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Five mikes that shook the world to its soul.


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Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe


Sonic characteristics and commentary:


Big sounding. Silky. Smooth top end. Incredibly deep sounding at close range, due to its abundant proximity boost.

 

 

That's exactly what I noticed. Huge proximity boost. Enormous sound, really smooth top end. Not even close to shrill. Just smooth as anything.

 

A lot of my posts on these microphones are not going to be very technical. Just observations. Most of the time, except for the 251, I was using these as a musician in commercial studios.

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How perfectly well timed, Phil! Last weekend Telefunken USA had a listening session at Dave Martin's Java Jive Studio outside Nashville. It was a well attended live session, featuring an instrumental trad-country band, an acapella group from Disneyworld among other treats. Everything Telefunken currently offers was used, including an new Ela M270 (a stereo Ela M251) the original of which is arguably the rarest, coveted vintage mic of all. (To date only one is known to still exist. It was found and bought in Vienna, Austria in 1983 by Dan Alexander for Allen Sides of Ocean Way Recording fame and meticulously reverse engineered for the new model.)

 

The sound of dobro, fiddle, mandoling, double bass, drums and piano were all pristine through these mics, courtesy of Dave at the console. They are absolutely amazing.

 

I haven't had the opportunity to use the originals, so I'd like to compare them sometime. CEO Toni Fishman seems to be the real deal, a passionate audio guy determined to get his new product right by the vintage originals. They sell product with NOS VF14 tubes as well as EF14's for those faint of heart at paying an additional $2,500 or so for the vintage tube. :eek:

 

You should ask Dave for his impressions, Phil, as well as his choice of Telefunken mics on various instruments, pre-amp choices, etc. (Of course, he may have to reserve some discussion if there's a review in the works for EQ or other audio mags he writes for. :( )

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Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe

Okay, we may as well start with the U47. I'll try to do an outline / writeup on each mic and then we can take it from there. Feel free to add your comments and / or make any corrections on things I don't get "right".
;)

Microphone Name:


Neumann U47


Year Introduced:


1947 - 1949, U48: 1956


Year Discontinued:


? - Probably in the early 1960's, but I'm not certain. Could have corresponded with the introduction of the U67 in 1960.


Price when New:


? - Not sure. Guess I'll have to ask Bruce Swedien what he paid for his...
;)

Current price range:


Vintage price ranges vary significantly based on many factors, including condition, famous prior owners or users of the individual mic, etc. Typical price range - $6,000 - $10,000.


Descendants and variations:


U48 (cardioid and fig 8 patterns, the U47 has cardioid / omni), U47 FET, Neumann / Geffel UM57


Capsule used:


M7, later models used the K47


Tube used:


VF-14. Long out of production and silly expensive if you can find one; Neumann later released a retrofit kit based around a "Nuvistor" tube. Some modern variants use the EF-14 and EF-86 for their tube.


Modern clones and similar styled microphones:


Soundelux E47C, Lawson L47, Wagner U47w, Wunder Audio CM7, Korby Convertible, Telefunken USA U47 M, Peluso 22 47 LE


Milestone recordings:


Longbody U47's were made up until about 1956, when smaller capacitors and other internal components allowed Neumann to switch over to the "short body" design, which is about 2 - 3" shorter in length. The finish of the body also changed from chrome to a matte finish at around this time.

 

Here's a photo of one of my Neumann U-47 long-bodys.

 

Absolutely fantastic microphone.

 

I had two that I bought new in 1954. One of them was (very unhappily) stolen when I was recording "Thriller".

 

Still often my first choice mike...

 

Bruce Swedien

:cool::thu::cool:

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Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe

Okay, we may as well start with the U47. I'll try to do an outline / writeup on each mic and then we can take it from there. Feel free to add your comments and / or make any corrections on things I don't get "right".
;)


? - Not sure. Guess I'll have to ask Bruce Swedien what he paid for his...
;)

Current price range:


Vintage price ranges vary significantly based on many factors, including condition, famous prior owners or users of the individual mic, etc. Typical price range - $6,000 - $10,000.


Descendants and variations:


U48 (cardioid and fig 8 patterns, the U47 has cardioid / omni), U47 FET, Neumann / Geffel UM57



Many Neumann U47's are branded / badged as "Telefunken" microphones. Telefunken distributed Neumann microphones for several years until Neumann took over their own distribution in the late 1950's - about 1958-59 or so. Outside of the different name badges, there is no difference between an original 50's era Neumann or Telefunken U47. A new company, Telefunken USA, is currently making a modern variant of the U47, but this should not be confused with the original Telefunken company, who merely distributed Neumann (and later AKG) microphones and were not a manufacturer of these microphones themselves.


Longbody U47's were made up until about 1956, when smaller capacitors and other internal components allowed Neumann to switch over to the "short body" design, which is about 2 - 3" shorter in length. The finish of the body also changed from chrome to a matte finish at around this time.

 

Philla-dilla....

 

I paid $390.00 each for my Neumann U-47's.

 

Check this out!!!

 

Phil - I can't make it work. It's way too big. email me a message and I'll send it to you...

 

Bruce

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One of the times that I heard a U47 up close was when someone brought one over to my house to check out in comparison to a modified AT4060.

 

I liked both mics. We auditioned them carefully, as he loved his Neumann as well as the AT4060. I rubbed my fingers in front, and the same thing again: The Neumann wasn't very sensitive to that, especially from farther away. And same thing again: HUGE proximity boost. Absolutely enormous, fabulous sound. The AT4060 was more sensitive, especially in the higher frequencies, and seemed more "accurate" and flatter in response especially up close, and didn't have as much "character" as the Neumann (bear in mind here again that the AT4060 was modified, with a new tube and caps). I guess I like that giant gooey proximity effect...along with everyone else.

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One of the things I like about the U47 up close, is that as Ken alluded to, it doesn't seem to pick up as much of the room or other stuff that you might not want in it. Unlike a more airy mic like the 251. Phil, remember those guitar tracks I did at your place with the Elux251? I had almost as much breath noise from the guitarist as I did guitar...

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Originally posted by gearmike

One of the things I like about the U47 up close, is that as Ken alluded to, it doesn't seem to pick up as much of the room or other stuff that you might not want in it. Unlike a more airy mic like the 251. Phil, remember those guitar tracks I did at your place with the Elux251? I had almost as much breath noise from the guitarist as I did guitar...

 

 

I mention that because, at first, I thought it was a "fault". When I was doing that first keyboard session, I initially thought, "Hmmm, shouldn't a super expensive mic like this be sensitive" while I was rubbing my fingers, drawing them away from the mic and listening to them disappear, noticing that there wasn't all that much "sensitivity".

 

Then, when I heard the mic with a vocalist getting up on it, my jaw just dropped. I realized that what I had perceived as a weakness was, in effect, a strength of the mic. You get up on this mic, and the thing goes all huge and rejects a lot of other "extraneous" stuff, in the case of a vocalist or what have you. Wow.

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One interesting thing to note is that they came pin 3 hot from the factory. Most modern gear is pin 2. So they are usually out of phase with everything else, unless you know to flip the polarity. One of my clients has one. It has always made other mics look silly in shootouts.

 

It's a great mic that I would really love to own one day.

 

Steve

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Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe

Here's a photo of Bruce's U47.


BruceSwedienneumannu47longbody.jpg

We're having a little bit of trouble with the poop sheet, but we're working on it.

 

BTW, Bruce - I still have that pic on my imageshack account from when I adjusted it to B&W from the nasty yellow. If you need it posted just ask. :) Of course, now Phil has it posted online as well. ;)

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Originally posted by UstadKhanAli

I'd like to know what the difference is sonically between the U47 and the U67. I realize that mics of this age vary greatly, but y'know, do the best you can!
:D

 

There are some significant sonic differences Ken, and we'll get to that when we move on to the U67 coverage. :)

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While I'm thinking of it, speaking of sonic qualities and mic age, I think it should be mentioned that Telefunken USA had the opportunity to purchase NOS RCA ribbon material. If you have an RCA 44 or 77 in need of refurb they can provide original material and do the rehab. They're also building a reissue of a Telefunken cardioid ribbon, at this time using the same material.

 

Now back to your regularly scheduled love-fest for the U47. :D

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Let's talk about applications of the U47. Obviously it makes a great vocal mic on the right singer (IMO, it's usually better for males than females; for the gals, I prefer the M49 or U67), but it does work well on other things too, such as upright bass. One of its descendants, the U47FET, is a great kick drum and bass cab mic. For those who have used the U47, what are some of your favorite applications for that mic?

 

Also, let's not forget the variations and clones. Anyone know of any that I missed? Do you own or have you used any of them? Impressions?

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I dont know.. I'm sure there are lots of clones out there. I'm personally very interested in the Peluso. (love my CEMC6 pair). Does anyone have any experience with the Peluso 2247?

 

I was also curious about the 2247LE... It's $400 more, but I'm not quite sure what the difference between them are. I think the Limited Edition just uses a different tube, but I'm not sure.

 

". We use a Telefunken Steel Tube in the 22 47 LE which works excellently in the circuit and provides the same sonic quality as the VF14."

 

Does anyone understand what is different between the regular and limited? Is it worth $400???

 

--- Anyway, Love the thead .... Thanks PHIL for starting the thread and to all those who contributed.

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I've loved the U47 on male vocals. Great mic when you need that 'girthy' thing. Upright bass is also killer as Phil mentioned. I've had it surprise me on a thin sounding acoustic guitar.

 

I've used the Soundelux E47 as a room mic when I didn't want too much cymbal sizzle in the room mics. Often I'll put up one E47 and one E251 as drum room mics, then I can choose what tonality works better...

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Our Soundelux E47 pretty much lives for Front Of Kick duties as of the last few months. It's killer on acoustic guitar, too, though our Brauner has been taking care of all that {censored} lately. I'll typically pull it out for hearty male vocals, as well.

 

Genuine U47s, I tend to use for big vocalists, big drum rooms, far away from bass cabinets in omni, and as a general spot mic for whatever the hell I want to record.

 

Anything I'd use a FET47 for, I can now handle with a Soundelux U195, and as I said before, I think that's a more versatile and cool sounding mic.

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Tonight I was zapping on TV and stumbled over a german channel where Paul McArtney was having a kind of 'masterclass'', explaning about recording and songwriting.

 

The place was loaded with U47s an 87's. He was demonstrating a Mellotron, I saw a Studer J37 I guess and Paul was playing a Steinway grand, which was miked with three U87's if I saw it well.

 

And quite funny, Pauls voice sounded very good, the grand sounded absolutely crappy.

 

He also did a couple of songs with acoustic guitar only and he sang to a U47 and the guitar was also picked up by a U47, which sounded pretty good.

 

I've never seen so many U47's in one place.

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Originally posted by Picker

I dont know.. I'm sure there are lots of clones out there. I'm personally very interested in the Peluso. (love my CEMC6 pair). Does anyone have any experience with the Peluso 2247?


I've never tried them, and honestly, when I look at the pricetags, part of me thinks "how could they possibly nail it at that price?" But OTOH, I've heard nothing but good reports from the (relatively limited number of) people who have said they own a Peluso mic, so who knows? I guess the only way to find out is to try one, and if the opportunity ever comes up, I'll definitely do so. I'm certainly curious about them.
:)

I was also curious about the 2247LE... It's $400 more, but I'm not quite sure what the difference between them are. I think the Limited Edition just uses a different tube, but I'm not sure.


". We use a Telefunken Steel Tube in the 22 47 LE which works excellently in the circuit and provides the same sonic quality as the VF14."


From the way they describe it, my guess is that they're using an EF14... but I don't know for certain.


Does anyone understand what is different between the regular and limited? Is it worth $400???


It looks like it may be a different tube, and the LE looks like it has more of the longbody type styling to it, but you'd probably be best off asking them about the differences directly.


--- Anyway, Love the thead .... Thanks PHIL for starting the thread and to all those who contributed.


Da nada.
:o

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