Microphone Man-11

Part 11

Turner Microphones

Welcome back! It’s hard to believe this is number 11 in this series of Microphone Man articles. Mikes have been a passion of mine since I was a youngster growing up in the suburbs of LA back in the 1950s. For some reason these electro-acoustic devices fascinated me from an early age.

Microphones came in so many different shapes and sizes and when we witnessed the coming of TV we saw the newer types displayed in front us on the small screen. We saw how they were used in various types of programs from roving announcers to big musical productions. It was an exciting time as we saw electronics become a part of our lives in powerful ways.

We mentioned, in a previous article, the Turner Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Turner was a small manufacturer that existed from 1931 to 1979. In the world of microphone makers, Turner was a small outfit but they sold a lot of mikes in their day. [1] Turner also supplied mikes for other equipment manufacturers like Collins Radio Company…also of Cedar Rapids.

One of Turner’s most popular microphones from about 1940 through the 1950s was the model 22.[2,3,4] The model 22 was a bullet-shaped unit with a distinctive “fin” on the top. [5] This mike was a relatively inexpensive but solid, quality model designed for PA systems and recording. The model 22 had a swivel mounting and came in brushed chrome with a stainless steel wind screen. Many people who used CB radios, back in the day when CB was all the craze, are familiar with Turner’s CB base station 250 series mikes that also featured the snazzy “Buck Rogers” spaceship-like fin.[6]

The model 22 was omni-directional and came in two versions…the 22X, which had a crystal element for use in high impedance systems…and the 22D which was a dynamic unit. The dynamic model was priced higher than the crystal unit and was available in both high and low impedance versions. The low impedance versions came with a three-pin Amphenol connector to allow for a balanced line connection. [1]

Modesto’s very first radio station, KTRB, was a user of this very Turner model 22. A very early photo taken in the KTRB studio shows a model 22 attached to the control room boom. [7] In many other photos on this website you will see the Turner 22 in use. In later years KTRB used this mike mainly for remote broadcasts like man-on-the-street type interviews and for sports and parades and other outside of the studio programs during the Bill Bates ownership era. [8,9,10,11,12,13]

Long time KTRB announcer, Andy Anderson, explained to me back in the late 50s, when I used to visit the station, that the reason the station used crystal mikes on remotes was that crystal mikes had a “rising characteristic”. This meant that the higher audio frequencies were emphasized…which overcame the losses in high frequencies on the long telephone line lengths when broadcasts originated far from the station’s studios.

KTRB even used a model 22 in the station’s ham shack upstairs. [14] This setup was used to gather weather information from around the west for Bill Bates’ morning show.

The Turner Company had a fascinating history which is told in a story on this website. http://www.ericbraun.com/turner/

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