My review of The Astatic D-104 aka The Lollypop Microphone?

My review of The Astatic D-104 aka The Lollypop Microphone?
The Astatic D104 is the most widely known mic in radio history. It’s history is long and wide. You name it and there was most-likely a D104 in front of the radio on the desk.

*Military, State Offices, County, and City service’s all used these mic’s. Radio companies, Browning, Tram, President, etc., all sold the D104 as an option for they’re base stations.

*Why? Because the D104 was the best option for decades.

*I’ve seen some bad reviews on here about the D104. People saying how it’s sounds bad or looks hideous. No respect.

*I say to them you not audio person if your gonna knock the All Time King Of Radio Mics.

*Also if you can’t make a D104 sound good on any radio then you may be in the wrong hobby. All the bad reviews on here about the D104 are a sign of ignorance and/or incompetence.

My review of The Astatic D-104 aka The Lollypop Microphone?

*I’m willing to bet that there are more D104‘s out there than any other mic. Why? Cause they’ve been here since 1930 something and there still here talking daily on radios all over the world! Best radio mic ever.

*I got my first D104 Sliver Eagle when I was 16 and I
never looked back. I still have it. If your having challenges getting a D104 to sound good on your radio it’s most likely the radio that is giving you trouble. Some radios don’t like the output drive the D104 offers. That’s when I say turn down the D104 mic gain. The D104 is very simple to use.

*After you check the D104 on a radio, that likes the D104, then check your radio mic input with the stock mic. Most of the time you’ll find the gain stages in the radio or on the D104 are set high. That’s half right.

*The unpowered D104 is plug and play with the right Adapter. No gain dial on the bottom. The D104 modulation power will be subject to the radio’s mic gain stage.
You’ll get the Basic D104 sound- no gain.
For some this is perfect- others- not so much.

*(How to set up the D104 Powered mic to your radio)

*(First) Turn your radio mic gain up all the way.

*(Second) Turn the D104 mic preamp down all the way. Connect the D104 to the radio.

*(Third) Set up a monitor so you can hear your modulation and use headphones, earbuds, etc., that sound good or your comfortable with. If the Headset is dodgy then your D104 will sound dodgy.

*Some radios have a monitor built in, some do not. Use the built in monitor or the speaker out. I use the speaker out on my Yaesu FT450D. I think the speaker out is a better tap for this but that’s up to you.

*You need to isolate the monitor headset so the D104 can’t hear the speaker. Reason- FEEDBACK. The crystal and ceramic elements that are in these microphones are extremely sensitive!, like laboratory sensitive, circa 1935.

*(Fourth) Set your headset listening/monitoring level low. Press the PPT button or the Squeeze the (Chicken Choker).

*(Fifth ) Now, with either a Phillips or flat head screwdriver slowly crack open the D104 mic gain just a little and listen to your voice. The D104 will modulate with the gain off.

*What your gonna do next is add a little drive to the Radio mic input stage. Turn the D104 gain up till your content with your vocal sound. You can turn the D104 gain dial all the way up to see what you sound like with a MODULATION MONSTER driving the rig, lol. However, This setting is useless on newer radios.

*(Hint) keep the D104 gain in it’s low range. It will serve you well.

*The D104 mic gain can be very aggressive if you use too much drive. Keep it turned back for ragchewing and give it a little more gas to drive into contesting. The D104 cuts through better than any other mic I’ve heard. I’ve heard most mics made.

*The D104 won’t drive FM but will sound great.You can distort your modulation if you have the D104’s gain too high. Just back it down till you get your sound.

*I get the question on the repeaters often about what I’m talking on. The answers are fun. That’s a D104? You betcha! I get great audio reports every time I ask. You will find that on AM & SSB is where these D104’s Excel.

*The tone of the D104 is designed to cut through in the worst conditions. I’m a Pro Audio Tech and Bassist- 41 years and a part time Rock Star.

*I have a bunch of mics laying round. Most of the audio mics out there are designed to pick up certain Aspects of a sound you’re recording or amplifying.

*The D104 is that just from the 1930’s. So your bandwidth on the D104 isn’t going to go deep. It’s designed to hear vocals and it does it very well indeed.

*There are a few mics out there that try to reproduce the Crystal Element Sound and the Ceramic Element Sound from Astatic. Heil did a good job in mimicking the Astatic sound. So if your D104 needs a new Mic Element, and you can’t find an original replacement then go with the Heil replacement. Or look on eBay.

*About Maintanance-
These D104’s are all old. All of mine are from the 70’s and earlier. The first thing I do when I get a D104 is hook it up to the FT450D and see if it keys and talks. I use 4 wire microphone connectors and HAMDaptor mic adapters.

*If it works then great. I listen to the relay to make sure all the contacts are good/clean. If the contacts need cleaned I use a small piece of sand paper and pull the paper over the contacts three times- all of them. I have fat fingers so this takes Me about 10 minutes.

*Since the D104 is so old cleaning the relay is good to do about every 2 to 5 years depending on your location’s humidity levels. I’m 300 yards from Lake Erie so I check the relay contacts every December.

* Any 9volt battery will be fine. Some last longer than others. Put an install date on or in with the battery. I found the better batteries will last up to five years. In storage the battery will drain very slowly, like if it were still in the package.

*I pulled my original D104 Silver Eagle off the shelve four months ago and hooked it up and it talked. Then it died mid-sentence. I pulled the bottom plate off. The battery said 8-23-2009. Awesome!
If you leave the battery in the D104 when stored it won’t corrode the mic. Nice!

*I found that You can wire the D104 to any radio. The nice thing about the D104 is that all the mic’s sound the same. Weather it’s a base-line D104 or a Diamond Anniversary model. Take the head off of one and put it on another D104 base. Simple.

*So there’s my 2 cents about the ASTATIC D104.
THIS HAS BEEN MY GO-TO MIC SINCE I WAS 16. Every time I get a radio I put a D104 in front of it. They sound so much better than hand mics. And then you’ll hear me the same across the bands.

*When you hear me on air you will be listing to one of my D104 variants. I have 7 now and I’m buying more. The collection is not complete till have at least one or two of each

My review of The Astatic D-104 aka The Lollypop Microphone?
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