RCF 1612 / Winston DM100

RCF is a well-known Italian manufacturer of quality audio gear, mainly PA equipment. Allsound was RCFs international audio gear brand, and they sold bass and guitar amps and microphones under this name. Winston is a brand of Klemt Echolette which was bought by Dynacord which famously licensed many well-known AKG mics and painted them gold, which, of course, has earned them a place in the highest echelon for all serious vintage microphone enthusiasts.

Why am I telling you this? Because the RCF 1612 has also been marketed as Winston DM 100 and, if you can believe the rumors on the world wide web, under the Allsound brand. This is new to me, because up to now I only knew of Sennheiser and AKG mics getting OEM’d by Dynacord and Echolette – ok, I’ll better stop here. But all nerddom aside, the RCF 1612 / Winston DM 100 is a different beast and a really good microphone. It’s from the 60s, it’s pure space age goodness and looks awesome in any respect, and it’s not even painted gold – it’s pure, luxurious chrome-sparkling (if polished, I guess) metal and weighs a little over 400 grams, really hefty.

Nothing beats singing along to Hammond organ instrumentals alone in your tiled 60s basement with a Winston DM100.

Nothing beats singing along to Hammond organ instrumentals alone in your tiled 60s basement with a Winston DM100.

The Winston DM 100 has an on/off switch which suggests that it was designed for stage applications, the 1612 doesn’t have one. Sometimes you can find the RCF 1612/I version which comes with the kind of fixture that old Shure 55s have and which Electro Voice calls a “stud”. I have no idea how to call this, but I won’t call it a stud. It’s a metal fixture with a screw that can be used to move the microphone on its y axis which also features an on/off switch. A stud, yeah. I know. The microphone also has a small galvanized plastic button in the middle of the grille which seems to get lost quite easily – our specimen doesn’t have it anymore, for example.

To connect it (if you didn’t get the XLR version or a pre-made cable with it), you might have to improvise a bit. Like many Italian microphones, the Winston DM100 has an inverted small tuchel DIN connector, so you’ll need to use the part of a DIN cable that normally plugs into a mixer (maybe the end of another microphone cable you have previously cut off) on the mic side. It also has two different impedances: Between Pin 1 and 2, there’s 200 Ohms, between 1 and 3, there’s “Hi-Z”, without any further information specified.

Anyway, how does it sound? Very smooth, it has a kind of bright and silky ring to it that sounds vintage and contemporary at the same time. The RCF 1612 was designed as a high quality stage and live sound reinforcement mic and has a strong presence boost and a slight low-end rolloff. It sounds very charming for voice work, and it really invites you to SCREAM INTO IT like an Italian football reporter in the 1960s IF A TEAM JUST SCORED A LATE EQUALISEEERRRRRR – it seems to take this screaming well, without getting harsh or overly present. Definitely recommended – the only problem with it seems to be that its price tag has been steadily going up in recent years. I’ve read that somebody recommended it for toms and bass cabinet – might give you a quite funky sound, not too much low end, nice and crispy attack. Never tried it, but that’s what I imagine.

Specs!

  • cardioid
  • Variable impedance: 200 Ohms or “Hi-Z”
  • weight: ~400g!
Style:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Sound:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Uniqueness:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Usefulness:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Trash:Gold ratio – 1:3

5 Comments
  1. Thanks, that was very useful! Just picked up one on ebay, will have to sort out the connection to the female DIN 3PIN (it came without a cable of any sort).

    • Hi Bill! Yeah, those 3 pin DIN plugs are much less common than the 5-pin DINs, sadly. A very crude fix: if you have a spare MIDI cable or an old audio cable with a 5 pin DIN plug somewhere in a drawer, you can simply (well, it’s not that simple, but with a small pair of sharp pliers it shouldn’t be too hard either) snap off pins 4 and 5 and then connect a male XLR on the other end.

  2. Hi, my RCF 1612 arrived this morning… but I wonder if I got a bad one. It sounds strange, with less bass and more hi-mids. Also it has a very low output…
    Compared to a shure SM57 or an EV PL80 it lacks a lot of low-end and output.
    It looks good with no external damages, however it lacks the RCF logo on the top :(

    Do you have some recordings made with this mic so I can get an idea on how it should sound?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Andrea, I’ll have a look and see if I can find some recordings – if I remember correctly, our specimen (in the meantime we’ve acquired another one) had pretty hot output compared to other mics of that age. Lack of low-end might indicate that either you’ve wired the connector for high impedance or the transformer isn’t properly connected.

    • Hi Andrea, in the meantime I have acquired another one of those, branded as Winston, and it also lacks low-end, has a rather pronounced peakiness and fits your description well. I guess some of those mics have not survived the passing of time too well…

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