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My love for microphones is great: from the smallest plastic tape recorder mics to the luxurious studio models, I think they are all beautiful.

But the stylish design of Turner microphones remains exceptional even in my eyes, because their design quality is really 'Out Of This World'.

Even among all those beautiful models, the 98 is remarkable: no other type is comparable to it.

This dynamic directional microphone, made between the late 1950s and the mid 1960s, was intended for PA and Broadcast. Its size was quite small: 162 x 45 x 25mm, it was available in light gray baked-on enamel, a unique color for a microphone, or satin chrome finish.

Turner also advertised it as very suitable for use in churches, a market the company was familiar with because it was known for its embalming machines; death and religion are always closely related. The nickname of the microphone, 'Tombstone' undoubtedly finds its origin here, although the shape also resembles a cross.

Why the 98 was also specifically intended for night clubs (see ad) remains mysterious.

The great anonymous designer at Turner fooled me with this freakish design. I thought it was an Omni directional type, but the little crook turned out to be a directional microphone instead.

Usually the difference is easy to see: dynamic omnis have a grill at the front (top), while directional types have a top that is perforated on the sides, which is necessary to make the incoming sound reach the rear of the element *).

I discovered the trick of this 98 design when I opened it. On the outside you can see the grill running along the side of the housing, the element on the inside is slightly raised, so that the sound can also reach the rear of the membrane.

This model was later succeeded by the Turner 500, with a more usual design. This was widely used by both Rock groups and the Catholic Church. There was even a special version with a cross on the grill.

A photo on the right shows that the 98 was also used for instrument amplification, possibly its robustness was the reason that it was used for this. It was more often to be seen on the pulpit of many Amarican churches.

*) This allows a directional recording pattern to be created, but any directional microphone can be changed to an Omni again by sealing the side holes.

Many more types feature in my unique book Witnesses Of Words about vintage microphones. More information about that can be found at

wow cover

Turner 98

Turner 98 opened

Dylan at Greenwood 1963

98 in catalog

Top: the incomparable Turner 98

Middle: the 98 opened, Bob Dylan with 98 for guitar, at Greenwood 1963 & ad

Below: 98 Instruction sheet, detailed view of the diaphragm & the 98 sound

Turner 98 instruction sheet

Turner 98 detail

Listen to the 98's sound