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 Post subject: Putting Western Electric carbon microphone back in service?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 16, 2020 7:20 am 
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Joined: Jul Sat 16, 2016 1:57 am
Posts: 7
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
I just bought a Western Electric 387 double button carbon microphone and would like to use it for my work Zoom meetings. Has anybody successfully refurbished one? Can I get by with just a power supply and transfomer or should I build a preamp as well?


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 Post subject: Re: Putting Western Electric carbon microphone back in servi
PostPosted: Sep Wed 16, 2020 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Jun Wed 08, 2011 2:33 am
Posts: 10809
Location: Ohio 45177
A carbon mic with several volts of bias DC puts out a huge amount of audio voltage compared to any other kind of microphone. Then you need a microphone transformer. I think the catch with a double button is that you need a primary with a center tap. Tap to the case and ends to each element or something? They are noisy and you might end up sounding like an old telephone if you use that as source. How about a shotgun mic out of frame and the antique in view for show? I have a double button carbon mic in a ring and it is for display as I was unable to get it to function correctly. Took it apart and did not spill the carbon granules and tried to polish up the aluminum diaphram to get good contact but at best got some intermittent continuity thru the granules. They are usually around 200 ohms or so.

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 Post subject: Re: Putting Western Electric carbon microphone back in servi
PostPosted: Sep Thu 17, 2020 1:07 am 
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Joined: Sep Mon 16, 2013 2:42 am
Posts: 4172
Location: Tucson, Arizona U.S.A.
You won't need a preamp; you might need an attenuator. Carbon microphones have LARGE output voltages. Some are able to drive a speaker without an amplifier.

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 Post subject: Re: Putting Western Electric carbon microphone back in servi
PostPosted: Sep Thu 17, 2020 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Jul Sat 16, 2016 1:57 am
Posts: 7
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Thanks guys! So far this sounds encouraging.


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