Monday, March 03, 2008


I just cut out, possibly for framing, a color photo from the New York Times, showing a young Asian woman recording a song. For some reason, they have a hard time, it says, trying to break into the hit category.

Not my interest. What grabbed my attention is the close-up of the microphone she is using: The classic RCA DX-77, which you can see as a prop on Larry King’s desk. It’s about ¾ size in this photo, closer to us than the singer. And it brings back lots and lots of memories. I have spoken into many and I also nearly knocked someone out with one.

The 77’s replaced the diamond-shaped RCA BX-44 mics, the ones you see in nostalgia books about radio, with “NBC” or “CBS” on the side. I used them, too, and you can just stop with the dinosaur cracks before you make them. The 44’s were good in their day, and the 77’s are so good they are still in use. Heavy buggers.

I was running an overhead mic boom one day many years ago for a panel show and, never having done this before, was having a bit of a time capturing everyone without being too low. One guy was a bit animated and I was trying to keep him on mic while he moved back and forth. He moved back; I panned the mic boom back. He suddenly moved forward; I was still panning back, just inches above his head. We almost lost a panelist.

I’ve used 77’s in good studios and bad. I’ve been a dj in front of one, a news reporter, a late-night quiet music host just an inch away from one. It’s been a great buddy.


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