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'mike' or 'mic'?

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Leeder 12 Sep 02 - 12:54 PM
Clinton Hammond 12 Sep 02 - 12:55 PM
bradfordian 12 Sep 02 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,Mad4Mud at work 12 Sep 02 - 01:08 PM
C-flat 12 Sep 02 - 01:09 PM
Rick Fielding 12 Sep 02 - 01:21 PM
HuwG 12 Sep 02 - 02:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Sep 02 - 02:30 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Sep 02 - 02:33 PM
wysiwyg 12 Sep 02 - 02:34 PM
HuwG 12 Sep 02 - 02:49 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 12 Sep 02 - 03:12 PM
Venthony 12 Sep 02 - 06:08 PM
Joe_F 12 Sep 02 - 06:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Sep 02 - 07:23 PM
Mr Happy 12 Sep 02 - 07:24 PM
JedMarum 12 Sep 02 - 08:13 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Sep 02 - 08:38 PM
open mike 12 Sep 02 - 10:36 PM
Peter Kasin 12 Sep 02 - 11:28 PM
JedMarum 13 Sep 02 - 12:06 AM
GUEST,Al 13 Sep 02 - 12:25 AM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 02 - 03:38 AM
Hrothgar 13 Sep 02 - 04:46 AM
Dave Bryant 13 Sep 02 - 06:56 AM
Mooh 13 Sep 02 - 10:47 AM
Ron Olesko 13 Sep 02 - 11:12 AM
Uncle_DaveO 13 Sep 02 - 11:23 AM
Ron Olesko 13 Sep 02 - 01:17 PM
Uncle_DaveO 13 Sep 02 - 03:30 PM
Joe_F 13 Sep 02 - 05:46 PM
Nerd 13 Sep 02 - 06:10 PM
Murray MacLeod 14 Sep 02 - 10:06 AM
Bullfrog Jones 14 Sep 02 - 11:42 AM
Joe Offer 14 Sep 02 - 12:53 PM
catspaw49 14 Sep 02 - 01:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Sep 02 - 01:18 PM
Crane Driver 14 Sep 02 - 06:13 PM
Joe_F 14 Sep 02 - 07:00 PM
Don Firth 15 Sep 02 - 12:11 PM
Leadfingers 15 Sep 02 - 02:12 PM
Leeder 15 Sep 02 - 04:00 PM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Sep 02 - 06:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Sep 02 - 06:56 PM
Hrothgar 16 Sep 02 - 05:07 AM
Leeder 16 Sep 02 - 04:34 PM
NicoleC 16 Sep 02 - 05:03 PM
Uncle_DaveO 17 Sep 02 - 10:47 AM
NicoleC 17 Sep 02 - 05:14 PM
Uncle_DaveO 17 Sep 02 - 06:40 PM
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Subject: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Leeder
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 12:54 PM

I see both spellings for the abbreviation for "microphone". To me, "mic" would be pronounced "mick" -- the proper spelling would be "mike", by the normal rules of the English language.

I know -- I have *way* too much time on my hands. But I was an editor for 23 years, and I can't help it -- spelling is my life...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 12:55 PM

Heh...

6 of one, half dozen of the other in my book...

But mostly I guess I use mic...

,-)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: bradfordian
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 01:06 PM

perhaps we should just call it a mikerofone or should that be mickrofone?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: GUEST,Mad4Mud at work
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 01:08 PM

...or maybe name him Mikechael instead of Michael?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: C-flat
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 01:09 PM

I usually use mic. as it is just an abbreviation of microphone but I always use bike rather than bic. for bicycle, so I'm just as confused as you.
I've also got far too much time on my hands when I find myself answering these questions! :~)
C-flat.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 01:21 PM

The Senheisser 421s that I've used for many years, coughed up a rather bizarre secret a few months ago. I saw an old photo of Herr Goebbels doing one of his Nazi propoganda speeches from the mid 1930s and suddenly realized...."Hey he's using a '421'"!

Surely this mic., great though it is, can't have been around in the same form for THAT long! Anybody know?

I was first turned on to it by a techie telling me that the 421 was a GREAT drummer's mic. but that Elton John loved to sing through them.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: HuwG
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 02:02 PM

Me personally: "mic" when posting in haste to Mudcat or scribbling notes for roadies, DJ's or festival organisers, but "Microphone" when writing letters in longhand to my mother or anyone else who may not know this abbreviation by heart.

Similarly with other items of musical equipment: "amp" / "amplifier", "DI" / "Direct Input lead"

Some terms still cause confusion, even in semi-longhand; tell some festival organisers I know that you need to check the "foldbacks" and they will look for a deckchair, call them "monitors" and they will think you are referring to CCTV, or some weird flatscreen display. Tell them, "the speakers which face the performers", and they will scratch their heads and look at you with an expression which suggests that they are wondering whether you or they have gone mad.

Any field of human activity will develop its own jargon, designed to speed up work within the field by avoiding verbosity, while at the same time excluding dilletante outsiders. I can't see "mic" absolutely baffling any poster to Mudcat, so it can hardly be objectionable within this community.

Yes, I have far too much time on my hands.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 02:30 PM

It'd never occur to me to say or write anything but "mike". I suspect this is an American generational thing - ie there was a point at which Americans started using "mic" instead, but the rest of us still use the older pronouncable version.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 02:33 PM

Leeder, I'm with you: "Mike" is how it's pronounced, and "mic" would be "mick", and makes no sense.

I never ran into the usage "mic" until a relatively few years ago (what, maybe 10, 15?), out of my 71-year life.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 02:34 PM

USA usage (by manufacturers, advertisers, catalogs) is MIC. But it doesn't work well as a verb that way, once you get tenses mixed in. So if I want to mike a vocalist, I use a mic and get them all miked up.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: HuwG
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 02:49 PM

Incidentally, I believe that "mic" as opposed to "Mike" as a written abbreviation came about because the indication above microphone input sockets on amps and mixers and so on was written thus.

Everybody I know who has played around with the sound side of things (studio technicians, roadies, back-stage people etc) uses this abbreviation in writing but pronounces it "Mike". It has to be said that I only got (back) into music some eight years ago, so I won't have noticed any creeping trend from one spelling to another.

* My life revolved around Rugby Union till I came off a field with a broken eye socket. As being large and willing, I then helped some musical friends by roadying, and decided to have a go myself. I did first dabble some seventeen years ago, when I had a musically inclined girlfriend, and I gave it up when the relationship ended, too many unpleasant associations.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 03:12 PM

Do like I do. When uncertain, evade the issue. Call it a "microphone".


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Venthony
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 06:08 PM

If you're really into Gaelic stuff, I guess in would be Mike R. O'Phone.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Joe_F
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 06:17 PM

"Mic" is an innovation; I don't think I've been seeing it for more than 10 years or so. It looks like pedantry to me.

Even worse is writing "frig" instead of "fridge" for "refrigerator". What next? "Nati" for "Nazi"?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 07:23 PM

Frigging hell!

Churchill always made a point of pronouncing Nazi the way it was spelt, and so do a lot of people from tye war generation.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 07:24 PM

in uk 'frig'is definitely not a 'fridge' but something completly different.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: JedMarum
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 08:13 PM

mike is wrong, when referring to a microphone, it seems to me. Mic is clearly an abbreviation for microphone. We don't apply spelling rules to abbreviations.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 08:38 PM

McGrath said:

"Churchill always made a point of pronouncing Nazi the way it was spelt, and so do a lot of people from tye war generation."

Ah, but NOT-zee IS pronouncing it the way it is spelled, in its native language. "Auf Deutsch", the letter the Brits call zed and Americans call zee is "tzet", with both the T and Z sound.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: open mike
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 10:36 PM

well, i believe i should comment on this one! if it is available for all to share, the "mike" is an open one..and as I help to host an event which encourages folks to step up and give it a go with a song, story, joke or whatever, we have an open mike nite...hence my "nom de plume" or rather "nom de key" as i am not using a quill pen to write.... or whatever you call a pseudo-name.. or a key board name...oh yes a nick name is that nic or nike??? here we go again.. too much time, indeed.... signed--Laurel, not a "mike" at all....


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 11:28 PM

Mudcat is the first place I've come across "mic." I prefer "mike" for pronunciation reasons. Mic looks like mick to me, too.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: JedMarum
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 12:06 AM

do we watch teevy, teavee, teevey (because these words might be spelled according to spelling rules)? or do we watch TV? (because it is short for television)

;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: GUEST,Al
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 12:25 AM

The issue becomes important when searching the web for information on some aspect of microphones. M-S micing, for example. I use mic. Al


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 03:38 AM

My Webster's New World dictionary (Third Edition, 1997), has mike as a colloquial term for microphone. The dictionary has no listing for mic.
I think mic is related to the political correctness of the 1990's - for a lot of people, everything has to be so goddamn literal and correct.
I will use "mike" until the day I die, and I'm pleased to know the dictionary supports me in this. My kids use "mics." I don't.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 04:46 AM

I'll use "mike" - and I don't care why.

Rick, I think drummers need mikes about as much as I need drummers.

:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 06:56 AM

If mic is pronounced as in mick, why do we pronouce micro as in mike. Personally I prefer to write the contraction as mic and pronounce it as mike. They are then BOTH shortenings of the original word microphone.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Mooh
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 10:47 AM

Written, I think "mic" makes more sense simply because it is an abbreviation and that shouldn't change the spelling lest the meaning slip away. Spoken it will sound "mike" anyway and music folk will understand its meaning.

Wait until you see mic and mike on a mixing board where channels are identified by the user, usually on a strip of masking tape. One of my little bands has two Mikes and at least 3 trillion mics.

I've only been playing with microphones for 30 years, but I've always abbreviated the word to mic, with no misunderstandings that I'm aware of.

Peace, Mooh (pronounced Mike).


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 11:12 AM

I've used a "mike" on radio for 22 years. My "dayjob" is in television production. About 10 years ago I wrote a memo to my boss asking for some replacement "mikes". My boss was the Director of Technical Operations for the cable news network I was working for at the time and he corrected me that the word is "mic". I was astounded. I had seen the word "mic" used before, but I always assumed it was just an abbreviation (by 1 letter!) or a slang word for "mike". I checked with some of the others in the technical department and found that I was the only one who spelled it "mike". It felt like my old nightmare of showing up to work in my underwear had come true! I felt shamed, ostracized, and stupid. (Okay, not really. I'm embellishing for the sake of a good ending to this story!)

I did switch to using "mic" just to regain the acceptance of my peers. Seriously, I don't think the theories of the word being used for political correctness has any truth. I just think that the word "mic" evolved, perhaps in the industry as an early "buzz word".

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 11:23 AM

If "mic" is to be an abbreviation, it should have a period after it. "Mike", on the other hand, is a slang expression in origin.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 01:17 PM

There is a serious punctuation shortage so we should conserve on periods whenever we can. Why isn't there a period after TV, RV, SUV, NBC, NYC, etc? They are doing there best to save the endangered period!!

Joking aside, it is interesting to try to figure out which came first - mic or mike. I guess they are both slang. I guess if someone had the time (which is probably 90% of us who are online) we could do some research and see when the microphone was first abbreviated.

Incidently, in television production cameras are often abbreviated as "cam" in schematics and such. I guess we can find people that might take offense to that!

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 03:30 PM

At least with the camera we don't have the preexisting "mike"-equivalent slang "kame" or something like it.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 05:46 PM

"Frig" is known in the U.S., too, but is usually taken to be a minced form of "fuck" rather than a special slang word for masturbate as it is in the U.K. Hence (obFolk) the line "Frigging in the rigging" that occurs in some versions of the chorus of "The Good Ship Venus" calls up, on this side of the Atlantic, a preposterously acrobatic image.

My wisecrack about "Nazi" was based on the fact that it is a shortening of "Nationalsozialist". Outside the context "tion", the "t" does not suggest the pronunciation "ts", so it got changed to "z" which does. My understanding is that Mr Churchill's English spelling pronunciation agreed with common British usage of his day. In the U.S. we always imitated the German pronunciation.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Nerd
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 06:10 PM

I'll weigh in for mic. It's not political correctness, it's just the way I've always seen it written in techie publications. I think this is because when you are labelling jacks and inputs and cords and such, adding one letter to your abbreviation means all the letters have to be smaller, and soon you cross the legibility threshold. So "mic" is much more legible on equipment than "mike."

I also agree that the pedantry lies with those who say "mic" should be pronounced "mick." Only if microphone is pronounced mickrophone, which it ain't. The letters "mic" can obviously be pronounced either way.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 10:06 AM

I like "mic".

"Mic" is chic.

One might as well castigate "Nic" Jones or "Ric" Sanders.

Perhaps we can look forward one day to the DigiTrad being supervised by "Dic" Greenhaus.

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 11:42 AM

Yep -- mic for writing and mike for saying. I had 22 years in radio and that's the way it always was.

BJ


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 12:53 PM

22 years isn't long enough, Bullfrog. Gee, that's 1980, which is modern history.
...Isn't it?

I'd bet the term "mic" came into use in the 1970's. Can anybody find an earlier usage? Seems to me, the term was "mike" when I learned to use them in the 1960's. To my mind, "mic" is modernist revisionism.

-Joe Offer, feeling aged-
("aged," in this case, is two syllables)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 01:04 PM

I suggest friggin' the whole fuckin' thing and calling it Fred.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 01:18 PM

"NOT-zee IS pronouncing it the way it is spelled, in its native language."

I think that would have been the point Churchill and others would have been making. They weren't too into talking in that particular native language at that time. Not frigging likely.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 06:13 PM

Round our way it's called a shouting stick.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Joe_F
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 07:00 PM

The OED has a quotation from a glossary in 1961, s.v. microphone, that says "(Abbr. mike or mic)". So the struggle has been going on for over 40 years. Oddly, Webster's Collegiate (10th ed., 1994) does not list "mic" at all, either in its alphabetical place or as a variant under "mike".

The suggestion that the label on jacks is responsible for the respelling seems to me plausible. I have been seeing that for a long time. (I accordingly withdraw my accusation of pedantry.) As a purely written abbreviation, it is the obvious choice. However, as a spelling for the spoken word it is clearly irregular. Quite aside from the fact that a vowel letter followed in the same syllable by a bare consonant is normally short, the termination -c is abnormal in English (except for the suffix -ic); it is usually a sign of recent importation from French (bloc, tic, sac, etc.).


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 12:11 PM

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition:-- looking up "mic" turns up "abbreviation for 'Micah,' a book in the Bible. "Mike" gives "informal. n. microphone. (also 'mic')."

I spent eight years as a radio announcer/newscaster (not that it makes me any kind of linguistic authority) and the only way I've ever seen it written is "mike." I think "mic" is a fairly recent phenomenon, spawned by increased use of "micro" as a prefix for a lot of words.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 02:12 PM

I'm going to rejoin the Musicians Union and get lots of stickers printed saying 'Keep music live and acoustic' Then we wouldnt need mics OR mikes.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Leeder
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 04:00 PM

Coming in late as usual (from a camping overnight), picking up loose ends:

-If "mic" is an abbreviation, it should have a period. If it doesn't have a period, it's not exempt from the pronunciation rules. (Mind you, the premise that abbreviations are exempt is not one I've ever heard of.)

-I'm not sure I understand the "political correctness" theory, unless it's that "mick" is a term for "Irishman", which is a quaint survival here in North America, but would not be an issue otherwise. Is that it?

I'm a bit bemused that my (not quite) innocent observation has generated so much response. At least everybody's being polite, this time.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 06:19 PM

Why, you @\?*(&^! Who are YOU to comment on my politeness or lack thereof?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 06:56 PM

I think some people are just taking the mic out of you, Leeder.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 05:07 AM

Should the short form of "bicycle" be "bic?"

:-))


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Leeder
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 04:34 PM

McGrath, at least I have enough British friends to understand that one. Not an N.A. expression, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: NicoleC
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 05:03 PM

I have an antique 20's-ish RTR tape record which clearly labels the microphone input jack as "mic." (Yes, with period.) But most of the early sound equipment spelled everything out, presumably because folks weren't as familiar with it.

Microphone is "mic" for the same reason sound geeks use "vox" "gtr" "rtr" "cd" "syn" "dat" "DI" "LI" "L" "R" ""CTR" and any number of other short and sometimes grammatically incorrect abbreviations. If you label your mixing console "Vocal Mike" that's gonna be the fader for the guy name Mike onstage... and your console labels will be written so small you'll never seen 'em under your little blue light when you need to find something in s HURRY.

Every biz or hobby has it's lingo. The other day one of my users told me they had a problem with their "ooosb" port. It was right next to the "miss" port.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 10:47 AM

How could a tape recorder be "an antique 20's-ish RTR tape record [sic]" when tape recording was only invented in the 40s?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: NicoleC
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 05:14 PM

Magnetic tape recording was developed much earlier (1880's), it just wasn't very feasible until Pfleumer managed to produce a consistent paper tape media (1920's). The gizmo I have is steel tape recorder, which almost certainly has to be late 20's or early 30's, but sadly has no manfucturing info on it, so I can't be sure.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'mike' or 'mic'?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 06:40 PM

mea culpa, mea culpa! I only succeeded in displaying my ignorance!

Dave Oesterreich


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