Electro-Voice 664 by Keith Cary
Don't let the numbers above fool you. I just couldn't fit this mic into the system. These mics were made by the thousands in the 60s and are readily available on ebay for around $50, often much cheaper. They don't have a great rep in the world of recording. They were primarily intended as PA mics and are often seen in films that feature high school gymnasiums. They also have a famously clunky, 4-pin connector, the 4th pin being for a high impedance output. Their big studio brother, the 666, is widely respected for its fidelity, durability and "variable-D" engineering, which went a long way towards negating the proximity effect so often heard when a performer brings a mic up close to his or her mouth and the bass frequencies go wild. From what I've read the famous RE-20 was the next step after the 666.
666 mics are excellent but are getting pricey as people have come to recognize their strengths. The 664 is a very similar mic, but in shape and in capsule design, but their spec numbers don't look great. They have a reputation as being mid-rangy. I have three 664s and a 665 (the studio version of the 664, with XLR output and dark finish, and an impedance selector and no on-off switch). I finally decided to do a taste test on these four mics, after hearing that some people like them for kick drum. What, a mid-range mic for a kick drum? I have used some of mine on vocals and have been really impressed, especially for singers who tend to eat the mic and end up boomy. But I've also occasionally recorded material with them that sounded pretty lo-fi, even more than I like and I like lo-fi. So I went from mic to mic yesterday, trying a variety of vocal frequencies. What a difference! Two of the mics were indeed mid-rangy and two went way down low, while still picking my hisses and whistles. One of the more mid-rangy mics was the 665, which sounded practically identical to one of the other 664s. ---- I love the sound of these mics, both sounds are useful in the right place. I've now labeled them. For the old music I like to play and record I get tired of hearing pristine hi-fi, it feels unnatural. I've been recording a few young alt/punk country bands in our area and they have the same esthetic. They're going for an older sound, a little more lo-fi. Give on of these mics a try. ----- The 4-pin connector can be a problem if you don't have the mating plug. In a little while I'm going to write in the old gear section how to install an XLR plug into one of these. It's not that hard.--- Also, be sure the stand threads aren't stripped out. Gymnasiums are hard on mics, even the hammer.