FLASHBACK: 1950s Sony C-37A Microphone

Sony engineers created this microphone in the early 1950s. At first, it was used to record symphonies and quickly became a sought after vocal mic. Neumann’s studio microphones reportedly inspired the C-37a.

sony c37a microphone

HOW IT WAS USED

The C-37a is a multi-pattern tube condenser microphone, first released in the U.S. in 1958. It was and still is used in many applications. Vocals were number one, but it sounds excellent on upright bass, horns, and strings. Some people even like to use it on banjo.

INTERESTING FEATURES

One very interesting characteristic about this mic is its power supply. The early version of the C-37 boasted a CP-2 power supply. On the unit were three different settings: M1, M2, and V. M1 is a flat response, M2 is a roll off of 3dB at 85Hz, and V is a roll off of 3 dB at 220Hz. This can be very useful when tracking certain instruments.

PROMINENT RECORDINGS

The Sony C-37a was used on many Frank Sinatra recordings. It was used for his vocals and for the string accompaniment. It was also used on James Bay’s vocals for the album Chaos And The Calm.

LESSONS LEARNED

Today’s engineers can learn a lot about how to utilize tube microphones on modern-day recordings and also the use of different polar patterns.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Boullianne is a studio manager and a full-time engineer. He loves long walks on the beach and creating music. Check out thelalamansion.com to see the studio that he works in.

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