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Modifications, Adapters and Custom Work

"Seeing your work makes me appreciate the difference between a
'real' mic tech like you and a guy like myself who just enjoys tinkering
with the damn things....kinda like a shade-tree mechanic replacing oil
and spark-plugs vs. the lead technician for a NASCAR or INDY champ!"
.... James T, Winter Springs, FL

I just wanted to mention a very good guy who just came through for me in a big way...he's Greg Heumann of dilema was that I had a Samson wireless unit with the snap-in AX1 (not 1/4"
guitar bug) low impedence transmitter. I contacted Greg and asked him if it would be possible to build me an adapter with both
an impedance matching transformer and a volume control that would allow me to use my high impedence mics with xlr
connectors with the low impedence snap-in Samson AX1 transmitter. He said no problem and in a matter of
days it was in my mailbox. i connected it and it worked beautifully. I couldnt be happier. it also
meant that I didnt need to shell out $169.00 for a transmitter that would allow me to use my bullet mics,
but only useful on one frequency. Since my new transformer is not frequency dependent it has many
more uses as well which to me is an added bonus. Posted by Harpo on HarpTalk, 5-21-08

Optional Colors! Billet Knobs!
Blue, Gold or Red on any volume control or adapter,
for only $10 more. Note that XLR connectors are
available in black or silver; all other connectors are silver.

Go Nuts!

Let's face it. Oversize knobs look dorky. But nice small knobs are very difficult to come by. My standard controls have the best, smallest knob I can find commercially. However I now offer even smaller, better fitting custom knobs I make in my own shop. Choose knurled or smooth. (Smooth knobs taper slightly toward the top.) All custom knobs are $19.

Need your microphone modified? Need a custom control? Need a cable? I can probably do what you want. Here are some examples of work I've done for others:

  • Add a volume control to your mic
  • Replace/upgrade element in your mic
  • Convert from "built-in cable" to your choice of connector
  • Custom volume controls and adapters with different connectors, built-in impedance matching transformers, or non-standard pots
  • Custom length cables

I keep a small number of good elements in stock and can make these available to you, or you can supply your own.


Here's a Spherex 920. A fellow microphone modder ("Mojokane") built in the connector and volume control; he sent the shell to me to make a custom knob for the volume control, and a custom grill to achieve his goal of getting closer to the element. (The mic stand is mine.)

I liked it so much I built another one like it - different grill style. It is available for sale on my Custom Mics page.

A customer of mine has a Bushman Torpedo microphone. This is a bullet-style mic, but it has an XLR jack and is low-impedance, like an Audix Fireball. He wanted a custom control that combined an Impedance Matching Transformer and volume control into a single unit, terminated with a 1/4" female jack.


Speaking of Bushman Torpedos - above is a "before and after" of one I did for a customer who liked the shell design but hated the Lo-Z, vocal element sound. I installed a hot Shure controlled magnetic element. The element is far enough back that the slots in the shell allow input to both the front and back of the element. This mic is more resonsive to cupping technique than any other I've experienced. I also removed the XLR connector and installed a screw-on connector, added a volume control with a custom knob to be as small as possible, and buffed it out to a high gloss. The result was a unique and wonderful mic.
Here's a neat little item for you Fireball (or other low-impedance/XLR mic users.) This adapter has built-in impedance matching transformer and Switchcraft connector. Now you can use the mic just like all your vintage bullets, with the same cable. $64.95
Here's a simple, but very commonly requested modification - replacing a built in cable like this Shure 520D had with a Switchcraft connector. Although this seems like a simple mod, in fact it is not as straightforward as you might think.

The 2501MP connector was designed as a "panel mount" device. It comes with threads and a raised knurled portion on the part you can't see in this picture. The knurled part is for use when the connecter is pressed in to a properly sized hole. But the shape of a mic shell makes it very difficult to support while pressing the part in properly, so most pros turn or grind the knurled part off. However the hole in the mic is usually still too deep to get a nut on the inside, so it must be drilled and tapped with the proper threads. The connector is then threaded in and secured with Loctite.

Then there's the matter of a ground connection. You have to electrically connect the shell to the ground side of the mic element. The 2501MP comes with a solder lug but this won't work if you can't get a nut on inside the shell. In that case you have to drill and tap a small hole somewhere, crimp/solder a lug on the ground wire and anchor it there.

There's no rocket science to this stuff, but the investment in proper tools and some experience are why folks sometimes pay people like me to perform this service for them. I have several thousand dollars invested in my shop tools, including a lathe and milling machine, electronic test equipment, temperature controlled soldering station, arbor press, and many custom jigs for holding/fabricating/assembling.

The pictures below show some "before and after" conversions. Both of these required precision machined threaded inserts to mate the Switchcraft connector to the original socket housing. In addition internal modifications were required to support a grounding connector.

I love a challenge. Half the fun for me is figuring out how to do what you want to do. I have satisfied hundreds of customers. Got an idea? Email me. I'm happy to discuss it. If I can't solve your problem I won't charge you a dime.


Custom Pricing:

My standard volume controls and adapters are available on the Ordering and Pricing page. But those controls are not right for everyone. I build custom controls, cables and adapters to order. Turnaround time is usually about 1 week. Some jobs can't be quoted until I know just what you want and I might even need to see your mic or other gear. It's simple - Contact me and ask - we'll have a dialog over email (or phone if you prefer) until you feel comfortable with me and I know exactly what you want. The table below lists prices for certain "known" jobs.

Custom Volume Controls
XLR High impedance (specify Pin 2 or Pin 3 hot)
Vintage (Switchcraft) - "Extra Hi-Z" (1 Mohm pot)
VC* only, custom connectors
VC + IMT* + custom connectors
There are other possible combinations. Don't see what you need? Email me!
Type 44 (Switchcraft female to 1/4" male) (Order from the Ordering and Pricing page)
Type 332A (Switchcraft male to 1/4" female) (Order from the Ordering and Pricing page)
XLR-->IMT-->Switchcraft or 1/4" (see Fireball-V picture above)
There are other possible combinations. Don't see what you need? Email me!
Mic Mods
Install Switchcraft connector - drill and tap only
Install Switchcraft connector - machining required
Install volume control into a bullet shell
There are other possible combinations. Don't see what you need? Email me!
Custom Cables
My cables are the highest possible quality. I use CBI Ultimate 18ga professional microphone cable for high imedpance work. It is well shielded and very soft/easy to coil. I shrinkwrap both connectors to the cable for extra strain relief; on screw-on connectors I go so far as to glue the shrinkwrap to the cable and connector to prevent the cable from spinning within the connector - which is the usual cause of failure.

All cables are $30 plus $1 per foot (20' cable = $50)

$30 + $1/ft
* VC: Volume Control
IMT: Impedance Matching Transformer

Please contact me before sending a mic for repair or customization. When you're ready, send to:

For U.S. Mail:

Greg Heumann
BlowsMeAway Productions
P.O. Box 341
Geyserville, CA 95441

For FedEx or UPS:

Greg Heumann
BlowsMeAway Productions
1271 Canyon Road
Geyserville, CA 95441

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