Microphone Choices: The Shine of Your Kandy Kolor Questions!
by Fritz Hasenpusch
The roughly textured walls of the MICROPHONE DUNGEON are speckled with POST-IT notes on which I’ve scrawled your questions dealing with the coatings that might suit LORD MICROPHONE. How to preserve its inherent state and condition, make it easier to hang onto, jazz it up, personalize it and make it a showpiece. On our last outing we took a look at the retro methods of the Rat Rodders, the benefits of primer coats, and the choice of leaving your audio arsenal in this primary state of preservation. The protection factor’s good, the inherent texture can be a plus, and your mic won’t ever be accused of stepping out and trying to be a star without you. It’ll win no beauty pageants dressed like that.
We closed our last entry with this question…
“HEY FRITZ! Now that my old bullet’s been resurfaced and primered, I’m thinking about jazzing-up the appearance with some sparkly stuff in the topcoats. What’s up with that? How’s that happen?” SHOW BOAT
DEAR SHOW BOAT: Time to deal with this one—and the fact that you refer to “TOP COATS” indicates that you know the finishing process can be a veritable lasagna of materials. OK, here we go…
Whether it’s wearing a zoot suit, snap-brim hat, loud alohawear, or urban retro-wear, performers have sought individuality by dressing-up (or down) for their gigs. So why not LORD MICROPHONE? Putting some flash in the finish can be traced to post WWII hot rod culture and a long list of pioneers who’d monkeyed with the accepted laws of color—and nature! Guys like Roth, Barris, Von Dutch, and Winfield to name but a few weren’t satisfied with “stock paint.” Adding reflective particles to the paint was found to drastically alter its appearance. Much of the effect relates to the materials introduced and the size of the particles introduced. For example, a ‘METALLIC’ or ‘METALFLAKE’ finish would generally refer to the use of larger particulates while ‘OPALESCENT’ or ‘IRIDESCENT’ would typically mean a finer grade of reflective matter applied in either the “color coat” or the “top coat.” The reflective materials can be metallic, ground-up fish scales, minerals, etc. Effects vary with the amount added and at what stage the particulates are applied. They can be found in concentrate or ready-to-use form at auto paint and bodywork supply stores. Let your fingers do the walking…
Here’s a trick: Whatever the color you’ve chosen, a dazzling visual ‘POP’ can be achieved by adding just a touch of one of these reflective components to the “TOP COAT” or clear coat that’s applied to protect the pigmented layer. One of my faves is adding just a dab of Shimrin Gold base coat from House of Kolor to my clear coats. This results in a greatly increased sense of depth to the finish and under bright direct lighting it throws a wonderful sparkle.
“HEY FRITZ! I’ve seen this chameleon paint on a couple cars. What is it? Can that be done on a microphone?” Mister Prizm
DEAR MISTER PRISM: Your name points us toward answering the ‘HOW’ on this one. ChromaLusion is the Dupont trade name for its tri-coat process utilizing an engineered five-layer prismatic flake that yields surfaces that seem to change color right before your eyes. Since ChromaLusion is a process and not an additive, we’ll mention it here, say “YES” it can be done on LORD MICROPHONE, and deal with it in greater detail at another time.
Meanwhile, we go BACK INSIDE LORD MICROPHONE!
THE NEXT TIME WE VISIT…
THE MIC BENCH
For pictures and descriptions of most of the microphones listed visit http://www.harmonicamasterclass.com/vintage_collection.htm