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Mic Restoration questions RCA 77dx,44 (and 414EB) Ribbon Microphones
Old 4th April 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Mic Restoration questions RCA 77dx,44 (and 414EB)

Hi, this is one of those 'get around to it someday' things... For years I've had a working, dirty but not damaged RCA 44 mic on the shelf -which i rescued from a radio station's 'to-be-pitched' junk closet some 20 yrs. ago. Around the same time I picked up a mic under similar circumstances - a 77dx that
was retired from duty and bought from a station for about $150.00...this one has some damage - grill cloth deteriorated, dented body and broken mount...otherwise functional.

Would like to get around to restoring both of these relics 'for fun and profit'-

Any pointers on where to start - i don't have a fortune to invest on this so budget is a factor but would like to at minimum get a good cosmetic restoration on them - as far as performance, ribbon replacement et.al., that's actually not as big a deal to me.

Happy to hear from any restorers or referrals to good resources...

As always sorry if this is in the wrong forum. Glad to get some pics together of both. While I'm at it here...have beein sittin on a 414EB -
the plastic-ring diaphragm version - for quite a few years - it sounds
dull and in need of repair. Is this a model that's worth bothering with
restoration from a value standpoint or does the plastic element make it
less desirable ... i seem to recall that as far as replicating the vintage c12
this mic had some issues vs. the metal-ring diaphragm 'frame' -there are discussions someplace on this 'years ago' but they aren't coming up in my newsgroups searches...

Thanks for any opinions on any of this : )

MikeE
Old 4th April 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Wes Dooley, Steven Sank, Clarence Kane, Jerry Silvia and "Big D" all restore ribbon mics. Google on the names for more info.
Old 4th April 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks for the names

i appreciate it,

Mike
Old 4th April 2010
  #4
Gear Nut
 
Matty Muir's Avatar
 

Clarence Kane did my 44BX a few years back, well more than a few, and he did a great job.
Old 5th April 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Clarence did my 77 and my PB90, I'm quite happy with the work.
Old 5th April 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Seamus TM's Avatar
 

Clarence did our 77DX.
Nice work.
Old 5th April 2010
  #7
Gear Addict
 
EV676's Avatar
When I started in my current situation almost 30 years ago one of the old timers at the station gave me a cardboard box with a pair of 77DX's that had seen better days. They had blown ribbons and looked pretty sad.

They sat in that cardboard box until 1997 when I finally decided what the heck and sent them to Clarence Kane. I called first, asked what the repairs might cost and he quoted me a price....quite reasonable. I boxed up the two mics and sent them to ENAK along with a MO for the cost of repair.

I figured it would take some time so around 6 weeks later I called him and inquired about the status of my mics.

Clarence said he had them and was working on them. He also said he was quite surprised to receive payment in full up front because "nobody ever does that."

About a week later they show up. I'll never forget opening the box.
Two trashed out 77's were now almost perfect. And they sounded wonderful.

I wound up keeping one and sold another to a collector friend who had to have it.

Needless to say if Clarence is still restoring RCA's. he's the man.
Old 5th April 2010
  #8
+1 Steven Sank

Steven Sank has looked after my ribbon repair needs faultlessly.
He has inherited more than just his dads tools.
Old 11th February 2011
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

europe?

anyone in europe that can restore ribbonmics?

Old 11th February 2011
  #10
Old 11th February 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Somewhat OT but funny...

Years ago I worked at a small radio station that had an RCA 44 mounted on a short boom with a ceiling mount.

I don't remember the exact configuration, but IIRC, the yoke on the 44 had a stand adapter attached to it with a nut and bolt through the yoke.

Anyway, the bolt on ours was kinda "iffy" and, as most of you know, the 44 was heavy as hell, so it wasn't unusual for the 44 to "come loose" in your hand when you tried to adjust it. Sometimes it would even come loose if you banged your chair against the desk. The engineer had taken several extra turns of the cable around the boom so it wouldn't drop completely down, but it would still fall to within a couple of inches of the desk.

We carried a lot of 30-minute religious programs on tape on Sunday mornings, and one of those mornings the DJ had come in after a Saturday night of heavy partying. He fired off one of the tapes and decided to put his head on the desk and close his eyes for "just a minute".

And...you guessed it...the "vibration" of his putting his head on the desk was just enough to cause the 44 to come loose and drop...right on his head. Knocked him cold as a wedge.

He was still out an hour or so later when somebody noticed there was nothing on the radio and called the station owner, who came down and found him.

There was no permanent harm done, but you can bet that DJ never put his head on the desk under that 44 again...

Last edited by bdenton; 11th February 2011 at 01:46 PM.. Reason: Correct a misspelling
Old 22nd February 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Just had my old 40's 44bx restored at AEA,

had everything refinished, re chromed, thing looks great,
sounds great

although humms a bit loud for soft finger picking, is a shame, best acoustic mic i've ever heard,
Old 22nd February 2011
  #13
Lives for gear
 

You could have Wes replace the transformer, there are a number of them available with full shielding that would be much quieter.
Old 22nd February 2011
  #14
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CompEq's Avatar
 

Wes Dooley or Clarence Kane for the ribbons, Richard Land for the 414. Wes has done work on 3 of my RCA's and Richard has done two of my 414EB's. He can probably replace the capsule for you if that's what's needed.
Old 22nd February 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
Google Tim Campbell for a more authentic Ck12 capsule for your C414EB.
Old 23rd February 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
 
retractablezing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Kennedy View Post
You could have Wes replace the transformer, there are a number of them available with full shielding that would be much quieter.
except that's at least 70-80% of the "RCA" sound right there..
Old 24th February 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 

The transformer's part of it, but I'd put it at 25% myself.

A good mu-metal shield could also be made for the original transformer.
Old 24th February 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
 
beechstudio's Avatar
 

Another vote for Richard Land for the 414eb repair. He brought my 451eb back to life. Great guy!
Old 24th February 2011
  #19
Lives for gear
 
retractablezing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Kennedy View Post
A good mu-metal shield could also be made for the original transformer.
Dan, i must wholeheartedly disagree that the trafo's only about 25% of the sound. if that was the case, most clones with their lundhalls or cinemags would sound close, but, having owned a few examples of each (upgraded oem ribbons in various forms and RCAs, also of various forms, and several vintage german ribbons upgraded with RCA nos ribbon), i can safely say they don't sound the least bit close.

anyway, the solution you pointed out is definitely what i'd go for.
Old 30th August 2013
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Midasmouse's Avatar
 

Realize this is an older thread but I just got an old ribbon mic. Is restoring it something I could do myself? I have never done it before, but I'm up for a challenge.

Oh yeah, so the connector is a TS 1/4"??
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Mic Restoration questions RCA 77dx,44 (and 414EB)-image.jpg  
Old 30th August 2013
  #21
Lives for gear
 
unit7's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midasmouse View Post
Realize this is an older thread but I just got an old ribbon mic. Is restoring it something I could do myself? I have never done it before, but I'm up for a challenge.

Oh yeah, so the connector is a TS 1/4"??
Replacing ribbon needs special material and special tools (to prep the ribbon). I guess that's the most tricky one to get right. I consider myself a handy man but i would never do it, yet I've heard about people nerding into it and managed to get it ok. I believe other stuff like replacing cabling and silkscreens etc is more doable. New paintwork possible to DIY too, but of course a lot of work. Btw, I've got XLRs on all mine. Makes everything easier.
Old 30th August 2013
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Matt Nolan's Avatar
 

I cut, corrugated, installed and tensioned a ribbon once. It took a whole afternoon of failed attempts and lots and lots of cursing. Not something I'm going to bother trying to do again. But, if you have super-steady and nimble hands, lots of calm patience and can hold your breath while you work then go for it!
Old 24th January 2016
  #23
Stephen Sank is the mad scientist when it comes to the RCA's. He absolutely knows everything about them. His father designed the BK-11 and he has all the old tooling and NOS ribbon material. He uses the proper paint codes and techniques (like the grill cloths for the various RCA mics). he know all about the different transformers. He does meticulous restoration work. He did a 44bx and 77dx to museum quality. Big D is excellent for replacement parts and service as well. He makes replacement screens and bodies for the 77s, and some 44 stuff. AEA has replacement yokes for the 44 because they make a 44 and they are a direct replica. I know I'm responding to an old thread, but it's still relevant. Definitely get a cloudlifter to use with your ribbon regardless of what preamp you use with it, it can only help.
Old 18th February 2016
  #24
Gear Head
 
drybones's Avatar
 

Ribbon mic repair

There really are only a few great ribbon mic experts in this country. Steven Sank while a controversial character, still needs a tip of hat out of respect. Wes and AEA, Big D in Indiana and Michael Farabee do some amazing work. But if I was going to joke, I would say that Clarence Kane is my "first love." My respect for the guy is off the charts. I have known Clarence over 30 years (he has restored or re-ribboned 11 mics for me) and I have had the pleasure of watching him work in his shop many times and it is like watching a surgeon. His attention to detail is amazing, since 1952!!!!

But Paul, you need to check out Michael Farabee, he is in your neck of the woods, Brunswick GA. Great guy. Shucks, all of the ribbon mic guys are wonderful!
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