Dawson Precision Components (DPC) has supplied a range of components for a specialist microphone manufacturer which uses elements of vintage audio design in its contemporary sound equipment.
Greater Manchester-based DPC is producing CNC-machined parts for the BMx2 Valkyr Blumlein stereo ribbon microphone which is made by Extinct Audio, based in York.
Extinct Audio supplies clients across the UK, Europe and globally including pop, rock and classical musicians, orchestras, record producers and engineers. Customers include sound engineer Nigel Pepper, who works with rock bands Snow Patrol and Foals; Academy Award-winning engineer Shawn Murphy and Berlin-based neoclassical composer, producer and performer Nils Frahm.
Oldham-based DPC has previously manufactured audio components for vinyl record turntables. However, this is the first time it has machined precision parts for microphones. It has made components for the Extinct Audio BMx2 Valkyr Blumlein, which is partly inspired by Danish microphones from the 1950s and 1960s. The design produces a distinct sound quality which is sought-after by performers across a range of genres.
Simon Dawson, managing director of DPC, said: “All the components are machined by DPC in Oldham for assembly by the client in York. The microphone body is made from nickel-plated brass which has been ceramic bead-blasted to produce a satin finish. The microphone’s frame, which is set within the body, is made from nickel-plated steel with acetal plastic and aluminium components.
“DPC has also supplied vibration mounts for the microphones. Each mount is made from CNC-machined aluminium and clamps the microphone gently but firmly in its jaws. The mount has a twin-yoke design and eight rubber contact points to reduce any transmission of vibrations from the microphone stand to the microphone itself. The mount includes eight sets of thrust bearings for smooth operation and a rear thumbwheel to adjust the mount jaws.”
Extinct Audio’s products include ranges partly-inspired by legendary European, American and Japanese audio brands such as RCA and vintage Danish microphones. The company is run by Stewart Tavener and Adam Watson. They have known one another for 15 years and worked together on artistic and commercial projects. Their joint interest with vintage recording equipment led them to set up Extinct Audio.
Stewart, originally from Southport, Merseyside, is a scientist, musician, engineer and designer, while Adam, from York, has worked as a musician for over 30 years with extensive live and studio experience spanning different genres, instruments and recording techniques.
Speaking about working with DPC, Adam said: “We work with a number of engineering firms and one of them suggested we approach DPC for these microphone components. Some suppliers tend to be more focused on contracts to supply mass volumes of big components. However, DPC has always shown great interest in all aspects of our work, which includes supplying short runs of smaller components for our microphones.
“From the start of discussions to completing the work, DPC have treated us fantastically. For example, we had a production meeting with them early-on which lasted a full day. That illustrated how engaged they were with our products and needs. They finessed everything we were doing including drawings, prototypes and tolerances. This was all part of their service.
“At each stage of the process, DPC also suggested additional ideas for production improvements, better finishes and so on. They have been excellent.”
Dawson Precision Components was founded in 1965 and provides wide-ranging precision engineering and subcontract services to clients in the UK, Europe and beyond.
A member of the British Turned Parts Manufacturing Association (BTMA), the company works across sectors including aerospace, aviation, defence, energy, environmental, marine, medical, motorsport and rail transport.
It recently installed advanced new machines at its Greater Manchester base - including one machine that is the first of its type in the UK.
The new equipment represents the latest stage of investment. Over £1 million has been invested in expanding DPC’s workshops and premises in recent years by owners Simon Dawson, Paul Dawson and Julie Hughes.