Yeah, Ringo Starr had one as a mono overhead or on snare or toms or maybe he even sang “Octopus’ Garden” into it at a private live gig in an abandoned temple on a Greek island that was recorded on 8mm film by a former girlfriend of Magic Alex and is only known to the most enthusiastic Beatle tragics on the globe, that’s ok, fine! The AKG D19 is a very good microphone, true. I don’t want to discuss whether it is overrated, overpriced, overhyped, overdiscussed, over-researched, over the rainbow or over-anything, but judging from our experience, an AKG D19, Telefunken D19 or any of its siblings in the year 2016 is mainly one thing: broken. Which warrants a place of honour here among the unearthed crypts of the living dead on trashblitz.com!

First things first, a humble attempt at mentioning all the possible D 19 OEM versions, in alphabetic order for you to enjoy. Everybody knows what they look like anyway, so there’s no point in keeping this information secret – a microphone looking remotely like an AKG D19 will be bought at ridiculous prices at any point in time anywhere in the Western world. Alright, so here it is, without all the B, C, E and Bk/Hi and stuff:

  • AEG D 19
  • AKG D 19
  • AKG D119 (later version of the same microphone)
  • AKG D 24 (same capsule)
  • Norelco D19
  • Norelco D119
  • Philips EV 7014/21/NO
  • Philips EV 7014/22 (“pistol” stud version)
  • Philips EV7024/00 (same as the D 119)
  • Philips NG1219
  • ReVox D19
  • Siemens D19/69
  • Telefunken D19
  • Uher Breitbandmikrofon 619
  • Uher M 532
  • Uher UD 19

Quite the list, isn’t it? The D19 was once incredibly common, used by tape amateurs, reporters and professional recording studios alike. Along with the Sennheiser classics, it was basically a staple tool in Western European broadcasting, which is why the Beatles picked it up, I guess.

If you manage to get hold of a working and good sounding specimen, this is a very versatile, detailed and bright sounding dynamic with a warm and subtle tone. Gorgeous, really. But that IF should be spelled in capital letters. No, actually it should be underlined, bold and italic: IF you manage to get hold of a working and good sounding specimen…

The D19 is notorious for having aged rather badly, especially the B versions of the capsule, which might be something about the materials used for magnet and diaphragm, though I have no idea about these technical details. Some of the Telefunken D19s we’ve found on flea markets sounded really dull, some rather thin. Sometimes they had very low output, so we bypassed the transformer and nothing changed. The first good AKG D19 we caught sounded nothing like the others, every single mic seemed to be in a different state of life or decay.

The D19 has been repeatedly used by Sir Paul McCartney to publicly announce that he is alive.

The D19 has been repeatedly used by Sir Paul McCartney to publicly announce that he is alive.

Often cables were ripped out, resonators were broken, the grille had signs of brutal abuse but appeared unopened (#1 trashblitz life hack: more often than not, the screws on the grille / headbasket of old mics go IN, not OUT), so maybe the damage also comes from a classic conflict of interest in terms of design and use: People used it outdoors for sound hunting, for rough broadcasting applications, but it is a delicate and fickle mic to begin with. Open any of the D19s up, no matter if it’s one with fixed cable for “home use” or with 3-Pin DIN connector, and you’ll know:

Screw in the tiny screws to get off the grille and wonder where they went (probably stuck to the magnet or the diaphragm right away), then you’ll be in constant terror about ripping off the fragile leads to the capsule, afterwards you’ll be puzzled how to get the bass rolloff back in (a brass plate with fiddly brass rings around it, fixed with a tiny screw which requires not only watchmakers’ tools, but also watchmakers patience to get back in) and then be puzzled some more about how on earth you’ll get the grille back on. This is madness. This is the tainted holy grail of dynamic mics.

Style: (5.0 / 5)
Sound: (5.0 / 5)
Uniqueness: (5.0 / 5)
Usefulness: (0.0 / 5)

Trash:Gold ratio – 666:666