Hi guys, nastyolddog made this really nice and easy to follow YouTube tutorial on how to make a nice little mic out of an old telephone handset. He asked me to post it up over here, so that's what I'm doing. This should be very doable for anyone!
Hey Oisin: Yes you can use the original element from the phone. It'll be a carbon element, so it will sound, well, like a telephone. That is not necessarily a bad thing though, just don't expect to get any clean tones from it. You can easily put any element you want in there. The key thing will be custom-making some sort of gasket for a different element. In my experience, the main thing that makes a mike sound good is getting an airtight seal around the element. Even if you spend big bucks on a nice hot ceramic element, it just won't sound that good if you don't gasket it in there right.
That is one of the Top-10 all-time YouTube harp videos, hands down. Incredible production values, great concept, superbly evocative soundtrack, flawless execution......
EXCEPT: What does it sound like? And what gorgeous heartbreak of a devil-woman could possibly have driven a man of mechanical genius to take the medium of heart-to-heart communication and transform it into the locus of heart-spewing harmonica blues? I mean clearly there's a good story here. Who was she? Pictures, please. I imagine her in a long clingy dress, red shoes, and some other man's arms.
And, to put it mildly, she's no longer taking the harmonica player's calls.
The revenge is the mod, of course. But how does it sound?
We need the woman and the sound.
Last Edited by on Jul 29, 2009 7:19 PM
Thanks Isaac...I'm gonna give this a go and I'll let you know how it sounds.
Adam...you've got a romantic diposition but the cynic in me thinks this guy got fed up getting cold calls from banks/insurance companies and all those good people with nothing other to do than ring us up and try and sell us stuff. (BTW...best way to deal with these people is let them give they're opening speil, then say "can you hold on a moment" and leave the phone down and then go about your business. Check it about 30mins later and you'll always get a dead tone and they'll never ring you back. Works everytime.)
Thinking about this phone again...it just occurred to me that it probably was busted because of a woman. I think the speaker for listening was busted and the mic was fine because...well the woman must have worn out that speaker and that poor man never got a chance to use the mic much.
Hey all, NastyOldDog want's me to let ya'll know that he'll answer all yer questions if you post them under the vid over on YouTube... He put A LOT of effort into this thing, and he is very willing to answer all questions....
Here's his answer to the ones posed so far (verbatim):
"Hi Isaac mate i see you have posted the clip good onya mate,I'm only to pleased to answer all Questions in Detail about this topic on my Youtube page,,,,,,,, the Element in the Ph mic is a vintage Shure CM 1960 low Z for 2 reasons keep the cost down,,and for the Normal Joe Blow Bedroom Jammer there is no need for a Hi-z mic these 116 ohm elements are very loud you can push your little a class 5 watt harder and still get booked for noise violations and sounds better than a 520DX tone is side by side to any vintage white back Hi-z element this is a project mic i'm very busy doing a Parlor CB Guitar for my Bro he is the guy playing Dobro on our clip you gotta move so it's a side project sort of when i give my self some time,the original Carbon element is fine to use and sounds better than most Bro's would think you have to push it harder pump up the volume but sounds great and will do just fine for as long as you are happy with it,, i was going to put the carbon element in but half way through the clip i decided hay this for me I'll put the Shure element in for a while to have some fun i will demo the mic but have to put the carbon element in another mic to demo it allso but it's not on my must do list at the moment you can post any of your clips to this clip ie showing Bro's how to fit a volume pot any help to get the Brothers started is most welcome so thanks Bro direct all questions to my clip Good Onya Mate"
"i forgot to mention that i used the normal green bullit gaskit"
I have thought about trying one of those carbon elements myself. Problem is, I don't think they make current on their own, they just change resistance in response to the vibrations. I think if you powered them with a circuit designed for an electret mic then it would work. This is all speculation, as I could find little info on carbon mics on the net.
I used a mic like that 4 or so years ago and liked it a lot. I made it as my first mic. The talking element in the phone will not work, so you need to get your own element. I used cheapo 500 ohm elements from salvaged mics and they sounded pretty good. Being low impedence they were limited. I did use some crystal elements, but have never been a big fan of the tone from crystal. To each his own. I did add a volume control to the mic and also used a Shure CM element. After I began to use either an RCA bullet setup, and now a turner stick mic, I left the phone mic at home. Most of the ones I did build are no longer around . I will say that I always got coments on the mic. It is a good way to get started on mic building and modifying.
Hi all MBH members from downunder.Persons i should thank strait up are.Issaculla.Zin.Tryharp.& Kudzurunner for his fine comment on my clip,who was that lady Bro or if you are a Lady who was that Guy.well telling the truth it's more of a cheapo way to make a fine Blues Harp microphone,and a sort of dedication to the Telephone which has played a Big part Breaking hearts or makeing up over the Phone in songs of every style of music known to man & woman.and being an inventive person like my Bro Issac i just had a i idea in my head that had to be released
Hi scrybe314 thats great any problems get back to me via my Youtube page nastyolddog.I just helped a Bro in Canada put 1 together via email,his comment after building it was most pleaseing telling me i saved him quite a few bucks by not buying a 520DX he says he can now get his Silvertone amp realy cranking now,don't forget to post you mic to this vid clip show the world no need to play it Bro just display it if you wish,Good Onya Mate..Ps Sirsucksalot thanks for your comment Bro yeh i do a lot of thinking then i just got to get it out of my head & do it give it a go mate have some fun
Yeh Bro we are here to help ask all questions if you get stuck,i just helped a Youtube Brother put one together via my Youtube email,,ask issaculla questions allso I'm sure he will be Pleased to help you out we can get ya project Kicking Bro,
@NastyOldDog - must be something about Aussies and phones. I've got access to an almost unlimited supply of 'tired' handsets. Most are not all that old, and they have all sorts of different elements in them. I mostly use the ear piece (speaker) elements as mics. The best shape I've found for shell is a roll-on deodourant. Pop out the ball and a lot of the elements press fit in the hole. Put a 10K pot and a 1/4" jack in the bottom, push in the element and drill a bunch of holes in the cap. Instant Lo Z mic!
Yo Mkl-oz thats one hell of a stash,,Do the Harmonica world a big Fav put a clip together of your mic like this one give them a look can't do no Harm,,you can follow the same formate it's cool by me,,Yes after some cofusion via Youtube comments it is the earpeice that is used for the Microphone,,i was going to fit a volume control with a female 1/4 inch deep panel jack make it look much like the Astatic Biscuit microphone,, but i stopped and thought KISS and aimed my clip directly at the Novice Microphone builder,,thanks for your reply..
Hey Nasty...I asked you this via Isaac before but now I can talk to the organ-grinder!
I have just taken apart an old phone at work and here's what I've got. A little mic element of about 1/2" diameter which is then attached to a a bigger speaker by two wires. The speaker actually looks very like an element...couls I use it as a mic? The little mis element looks too small to be any good.
Hi Oisin Bro,since i made this vid i have had many emails informing me what elements where in the hand sets,so i did me some google reaserch to find out what elements they are,the Modern phones of today have a electret element in the mouth peice this could be the small one you mention,the ear Piece has a Pezio electric element,im not sure what you have mate but the elements in the the short Demo vid is from the ear peace section,mate give the big speaker one a go it may work,I'm not sure if many Bro's know this but you can revers wire a Audio speaker to act as a microphone element,iv'e tryed this with a small 2" inch radio speaker and large 6 inch speaker and it works so if it looks like a speaker Bro theres a good Chance it will work..if you need a dynamic element to slip in the phone that will work very well try mouser part #-25LMO32 Price $7 USA i could tell you what ebay Microphone uses this element but not in an open forum,contact me via my Youtube email
Hi Nasty...I connented the speaker up to a 1/4" jack and plugged it in and it works great! Thanks for that. I also connected up the little mic and it works also but doesn't sound as good. I'll try and make a nice little shell for it like Isaac's now if my kids and missus would just give me 5 minutes peace!