Astatic Corporation: A Vintage Mic Legend
Unearthing the Legacy of Astatic Microphones
The world of audio technology is like a grand symphony, with each note played by the equipment that has graced our studios and stages over the years. In this enchanting orchestra, the Astatic Corporation holds a unique and cherished position, with its vintage microphones harmonizing with history. So, let's embark on a melodic journey through time and explore the fascinating tale of Astatic, from its humble beginnings to its enduring legacy.
Astatic's Genesis: Crystal Clear Beginnings
The Astatic Corporation, a commercial audio products manufacturer, had its genesis in the heart of Youngstown, Ohio, in the year 1933. It was a time when two amateur radio operators, Creed M. Chorpening and F.H. Woodworth, embarked on a quest to elevate the world of microphones for their "ham" stations. Their voyage of discovery was intertwined with the innovative spirit of their mutual friend, Charles Semple, who worked at the Brush Development Company.
Charles Semple's experiments with Rochelle salt crystals led to a breakthrough. He showcased crystal pick-ups that caught the attention of Chorpening and Woodworth, leading to the birth of The Astatic Microphone Laboratory, Inc. The company's maiden creation, the model D-104 Crystal Microphone, marked the beginning of a sonic revolution. Astatic was set on a path to becoming an iconic name in the world of audio technology.
Astatic's World War II Odyssey
As the world plunged into the chaos of World War II, Astatic shifted its operations to Conneaut, Ohio. The company's contribution to the war effort was nothing short of remarkable. Astatic supplied microphones, pickups, crystal cartridges, hydrophones, and sonar devices to the military. These essential contributions underscored the company's dedication to advancing audio technology even during challenging times.
JT-30: The Harmonica Hero
Astatic didn't limit itself to just one masterpiece. In the late 1930s, the company introduced the iconic Astatic model JT-30, a bullet-style microphone that would become legendary among harmonica players. The JT-30 was not a singular creation; it had a vibrant family tree with variations like the JT-30-C, W-30, JT-31, JT-40, JT-50, and Model A.
The microphone's popularity among blues harp players soared. It became an instrument of choice for legends like Little Walter, James Cotton, and Big Walter Horton. The JT-30's ability to distort sound when run through a Tube Amplifier made it a true blues companion.
Astatic's commitment to quality endured through the years, as evidenced by their decision to put Shure Controlled Magnetic Transducers into the microphones after the original elements failed. This dedication to innovation and quality became a hallmark of Astatic's brand.
D-104: High-Frequency Marvel
Introduced in 1933, the Astatic model D-104 earned its reputation for delivering high-frequency response, elevating communication audio quality. The early D-104 microphones boasted a sturdy 1-inch thick case, prominent ID tags, and holes for "ring & spring" mounts. In April 1937, the design underwent modifications, with smaller tags and reduced thickness.
A remarkable milestone in D-104's history was the introduction of the "G" Stand, featuring a black "grip" switch stand with a metal ID tag. In the 1960s, a solid-state amplifier was incorporated into this stand, further enhancing audio performance.
The bicentennial year of 1976 witnessed the release of a remarkable US Bicentennial model D-104, featuring an 18k gold-plated finish and an eagle and shield design on the back plate. Astatic's commitment to innovation continued, and this was evident in the Golden Eagle and the Silver Eagle, two variations of the microphone. The Silver Eagle, in particular, remained a popular choice for CB radio hobbyists and vintage amateur radio enthusiasts.
Astatic's Timeless Legacy
Astatic Corporation has left an indelible mark on the world of audio technology. Its microphones have resonated with musicians, radio operators, and audio enthusiasts alike. The legacy of Astatic lives on, echoing through the annals of audio history.
In conclusion, Astatic Corporation is not just a manufacturer of microphones; it's a storyteller, a pioneer, and a guardian of sound. As we celebrate its vintage microphones, we honor the spirit of innovation that has enriched our auditory experiences for generations.
Next time you pick up a vintage mic, remember that you're holding a piece of Astatic's illustrious history, a history that continues to inspire and enchant.
Thank you for joining us on this sonic journey through the history of Astatic Corporation and its legendary microphones. As we close the curtain on this article, remember the magic of vintage mics and the enduring legacy of Astatic. For more fascinating insights into the world of audio technology, stay tuned.