We’re often called upon here at Man Made to craft iconic and ownable sounds for Brands and Networks. To that end, I was looking to add a tool to our arsenal that would help us record unique sounds at the source, and with a little research I stumbled upon the Placid Audio Copperphone. We purchased and added it to our mic locker about 9 months ago, and soon after it found its way into numerous recordings where it’s shown itself to be a very valuable asset.
The Placid Audio Copperphone is a dynamic microphone housed in a beautiful copper exterior, and is built with vintage telecommunications components. Besides its beautiful appearance, the shape of the microphone causes a mechanical filtering effect and a resonant chamber, so what you end up with is a limited bandwidth sound not dissimilar to AM radio or telephone filtering. This has proven useful in a variety of situations:
We recently completed a sonic branding package for a fast-casual Mexican restaurant, and part of the creative inspiration were the works of Ennio Morricone (known for his sweeping western scores), as well as the type of soundtrack you would hear in a Quentin Tarantino film. The copper phone was perfect for this. On its own it shined for a distinct whistle melody, as well as a final strummed guitar chord (adding an instant “vintage” quality), and also worked terrifically when blended with other microphones. We tracked an accordion with a spaced pair of Neumann KM184’s and the copper phone acting as a “mid” mic. It filled out the midrange wonderfully, and the added grittiness was perfect for the tone of the track.
The microphone can handle exceptionally high sound pressure levels (SPL), so I’ve also had great success using it as a kit mic directly in front of a drum kit, hitting it hard with a Universal Audio 6176, blending that with other microphones for a “sampled” sounding 90s breakbeat. It’s also worked well in conjunction with a Royer 122 Ribbon mic on a Bari Sax for some vintage tone that still cut through the mix.
I’ve never had the opportunity to use it live, but it has excellent feedback rejection, and could be a great tool to switch between verse and chorus tones, or just for that extra bit of nuance on a particular word or phrase. It has been used by the Black Keys, Norah Jones, and apparently as crowd mics for Rush live tours.
So If you’re in the market for instant vibe, I recommend you pick up a Placid Audio Copperphone.