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Telefunken ELAM 251E Condenser Microphones
Old 5th March 2010
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Telefunken ELAM 251E

After much research in a new microphone purchase, I decided to demo the Telefunken ELA M 251E. The nice people at Mercenary hooked me up with one. I was debating between the 251 and the C12 and went with the 251 as it was more or less going to be a primary vocal mic. In a few days, it arrived and upon first look, I knew it was going to be a fine mic. The briefcase alone represented close attention to detail in every manner. Took it out of the box and inspected it to make sure there was no damage in the shipping. The connectors, power supply, etc, all well built. I was already impressed. Then took the mic to the studio, let it warm up for about a 1/2 hour and recorded some male vocal tracks. I was going straight into a SSL 9000 pre into a Digi 192 clocked by BigBen at 96K. As soon as I heard it, WOW. So clear and bright but not brittle, great warm low end but not the least bit muddy. Just perfect. Next was accoustic guitar. Again the mic was fantastic. It picked up all of the nuances and detail from top to bottom of every note and chord. No EQ needed, nor did I once even think to use it. As a matter of fact, I think using any EQ could only make it sound worse if you know what I mean. Just sits right in the mix with a vocal and sounds great. The vocal as well did not need anything. Next I tried the same sequece but with a Vintech X73i, Male vocal and overbubbed acoustic guitar. A little difference sounding of course. Here it was even better for the vocal. Just gave it some body and some color, although it was perfect without. I prefered the SSL 9000 on the accoustic guitar however on account of the transparency. The next day, I had a female vocalist record a few takes. This time the mic amazed me again. However, the singer prefrered the U87 that she always uses for her vocals when we A/B'd them. She has a strong siblance in the 10K region and it was coming out fairly heavy but that is normal for her. Both takes were through the Vintech. I am simply posting this thread to give my personal review of this mic. There are plenty of other threads here on GS regarding this mic. I was simply blown away by it...

-Tguy
Old 6th March 2010
  #2
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nukmusic's Avatar
 

cool deal.
Old 6th March 2010
  #3
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geareyes's Avatar
Its a great feeling to be satisfied with a big purchase.The mic should rock your world,considering the enormity of the investment.

Thanks for the review.

Mike
Old 6th March 2010
  #4
Gear Addict
 

YW. I have never heard or could compare it to an original. But at this point, I dont think it could possibly be better. I would recomend this to anyone looking for that sound. Its a pricey mic but if you can justify the dollars its worth every penny. To spend 15K or so on an original doesnt make any sense.
Old 6th March 2010
  #5
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geareyes's Avatar
The resale value on an orig comes into play.
Old 6th March 2010
  #6
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
...and in 50 years who is to say that the "resale" on the "reissue" won't be similar?
Old 6th March 2010
  #7
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dbjp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
...and in 50 years who is to say that the "resale" on the "reissue" won't be similar?
Resale value of 'originals' tend to go up by a very nice percentage by the year, rather than by the half-century.So if you're going to keep resale value within 5-10 years in mind before a purchase, getting an original might make sense.
Old 6th March 2010
  #8
IM_
Gear Head
 
IM_'s Avatar
I recorded male vocals today with 251 into Shadow Hills steel preamplifier and 1178
sounds very Smooth and posh.
I think this should be my next condenser mic investment
Old 6th March 2010
  #9
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carloff's Avatar
I would prefer original as well because of value...But..I really would like to try Telefunken Electroacoustic in my studio to my other mics...
Old 6th March 2010
  #10
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syra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
...and in 50 years who is to say that the "resale" on the "reissue" won't be similar?
A huge part of the high price tag that comes with vintage equipment has to do with the fact that they are not made anymore. If Tele USA was to go out of business tomorrow then their mics in the years to come may end up going up in value. Until then.. no comparison really.
Old 6th March 2010
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Sure they probably would. My Toyota would'nt though... However, a $9K mic is not just a simple monitary investment. Its a tool just like any other mic, and would'nt be sitting in glass case waiting for the vintage market to go up. If I wanted to invest $15K, it sure as hell wouldnt be in a microphone.
Old 6th March 2010
  #12
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carloff's Avatar
Vintage Elam would be nice to pair with my U47, M49 and Siemens SM204(C12 with bigger tranny)
Old 6th March 2010
  #13
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antoniosolo's Avatar
 

Tele

I great mic is like a great quarterback. He makes the plays happen. And he does it year in, year out. You don't trade him, and his salary increases because he wins, every time. What else performs like the vintage mics? Until you find a cheaper replacement, the vintage stalwarts will remain the starters in the league....
Old 7th March 2010
  #14
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
A huge part of the high price tag that comes with vintage equipment has to do with the fact that they are not made anymore.
Another huge part is madness.

These new Telefunken 251's are fantastic. I recorded a few things with a rented one a few years ago and... Oh, my God.

That thing is truly inspiring!

- c
Old 7th March 2010
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Had my first opportunity to sing through an ELAM 250 through a John Hardy M2, into a 192, DIGIsync'd.

Blown away.

Been using a TLM103, KSM44, ST69, SM7b for my vox usually.

Completely different ballgame with the 'Funken.

Need one.
Old 7th March 2010
  #16
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nukmusic's Avatar
 

without a good offensive line, good wide receivers/running backs, and a good coach/game plan.......a great QB is as unless as a baby's ****ty diaper.

(other good gear, talented artist/musician, and a knowledgeable engineer are all equally part of the equation).
Old 8th March 2010
  #17
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nukmusic View Post
without a good offensive line, good wide receivers/running backs, and a good coach/game plan.......a great QB is as unless as a baby's ****ty damper.
See 1998 Indianapolis Colts for details...
Old 20th March 2010
  #18
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nukmusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
See 1998 Indianapolis Colts for details...
heh 1999
Old 20th March 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
 
antoniosolo's Avatar
 

Tele

Everyone steps up when their quarterback is the real deal. Indy's quarterback just can't escape the choke-hold the big game puts on him.....you can say what you want, but the vintage mic is where it is at...and one of the first purchases upon my retirement


I know, do you? Like they say, if you got 'em, use 'em.....
Old 20th March 2010
  #20
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Hmmmm vintage quarterbacks... I'd take Drew Brees over Archie Manning... Peyton Manning over Johnny Unitas [who is so vintage, he's dead... or maybe just needs some serious maintenance]... Eli Manning over Phil Simms... and while I would definitely go with Brett Farve over Cooper Manning, Brett isn't quite "vintage" yet...
Old 20th March 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
The 251 is definitely my dream mic...When my ship comes in, I'm gonna buy one. I demo'd the 251 V AC and it was a mistake...heh

Fletcher, you guys at Tele want to make my dream come true? If you send me one, I promise to be an uncompromising fanboy...I'll even take an E...
Old 21st March 2010
  #22
Gear Addict
 

I've had a 251E for two and a half years now and am very happy with it. I've had a little bit of a problem with a ground connection which had been fixed by Charlie Bolois about a year ago, but seems to be happening again. I purchased three consecutive serial numbers with two other friends so we'd always have a pretty matched stereo pair always available if needed and one of the others seems to be having this problem occur too.

Telefunken and Charlie have provided excellent support. Other than this issue I'm blown away at how stellar this mic sounds.
Old 30th March 2010
  #23
Vintage 251e vs. the New

Quote:
Originally Posted by tguy View Post
YW. I have never heard or could compare it to an original. But at this point, I don't think it could possibly be better. I would recommend this to anyone looking for that sound. Its a pricey mic but if you can justify the dollars its worth every penny. To spend 15K or so on an original doesnt make any sense.
We spent a few hours yesterday comparing an original to a new 251E. Interlace Audio has used a borrowed original 251 on virtually every project for the last year and today they need to return it to the kind owner. Bummed about losing their favorite mic, they asked me to bring the new 251e to compare yesterday. Kris (the studio owner and primary engineer) expressed that he didn't expect the new one to sound as good but hoped it would at least be close. To his surprise, we both slightly preferred the sound of the new 251e on acoustic guitar and the vocal. They were REAL close but the new one was just a tad less "Ssey". Although, I've heard others say that their vintage 251 is slightly mellower than the new one, which confirms that not all vintage 251s are equal, but I am a believer that Telefunken has made an accurate reproduction of the original.
Old 31st March 2010
  #24
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patheticus's Avatar
 

Greg is right! I listened to the sessions again this morning and I still like the new one better. Both 251's had NOS 5 star GE 6072's in them as well. We did everything we could to make the test even. I'm searching the couch cushions for that $9,000 right now.

We had both 251's up against a Korby Kat u67 and u47, ADK A51, and three other new Telefunken's(c12, u47, AR51). My favorite was the new 251, with the original one in the closest 2nd imaginable. The u47 and c12 tied for third. And I actually liked the AR51 better than the ADK or Korby.

After I purchase the 251, I'll be saving up for a new Telefunken u47 and C12. I've owned and used a lot of great mics ($2,000 - $20,000) and I have to say these new Telefunkens are some of the most impressive mics I've heard.
Old 31st March 2010
  #25
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World Studios's Avatar
I would sure like to hear some clips from the shootout. All the mics you preferred are really expensive, exept the Ar51. It would be very nice to hear it next to the 251e, a mic i really want but have trouble justifying the outlay for....
Old 31st March 2010
  #26
Gear Addict
 
patheticus's Avatar
 

It would be hard to justify $9,000 based on audio clips. I completely agree. For the last year and a half I've been making records with a vintage Elam 251 that was borrowed from a friend. It suites the way I track vocals perfect. Having used a 251 in a working environment for that long, I feel I have no other choice but to purchase one. I personally know that there is nothing better out there for me. That's how I justify $9,000.

That being said, the AR51 is a badass mic and an excellent choice for anyone who can't justify spending $9,000 on a single microphone. And that's not a put down. A year and half ago I would have punched the future me and ran off with my $9,000.

Greg and I will get those clips posted asap.
Old 1st April 2010
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by patheticus View Post
We had both 251's up against a Korby Kat u67 and u47, ADK A51, and three other new Telefunken's(c12, u47, AR51). My favorite was the new 251, with the original one in the closest 2nd imaginable. The u47 and c12 tied for third. And I actually liked the AR51 better than the ADK or Korby.
The ADK mic tested was a Custom Shop CS-47YJ. It's one of my favorite vocal mics that I've used on countless projects over the last couple years, although it certainly complements some voices better than others. It was the least expensive mic in our shootout besides the AR-51. I would like to compare the ADK CS-251 to the AR-51 sometime, since they are very close in price, and are both intended to have a 251-ish vibe.
Old 1st April 2010
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
fimone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg B View Post
We spent a few hours yesterday comparing an original to a new 251E and they were VERY much alike. Actually they were virtually identical except the new one looked...new. Interlace Audio has used a borrowed original 251 on virtually every project for the last year and today they need to return it to the kind owner. Bummed about losing their favorite mic, they asked me to bring the new 251e to compare yesterday. Kris (the studio owner and primary engineer) expressed that he didn't expect the new one to sound as good but hoped it would at least be close. To his surprise, we both slightly preferred the sound of the new 251e on acoustic guitar and the vocal. They were REAL close but the new one was just a tad less "Ssey". Although, I've heard others say that their vintage 251 is slightly mellower than the new one, which confirms that not all vintage 251s are equal, but I am a total believer that Telefunken has made an accurate reproduction of the original.

We ran both mics through identical API preamps and Lavry Gold converters into ProTools HD at 24/96. If anyone wants pics or sound clips, just PM me.
please post the pics and the audio files !!!!!!!
Old 1st April 2010
  #29
Gear Nut
 

When you can compare a new and vintage telefunken 251, you almost have the responsability to provide us with audio files, it should be law here.
Old 2nd April 2010
  #30
Telefunken Comparison Audio Files

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delré View Post
When you can compare a new and vintage telefunken 251, you almost have the responsability to provide us with audio files, it should be law here.
I've posted the Audio Files and Pics Here:

Tube Microphone Comparison - Telefunken 251, U47, C12, and More
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