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Opinion on Telefunken USA U47
Old 7th December 2016
  #1
Opinion on Telefunken USA U47

Hey guys, I can't find much on the Telefunken USA U47. What is your opinion on it? How does it compare to the real deal
Old 7th December 2016
  #2
One of the best mics you can buy. The best mic ive personally used. For 8k though, rent it or try it out before you buy make sure its for you
Old 7th December 2016
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kangking View Post
One of the best mics you can buy. The best mic ive personally used. For 8k though, rent it or try it out before you buy make sure its for you

Just out of curiosity, how close does the VF14K T-Funk mic sound to the original? We all know that there is a great deal of variation even among healthy U47 mics, but isn't the T-Funk U47 more of a clone than a replica?

It is missing at least two of the most important elements: It doesn't have a Neumann capsule, nor a Telefunken VF14. Even if the BV8 transformer is "close enough", now can this mic actually sound like the real thing?

I owned a Telefunken-badged U47 for many years and made many recordings with it for record albums and commercial jingles. It was very possibly the best mic I have ever heard in my life. When I liquidated my commercial studio of 25 years it was sold with nearly everything else to pay off creditors.

So there are a lot of mics that look similar to the U47/U48 that are being offered these days, some very affordably priced. Some are positioned as "improved" or more "Hi-Fi", whatever. How can you improve perfection? The only mics I've heard that sound anything like my U47 were other U47s.

(There are also other wonderful mics that Neumann and AKG manufactured which are equally revered, but I'm concentrating on the U47 for this discussion.)

So, is T-Funk's U47 just a masterful mechanical replication of the physical essence of the real thing or have the guys in Connecticut found a way to recreate a U47 in the modern age? Granted, it is completely possible to create a really good sounding microphone that sounds nothing like a real U47, but is it possible to come "close enough" to call it even?
Old 7th December 2016
  #4
Old 7th December 2016
  #5
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TFK has done many revisions over the years, but here's the bottom line: No K47 and no VF14(M), no U47. They make a fine, usable mic. But you cannot possibly do what a U47 does without those two ingredients, and I'm sorry to say that the VF14K is not the replacement we all hoped it would be. And nobody is making an M7 or K47 that is on par with the originals.

Last edited by jjblair; 7th December 2016 at 02:07 PM..
Old 7th December 2016
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scullyfan View Post
Just out of curiosity, how close does the VF14K T-Funk mic sound to the original? We all know that there is a great deal of variation even among healthy U47 mics, but isn't the T-Funk U47 more of a clone than a replica?

It is missing at least two of the most important elements: It doesn't have a Neumann capsule, nor a Telefunken VF14. Even if the BV8 transformer is "close enough", now can this mic actually sound like the real thing?

I owned a Telefunken-badged U47 for many years and made many recordings with it for record albums and commercial jingles. It was very possibly the best mic I have ever heard in my life. When I liquidated my commercial studio of 25 years it was sold with nearly everything else to pay off creditors.

So there are a lot of mics that look similar to the U47/U48 that are being offered these days, some very affordably priced. Some are positioned as "improved" or more "Hi-Fi", whatever. How can you improve perfection? The only mics I've heard that sound anything like my U47 were other U47s.

(There are also other wonderful mics that Neumann and AKG manufactured which are equally revered, but I'm concentrating on the U47 for this discussion.)

So, is T-Funk's U47 just a masterful mechanical replication of the physical essence of the real thing or have the guys in Connecticut found a way to recreate a U47 in the modern age? Granted, it is completely possible to create a really good sounding microphone that sounds nothing like a real U47, but is it possible to come "close enough" to call it even?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
TFK has done many revisions over the years, but here's the bottom line: No K47 and no VF14(M), no U47. They make a fine, usable mic. But you cannot possible do what a U47 does without those two ingredients, and I'm sorry to say that the VF14K is not the replacement we all hoped it would be. And nobody is making an M7 or K47 that is on par with the originals.
Thanks for the info. The new telefunken u47 is still the best mic ive used. I used many high end mics but the tone of their u47 is my favorite by far. There are a lot of 47 clones out these days i still think telefunken has the best one. There are a lot of cheaper 47 emulations and a lot of them are great for the price. Just depends on your budget and your purpose for it. I dont think you need the vintage (but i could be wrong) but i dont think you can easily replace the new tele 47 either
Old 7th December 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kangking View Post
Thanks for the info. The new telefunken u47 is still the best mic ive used. I used many high end mics but the tone of their u47 is my favorite by far. There are a lot of 47 clones out these days i still think telefunken has the best one. There are a lot of cheaper 47 emulations and a lot of them are great for the price. Just depends on your budget and your purpose for it. I dont think you need the vintage (but i could be wrong) but i dont think you can easily replace the new tele 47 either
Absolutely. They are great folks there, and they make some top notch stuff.

If your objective is to have something sound exactly like a U47, then you need a real U47. If your objective is a make great music and recordings, you can absolutely do that with their mic.
Old 7th December 2016
  #8
This mic is a real ripoff then if you were looking for a "replica". It's like 9k
Old 7th December 2016
  #9
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Doc Mixwell's Avatar
I sometimes use a new Tele u47 into a Retro Powerstrip and it sounds really nice after a few tweaks,
Old 7th December 2016
  #10
I see the Telefunken as a complete utter waste of money.

It is not a u47, despite the appearance.

I prefer the FLEA 47, and even if you don't... it's still going to be close enough that a 4k difference cannot be justified. Think about it: for 8k, you could buy a FLEA AND money left over for a pair of classic Coles (not clones) ribbons, or an outstanding modern classic like the Brauner VMA.

If you are REALLY intent on spending 8k on a tele u47, just know that almost none of these mics hold their resale value well. I bought my used Sony C800gpac for $3800 in mint condition. Don't do it as an investment.
Old 8th December 2016
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
And nobody is making an M7 or K47 that is on par with the originals.

JJ, I thought Neumann still made an outstanding K47?

Last edited by Scullyfan; 8th December 2016 at 01:28 AM.. Reason: clarification
Old 8th December 2016
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by DomiBabi View Post
I see the Telefunken as a complete utter waste of money.

It is not a u47, despite the appearance.

I prefer the FLEA 47, and even if you don't... it's still going to be close enough that a 4k difference cannot be justified. Think about it: for 8k, you could buy a FLEA AND money left over for a pair of classic Coles (not clones) ribbons, or an outstanding modern classic like the Brauner VMA.

If you are REALLY intent on spending 8k on a tele u47, just know that almost none of these mics hold their resale value well. I bought my used Sony C800gpac for $3800 in mint condition. Don't do it as an investment.
Saw a shootout with all the u47 clones. I still think the tele is worth the money. Has a 3d sound that the other mics do not have imo

Old 8th December 2016
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
... And nobody is making an M7 or K47 that is on par with the originals.
Neumann still does - K47.
Old 8th December 2016
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by kangking View Post
Saw a shootout with all the u47 clones. I still think the tele is worth the money. Has a 3d sound that the other mics do not have imo

Tele sounds like it has more a more extended top than I'm used to hearing on our studio's u47. It also has more focused but thinner low end.

The flea is actually darker than our u47 but really nails the bottom end. It has that same flattering hefty vibe.

I'm not too sure about the 3-D thing. I usually chalk that up to a slightly wider cardiod pattern or the mic's position in a room. Maybe you mean more detailed? The telefunken is definitely more modern sounding than an original or a FLEA.

Disclaimer: I've only used the studio's U47. It is literally the only u47 I have ever worked with, and I have no way of knowing how it compares to the others out there. It is 100% original (including the tube), and looks to have been maintained well. That said, who knows? There are def more qualified people than me who could give a more accurate comparison.
Old 8th December 2016
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scullyfan View Post
JJ, I thought Neumann still made an outstanding K47?
I mean nobody aside from Neumann. BTW, the capsule is a called a K47. The KK47 is the entire head grill assembly.
Old 8th December 2016
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DomiBabi View Post
Tele sounds like it has more a more extended top than I'm used to hearing on our studio's u47. It also has more focused but thinner low end.

The flea is actually darker than our u47 but really nails the bottom end. It has that same flattering hefty vibe.

I'm not too sure about the 3-D thing. I usually chalk that up to a slightly wider cardiod pattern or the mic's position in a room. Maybe you mean more detailed? The telefunken is definitely more modern sounding than an original or a FLEA.

Disclaimer: I've only used the studio's U47. It is literally the only u47 I have ever worked with, and I have no way of knowing how it compares to the others out there. It is 100% original (including the tube), and looks to have been maintained well. That said, who knows? There are def more qualified people than me who could give a more accurate comparison.
ok good response. everyone has their own opinions. I think the telefunken had more depth or something, there was just something there i didn't hear in the others. just sounds the best! my second fav was the wunder cm7s. but i still felt the telefunken sounded best
Old 9th December 2016
  #17
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Other companies I would support long before Telefunken.
Old 9th December 2016
  #18
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Absolutely. They are great folks there, and they make some top notch stuff.

If your objective is to have something sound exactly like a U47, then you need a real U47. If your objective is a make great music and recordings, you can absolutely do that with their mic.

This!! My Manley Reference Gold sounds nothing like a vintage U47. It's not supposed to. But the Manley through my UA LA 610 (an outstanding match) is pure heaven on anything you put in front of it.

Having said that, I would LOVE to have a great modern U47 based mic such as the Tele U47, FLEA, Wunder, Wagner, Pearlman, or any number of other superb U47 based mics. Some get very, very, close to the original in tone (i.e. FLEA). Others not so much. But most of them have much more to offer than how accurately they reproduce the original U47 tone. I think that is far too often overlooked with some of the current, wonderful, U47 based offerings. Because of variation in tone of original U47s I'm not even sure there is such thing as a perfect reproduction of "the U47 tone"...even the original U47. I do indeed think you can get somewhat closer than "in the ballpark". But I also think the ballpark is a little larger than we sometimes think. My 2 cents.
Old 9th December 2016
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kr1012 View Post
This!! My Manley Reference Gold sounds nothing like a vintage U47. It's not supposed to. But the Manley through my UA LA 610 (an outstanding match) is pure heaven on anything you put in front of it.

Having said that, I would LOVE to have a great modern U47 based mic such as the Tele U47, FLEA, Wunder, Wagner, Pearlman, or any number of other superb U47 based mics. Some get very, very, close to the original in tone (i.e. FLEA). Others not so much. But most of them have much more to offer than how accurately they reproduce the original U47 tone. I think that is far too often overlooked with some of the current, wonderful, U47 based offerings. Because of variation in tone of original U47s I'm not even sure there is such thing as a perfect reproduction of "the U47 tone"...even the original U47. I do indeed think you can get somewhat closer than "in the ballpark". But I also think the ballpark is a little larger than we think. My 2 cents.

Exactly. The question is then: if the tfunken is 4K more than most of the other "clones", is it really worth it?

My take is, these are all great mics, regardless of how close they get to a mic most folks will never get to hear in person. They all do a great job, and all sound similar enough to be interchangeable during a session.

So is the job the Telefunken does noticeably or measureably better? Not really. Neither are any of the clones, or even the original. 4K is a lot to pay for a brand name, especially when the brand isn't even the original.

I'd buy the cheapest one I could be happy living with.
Old 9th December 2016
  #20
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I will add that there is a very famous studio here in LA with a bunch of U47s. A good deal, if not most of those U47s have Nuvistors in them. A Nuvstor U47 sounds very different than one with a VF14, but you'd be amazed how many people never notice.
Old 9th December 2016
  #21
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I've heard before that there was a way to implement that nuvistor that was much better than how Neumann did it, and gets much closer to the sound.

On another note, I happened to remember this post from many years ago... Just posting it as a point of interest, not because I agree:

All Aspects of Neumann Products - Re: Dates
Old 13th December 2016
  #22
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Hamburg58's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DomiBabi View Post
I see the Telefunken as a complete utter waste of money.

It is not a u47, despite the appearance.

I prefer the FLEA 47, and even if you don't... it's still going to be close enough that a 4k difference cannot be justified. Think about it: for 8k, you could buy a FLEA AND money left over for a pair of classic Coles (not clones) ribbons, or an outstanding modern classic like the Brauner VMA.

If you are REALLY intent on spending 8k on a tele u47, just know that almost none of these mics hold their resale value well. I bought my used Sony C800gpac for $3800 in mint condition. Don't do it as an investment.
Gotta say I respectfully disagree. I own a pair of Flea C12's and they blow me away. I've shot them out with a pair of non matched original C12's and while they original C12's were lovely, the Flea's just owned them in the highs. The imaging was the same to me.

That being said, I also own a Telefunken USA U48. At the time, a broker was selling a few other U47 types. I managed to get a Flea, Wunder CM7 and an original Neumann short body U47 with a K47.

The Neumann won. Hands down. It had this butter that I can't describe. In fact, all of the other mics had that low end of the real U47. A close 2nd was the Telefunken USA mic. It had that huge proximity effect and the beautiful lows. It also has a Thiersch M7. I had a head grill with a Thiersch K47 as well. The Thiersch K47 ompared to what was in the real U47, didn't do it for me. But the Thiersch M7 was spot on to my ears.

I've had it for almost 7 years and never have looked back. I've had folks rent 47's before and we always toss up the Telefunken USA and it holds its own quite well. In my opinion it goes farther than the Flea. The Flea is wonderful, but having used real U47's most of my recording life, this one really had it to me. Now I have serial 19. I have no idea what has changed there. I know they were using the TAB transformer as well as a few other wise choices early on. I hope they've kept it up.

Last edited by Hamburg58; 13th December 2016 at 01:12 PM.. Reason: punctuation
Old 13th December 2016
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
I will add that there is a very famous studio here in LA with a bunch of U47s. A good deal, if not most of those U47s have Nuvistors in them. A Nuvstor U47 sounds very different than one with a VF14, but you'd be amazed how many people never notice.
Gotta say I've heard some U47's with nuvistors that were some of the most gorgeous sounding mics I've ever heard. The tube is a lot of it, but not all of it.
Old 13th December 2016
  #24
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That's interesting, Thiersch has never advertised or listed a k47 type.
Old 13th December 2016
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamburg58 View Post
Gotta say I've heard some U47's with nuvistors that were some of the most gorgeous sounding mics I've ever heard. The tube is a lot of it, but not all of it.
They can sound very nice, but the frequency response is completely different.
Old 13th December 2016
  #26
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamburg58 View Post
The Thiersch K47 ompared to what was in the real U47, didn't do it for me. But the Thiersch M7 was spot on to my ears.
Interesting. I've had a Thiersch M7 in one of my 47s for several years, and have always found it dark compared to my K47s. I left it on, just so I could use that mic on things like saxophone, where I wanted it a little darker, but I finally decided to put a real K47 in it.
Old 13th December 2016
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Interesting. I've had a Thiersch M7 in one of my 47s for several years, and have always found it dark compared to my K47s. I left it on, just so I could use that mic on things like saxophone, where I wanted it a little darker, but I finally decided to put a real K47 in it.
I agree, the Thiersch M7 is definitely a little on the dark side compared to a k47/49.
Old 13th December 2016
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
That's interesting, Thiersch has never advertised or listed a k47 type.
At one point he did offer Chinese K47s.

And of course he re-skins old K47s.

But maybe Hamburg58 was talking about a Mylar(or PET) versus PVC M7?
Old 13th December 2016
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legato View Post
At one point he did offer Chinese K47s.

And of course he re-skins old K47s.

But maybe Hamburg58 was talking about a Mylar(or PET) versus PVC M7?
Ah, now that you mention it, I do remember the chinese k47's being on his site.
Old 14th December 2016
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
That's interesting, Thiersch has never advertised or listed a k47 type.
Im totally wrong. It was the red line M7 that I didn't care for, not the K47. Quite a difference. Sorry for the confusion!
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