Beyer M61

Oh boy, the Beyer M61. As if it wasn’t already shrouded in mystery, and that’s not because there’s no information about it on the internet, but because it’s all very strange and conflicting…and then you take this rare and strange microphone of uncertain purpose, buy a box of weird stuff on the internet and you’ll get a version of said mic that is even rarer and nowhere to be found. The somewhat well-documented version of the Beyer M61 has a small tuchel DIN connector, a mesh grille and is coated in some kind of enamel. But then there’s also a steel version. Now, ours is made of steel, but it has the large tuchel connector, and a really crude brutalist wire mesh surrounds its capsule, and there is absolutely no way to open it. Which is a shame, because one website claims that the Beyer M61 has a pure aluminium diaphragm, which to me sounds so fascinating, I’d love to have a look at it. But no dice, the grille on our M61 won’t budge.

Nothing says EBM discothèque in a derelict cement factory like the Beyer M61.

Nothing says EBM discothèque in a derelict cement factory like the Beyer M61.

Some claim it was used for talkback purposes (it is very short), some suppose that it was a field broadcasting mic, others expand its use to stage and recording purposes, so basically it could have been any of those. Others can’t look beyond its size and have tooted their dirty harps into it, which to me seems an utter waste. Some have identified it as the predecessor of the somewhat more well-known Beyerdynamic M610. A guy from Greece with a sizable collection of high-quality dynamics used it as a room mic on his drum recordings. And generally, Beyer M61s seem to populate the eclectic gear lists of high-profile studios – I’ve even spotted it on the gear list of Joe Meeks’s Holloway Road Recording Studio, added in March 1964 as a replacement for a broken AKG D19?

One guy writes he loves it on vocals, and we are totally cool with that, this microphone is really, really nice on vocals, in spite of its very modest top end response of only 12,000 Hz (claimed by all the sources I have found). We have successfully used it on a recording recently, and surprisingly it sat perfectly in a rather modern mix. It’s a very good microphone with a very special ring to it, it won’t fit every purpose, but if you like to add a highly unusual and still very enjoyable acoustic colour to your palette, you know where to look! Just go Beyer self an M61!

  • Frequency response: 70 – 12,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: cardioid
  • Impedance: 200 Ohms

Sounds!

Style:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Sound:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Uniqueness:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Usefulness:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Trash:Gold ratio – 1:4

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