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All The King’s Mics

In the wake of “The King’s Speech,” this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, comes a plugin based on the actual microphones used during the historic events in the film.

New York (May 19, 2011)—In the wake of The King’s Speech, this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, comes a plugin based on the actual microphones used during the historic events in the film.

The King’s Microphones plugin is a special EQ filter processor that recreates the unique tonal character of these microphones, with three proximity positions for each: Close, which emulates the response from a source located 5 cm from the capsule, creating a warmer tone through proximity; Ambient, which emulates the response from a source located 40 cm from the capsule; and Natural, which emulates the basic response of the microphone, without any proximity effect or artifacts. The King’s Microphones plugin is RTAS, AudioSuite, VST, AU and Waves SoundGrid compatible. Additionally, the King’s Microphones plugin works in Mono or Stereo mode.

In the 1920s and 1930s, EMI built special microphones for the British Royal Family for use at important and significant occasions. From this extremely rare collection, three microphones have been used as the basis for this unique plugin.

Used exclusively by the royal family for speeches on momentous occasions, each of these three priceless microphones dating back to the 1920s was tailored and tuned especially for its specific user: King George V, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Ornately designed and decorated with gold, silver and chrome adornments bearing the royal coats of arms (the official coat of arms of the British monarch), each is a one-of-a-kind with its own sonic character.

H.M. King George V model:
This Carbon microphone was designed by Marconi-Reisz circa 1925. It consists of fine carbon dust held between output electrodes, fronted by a mica diaphragm and encased in a grand marble shell. Carbon microphones are rarely used today. Despite the model’s limited bandwidth and relatively high noise floor, it was one of the best microphones available at the time.

H.M. King George VI and H.M. Queen Elizabeth models:
Both of these microphones were based on the EMI CPM201 model. These moving coil microphones were specially built in 1936, encased in silver by G&S Co Ltd of London. The diaphragm is made of PVC and shaped almost like a loudspeaker cone. It is presumed these microphones were designed for outside broadcast, as they are more robust than the more popular ribbon microphones of the time.

After being discovered deep within the vaults of the EMI Archive Trust by Peter Cobbin, senior recording engineer at Abbey Road Studios, the microphones were then used by him to record music and dialogue for The King’s Speech at Abbey Road Studios. After the film was finished, he was tempted to try the microphones on other sources. Drums, guitars, vocals and synths were then played and “processed” through the microphones at different proximities. Cobbin’s curiosity was rewarded with unique “filter”-type effects, inspiring the eventual collaboration with Waves.

Cobbin added, “It was exciting to know we had the very microphone used by King George VI, the central character of this film, and I thought how appropriate and inspiring it would be to have the microphones present at our recording sessions. The royal microphones are works of highly-skilled craftsmanship.”

Waves Ltd.