This is a modern BM-800 condensing microphone.

We have all seen microphones of all types and sizes used in broadcasts and live events to amplify the human voice or other sounds.
Small microphones are hidden in hearing aids and mobile phones with other small devices designed to be attached to clothing or worn on the head.

All microphones convert sounds into electrical signals that can be amplified. These can be analogue with the sound waves being a transmitted as a continuous signal or digital where the electrical signal is converted into numerical data that can be processed by computers.

A condensing, more properly called a capacitor, microphone works when a thin electrically charged diaphragm, on receiving sounds, changes its distance from a solid backplate and converts the sound waves into an electrical signals. The first such microphone was introduced in 1916.

The model shown is for recording the voice or instruments at home using a computer. Though it is well regarded, it is aimed at beginners. It is a uni-directional condenser so that the user should keep the side bearing the inscription BM-800 facing the sound source. This feature is useful for reducing extraneous noises.

When new the microphone is supplied with a foam cover to use when outdoors to reduce wind noise. In addition to the microphone itself, a cable is required to link it to the computer and a shock resistant stand to hold it securely.
The microphone requires a power source, either through a PC or what is known as ‘phantom power’, which can be easily purchased. Some models work on a battery.

More information:

Date 1910s, 2000s, 2010s
Material(s) MetalCopper
Item number MBPO178

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • What is the common abbreviation for a microphone?
  • When have you used a microphone?
  • What problems have you had with using a microphone?
  • Which performers do not need a microphone?
  • What other ways have there been to make it easier to hear voices?

User Stories

During 2020, when the Covid 19 virus had a major impact on daily life, many people started meeting online through video software. Frequently they had problems getting both the sound and vision to work together.

When you use a radio microphone on stage, you are completely in the hands of the operator of the sound desk, who has to open and close your microphone at the right moment. Failure to do so can be very embarrassing.

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