Japanese RCA Microphone Copies

The RCA model 77 series of microphones were so popular that their distinctive form was widely copied, particularly in Japan.

They produced a vast number of microphones which echoed the capsule-like shape of the 77, and the yoke-style mounting arrangement at a fraction of the cost of a real 77.  Not all were sleazy knockoffs, however, as evidenced by the Toshiba broadcast velocity microphone.

Crown MC-80 Crystal Microphone Kent Dynamic Microphone
The microphone on the left is the Crown MC-80.  Though an inexpensive crystal microphone, it was well made, very attractive, and is quite popular among collectors today.  The metal parts are chrome plated, and the black areas are Bakelite.  The badges are chrome plated castings, with enameled background areas, giving a cloisonné effect.  The perforated shell is lined with white silk fabric.  The same basic microphone (with minor variations) was sold under dozens of names and model numbers, including Argonne (sold by Lafayette Radio for $4.95 in 1962), Calrad, the Crown shown here, and many others.  The body is about 6 inches long, and it is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, about 2/3 the size of the RCA 77.

The microphone on the right is the Kent model DM-17.  This is a dynamic microphone, a more substantial and less flashy unit than the Crown.  It is smaller, just under 5 inches in length, and it is about 1 1/2 inch in diameter, though it weighs about the same as the Crown.  The cast aluminum body is painted in RCA umber, and the the yoke is satin chrome.  The grill is perforated sheet metal, painted silver.  This microphone was also sold as the Alrad DM-17, and as an Argonne (sold by Lafayette Radio for $11.95 in 1962).

Crown MC-80 Microphone with Box