Beyer M80

The Beyer M80 is the not-so-shiny cardioid version of the Beyer M55 – less chrome, more directionality. It’s also a little less common than its omni sibling, yet still cheap enough to warrant a trigger-finger buy most of the time. It looks basically the same, only that its tip is coated in greyish black and has four vents in the sides which make it cardioid.

If you get one in mint condition in its original box, chances are there’s a plastic table stand with a rather flimsy clip enclosed. Sadly, this said flimsy mic holder is your best option for using the Beyer M80. It is shaped like a smaller version of the Sennheiser MD421 (which might be why some savants claim that it sounds like a small version of the MD421, which is utterly and completely wrong), and this conical shape makes it slide out of most normal mic clamps, even the spring action clip thingies.

Depending on its age (from old to new I think), it has “Eugen Beyer”, “Beyer”  or “Beyerdynamic” written on its grille.

Like the M55, it also features two different impedances which can be selected by choosing a different wiring inside the connector, which means that there’s an impedance transformer built into the little metal housing of the mic. The good thing about it is, even though it has a high-impedance option and can be connected to tube amps (for use as a harp mic, for example, the Beyer M55s are very popular for that purpose), it’s still prepared for a low-z balanced connection – the mic cable contains quite a lot of individual leads.

Here’s how to adapt the mic to XLR or TS jack:

If you want a balanced connection, you’ll need to hook up the wires coming from the capsule. They are transparent (-) and yellow (+), so that’s the low-z connection. For hi-z you need the blue cable on (+), that’s where the transformer’s output comes from. GND is of course the same for both.

The Beyer M80 is the thinking man's tool of choice for screaming scratch vocals through a bass guitar amp.

The Beyer M80 is the thinking man’s tool of choice for screaming scratch vocals through a bass guitar amp.

In case you want to open it, it has two little pins on its left and right side which need to be hammered into the housing, much like with a Grundig GDM-121.

A stereo pair version in a satin-lined case existed, called the Beyerdynamic M808. The M80 was also sold by Quelle as a generic “Dynamisches Nierenmikrofon” (dynamic cardioid microphone) with an inverted colour scheme – chrome on the front grille, black on the body. In the USA, the Mic was called Beyer M80A, the stereo pair was sold as the M808A. If you ask me, the A stands for America. Yup.

So, long talk, but not a single slice of beef yet: The sound? Quite creamy and pleasant, yet very “vintage radio” in some way. It sounds like it has far less top-end than the specs suggest. With the connector adapted for hi-z it is quite a competent blues harp mic, even though its omni brother M55 does a better job still (you don’t need a cardioid mic if you cup it in your hands and make an omni out of it anyway). People like it on toms and on guitar amp, and why shouldn’t they?

Specs!

  • 50 – 16,000Hz
  • 200 Ohms and 80 kOhms (M80 HN) or 200 Ohms and 65 kOhms (M80 HL)
  • Price 1965: 90 DM. That wasn’t too cheap back then
Style:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Sound:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Uniqueness:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Usefulness:3 Stars (3 / 5)

Trash:Gold ratio – 1:1

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