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OT: Crown PZM $1,500 Radio Shack PZM $49.99

Bill and my  band, Rhythmical, once worked with the producer/engineer who 
had done all the studio testing
for the original Crown PZM microphones when they were first invented.

He told me that when they were first released Crown sold them for $1,500 
They were thought of as a niche market and this was in the 80's when there 
still a very, very healthy commercial recording studio industry (which has 
wittled down
to very few studios that make a living these days).

When all the big boys and girls who could afford a specialty mic for a big 
studio like that had bought them,
they ceased selling.

Crown reduced them to $750.......................not many sales.
Crown reduced them to $500.......................same diff.

Next they changed the housing (plastic instead of metal but the identical 
statistics for recording and the
same mic element and licensed them to a company called Sound Grabber, I 
believe it was called.

They sold them for $89 at one point and noone bought them.
They reduced that to $69  (I know because I was watching the process).

Ultimately,  Crown licensed the microphone to Tandy (Radio Shack) and they 
sold them
for $49....................again,  to very little sales.

At one point I saw them as cheap for sale for $39 each (and bought two at 
that point).

This engineer claims they were identical to the original $1,500 Crown PZMs.

He also hipped Bill and I to the fact that you could use two little 6 volt 
batteries that when added
together were the exact size of the one AA 1.5 volt battery that the Radio 
Shack mic took.

We opted (for budget sake) to just rewire the batter pack for a 9 volt 
This radically upped the mics output and increased it's frequency response 
(this all according
to this producer who had worked for Crown).

At one point I made a demo of our band that I was extremely proud of using 
two of these microphones
on either side of a large plexiglass square in my garage.
On one side was the drum set with one SM 57 on the snare going through a 
completely wet signal
digital reverb and the output going through an amplifier.
On the other side were the two guitars and bass amps,  faced up at the PZMs

We would record for 30 seconds..........stop the little four track 
tape deck that we had and listen to the results,
then adjust the volume and/or the eqs or effects of each instrument until 
got a really nice balance of
guitars, to basses to drumset (who bleed from the single SM57 added 
reverberation to the kit).

There was bleed into each mic but we could turn up the drums or the 
guitar/bass tracks with impunity to change the mix.

We then played our whole set back to back (we were really well rehearsed 
the time) and
then went back in and overdubbed vocals on track 3 and overdubbed guitar 
solos on track 4 and mixed.

The result demo tape sounded damn good for how primitively we recorded it.

Damn,    those were good times!   We were broke but making the very best 
with the equipment we had.
If I had know then what kind of a recording studio I'd have in my home 
now, I would have thought I had
died and gone to heaven.

Thanks for getting through this longwinded 
haven't thought about those mics in years.
(I finally sold them at some point when I got broke and was no longer 
them much).

ps  I heard that the mics are still in the Radio Shack inventory but not 
listed in the catalogue (this from an employee at Radio Shack)
You might still be able to contact Radio Shack to buy them.