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I am working on reviewing the “Copperphone” microphone that I purchased from “Vintage Audio King” on Ebay.  I hope to post that review to The New Leaf Journal in the near future.  This, however, is neither a review of the Copperphone microphone nor Vintage Audio King.  It is, instead, the story of my microphone’s journey with FedEx via Michigan to my Brooklyn home, where it was left on my doorstep and lucky to not be stolen.

Discovering the Copperphone Microphone

As I have discussed previously, I love the sound of vintage folk and blues recordings.  As a musician, I would very much like to replicate the sound.  While I have tried creating the vintage impression using synthetic effects, I have found that the resulting recordings sound inauthentic.  Unfortunately, I neither have the money nor the know-how to invest in bona fide vintage equipment.

I recently stumbled on a small company via Instagram targeted advertising that creates microphones with limited bandwidth, designed to sound like older microphones.  While I despise Instagram targeted advertising, I must concede that this ad was over the target.  Out of curiosity, I found some videos on YouTube that used and discussed the microphones.  One comment from an online review helped sell me.  The review said something to the effect of “why work backwards with computer effects to maybe only get 80% of the way there, when you can start out with the real thing?”

The eBay Microphone Purchase

I decided to purchase the microphone when I was on a small vacation with my family – from isolation in our home to isolation in another location.  In order to avoid having the microphone delivered when I was not home, only to be stolen from by doorstep by a passing petty thief, I waited until the morning of the day I was going back.  I purchased the Copperphone microphone from Vintage Audio King, an eBay store based in Michigan, at exactly 11:32 AM, EST.  The delivery estimate projected that it would arrive during the next week.  Content with my purchase, I closed my laptop and prepared to return home.

A Return-Trip Surprise

As I was in the car with my family driving home, my phone buzzed with two messages.  Both eBay and FedEx simultaneously reported that my package had been delivered at 6:20 PM, EST.  I blinked in disbelief.  Was it possible that my microphone had traveled more than 800 miles in just under seven hours?  It seemed impossible, but the notifications on my phone suggested otherwise.

Imagining a Microphone’s Six-Hour Journey from Michigan to Brooklyn, NY

I could not help but imagine a dedicated Vintage Audio King employee standing on the tarmac of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, sprinting after a cargo plane while taping my box shut.  Desperate to ensure that my delivery would arrive later that very afternoon, the employee in my imagination haphazardly scrawled my name on the box with a laundry marker before hurling it through the door of the plane at the last possible moment.  The employee then breathed a sigh of relief – he made it.

My imagination was not done tracing the path of my package.  While it was out of the employee’s hands, it was not yet at my home.  The pilot of the cargo plane, wanting to ensure that the box made it to my home expeditiously, opted to eject it from the plane, 38,000 feet over the target.  All hope seemed lost as the box hurdled through the sky.  But then, in a remarkable turnaround, the box deployed a parachute, and the box fluttered through the air, landing safely on my doorstep 30 minutes before my arrival.

Return to Reality

While the scenario I imagined for the box was entertaining, I quickly determined that it was unlikely.  It was more likely, perhaps, that the store location listed on eBay was inaccurate, leading to my receiving the box earlier than expected.  But while same-day shipping is a thing, I did not pay for it in this instance.  Perhaps someone endeavored to do me a favor, only to set the microphone up to be stolen instead?  If that were the case, it would not be the first time that I have had a package stolen. I hoped against hope that no one confused my Brooklyn with Brooklyn, Michigan.

After returning home to a box-less stoop,  I contacted my neighbor and the local deli within sight of my home in inquire if they had seen any sign of a delivery. Neither had seen a FedEx truck, much less my box.  Next, I checked the FedEx website and contacted Vintage Audio King, thinking that they had perhaps provided me with the wrong tracking information.  Within an hour of my message, Vintage Audio King contacted me and suggested that a FedEx employee had inadvertently scanned the shipping label in transit, leading to the erroneous report that the package was delivered.  The employee predicted that the box would arrive in the coming days.

I took a breath and tried to relax, albeit only partially calmed.  All that I could do was wait to see if the package would arrive as predicted.

All’s Well that Ends Well; But Please Ring the Doorbell

Two days went by.  My microphone had still not made an appearance.  At approximately 3:55 in the afternoon, having been inside all day, I decided to open my door and stick my head out the window – marveling at the outside world in a depressed state of wonder.  I found more than fresh air upon looking at the window, noticing a mysterious box sitting on my stoop. 

I retrieved the box, covered in stickers that read “WORLD-CLASS PRO AUDIO GEAR” in big, red, bold letters.  There was no FedEx truck in sight.  I tested the doorbell – it was indeed working.  When I picked up the box, I noticed it was hot – my nearly-$300 microphone had apparently been baking for some time on my stoop in the summer sun.  Shaking my head, I brought my box inside.

The tape on Victor V. Gurbo's Copperphone microphone box - "WORLD-CLASS PRO AUDIO GEAR" making it clear that the contents were valuable.
The sticker on the Copperphone microphone box – photographed by V. Gurbo.

I am well aware that our essential workers have been going through hell during the pandemic, and I could not be more grateful to the deliverymen and women who have worked tirelessly to deliver my non-essential purchases through it all.  It is because of them that my family and I have been able to stay safe and healthy.

With that being said – please ring the bell next time you have a delivery for me.