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December 31, 2012 / Randy Coppinger

Mic #9 Answer

To be honest, this mic is a bit of a mystery to me. It’s definitely omni, with no proximity effect, which is probably one of the reasons why harmonica players like this microphone for cupped, handeld playing style. It has a peculiar frequency response. Check out the graph-

Shure 430 microphone Frequency Response Graph

After pouring over the literature, I believe this mic is a Shure 430, part of the 400 series of “Commando” mikes, so named for their durability and green finish. The operating principle is described as Controlled Magnetic, which might be moving coil, but I’m not certain.

In addition to harmonica, I like this mic for re-amping, as a room mic, or anytime we want something to sound really different. Plus it looks retro cool, which has nothing to do with the way it sounds, but might inspire a great performance.

Shure 430 commando microphone picture

Follow this WordPress blog, or via Twitter or Facebook to to guess all of the microphones in this series.

The giant list of discontinued Shure microphones is like a walk through time.

Index to the whole Name That Mic series.

One Comment

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  1. Chris Lyons / Jan 7 2013 4:56 am

    I always liked the green and silver color scheme of these models. The 430 could be configured for high or low impedance operation, and had a removable cable. The 415 was high impedance only, and had an attached cable. The 420 was a short-body version of the 430, with a cord included so you could wear it around your neck as a lavalier. The earliest catalog I see these in is 1958.

    FYI, the “controlled magnetic” transducer has a fixed coil and magnet. A metal pin is attached to the center of the diaphragm, and when the diaphragm moves the pin disturbes the magnetic field and induces a current in the voice coil. Controlled magnetic mics usually had a strong midrange (as your graph shows) which was ideal for speech intelligibility — and by coincidence, blues harmonica. Shure made controlled magnetic models into the 1980’s.

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