The Black Knight

When I started singing in the middle of the 1980s, my first microphone was an Electro Voice BK-1. I probably bought it in Cologne, around 1987. Well, I liked the design and I liked, what the manual said: „especially for nightclub-use“! To me, still half a kid back then and grown up in the sleepy countryside, „nightclub-use“ sounded mysterious, cool and urban.
And it reminded me of the album-title „Nightclubbing“. This is my favourite Grace Jones-LP, containing songs as „Pull up to the bumper“, „Libertango“ and of course „Nightclubbing“. The Electro Voice BK 1 microphone seemed to be as sexy, as shiny and black as Grace.
But unfortunately this mic needed a special and expensive battery – otherwise it didn´t work. Of course it was designed to work with phantom-power (You flip a switch at the mixing console and it sends back a small amount of electricity through the microphone-wire) Back then, however this feature was new and most small power-mixers lacked it. So you ended up using expensive batteries (one costed you 20 or 25 Deutsche Mark). In order to keep the battery healthy, you had to remove it after concerts and rehearsals, but usually I forgot. Eventually, most of the time the sound was quite crappy, cause battery-power was always low. I think, that is why the BK-1 gained such a bad reputation. A lot of singers owned one, but my impression was, that no one really liked it back then. I also lost my initial enthusiasm and finally sold it.
But three years ago I was surprised to read some forum-postings by an audio-engineer from California, who said, that he used the BK 1 Mic extensively during concert-tours with Stephen Stills and with Kris Kristofferson. He also mentioned, that you have to use phantom-power to make it sound good. Last year, I saw two BK1 on ebay and as it turned out, the guy who sold it was exactly this audio engineer – Andy. He had stopped touring and therefore sold the gear. So I bought these two devices and he sent them across the Atlantic. The microphones were in great shape, as if rarely used. And with phantom-power, the BK 1 is now a perfect live-microphone for me: Sounding nice and warm while providing a wide frequency-range. And the sensitivity to feedbacks is quite low. Moreover, the design is still great. Recently I read, that BK means „Black Knight“ At first, I thought this was a joke, but then I looked closer at the brand and voilà, what I saw was a little black knight on a horse. Even though I had used it for years, I had never realized this before.