Microphone Choices: The Modern Candy Coatings!
“At The Harmonica Microphone Bench”
by Fritz Hasenpusch
That thin candy shell, sealing in LORD MICROPHONE’S natural goodness while sealing out the bad guys—like US! As we’ve seen while rummaging thru the spray booth down here in the Microphone Dungeon, it takes a concerted effort to preserve the Harpster’s tools of the trade. Isolating our beloved mics from the corrosive environment they exist in (especially our hands) is an insurance policy we should all subscribe to. We’ve learned of the advantages and disadvantages of electroplating their vulnerable alloy grills and shells, how the almost secretive development of early organic coatings showed the way, and how science and chemistry have picked up that baton and run like hell into the future. To where?
Come on down…
The NITROCELLULOSE LAQUER of the 1920’s is indeed still being used today on musical instruments. It’s found as the featured primary finish on fine acoustic instruments. Read descriptions of high-end acoustic guitars and the NL words invariably are found. Why? Its ability to produce an exceedingly thin protective shell around these delicate wooden creations helps to preserve their beauty with minimal interference (and even assisting) with their resonant sonic qualities. Players tend to treat such instruments with care and respect…
and then there’s LORD MICROPHONE. Tin Sandwich jockeys tend to treat their hand-held sonic brethren more as TOOLS—which indeed they are. Since we’re concerned with protection of the “tool” over any sonic consideration and NITRO is a notoriously fragile flower, we’ll look elsewhere. There have been a number of commercial coatings and processes applied to LORD MICROPHONE over the years including: enamels—baked-on and otherwise; powder coatings (we’ll get to that); platings we’ve looked at; and dips—rubberized and such.
As for what’s available and what works? Caveat emptor… Let’s look at the AVOID column first—and I’ve seen ‘em all applied to LORD MICROPHONE: Acrylic Latex House Paint? It’ll peel like a bad sunburn in no time; Hardware or hobby shop spray paints? Best left to the graffiti artists as they typically won’t set-up hard enough or tolerate extended handling; Shellac? Give it some time and it’ll feel like a grenade covered with Log Cabin Syrup.
So… Where do we look? Who’s solved these PROTECTION issues?
Let’s hop in the HARPMOBILE. We’re heading back into THE AUTO (HARP) INDUSTRY! 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