Professional-use Condenser Microphones

 On March 8th, 2004, Sony/Taiyo Corporation played host to a party at the Beppu Royal Hotel to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the C-38, a Sony Omni and Uni Directional Condenser Microphone.


  Sony/Taiyo Corporation: The late Mr. Masaru Ibuka, who had approved of the management philosophy of “social welfare corporation ‘Taiyo no Ie’ (Home of the Sun)” that supported rehabilitation into society for handicapped people, established Sony/Taiyo Corporation in 1978. Since then, handicapped people now making up about 70% of employees have flourished in each division showing their individualities and

abilities. They have been manufacturing microphones for professional use for more than 10 years.


  In 1955, I developed the CUI, the origin of the C-38, at NHK Technology Laboratory. I asked Sony for commercialization of it, and they released it as the C-37 in 1960. Then they revised it and released the successor model C-38 in 1965. Both products have been manufactured and sold totally over 5,500 sets.


At a party after the ceremony, I made a speech as the first designer of this microphone series. Expressing my gratitude to many related people who had raised the series up to that level, I gave my impression of the tour of the microphone production line just before the party. “I was deeply impressed by the production process where the drawings which I designed sixty years ago for the parts such as a diaphragm, the heart of a microphone, and a back plate, were kept untouched. Frankly, I felt a little desolation.”


The microphone unit is the key part of a microphone in which sound is transferred to electrical signals. Sound from the front and a little modified sound through holes in the back plate are mixed so that the directionality is obtained. Accordingly, I focused my attention mainly on the design of the key part, but I found that some simulations in design process were not working well when it came to actual implementation. So, I took a practical approach by intuition during the course of producing the microphone. In view of that story, I was ready to face that some engineers who had taken over the microphone issue would have analyzed the unknown factor to find the way of improvement by changing my original design drawings.


“Why did you not change the structure of the microphone unit?” The director in charge of manufacture at the factory answered, “I know what you mean and I tried many times to improve it. But, unfortunately, when I changed some part, it caused slight change in other parts, and the total balance of performance got out of shape.” “It is hard to make it unchanged, but it is more difficult to change it. This is what we feel in reality.”  


I did not know what answer to make and thought, “Should I agree that the sound of the current C-38 will be fixed as “the sound of C-38” without being modified?”


*Note by administrator:

The successor model of C-37/C-38 is the C-38B. Many people may have seen this square-shaped silver-colored microphone in TV programs. As a tool such as a “center microphone” for a comic duo, or a stage microphone for a comic story teller, it transmits sound of storytelling vividly just like an active professional player. The C-38B is still used regularly in many studios and on many stages under the nickname of ”Sampachi (Japanese pronunciation of 38)” and is highly trusted mainly in the broadcasting scene.