Modular Moog Synthesizer

Composer Herbert Deutsch approached technologist Bob Moog in 1963 with a simple proposition: build something wildly unique and experimental. Moog combined existing synthesis technology through a modularized design and opted to control the signal via a keyboard. This early synth became the first to crossover from the avant-garde to contemporary music. Wendy Carlos’ recorded her LP “Switched on Bach” entirely on the Moog synthesizer, and her album soon became a smash success.

M160 Ribbon Microphone

One of the longest-running microphones still in production, the beyerdynamic M160 began as a unique offering in the world of ribbon microphones. The M160 features a hypercardioid polar pattern, which means it strongly rejects sounds emanating from behind the microphone and at its sides. For this reason, famed producer-engineer Eddie Kramer recorded Jimi Hendrix’s vocals and amplifier with this beyerdynamic classic, thereby cutting the amount of drum and bass bleed into Jimi’s live signal.

Electret Microphone Patent

In the early 1960’s, James West and Gerhard Sessler developed the foil electret transducer, a technology present in 90 percent of all microphones built today. Electret circuits, derived from the words electrostatic and magnet, permanently charge an electrical insulator in response to an electrostatic field. In essence, this process allows electret microphones to operate with little reliance on external power, and modern electrets are remarkably durable. In fact, most of us carry these microphones everywhere we go via our cell phones.

Anechoic Chamber

Listen to the sound of silence. Leo Beranek, the then Director of Harvard’s Electro-Acoustic Laboratory, developed an echoless room in pursuit of such an oddity. Famed composer John Cage famously described the experience: “In that silent room, I heard two sounds, one high and one low. Afterward, I asked the engineer in charge why, if the room was so silent, I had heard two sounds. He said, “Describe them.” I did. He said, “The high one was your nervous system in operation.