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Didn't Crown sell through Radio Shack at one time? Mixers (Digital)
Old 9th July 2010
  #1
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Didn't Crown sell through Radio Shack at one time?

WVUtubadude did not start this thread...
I decided to move this into its own thread since it was seriously 'off topic' in the original thread because I can't read things in context



Didn't Crown sell through radioshack at one time?
Old 9th July 2010
  #2
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Remoteness's Avatar
Yes, Radio Shack did sell Crown PZM mics.
I used them a lot in the 80s.
Believe it or not, I happen to still own six of those puppies.
There's a simple mod to turn them into a balance XLR signal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WVUtubadude View Post
Didn't Crown sell through radioshack at one time?
Old 4th December 2010
  #3
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Are Mackie VLZ mixers enough for classical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness
Yes, Radio Shack did sell Crown PZM mics.
I used them a lot in the 80s.
Believe it or not, I happen to still own six of those puppies.
There's a simple mod to turn them into a balance XLR signal.
Those PZMs were *not* Crown ones.

But Radio Shack (Tandy in the UK) did get a licence from Crown to make the PZM.

They were superb value for money and could be balanced simply by cutting off the jack plug and soldering on an XLR (they were actually fully balanced other than the jack plug).

Using a 9V PP3 battery rather than a 1.5V AA battery improved performance and signal/noise ratio.

There was also a little mod. to make them 48V phantom powered - this is what I did to my pair. It was simple to do, but a little fiddly.

In the end I sold them to my local church when I re-did the PA system for them and then got a pair of Neumann GFM 132 as my boundary mics..

Sent from my iPhone using Gearslutz
Old 4th December 2010
  #4
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I used to manage a RadioShack. The models you are talking about were the 330-1080 and 330-1090. This microphone was Crown's design and to their specification, but labelled with RS's house brand, Realistic. It actually says in the manual that you can sub a higher voltage battery for better results. They had an output transformer in them that balanced the signal, even though they only put an unbalanced mini plug on the end of the cable. This transformer was very poorly shielded and tended to introduce hum, so many people chose to upgrade it as well. Also, in my experience, rather than using a 9v, I preferred a 12v battery, something like a 23A, and it doesn't require soldering to make it work.
Interestingly enough, it is quite easy to make your own boundary mic with parts from the local RadioShack. 270-0090 is an electret condenser omni capsule, that should get you started.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Those PZMs were *not* Crown ones.

But Radio Shack (Tandy in the UK) did get a licence from Crown to make the PZM.
Old 4th December 2010
  #5
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
A thought about the Realistic or Crown PZM's: They make a great stereo pair when fixed back to back and put up on a mic stand!

Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
I used to manage a RadioShack. The models you are talking about were the 330-1080 and 330-1090. This microphone was Crown's design and to their specification, but labelled with RS's house brand, Realistic. It actually says in the manual that you can sub a higher voltage battery for better results. They had an output transformer in them that balanced the signal, even though they only put an unbalanced mini plug on the end of the cable. This transformer was very poorly shielded and tended to introduce hum, so many people chose to upgrade it as well. Also, in my experience, rather than using a 9v, I preferred a 12v battery, something like a 23A, and it doesn't require soldering to make it work.
Interestingly enough, it is quite easy to make your own boundary mic with parts from the local RadioShack. 270-0090 is an electret condenser omni capsule, that should get you started.
Old 4th December 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
I used to manage a RadioShack. The models you are talking about were the 330-1080 and 330-1090. This microphone was Crown's design and to their specification, but labelled with RS's house brand, Realistic.
Actually, John's version is pretty much correct. Speaking of the product in the US, and having talked with Crown about these microphones *at the time*, this is the Crown version, relevant to the first Radio Shack PZM product:

Crown knew nothing about the Radio Shack microphone. They became aware of the mic when they began receiving checks from Radio Shack for Radio Shack's use of the PZM trademark, which was Crown's. The mic does look a lot like some Crown mic's, but it's the specific PZM trademark that was (is) Crown's property, not the concept of the mic. The whole affair was legal-it seems, and during the period I had contact with Crown, no one seemed to be too bothered by the whole thing. (I'm completely speculating here, but I would think the Radio Shacks version-as it was sold- was too far from professionally useful to offer any real competition, and probably helped to introduce more Crown products to users.)

Regarding that final unbalanced length that went from transformer to mic element: Inexplicably, the RF problems often went away when the *other* part of the cable (transformer to jack) was run balanced-and the only thing needed there was to cut the TS plug off and connect a proper TRS, or more commonly, an XLR-M. (which, of course, did nothing to the part of the assembly that should have been mostly responsible for the RF problems).

Many replaced the cable from mic to transformer, but that was really not necessary. When the entire product was left as is, with no modifications, often a ferrite bead put immediately before the mic element fixed most problems.

As to Crown's design and specification-that's not what happened at all, according to Crown. I didn't follow the product past the first generation, so perhaps they had a different relationship at that time-or not.

That's the story from the time. I've had no conversations since then. So it's just one more version of the saga.
Old 4th December 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
Interestingly enough, it is quite easy to make your own boundary mic with parts from the local RadioShack. 270-0090 is an electret condenser omni capsule, that should get you started.
It's much easier than that. Take any mic and place it on a boundary.
Old 4th December 2010
  #8
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MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JEGG View Post
It's much easier than that. Take any mic and place it on a boundary.
Small capsules only, not large ones.
Old 4th December 2010
  #9
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A lot of people found the Radio Shack PZMs quite professionally useful--esp with the higher voltage battery. I used mine for things as different as dialog (very wide shot, but couldn't see the mic flat on a table between the actors), taiko drumming (at the stage lip in a hall that permitted no mic stands), as audience mics (taped to side walls, again where no stands were allowed), back to back in the middle of a string quartet; among many uses.....

phil p
Old 4th December 2010
  #10
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEGG View Post
It's much easier than that. Take any mic and place it on a boundary.
you got me on that one. Different sounds can be had by placing it at right angles or pointing it's axis directly at the boundary, right? Even omnis aren't truly omni directional at all freqs.
Old 4th December 2010
  #11
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
you got me on that one. Different sounds can be had by placing it at right angles or pointing it's axis directly at the boundary, right? Even omnis aren't truly omni directional at all freqs.
But sub-miniature tie mics *are* as the body size is below the wavelength of the highest frequency.

That's why you never see polar patterns with the sub-miniature tie mics as they are truly omni.
Old 4th December 2010
  #12
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
good catch. I forgot about tie mics! now there's an easy way to make a boundary mic, with some gaffer's tape and a wall!
Old 4th December 2010
  #13
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
Eh, all I know is what the rumors are from the RS side of the story, but you know how retail salesmen can be, if you can't impress with knowledge, baffle with bs. I used to fire people for that! Regardless of their origin of design, radio shack does a lot of rebranding and repackaging. For example, many of their store brand headphones are now Koss, with the RS logo silkscreened on to the ear cup.

I did the mods 5 or 6 times for customers that bought them from my store. At that time, they were clearance and I had a whole bunch transferred from the surrounding stores that only had one or two on the shelf. I still have a pair around here somewhere...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JEGG View Post
Actually, John's version is pretty much correct. Speaking of the product in the US, and having talked with Crown about these microphones *at the time*, this is the Crown version, relevant to the first Radio Shack PZM product:

Crown knew nothing about the Radio Shack microphone. They became aware of the mic when they began receiving checks from Radio Shack for Radio Shack's use of the PZM trademark, which was Crown's. The mic does look a lot like some Crown mic's, but it's the specific PZM trademark that was (is) Crown's property, not the concept of the mic. The whole affair was legal-it seems, and during the period I had contact with Crown, no one seemed to be too bothered by the whole thing. (I'm completely speculating here, but I would think the Radio Shacks version-as it was sold- was too far from professionally useful to offer any real competition, and probably helped to introduce more Crown products to users.)

Regarding that final unbalanced length that went from transformer to mic element: Inexplicably, the RF problems often went away when the *other* part of the cable (transformer to jack) was run balanced-and the only thing needed there was to cut the TS plug off and connect a proper TRS, or more commonly, an XLR-M. (which, of course, did nothing to the part of the assembly that should have been mostly responsible for the RF problems).

Many replaced the cable from mic to transformer, but that was really not necessary. When the entire product was left as is, with no modifications, often a ferrite bead put immediately before the mic element fixed most problems.

As to Crown's design and specification-that's not what happened at all, according to Crown. I didn't follow the product past the first generation, so perhaps they had a different relationship at that time-or not.

That's the story from the time. I've had no conversations since then. So it's just one more version of the saga.
Old 5th December 2010
  #14
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I used 4 RS PZM's to record Dame Moura Lympany's 60 years on the concert platform recital years back, at the QEH in London. It had to be invisible.

And I used a Mackie original-type baby mixer for the mixing.

I still have all kit involved!
Old 9th December 2010
  #15
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
Eh, all I know is what the rumors are from the RS side of the story, but you know how retail salesmen can be, if you can't impress with knowledge, baffle with bs. I used to fire people for that!
Ahhhh... Radio Shack. "You've got questions... we've got... errrmmm... BATTERIES...!" and, of course, adapters...

As to Mackies... I have no problems with my Onyx desks... 1220 and 1640. No complaints from clients, either. Only ongoing "issue" is with my aged SR32-4, bought used for $1,200 in Y2K. Still running, BTW. It seemed pretty OK until I got all six auxes loaded up with stiff wedge mixes with full-tilt-boogie FOH. My guess is the power supply just couldn't handle eight unity gain mixes without crapping out. Lower the overall gains 20% or so... no problem. Might just have been my console, but the workaround (lower overall gain) seemed to keep everything Jake.

Howevah... leaving the two large-ish FOH racks (EQs, dynamics and FX) at home since acquiring a StudioLive 24.4.2 is a freakin' joy.

HB
Old 9th December 2010
  #16
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
Ahhhh... Radio Shack. "You've got questions... we've got... errrmmm... BATTERIES...!" and, of course, adapters...
Ah yes, the old 4-4-$10 battery routine. ridiculous profit margin there.
Old 10th December 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
good catch. I forgot about tie mics! now there's an easy way to make a boundary mic, with some gaffer's tape and a wall!
Not the place to write a book, here, but it's not necessary at all to equate boundary mic's with very small mic's, nor do mic's need to be "aimed at" the boundary. They can be aimed "parallel."

Remember that engineers were using boundary mic's (regular ol' big mic's placed on hard gobos for orchestra recordings) for many years before someone decided to make "dedicated" boundary mic's with the small diaphragms and all.

Any mic, including directionals, may be placed on a boundary and the result is simply a hemisphere of the pattern. Even big clunky mic's can be used very nicely on a surface. Given the choice between a bad sounding boundary mic and a good sounding clunky mic...

The distance from the surface and the size of the mic diaphragm is mitigated by many, many factors in practice.

Take a look at how Schoeps does a boundary MS mic, for example. Find that photo and then free your imagination.

Try it before you dismiss it as a theoretical disaster. And it often is "the answer" for clients who think everyone will have a stroke if their eyes are assaulted by seeing a microphone stand or wire.

(Never mind all the mains cords in contrasting colors littered all over the stage powering lights on music stands and whatever else.)

BTW, there is a gain in direct/diffuse ratio, so your mic's will have more reach.
Old 10th December 2010
  #18
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
Ah yes, the old 4-4-$10 battery routine. ridiculous profit margin there.
Yeah... but if you need 'em bad enough, worth every penny.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #19
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Nobilmente's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
I used 4 RS PZM's to record Dame Moura Lympany's 60 years on the concert platform recital years back, at the QEH in London. It had to be invisible.

And I used a Mackie original-type baby mixer for the mixing.

I still have all kit involved!

Peter, that's really encouraging.

I think I have about five or six of the RS PZM's and have used them with great success in certain position on windband recordings. I usually place a chair over them once they're in position as they are so easy to stand on.

I changed the polarity of them by swapping around the black and red cores as they did not correspond to my other microphones - I think that's what I did, I would need to open one up to recall exactly.

I have not used them for a while, but for no particular reason.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #20
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Nobilmente's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Those PZMs were *not* Crown ones.

But Radio Shack (Tandy in the UK) did get a licence from Crown to make the PZM.

They were superb value for money and could be balanced simply by cutting off the jack plug and soldering on an XLR (they were actually fully balanced other than the jack plug).

Using a 9V PP3 battery rather than a 1.5V AA battery improved performance and signal/noise ratio.

There was also a little mod. to make them 48V phantom powered - this is what I did to my pair. It was simple to do, but a little fiddly.

In the end I sold them to my local church when I re-did the PA system for them and then got a pair of Neumann GFM 132 as my boundary mics..

Sent from my iPhone using Gearslutz

Hi John

I would be interested in knowing the modification that you did to make the PZM's 48v powered. I might be tempted to take them out again more often if I knew how that was done.

I was always under the impression that the capsules were manufactured by Crown (that doesn't necessarily mean they were, but I thought they were!)
Old 23rd December 2010
  #21
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
I was always under the impression that the capsules were manufactured by Crown (that doesn't necessarily mean they were, but I thought they were!)
I recall conversations a lot of years ago about that... and the consensus then was that RS were licensed to make them, within Crown's performance specs, but without balanced output. One reason I didn't buy any...

But, then, my rememberator ain't what it used to be.

HB
Old 24th December 2010
  #22
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Djembe's Avatar
 

Here is a PZM 48v mod that I found a while back from an old Australian audio magazine.
My tech did it on mine but I remember he had to vary it a bit to make it work.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf PZM%20Mod.pdf (105.3 KB, 397 views)
Old 24th December 2010
  #23
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Nobilmente's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Djembe View Post
Here is a PZM 48v mod that I found a while back from an old Australian audio magazine.
My tech did it on mine but I remember he had to vary it a bit to make it work.

Thank you very much for this info, it's much appreciated.

It will encourage me to start using the PZM's again more often, I had good results when they were out previously.

All the best for Christmas - try to put the cricket out of your mind !!

At least you won't be having snow !!

Best wishes and thanks again.
Old 24th December 2010
  #24
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Fred Sanford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
I used to manage a RadioShack. The models you are talking about were the 330-1080 and 330-1090. This microphone was Crown's design and to their specification, but labelled with RS's house brand, Realistic. It actually says in the manual that you can sub a higher voltage battery for better results. They had an output transformer in them that balanced the signal, even though they only put an unbalanced mini plug on the end of the cable. This transformer was very poorly shielded and tended to introduce hum, so many people chose to upgrade it as well. Also, in my experience, rather than using a 9v, I preferred a 12v battery, something like a 23A, and it doesn't require soldering to make it work.
Interestingly enough, it is quite easy to make your own boundary mic with parts from the local RadioShack. 270-0090 is an electret condenser omni capsule, that should get you started.
The OEM battery compartment will accept two 28A 6V batteries at a time, giving you 12V with no mods. I just recorded a church choir with my pair (that I've owned since new) last week.

je
Old 24th December 2010
  #25
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idylldon's Avatar
 

I put together two of these 48-volt, phantom-power kits for my PZM pair and they work wonderfully (scroll down the page):

Pressure Zone Microphones - History and other information

While I do a lot of modding and have built and refurbished countless pieces of audio gear, I found the uneeda solution to this very cost effective and time saving.

Cheers,
--
Don
Old 24th December 2010
  #26
Gear Nut
 
Uncle Russ's Avatar
30 years ago I bought a pair of Crown phantom power PZM 31-S professional grade mics. I always have liked them. My pal, Ben Maas, thinks they sound "better than they have a right to sound" but lack front-to-back dimension. Does anyone here use the Crown or Radio Shack PZMs enough explain why?
Old 25th December 2010
  #27
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Quote:
RS were licensed to make them, within Crown's performance specs, but without balanced output. One reason I didn't buy any...
You could impedance-balance a PZM.
Old 25th December 2010
  #28
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Those Radio Shack PZMs were balanced with two conductors and a shield wired to an unbalanced TS 1/4" connector...

All you had to do was clip off the TS and solder an XLR in its place.

Quote:
RS were licensed to make them, within Crown's performance specs, but without balanced output. One reason I didn't buy any...
Old 25th December 2010
  #29
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GZsound's Avatar
I bought (and still own) two of the Radio Shack PZM boundary mics.

I believe at the time, my decision to buy was based on an article in one of the trade magazines, Mix, or EQ or Modern Recording, etc. that said the mics were Crown elements licensed by Radio Shack.

I might try out some of the mods and see if the mics could be useful again. I used them in the day as a drum mic. Just stick the PZM under the drummers throne pointing at the bass drum and it picked up all the toms, bass drum and snare.

I recorded my band by hanging one on a real estate "for sale" sign and mounting it in the rafters of the club we were playing. Not too bad at the time.
Old 25th December 2010
  #30
Gear Nut
 
Peter Allison's Avatar
my best mate still uses his, to good effect when recording the pipe organ OK, so they are not state of the art, but just plugged into his Tascam DAP 1, but hey, they produce a reasonable result
Peter
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