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Friday, 20 May 2016

Microphone

The first microphone that enabled proper voice telephony was the (loose-contact) carbon microphone (then called transmitter). This was independently developed by David Edward Hughes in England and Emile Berliner and Thomas Edison in the US in the mid 1870s.

Hughes carbon microphones

Welsh-born scientist and professor of music David Edward Hughes (May 16, 1831 – January 22, 1900) was a virtuoso harpist from the age of six. Hughes' microphone used a piece of pine board to pick up sound.

These first microphones were invented as telephone transmitters. They included liquid and dynamic designs.


The timing was just right for the Bell System, run by Alexander Graham Bell, which was in desperate need of something to save it from financial ruin -- and to help the progress of the telephone. Bell Labs came up with a compact way to put the carbon microphone on a wooden box, with a crank, an earpiece, a cradle hook for the earpiece and some wires, and called it the telephone.

Before the 1920s all recordings were made by acoustic means. A musical group making a recording, for example, directed the sound into a recording horn, which transmitted the vibrations of the sound waves through a cutting stylus to a disc.

In 1923, the first practical moving coil microphone was built. "The Marconi Skykes" or "magnetophon", developed by Captain H. J. Round, was the standard for BBC studios in London.

By 1925, electric recording with microphones and amplifiers was replacing the acoustic process , allowing records of greater audio fidelity

Jack Brown interviews Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall for broadcast to troops overseas during World War II.

The invention of the microphone enabled a soft, intimate vocal tone to be amplified and projected into a large hall, thus making possible the art of crooners such as the American Bing Crosby and torch singers such as Morgana King. Previously entertainers had to be able to "belt" out a song so that the customer in the very last row could hear.

The bed-ridden French author Marcel Proust (1871-1922) had installed in his room a theatrophone- a system of microphones set up at a concert such as the performance of the Pastoral symphony and linked to a telephone.

Darth Vader’s breathing in Star Wars was recorded by putting a microphone inside a regulator on a scuba tank.

A Swedish pastor was once electrocuted as he stood in a pool of water for a baptism ceremony when one of his assistants handed him a live microphone.


In an ongoing study, the sound of someone vomiting was ranked the #1 most cringe-worthy sound ever. Microphone feedback was ranked #2.

Source Comptons Encyclopedia

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