. In the 'rhythm' position, only the neck pickup is active. In the 'lead' position any combination of the three pickups may be switched on - the pickups in combination give some audible phase cancellation. There is also a bass cut filter switch. A summary of the switches:

S1 = Bridge pickup on/off
S2 = Middle pickup on/off
S3 = Neck pickup on/off
S4 = Bass cut (lead circuit only)
S5a = Sends neck pickup to rhythm or lead tone/volume circuit.
S5b = Switches between lead and rhythm tone/volume circuits.

As the tone and volume pots are tricky to remove and function well, they were not investigated or measured for value. I think they are just standard.
There's a good chance that the circuit is similar to Strato Delux models of similar vintage, which also have up to 5 switches. Do let us know if you can confirm or deny this.

2010/01/01

G7 microphone


Jakob Erland’s Gyraf G7 DIY tube mic project has proved one of the most popular microphone projects. Several years ago I built a pair of these from scratch, and have since built several variations using different tubes, transformers etc. Below are a few notes on the project.


1. Using a single sided capsule


When using a single sided capsule, the circuit can be simplified somewhat and several parts omitted. The the capsule may be wired straight to the tube grid, avoiding use of a coupling cap. Note that this affects the polarity of the mic, so reverse the output wires and be sure to check against an SM57 or similar know microphone! In this arrangement, the backplate polarisation resistor can be lower than 1 gig.


2. Some measured voltages:
I built a version of the microphone by etching Gyraf's layout. Wired it up and checked some voltages - and found that the supply is rather low under load. I got about 176 Volts without the mic connected, and was down to 136 V with the mic in the loop. Heater supply dropped from 6.3V (set whilst unloaded) to 6.08V. Here are some voltages for reference.


3. Better matching of the capsule polarisation voltages.

Note in the diagram above that one side of the capsule has a slightly higher voltage than the other - no problem in omni or cardioid but noticeable in figure8 mode when recording Blumlein pairs. Here's a quick fix!



Studio equipment - Microphones

Updated 31 Jan 2013

Microphones are the window of the soul! You can't have too many microphones (or shoes). 

OK, so we get a little bit obsessed by microphones, but they are the vital point in the signal chain where the acoustic-mechanical energy of the sound waves is converted into an electrical signal. Choosing the right microphone for the job makes a huge difference between a dull lifeless recording which needs a lot of EQ and processing, and an exciting dynamic sound which sits together easily when mixing. As you might expect, we have an excellent selection of microphones for every application, and these currently include...


Valve Condenser Microphones

AKG C28a vintage tube mic with CK28 capsule
Big Al - Unknown vintage bottle mic
Lomo 19a9 (Soviet valve mic) 
Neumann Gefell UM57 (x2)
Neumann Gefell CMV551 with M55k and UM71 capsules
Gefell MV582. with M62 cardioid capsule
Recard (Old French valve mic, 1960s) 
Reissmann MR50 (x2) & MR51 (x2) valve mics
Teladi K120 tube mics (pair) & K43 bottle mic
Tesla tube microphone
Thiele M5 multi pattern tube mic
Thiele M4 (three!) - rebuilt & serviced 
Syncron Fairchild AU7A (tube modified)
Wetzel German tube mic, 1950s
Xaudia U47 clone with Thiersch M7 capsule and EF12k tube
Unknown West German tube mic - nice!

FET Condenser Microphones

AKG C451 with CK1 capsule (x2)
AKG C422 (stereo C414)
AKG C418 (x2) & C518 clip mics for drums
BLUE Dragonfly & Omni Mouse 
FiCord 1200 
Josephson C720 dual diaphragm condenser - excellent!
Microtech Gefell M691 with UM70 multi-pattern capsule 
Milab DC96b
MXL 603s
Oktava MK18, MK219
Neumann TLM49
Neumann KM74i & KM75i (x2)
Rode NT3 (x2)
Shure Beta 91 (boundary mic for kick drum) 
Sony C38 & C48 (versatile multi-pattern mics)
Syncron Fairchild AU7A

Ribbon Microphones 

Aiwa VM12, VM13, VM15 (x2), VM17 & VM17S
Altec 670A
Amperite RA
Beyerdynamic M260
Bang and Olufsen BM2 & BM3
Bruno Velotron (not quite a ribbon!)
Cadenza ribbon mics.
Crowley & Tripp Naked Eye Roswellite (x2) - indestructible ribbons!
Doremi MN351 - Italian ribbon mic
ElectroVoice V1, V2, V2A & V3 Velocity ribbon mics
Film Industries M8
Framez ribbon mic
GEC 2370 and 2373 ribbon mics
Grampian GR2 M600 (x2)
LEM ribbon - very French, very old!
Lustraphone VR53 & VR64
Magneti Marelli, Italian licensed RCA 74b copy.
Matsushita CE-501 ribbon / dynamic
Meazzi ribbon mic
Melodium 42B - huge French RCA 44 style mic (x2)
Melodium RM6
Oktava ML11, ML16, ML17, ML19 & ML52
Philips velocity ribbon mic - very rare!
Philips 9559 giant bronze microphone
Reslo RB x 4
RCA PB90 (aka RCA 44A)
RCA 74B
RCA KU3a cardioid ribbon
SAMAR Audio Design MF65
ST&C 4033 & 4038
Tannoy ribbon mics x 2
Toshiba ribbon microphones x 3, Types B, C, F, G & K 
Unknown Australian RCA 44 copy
Velocibel 36A
Zephyr 30RA

Dynamic Microphones 

AKG D202 rocket mic
AKG D5
ElectroVoice RE20 (x2) & PL20 (classic for kick, bass, horns, vocals)
Electrovoice RE320
ElectroVoice 642 cardioline / shotgun mics. (x2)
Geloso Piezo mic (x2)
Lomo 82A5M 
Milab D37
Shure SM57, SM58, 57 beta, 58 beta (several)
Sony FV300 (killer guitar amp mic)
Assorted old dynamics by GEC, Grampian, Lustraphone etc. Good for crunchy low fi.

Xaudia Studio equipment

Xaudia studio equipment list - Updated 31 Jan 2013

Digidesign 003 and Apple i5 workstation, 96KHz, 24 bit.
18 tracks simultaneous recording, >72 track playback.
Monitors by PMC, Acoustic Energy and Soundcraft.
Yamaha OV2 digital desk
Latest Protools and Logic
Antares Autotune, T-Racks, Amplitube, iZotope Ozone mastering, etc.

OUTBOARD AND TOYS
Altec 438C mic pre & vari-mu compressor.
And an Xaudia Altec 438 clone - Excellent all-valve vocal channel.
AKG BX20 1970s giant spring reverb
Ampeg SVT-II bass rig
API A2D - superb twin preamps & analogue-to-digital converters. The studio workhorse!
AIKIDO stereo tube preamps
Audient ASP008 mic preamps
Beyerdynamic headphones - several - DT250, DT770, DT100 etc.
Empirical labs EL7 Fatso Jr - compressor / saturator.
Eventide Omnipressor (Blackface)
Expat Audio Eden preamps
Guitars by Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Grimshaw, Duesenberg, Levin, Reverend, Framus, and others.
Gyraf G9 stereo tube mic preamp
Little Labs LMNOPre mic preamp with variable phase control
Moogerfooger synth pedals - ring modulator, phaser and Murf
Nord modular synth & iMac editing station
Orban 424 Stereo compressor (VCA)
RFZ / Deutsche Post preamps, pair.
Roland SE555 Space Echo tape delay / chorus / reverb
Roland SH101 classic synth
Roland JC120 jazz chorus amplifier
Synths and Keyboards by Korg, Nord, Elka and Techniks
Techniks big Hammond style organ!
TC Electronics G System
TC Helicon Voice tone
Vintage valve preamps by Ferrograph, Grundig & Grampian
1176 FET Compressor
Ward Beck Systems M480 preamps, pair.
XAUDIA SSL mix bus compressor (VCA)