Friday, August 13, 2010

Electro-Voice and the Cardax

Over time, many of the vintage microphones have become famous and recognizable because they were photographed with well known artists. Some of them have even been informally renamed for the sake of being easily identified, like the Elvis mic, the Billie Holiday mic, etc. Others may not have had a famous patron, but they still got names to associate them with: Hammer, Birdcage, Pill mic, Roman Helmet, Spring mic, etc.

On that note, I want to introduce to you practically the only manufacturer who actually gave names to certain models they produced: Electro-Voice. EV was born in 1930, when Lou Burroughs and Al Kahn decided to abandon the servicing of radio receivers and decided to transfer their focus to audio products. At the time, microphones were an expensive commodity, and the quality of the ones available wasn’t that good. They started out making one per week, and before the decade was over, the company had grown from a two man business to a company with over 20 employees. To this day, Electro-Voice supplies audio equipment to groups and big events, like the Soccer World Cup in South Africa, and has endorsers such as Al Green, Devo, George Clinton, and Snoop Dogg.

The microphone you see at the top is the Electro-Voice 950, better known as the Cardax model. The very first time I looked at it, it reminded me of the Shure 55S, but with a more oval shape. I guess that when Nady decided to manufacture a mic with a retro look (as mentioned in an earlier post), it went for a shape that was probably a cross between the Shure 55S and the EV Cardax. At the time, the Cardax was made in Buchanan, Michigan.

It’s not a mic you see often in the movies or music videos. The only movie I saw that featured a Cardax was La Vie en Rose. In technical terms, it’s labeled as a crystal cardioid. And although some microphones from the 40’s-50’s had high/medium/low switches, this one offers a bass variation, which is quite unusual.

Scene from La Vie en Rose
The DS rarity scale: 7.5/10


  1. So, I have all these mics at home and NEVER did you bother telling me a story about them or even tell me their names. I lonly know the Shure. Ok. Finally, you are starting to get me interested in all this extra luggage I've been bringing back for you in MY suitcases. LOL I guess I will have to read your blog from now on to know the story behind the mics. Love the pics.

  2. See, so it's not just a microphone collection after all! I hope you continue enjoying the blog.

  3. I just got a Cardax today, my mom was at a city wide garage sale, someone who knew me gave her the mic along with a couple other old "tape recorder" type ones. I don't know if it works, I don't care....I had a funny feeling when my mom told me about some "old mics" maybe I'd see something like this!

  4. Great buy! I don't know in what shape your mic is in, but it's usually pretty hard to find one in good shape aesthetically. Pitting is so common in vintage mics, when you find one that has a smooth surface, with all its parts, you know you have something rare.

    All you need now is a vintage base!

  5. I just stumbled on one of these mics in an old wood box in my church closet. I brought it home to see if I could test it out, but need the old style cable. It is quite smooth, only tiny pits.

  6. Great find! I hope it works! You can find these cables on Ebay for about $30.

  7. I have a cardax 950 with the bass turn out screw. Very little scratches and the ones that are there are superficial.

  8. I have a friend who is want to sell me a South Bend Cardax model 950
    And im just wondering what type of cable I need and where I could maybe purchase a cable from as well? Also how much do you think that model would cost? Just so I don't screw myself out of my own money!? Thanks.

    1. You would need a vintage Amphenol/Switchcraft cable. You can easily find this cable on Ebay. Search "vintage amphenol switchcraft cable". Another option would be to buy just the connector and make the cable yourself. It's pretty easy. Or an Amphenol/P10 adapter. There are a lot of these parts floating around Ebay. Just make sure you buy the right size. There are smaller versions of this type of connector. Here are some listings you might find interesting: