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Author Topic: So thats a use for it!  (Read 9566 times)

Brad Harris

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So thats a use for it!
« on: July 10, 2004, 06:36:30 pm »

At one of my gigs, there's a whole pile of 'ancient' mics. 2 of which are EV 666's, I've wanted to go and check out how they sound, etc, but never really had the time to do so (and we don't have the clips for them as well to be of any real use).

I was watching the VH1 SNL 25yrs + the music today, and noticed that Dan Acroyd(sp?) uses it for his blues brothers jams with his harmonica. I found it funny he's using the 'devils' mic precurser to his mission from 'gawd'.

I dunno, just babling about crap at the moment.
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Brad Harris

Tim McCulloch

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Re: So thats a use for it!
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2004, 11:19:14 pm »

Brad-

I always thought the model number was kinda toungue-in-cheek....

The 666 is really a nice piece of vintage kit if it hasn't been abused.  Every time I see one on eBay that appears to be in GC, I get outbid quick...

Analog Tom can probably do well at describing the sound of this mic, since I've never been able to do a direct comparison with some of my other vintage favorites.

Tim Mc
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John Horvath

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Re: So thats a use for it!
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2004, 01:46:15 am »

I have the same problem on ebay.  After bidding on 2 or 3 and then getting outbid quickly, I stopped trying to add one to my collection.  However, I have two 664's, and that's good enough.  One of these days I was planning to bring a few of them to a show and see how they sounded, but the time has never been right.  
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analog Tom

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Re: So thats a use for it!
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2004, 11:59:05 am »

The 666 and 666R were part of EV's family of "Variable D" mics, developed in the late 1950s.  The best known of these is the 664, which was the definitive PA mic before the SM-58 became so popular.  

The 666 also reflects EV's pattern of quality selecting capsules and building two models on "general" capsules and "selected" capsules.  So the 666 is the selected capsule version of the 664. Similar selecting leads the RE-10 / RE-15, and RE-11 / RE-16.  

The "real" selected 664 is the 665, with the 666 being the 'best of the best'.  

These mics (664/665/666) all use multiple rear entrances in an effort to reduce proximity effect.  So, if you look at your 664s, you see the grill, then openings on the sides of the head (the openings changed a bit during production, as an aesthetic, but not acoustic decision).  Then on the back end of the "spine" there is a hole, which is the last rear opening.  

Unfortunately these mics have foam inside the front grill, inside the side entrances, and inside the spine.  This soaks up any available contamination (particulary metal particles - since the magnets are very strong).  EV no longer sources clean foam, and has no published (that I know of) protocols for cleaning the diaphragms.  This is important because the strong magnets of high quality dynamic mics will attract every tiny chip from mic stand threads, bits on the floor (where too many mics get laid), etc.  Even some of the particles in cigarette smoke are magnetic, and are attracted to the diaphragms.  

I haven't used a 664 in decades, except as film props.  Back in their day, they were considered a very good quality, and very durable PA mic.  Many small market stations used them for announce mics.  Because of their distributed openings, they don't have the proximity effect of the bidirectional ribbons, like 77DX or BX-44 which were still popular in the '50s.  This wasn't seen as an announce problem, as shown by the wide acceptance of the later RE-20, which is more of a "continuously variable D" design.  

The 666s were the standard 'go to' workhorses for news announce, live performance (look at the cover on the Jefferson Airplane's FIRST album, the one with Toley Anderson as the singer, before Grace Slick), and even as inexpensive boom mics (back in the mid '60s, a 666 was only about $160 list).  The 666R stands for "rising response".  Actually, it was a slow low end roll off, rather than a rising high end.  

For a late '50s - early '60s design, the mics are pretty flat.  As dynamics, they have the frequency response and transient response limits one would expect.  If you have them, try them out.  Particularly for some type of 'event' or theme gigs, they offer interesting visual appeal, with no necessary loss of PA quality.  

The mics were, and are considered great drum mics.  

I only have five of these.  One is a factory prototype, shipped to Hollywood for evaluation.  It has a rougher case design, before EV settled on the final version of the spine.  

The same "variable D" design was used by AKG in its "2 way" mics, of which the D-202e is the best known.  The AKG mics actually use two mic elements (the EVs did not), but the multiple rear entries were used to reduce proximity effect.  

One constant problem with both the 666 and the 664 is their connectors.  The 664 has an Amphenol MC-4 connector.  Try to find those in your local Radio Shack!  The 666 uses the Cannon UA-3 connector.  Try to find those anywhere!  BUT, the 665, which uses the same case and stand mount as the 664, uses a standard XLR-3.  So it may be possible to adapt the 664 (I've never tried this, so no guarantees).  No such luck with the 666.  

If you get a 666, make sure that it comes with a UA-3 cable connector.  The best thing is to make up pigtails (about 6' long) which have the UA on one end and an XLR on the other.  Make them about 6' long so the change to XLR comes at the bottom of the stand, or otherwise out of camera view.  

Cordially,  
Tom
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Dan Timon

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Re: So thats a use for it!
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2004, 08:40:10 am »

Wow, Tom, that was a fascinating post for a mic collecter like me. (I have about 100 mics, some of which might actually be worth something.)

I am copying/pasting this into a word doc, and filing it away in a Microphone folder.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Regards,

Dan Timon
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analog Tom

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Re: So thats a use for it!
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2004, 10:50:55 am »

Dan,  

You're welcome.  My little collection is around 300 now, but with many multiples.  Mostly studio types, but some home hi fi mics as well.  

I try also to collect old literature, so sometimes I have information when people are looking for it.  Don't hesitate to ask about specific things.  Just don't expect any rapid responses.  I'm in Santa Monica, and the collection resides in Burbank - so I really only get to it on weekends, unless I'm going to pull something for a project or prop use.  

Cordially,
Tom
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Dan Timon

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Re: So thats a use for it!
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2004, 11:03:02 am »

My current favorite mic, the one in my avatar, is certainly not worth much money but it is really nice on a trumpet or fluegel soloist for jazz concerts. I think it has been used about a dozen times since it was purchased new by an old friend of mine.

Happy collecting!

Regards,

Dan
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John Horvath

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Re: So thats a use for it!
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2004, 03:12:21 am »

Holy cow Tom, 300 mics!!??  And Dan, 100 mics??!! Sad Sad Sad

Man, I thought I was doing good.  Well someday I might be there, but for now, it's whatever mics I find that look cool on ebay.  My price limit is $60 per mic, so unfortunately I don't get too many really cool mics, just the slightly cool. Smile  

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-John

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Dan Timon

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Re: So thats a use for it!
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2004, 07:38:21 am »

Klark wrote on Tue, 13 July 2004 03:12

Holy cow Tom, 300 mics!!??  And Dan, 100 mics??!! Sad Sad Sad

Man, I thought I was doing good.  Well someday I might be there, but for now, it's whatever mics I find that look cool on ebay.  My price limit is $60 per mic, so unfortunately I don't get too many really cool mics, just the slightly cool. Smile  




You may be surprised, as your collection grows, that your definition of "cool" changes as you see more examples of your mics for sale. I have maybe 50 mics that no longer do much for me, and they are not worth much. My goal for a long time was to get to the point where my wife would stop noticing the "new mic" and start lumping them into a collection of "all those mics" but that has not happened yet. I figured that when she lumped them all together, I could then buy more mics than now, with less acountability.  Twisted Evil But on a positive note, she now keeps her eyes open for mic paraphanalia for me. Very Happy

It is especially rewarding to me when I can actually use one for an event. A D12 for example is a great kick mic for a band that covers 70's rock songs, and the band might feel honored that you would let them use it for a concert.

Good luck with your collection.

Regards,

Dan Timon

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analog Tom

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Re: So thats a use for it!
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2004, 11:53:39 am »

It can actually sound like more than it is.  I've got half a dozen or more Sennheiser MKH-416s.  But these are so popular for all kinds of field and location recording, and on sound stages that the number doesn't seem like a lot.  

There's more joy in things like a matched sequentially numbered pair of KM-76s (did you know Neumann made multipattern small mics?  Did you know they made such mics for "T" power instead of phantom?).  And it's nice to have different versions of such things as the Western Electric / Altec 639 "birdcage".  Mostly they were Altec labeled.  But finding a W.E. labeled one is always a joy.  

Then there are the odd ball jobs, like AKG mics using the proprietary 3-blade connectors that AKG tried to promote in the 1950s.  Not particularly useable for anything these days, but still built with AKG quality and design sense.  

You can visit any antique shop and find old tools from the 19th century, sometimes not being able to figure out what the were for.  But think about the extremely rapid pace of technology evolution in the 20th century.  We change gear so fast, and throw away what's no longer "good enough", so we risk losing the historic tools which brought us to where we are.  

One purpose of my collection is to preserve the studio electronics of the 2nd half of the 20th century, particularly things from the period of transition from tubes to solid state.  It's fascinating to study what designers were doing in the '60s.  

You can see technology evolving, and also economics, as new players moved into the studio electronics field and forced existing powerhouses to face unprecedented competition.  It interesting to reflect on once great and powerful names like Altec, Ampex, Collins Radio, Gates Radio, RCA, Raytheon, and others who have faded away, mostly because they were unwilling to adjust to new market realities and rethink their traditional ways of doing things.  

There are lessons here for all of us as we try to run our own businesses.  

Cordially,  
Tom

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