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Five mikes that shook the world to its soul.

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Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe

Congrats on the new mikes Halljams!
Great posts - I will be interested in reading your thoughts on the comparisons between the U47 and U48 since they are using the two different capsules - M7 (original) and KK47 (later models).

If you don't mind me asking, can you give us a price point for reference? I don't want to get too personal on this, and if you'd rather not say, I completely understand... but can you tell me if my price range information is in the right ballpark?

6-10000 is accurate.
I saw a 47 which looked really good, powersupply and cable etc, all original, nice shape, (probably in storage for 30 years) go on ebay for 5600 not long ago, but who knows what kind of work it needed.

My 47 was completely restored, caps etc, new nos capsule, super quiet tube, just clean as can be for 6400. The 48 was the same deal for 5800, both with korby powersupplies and new gotham cable(seems korby missed something in the process on the 48, thus the noise).
If you go to vintage king or bill bradley you will pay closer to 9 or 10 grand. Why? You can figure it out for yourselves.
Give bill bradley a call sometime. Super friendly guy...not.

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Originally posted by UstadKhanAli

Are there 47 replicas that come close to capturing the sound of the original U47s? We've mentioned a number of replicas. Inquiring minds, etc.


I dunno ken.

My guess is the closest would be the wagners based on how they are built.

But try getting one, the guy has a year long wait list and they are still 5600 dollars.

There is something about the 47 that is powerful in a way i have never heard before, in terms of how it reaches out into the room and grabs stuff and just sucks the sound in. It is really really aggressive.

Plus it has a distinct sonic signiture.

The aggression probably comes from the tube. So no, i doubt it can be replicated.

In fact i have had conversations with makers of 47 clones and if you start asking them about the off axis response of their clones or the low end growl, they will just break down and say that if you want a real 47, you should get a real 47.

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Could you add an Electro Voice 664 and the RCA 77?

Oh. I just bought this not too long ago. The stand is brand new, but the mike isn't.



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Originally posted by pro_magnum

Could you add an Electro Voice 664 and the RCA 77?

Well, it's a classic LD condenser thread, and those are not in that category (although the 77 series certainly are classics)... but if you want to start a thread about either / both of those, feel free to do so.

Oh. I just bought this not too long ago. The stand is brand new, but the mike isn't.

Huh? Are we missing a picture here?

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Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe

Yes, we need to get going with this again - thanks for the reminder Mikie.

As of early January i will have access to an m49, u67, u48, u47, and 2 km56's and possibly and sm2.

Since i will be doing it anyway, i can post comparative examples of sound sources through each mike.

I was thinking
-Low tom
-single room mike for a kit.
-bass amp miked
-acoustic gtr
-clean electric gtr
-and vocals of course.

any requests?

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Okay, next in line in terms of the year of release is the Neumann M49. Again, feel free to add your comments and / or make any corrections on things I don't get "right".

Microphone Name:

Neumann M49

Year Introduced:


Year Discontinued:

About 1974.

Price when New:


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:

M49b, M49c, M 249, M50 (unique spherical capsule, primarily an omni orchestral mic, but with some directional characteristics at high frequencies).

Capsule used:

M7, later models used the K47

Tube used:

AC 701K.

Modern clones and similar styled microphones:

Soundelux E49, Neumann M149, TLM49.

Milestone recordings:

Rumor has it that Babs Streisand uses a M49. Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin and Duke Ellington (we'll have to ask Bruce about that one) were all recorded with '49's with great results. My wife used nothing but M49's for her vocals when she was signed to RCA in the 1970's.

Sonic characteristics and commentary:

Smooth sounding, even by Neumann standards; definitely smoother than a U47 up top, with less upper midrange honk and less presence peak, and not as much proximity boost down low, the M49 is a great female vocal microphone... some would call it the ultimate female vocal mic... but it also excels at instrumental miking duties due to its balanced and well behaved sound and its versatility due to the variable range of remotely selectable polar patterns. The M 249 is very similar to the M49, but uses a different Tuchel connector with supposedly better RFI rejection - especially important in a broadcast situation. The omni M50 looks very similar to the M49 from the outside, but it is significantly different internally. The quickest way to tell them apart is the color of the "jewel" or front side "dot" indicator - it's white on the M50 and red on the M49. Like the U47 before it, the M49 was never really intended for ultra-close placement for recording vocals, but it does well in that application, and gets increasingly more neutral sounding at greater placement relative to the sound source distances, and it's not uncommon to see a M49 being placed 18" away from a vocalist in a good sounding room.

Designed by Dr. Herbert Grosskopf of the IRT (Institute Fur Rundfunktechnic, the German Broadcast technical standards and design organization), the M49 was technically not a Neumann designed mic - they just manufacturered it. The M49 was groundbreaking due to the fact that it was the first electronically remote-controlled variable pattern condenser microphone; with the pattern selection being adjusted on the power supply instead of on the microphone body.

The AC 701K used in the M49 was used in a ton of different microphones, and is far more readily (and affordably) available today than the U47's VF14... which means that someday, I may just buy one of these bad boys for myself if the right deal lands in my lap. ;)

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oK, here are some samples with these great Neumann mikes.

There are 2 different sets, all 24/41.

go to www.seaweedmusic.com


One set has a Neumann Km 56, U67, U47 and M49 with me singing up close(see"up close pic").(I wanted to get my lovely lady doing a few samples but i had to do this late at night and she works early etc, anyway you are stuck with my unique vocal stylings alone)


The other has those 4 mikes plus a Shure KSM44, AKG 414B ULS, Studio projects C3 and a Rhode NTK along for the ride and all are recording from 3 or more feet away(see pics).


These additional mikes are common and useful I think, they kind of have a weird relationship with the Neumanns in a really rough way ie;

The U67/ksm44,U47/NTK,M49/414, KM56/C3. I mean that roughly and i speak mostly of the top end.

You will notice major differences in how the mikes pick up the dynamics and in the low mids(listen to the way the cheaper mikes sound on the guitar in "Dixie" compared to the Neumanns).

One thing that can't be shown here is the beautiful way these mikes sound in a mix and how they take treatment like EQ and compression compared to the other mikes, they just are nicer to work with and make for clean mixes.

I wish i had done some off axis stuff as that is a major area of difference between the cheaper mikes and neumanns as well but i ran out of time.


My room is also very small(just under 1200 cubic feet), soon to be rectified, but that is an issue in these tests. In the snare drum test you can hear some weird stuff happening between mikes. I don't know how small of a change in position can make a serious difference with something like a snare in a small room like that, and i doubt it accounts for the accented sound differences between mikes in that test, but i can't say for sure.

Be sure to look at the placement of the mikes in the test if you are doubting any position issues relating to the way the mikes pick up sound.




All mikes are in cardiod, no pads or roll offs etc.

Notes on the neuman mikes are as follows.

-The U47 has a pvc M7 capsule and VF14 tube

-The M49 has a KK47 capsule reskinned (ac701 tube)

-The KM-56 has an AC701( I state this because some companies like Korby audio are replacing these tubes with subs)

-The U67's have two options inside the guts for a high's boost and a low roll off. Also, they have a bass roll of switch and a 10db pad switch outside on the mike's shell.

The inside mods require cutting a wire each, When the mike is stock it is set with a bass rolled off (inside) and no top boost(inside). This was to counter proximity and make the mike marketable as a (close miking mike).

I chose to open that low cut switch inside so i could get a flatter bass response and still have the option of using the roll off switch on the outside if i needed bass attenuation.

I left the high end boost off, because I wanted the darker sound of the 67, not the brigher sound(nice as it is on vox).


The first set of recordings, with all the mikes, had to be done strait into the Panasonic DA7 mixer using it's pres(which are good clean pres, much like the Grace preamps, and the only pres i have 8 of ) and using it's converters as well, which was a bit of a drag because the converters on that thing are pretty thin sounding. (I didn't have 8 inserts set up to get out of the Da7 into the Lavrys, but you will get the idea anyway.


The other set of just Neumann samples (Rocket man) are through the Da7 pres into Lavry Blue converters and then the chorus of the tune is into 4 old (re-capped)solid state with big hammond transformers, sort of dark sounding, funky Mccurdy preamps which i usually use with 414's for OH's.(the only other pres i had 4 of hooked up that didn't hum or some {censored})



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Are these files too big to download?
I can put 16 bit up if that is better.
The link to the u47 for dixie went to the 414 wav, but i fixed that today, sorry.

I'm anxious to hear peoples reactions to the differences in mikes.
Are they too subtle to comment on?
Don't be afraid. The differences take time to hear.

The modern cheaper mikes are not bad in comparison eh?

In working with them the differences are not so subtle.

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Do we have any other M49 comments? Such a cool microphone... I'm surprised we have not read more discussion about it.

I had some interesting things happen the other night with some singers i had in the studio.
The mikes i put up were the M49, SM7, AEA R92, a km56 and a U67.
Both this guy and lady had rather mid rangey voices and some of the parts were sung rather agressively.
Some of the vocals they were doing were lead and others BU's.

One of the great uses for the M49 is for a lead vocal that needs midrange taming. In 2 cases of a lead vocal the 67 as wayyy too harsh but the 49 was just right, in that it sat in a nice spot above the other tracks but was smooth, on both him and her and much more elegant than the SM7.

The 56 was fantastic for high female BU vocals as it has that pretty top.

And, the R92 is just plain gorgeous on any lower voiced vocals. Very much like the R84 but less old school.
I'll be putting that ribbon mike up alot for vocals after hearing it in that session, what a delicious sound. That thing is fantastic outside a kik drum too.
I won that mike from Wes Dooley a few months back in an auction he had. What a truly nice man he is, not just cause he gave me a great mike, but he really is genuine and just seems to have so much integrity. Which is probably why his mikes are so so so good.

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The big five condensers. The mikes that are probably responsible for more lead vocals on more hit records throughout the history of recorded audio than all others (with the possible exception of the RCA 44) combined. They inspire unadulterated lust in enginners both young and old. They have pricetags that are guaranteed to get you into trouble with your spouse. They're old and fragile and magical. What are they? IMO...

Neumann U47

Neumann M49

Neumann U67


Telefunken ELA M251

I'd like to take each of these mikes, and discuss them one at a time... for a week, a month... however long it runs, and then we'll move on to the next one.
What is the history of the mic? What are some of the classic recordings it was used on? What are its strengths and weaknesses? What characteristics made it special? Have you ever owned / used one? What are your thoughts / impressions / favorite applications for the mic?


Well, since there doesn't seem to be a lot of activity on this with the M49 discussions, I'm going to move on to the next mic. Going in release date order, that's the AKG C-12.


Any objections? ;)

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