The general idea of the mic that would become the F44 started at a time when there were virtually no custom transistor SDC microphones in the market place. The established models were designed to have little to no coloration of sound and most were out of reach price-wise for the average studio. The low budget ones were not good enough to help cut a record and the vintage classics were already pricey and came with the general fear of what happens if something breaks At that time, we had several tube mic designs developed for our different OEM customers and talking with our largest licensee, they were looking for an affordable SDC that could be used in place where normally a KM84 would work.With the key being affordable, the first step was checking all available off the shelf capsule and metal-work options that already existed. A pretty unusual Chinese pencil mic stood out of the crowd that looked on the outside to be inspired by an old Sennheiser dynamic mic of the 1960s We thought that this would be an ideal candidate to use for building up some prototypes. We purchased a bunch of the mics and set to work.
The biggest challenge of using made in China parts, is sorting out the duds.The metal work is fairly straightforward but doing quality control on the capsules can be quite laborious...After building the first 10 units it quickly became clear that with the proper selection, a nice FET mic could be made without breaking the bank.We called up several friends who owned studios to ask them if they would check out the mic and get us feedback and they all agreed. During field tests of the prototypes at a Brooklyn studio, the owner of one our dealers heard a pair in action and then called us, demanding to have the mic as an in-house branded mic.After sorting out a few minor production problems so that the mic could be manufactured on a larger scale, it was launched and sold for the last six years. After the dealership changed hands and the original commitment was fulfilled it proved to be difficult to renew the contract and we thought it best to put the mic to rest.
Very shortly after we announced that the mic was being discontinued, we received a bunch of e-mails and phone calls asking that we put it back into production. With all of the projects that we have going on right now, making it in house proved to be difficult. After talking with a couple of our dealers, we approached one of our sub suppliers that currently makes our PSU's to see if they could build it under AMI's direction. We are now happy to announce that the mic is now back in circulation as an AMI product, updated with a few changes that makes the F444 even quieter and better to handlee than its previous form. A small production run of F44's were initially made and the ongoing production run should be ready in October, 2012.