The RE50- A Broadcaster’s Swiss-Army Mic

I first encountered these mics at my first television station, WCBD, over 20 years ago. Electro-Voice RE50s were in some of the reporter’s kits but not everyone had them. Whenever we’d encounter a problem mic, the first thing we’d do is try a ’50. This often corrected problems.

RE50s are dynamic mics, so they don’t require phantom power. Their output is a little on the low side, but even so, they are usually fairly quiet. They’re omnidirectional, so they don’t suffer from proximity effect. This makes them excellent for interviews, but less great for live sound as they’re more prone to feedback.

The best feature, though,  is the isolation. They are built almost as a “mic within a mic.” The microphone diaphram, electronics, and transformer are housed in a closed cast aluminum chassis. This chassis is suspended by foam inside the mic body itself. The result is the mic is very well insulated from handling noise, and especially wind gusts. I’ve actually used these in live weather reports during a hurricane.

My current collection of ElectroVoice RE50s. More than I need, probably, but I like having them in my kit.

Whenever I see these on eBay for cheap, I snap them up. I currently have four in my inventory, two RE50s and two RE50B. One of these I bought for ten bucks as a parts mic. When I got it, I opened it up to find the foam surround completely gone. I cleaned out all the old adhesive and foam crumbs, made a new surround with a thin strip of foam around the base, added a circular bit inside the mic basket, and now it works. I’m trying to locate a source of OEM foam surrounds for these, but no luck so far.

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