Modifications/Repairs

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MODIFICATIONS/REPAIRS
MICROPHONES

Steanes Elipsoid Ribbon Mics
I have three of these beasties. Why? I dunno, maybe a sense of Australian pride http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=134285
steanes 1946 elipsoid ribbon motor 01
The 1st: Cleaned out the gunky foam. Took the slight sag out of the ribbon, replaced wiring and cable and gave it an XLR, used a foam wind filter to replace the rotten ‘pop’ shield fabric (can now be easily washed), spit and polish

Fired it up with a Fethead … rich & warm (need to push the top end ever so slightly)

A few notes have strange harmonics, so a replacement ribbon might be necessary. Still a beautiful full sound.
steanes 1946 elipsoid ribbon label steanes 1948 advert

The 2nd: I’ve yet to refurbish. Body was quite bent.
Steanes 1946 Ellipsoid ribbon no# 2 Steanes 1946 Ellipsoid ribbon no# 2 02
Apart from the casing damage & the same foam deterioration, the motor looks to be in about the same condition as the first. Although the casing is really bashed about the ribbon looks ok but really low signal, might be weak magnets or dud transformer.

The third: Was really trashed! Straightened the body, but it’s still in pieces. Needs a new ribbon and transformer :-(

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Making a mount/gasket/seal to adapt a Shure 99C86 element to a mic made for a bigger element
(Turner Model 22X circa 1940’s Serial No# 33750)

Turner 22X 1940s SN 33750 02 Turner 22X 1940s SN 33750 Turner 22X 1940s SN 33750
New cable and XLR.
Genuine Shure 99C86 Controlled Magnetic Transducer.
The mount/gasket/seal is a slice off of a tennis ball, fits perfectly.

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Taking the dents out of a Shure SM58 or similar grille
(and a further use for the remainder of the tennis ball)

After you’ve sliced your finger and taken a slice off the tennis ball for a mic mount/gasket/seal, the ball can be used for taking the dents out of a Shure SM58 grille
after slicing the tennis ball and your finger SM58 grille fits into a tennis ball
Take the foam insert out of the damaged grille and place the grille in into what’s left of the ball. Use a rounded piece of wooden dowel or cut the rounded end off a wooden broom/mop handle. Put the ball on the work bench and hit the dowel with a hammer over the damaged area. The fur and rubber of the ball absorbs the impact on the bench while inside the ball there’s enough ‘give’ in the rubber to allow the dent to be pushed out. You can ‘whack’ it quite hard

Finally, bandage finger with Gaffa tape.

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Refurbished 1940’s Shure 55 Fatboy
The corpse was amongst a job lot of non-working mics from EBay.
Shure 55 1940s Fatboy Shure 55 1940s Fatboy
for
Philip Cleary
Philip Clearys old pic

a regular to the 82a Sunday Sessions
Now we’re gonna have to do the publicity shots anew :-)
Stripped down, cleaned, polished, new acoustic silks, i.e., ladies stocking. (doubled to stop the ‘pop’). 55SH Upgrade Kit & simplified mount set slightly further back into the body than usual, 6mtr XLR cable. Retained the original connector at the body.

The double silks and deeper placement of the element almost eliminate popping entirely. I’ve also placed a popsicle style pop filter over the element, which definitely eliminates all popping and gives the element more protection from R & R juices. Easy to clean.

Need to push the top end a bit. Coupled with a Triton FetHead, it’s a really nice mic!
Shure 55 1940s Fatboy Shure 55 1940s Fatboy
weight, size, polish, shape, it sounds like it looks & feels … clean, big, fat and mean. I am really surprised at the difference between a newer body with the exact same upgrade element and the fuller richer sound with that element in the larger ‘FatBoy’ body. I’m guessing its the ambience of the inner space, channeling some olde rock and rollers rock and roll spirit thru the olde spittle marks. I’m jealous! Come to think of it the American Cops used ’em too. Cops schmops I’m gonna do one for me!

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BY-PASS THE TRANSFORMER IN AN SM57
Why? Much richer and smoother sound by far! Less gain.
To compensate I used Triton FetHead preamps & a tube simulator plugin
sm57 no transformer
You’ll need:
An electric soldering iron, solder, side cutters, heat gun or hair drier, a long wooden chopstick, small diameter heat shrink, insulating tape, Gaffer Tape, hot glue stick, 2 x 9″ lengths of thin, different coloured, stranded wire

Here’s a description of the process I’ll add photos when I do the next round of mods.

Steps:
First you have to get to the transformer in the main body at the cartridge end.

Unscrew the cartridge (top section) of the mic and cut the wires to the cartridge leaving about an inch (1″) of coloured wire for later ID. Strip the ends of the wires on the capsule ready for joining & re-soldering

Unscrew the cable socket and do the same, leaving about an inch (1″) of coloured wire for later ID. Strip the ends of the wires ready for joining & re-soldering

On a modern SM57 the transformer is hot glued in. On some of the earlier models there’s a spring steel clip.

If the transformer is hot glued, put Gaffer Tape over the inside thread of the body where the cartridge screws in to stop melted hot glue from fouling the thread

Stand the body, cartridge end down, on something disposable and heat around the outside of the body with the heat gun at about the level of the transformer while gently pushing down with the chop stick through the hole in the middle of the body from the plug end. It only needs enough heat to melt the glue!

Now is the time to paint the body a different colour if that’s your choice.
Otherwise there should be some very obvious marking to differentiate it from a normal SM57.
Before painting clean it thoroughly with paint thinners or nail polish remover to get rid of any body fats that might have accumulated thru handling, otherwise the paint might not dry! Sand with fine sand paper. Read the instructions on the paint label!

Strip the ends of the 9″ lengths of coloured wire ready for joining & soldering and insert the wires into the body so there’s the same length coming out of both ends

Wrap the transformer and its wires in insulation tape to make a neat bundle. Heat the body to soften the remaining glue & push the transformer bundle back into the body with the chopstick while the glue is soft, trapping the new wires to the sides of the body. Make sure it is pushed down far enough to accommodate the new wires and cartridge

If necessary, cut off a tiny piece of hot glue stick and melt it around the transformer with the heat gun. Use only enough heat to melt the glue

Remove the Gaffer Tape from the cartridge thread in the body

Slip some heat shrink over the new wires before you join & solder them to the cartridge & socket wires. Slide it along the wire away from where you’ll solder.

The cartridge has a red dot (+). The wire soldered to the red dot (+) goes to pin three (3) on the socket. The other wire (-) goes to pin two (2) on the socket. Pin one (1) on the socket is the mic cable shield.

After joining & soldering, slip the heat shrink up over the joins and shrink with the heat gun.

Write a note about what you’ve done and stuff it into the body before re-assembling.

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About 82A Sunday Sessions

The 82a Sunday Sessions are every Sunday 3:00pm to 7:00pm in a private studio/rehearsal space in Alexandria Sydney Australia The sessions are open to experienced musicians/performers/artists who're interested in collaborating, experimenting, pushing their envelope and critical dialogue in a cross section of performance arts. Music, spoken word, movement etc. The facilities and equipment are provided free to participants. Originality and critical dialogue are encouraged!
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