— a Swedish legend
Microphones have been around for over a hundred years, and there are a handful of manufacturers that live on through the decades. Pearl Mikrofonlaboratorium AB is one of these companies. Founded in Stockholm in 1941 by Rune Rosander, Pearl celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.
"We're proving Rune Rosander right in continuing our proud tradition of using rectangular membranes in our microphones", says Bernt Malmqvist, Pearl's current owner. Mr Rosander developed this idea in the sixties. "Our capsule has been refined and updated over the years, and many customers consider it the best condenser capsule around. It sure is our distinctive feature".
The early years
Sweden wasn't involved in World War II, but there was virtually no import of equipment during these years. Most of the machinery and measurement equipment had to be manufactured domestically, and the crystals used in the microphones during the early years were created via in-house crystallization! Pearl was the sole Swedish microphone manufacturer until 1980, and the domestic market was very important to the company.
During the fifties and sixties, several new technologies appeared. Crystal, dynamic, magnetic and condenser and several types of valve microphones were produced simultaneously. The company policy was to, wherever possible, manufacture all parts from start to finish within the premises. That policy still remains today.
Bernt Malmqvist was hired in 1954 and was promoted to Production Manager after only a few years. Bernt was also involved in R&D at Pearl with Rune Rosander as his mentor. From him, Bernt learnt every aspect of development and production of microphones. In 1987,
Mr. Malmqvist and his family became the proud owners of Pearl.
Some classic Pearl models, still much sought after among audio geeks, are valve microphones 8-CK and C-2. Highly desirable transistor models include TC-4, DC 96 and DC-63. These microphones can be found on the second hand market, but as with all quality brands, their prices are higher now than when these products were new.
Pearl is today supported by a group of private investors who have brought in a new business savvy to the company and a renewed passion for the use of Pearl microphone technology, its heritage and supreme performance in music recording.