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Capps Microphone
Old 5th March 2008
  #1
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Silvertone's Avatar
Capps Microphone

Hi Gang,

I'm trying to track down info regarding these Capps microphones. The only place I ever saw one before is at Indigo ranch years ago before it closed (Sonic Circus now has it for sale).

These were owned by audio pioneer Syd Zimmet and were used as the audience mic's during Simon & Garfunkel recording in Central Park in 1980. Any info on Syd would be greatly appreciated as well. He was an aviation pilot. I know he was a friend of Rudy Van Gelders and died in a plane crash flying back from visiting Rudy in NJ.

I was told by a few "old time engineers" about these mics over the years but never had the chance to use one. They are tube, omni directional and supposedly have titanium capsules (the first ever, but I have not been able to verify this yet).

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks Gang!
Attached Thumbnails
Capps Microphone-capps-advertisement.jpg   Capps Microphone-capps-mics.jpg  
Old 5th March 2008
  #2
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Harvey Gerst's Avatar
Ohmygod; I haven't seen or heard that name for years. They were actually a pretty nice mic that had a peak around 8k, but it gave things a pleasant sheen. Capps was primarily known for disc cutters. The mics were fairly popular in California when portable recorders like Magnatone, Superscope and Berlant came out. I had a pair of them and so did George Massenburg.
Old 6th March 2008
  #3
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Silvertone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst View Post
Ohmygod; I haven't seen or heard that name for years. They were actually a pretty nice mic that had a peak around 8k, but it gave things a pleasant sheen. Capps was primarily known for disc cutters. The mics were fairly popular in California when portable recorders like Magnatone, Superscope and Berlant came out. I had a pair of them and so did George Massenburg.

Hi Harvey, Thanks for the heads up. I'll have to give George a call, didn't know he ever owned a pair.

They rarely, if ever come up. I was reminded about them by Don King when I was researching the Electrodyne, Quad Eight article.

Anything else you can tell me about them? Are the capsules really titanium?
Old 6th March 2008
  #4
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De chromium cob's Avatar
 

Hey Larry. In the literature it says it was the "lowest priced condenser microphone manufactured" (doesn't that mean this should be in the lowend theory forum? heh). I would think that making titanium into a capsule would have to have been a pretty expensive venture back then, wouldn't you?
With the PS pictured I imagine its a tube mic? What tube do they use?
Do you have them up and running? How do they sound?
Old 7th March 2008
  #5
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Silvertone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by De chromium cob View Post
Hey Larry. In the literature it says it was the "lowest priced condenser microphone manufactured" (doesn't that mean this should be in the lowend theory forum? heh). I would think that making titanium into a capsule would have to have been a pretty expensive venture back then, wouldn't you?
With the PS pictured I imagine its a tube mic? What tube do they use?
Do you have them up and running? How do they sound?
Hey Scott,

Low end they were not I assure you. Build quality is fantastic.

I was told they were titanium by the guy that sold them to me who bought them from Syd's widow back in the early 90's. However that didn't seem right to me as well.

They use a small 701 type tube, a Raythan CK 5703.

Not going to run them until they've been checked by Ken or Frank and are re-capped (the power supplies that is) also will bring them up slowly on the Vari-Ac.

You know me Scott I hunt down all the old creatures!

I'm calling George later today as he can fill in some of the details I'm sure.
Old 8th March 2008
  #6
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Silvertone's Avatar
bumpa da bumpa...

...didn't have time to call George yesterday

... in the mean time

... any one else???
Old 26th July 2012
  #7
Ever end up finding out about these? Good, bad, indifferent?
Old 26th July 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
They are featured in an old issue of EQ magazine
in the micspotlight column...
Old 26th July 2012
  #9
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Silvertone's Avatar
I currently have 3 sets of them but only one is working. I've used it under the snare, as the sole mic to record the Hammond M3, as a room mic for guitar, overhead of drums, etc... any place I would use an Altec Coke Bottle mic (which I have and use as well) or other similar omni mics.

The mic pattern is omni only and the sound is very similar to a Cokebottle.

Frank Capps used to work for Edison, he made cutter heads for the very first recorders out there. He went on to produce these microphones in the 50's.

George Massenburgh used to use a pair when he first got into recording. Walter Sear still had them and used them at Sear Sound.

Arhoolie Records used them to record many great old folk recordings across the nation. Emory Cooke used them as well. Those recordings can be found in the Smithsonian archives.

It's a bright, high end(y) sounding mic. When it works on the source it works great, when it doesn't, it sucks... just like a cokebottle!
Old 31st December 2017
  #10
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Silvertone's Avatar
Old thread but I’m looking to have the diaphragm of my Capps Microphone repaired.

I used to have three sets of these but sold two a few years ago when I needed the money badly. I regret selling any of these. I loved the sound of these omni’s on several sources... even better than my old Altec Cokebottles.

I have one whole complete set and even a spare microphone, both mcs need the diaphragms repaired.

Someone posted on of the mic manufacturers that do this but I cannot find it doing a search. Anyone know who it was?

Thank you.
Old 31st December 2017
  #11
Gear Addict
Might try Shannon at Mic Rehab | Keeping the classic microphones alive by restoring capsules with today's new technology. he is Blackbird studio in Nashville vintage mic guru
Old 1st January 2018
  #12
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Silvertone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmade View Post
Might try Shannon at Mic Rehab | Keeping the classic microphones alive by restoring capsules with today's new technology. he is Blackbird studio in Nashville vintage mic guru
Thanks kmade, it looks like they only do Mylar capsules but I’ll give them a call.

I know David Joesphen has one of these systems but don’t know if he ever got around to repairing his... another call I should make.

Thanks again.
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