For those interested in starting a vintage microphone collection, I have a few tips for you. Most of my microphones were bought on Ebay, but a few others were found on some other sites. I have to say that if you’re on a limited budget, Ebay is the way to go. You might find exactly what you want on some other sites, but you’ll pay a price for it. If you’re not in a rush, keep on the lookout on Ebay. Not only that, but you’re much safer there. But still, don’t go for the first auction you find of the model you want. Do a wide search of the model or of “vintage microphone”. For the first timers, it would be good for you to spend a week or two just searching for mics and evaluating the prices. I’ve seen a Turner 33x being sold for around $1,000 as if it were the last one on Earth, when usually you can get one for $100 or less. It may take some time, but always try to buy one that is in good shape cosmetically. Don’t risk buying from sellers that have blurred photos on their auction. If the seller only has a photo from a certain angle, don’t be shy on asking for photos of other angles and the interior of the microphone. And never buy from sellers with few or bad feedback. Another thing is to look for mics that work. A lot of sellers will sell microphones AS IS or UNTESTED. Take a look at the other things they are selling. If it looks like they came across one vintage mic to sell, but it’s really not within their field of expertise, it’s probably true. But if the seller sells a lot of vintage microphones and music gear, and he states in other auctions that a certain mic is working, then AS IS or UNTESTED probably means that it’s not working.
A trick that some scam artists will try are to sell something outside of Ebay. Don’t go for that. Only buy microphones from other sites, not from other people. One site I recommend is Blues Mics. They are honest and fast shippers. But I must admit that there has been a considerable increase in prices, ever since I bought from them. I’ve also bought from Otoban Music. They’re located in Canada, and sell mostly musical instruments. Otoban Music is run by Philippe Chaput, who was extremely helpful during the many e-mails we exchanged until I bought a Rauland mic from him. I had done some research previous to contacting OM to see if there were any feedback from this online business. Some people had good things to say, others complained about the packaging. But that was easily resolved when I paid about $15 more for shipping and asked him to double box my mic. Considering it’s an old microphone made mainly of Bakelite and it arrived in perfect condition, I think he did a great job. Other sites that I know of, but have never bought from, are Cool Microphones and Ekkehart Willms Antiques. This last one has a fantastic collection of vintage microphones for sale, but they come at a very steep price.
In years of searching for vintage microphones and constant lookouts on Ebay, I accumulated a good sense of what microphones are hard to find. The DS rarity scale I introduced in the blog, is a personal evaluation of what I have seen throughout the years researching online sales. They may even be more scarce if you consider the cosmetic condition of the mic, and if they work or not. I hope it helps.