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The RCA Type BK-10A
Ultradirectional ribbon microphone

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The RCA Type BK-10A Ultradirectional Microphone (MI-11018) is designed to provide quality audio pickup under adverse conditions during television broadcast, radio broadcast, recording and public address. This is accomplished by a highly sensitive second order gradient directional characteristic which may be used to increase the signal to noise ratio of the microphone.

The BK-10A is a ribbon type bigradient uniaxial microphone with a frequency response that is essentially uniform from 80 to 15,000 cycles suiting it for repro­duction of both speech and music. The response pattern and the improved signal to noise ratio simplify microphone and camera placements, and allows for great­er distance between the microphone and the talent than heretofore possible. It is especially effective for TV studio boom use in high noise areas. Other uses indi­cat­ed for the new microphone are: situations where feedback from monitor speak­ers is a problem; and controlling the level of the leading voice in a choral group. The microphone incorporates a filter which effectively reduces the pos­si­bil­ity of damage to the instrument from sharp blasts and other violent noises. The axial directivity combined with a Boom Stand such as the KS-3B, make the micro­phone very easy to handle to keep the sound source “in focus.”

Quoted from RCA Catalog B Sheet 1002, Ultradirectional Microphone, 1960

BK-10A frequency response

BK-10A polar pattern

About this microphone it has been said by a friend that, “I don’t think more than 75 or so were made. That was a Charlie Gant (RCA Hollywood) special. Legend has it that it was developed for NBC for use on Perry Como’s television shows. Apparently Como had such a soft voice that NBC needed an ultra directional, high gain boom microphone. The instrument became affectionately known as the Como Mic.

Another friend remarked, “It’s the Perry Como mic! Perry recorded for RCA and his TV show was on NBC (RCA-owned). When he rehearsed, you could hardly hear him; they couldn’t get good sound checks. He did sing out more in performance, but still not that loud. This mic was made by Camden for him, and few were sold.”

Finally, this: “Interviews with both Les Anderson and Louie Wigington indi­cat­ed that the BK-10 was indeed known as the Perry Como mike. The BK-10 is a Second Order Gradient ribbon which gave it an elongated or Hyper-Cardioid pattern. Since Como had a soft voice, the idea was to get the mike up out of the TV frame without losing the presence of his voice. Not many were made. They cost about $1500 in the early 60s. Best wishes, Jim Webb.”

BK-10A Catalog B Sheet
Download a photocopy of
the Catalog B Sheet
for the BK-10A microphone.

Perry Como
Looks like a BK-5 rather than a BK-10,
but there is no doubt it’s Perry Como.


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