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Neumann M147 Tube Condenser Microphones
Old 9th December 2015
  #91
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
It's actually an opinion, that you either just don't agree with, or you're missing the premise of my argument. I'm saying, you've got an FET and an IC, for what purpose would you use a tube, other than to say, "it's a tube mic"?
I already answered this: because the tube being directly connected to the capsule (at least the front one, the only one used in the M 147), it performs the impedance conversion, which is mostly what a tube is intended for in a tube microphone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Also, you fail to mention how much of the lifting is done by the FET. My assumption is that the IC is there more for balancing the output, in place of using a transformer, like every other "tube mic." I'm surprised there's even that much gain. I was expecting most of it to be done by the FET.
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://recordinghacks.com/microphones/Neumann/M-149
The amplifier circuit is similar to that of the M147 Tube; both realize 10dB of gain from the tube in the amplifier circuit, and both use a transformerless output stage.
Old 10th December 2015
  #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I already answered this: because the tube being directly connected to the capsule (at least the front one, the only one used in the M 147), it performs the impedance conversion, which is mostly what a tube is intended for in a tube microphone.
Ugh. This is like talking to a wall. I know that, and in fact, I mentioned it before you ever brought it up. However, impedance conversion is not the only byproduct of tubes in the circuit. I don't know how many times I have to explain this to you. Particularly, in a non-hybrid tube microphone, the relationship between the tube and the transformer is extremely important. The 149 is a hybrid mic. Even Martin Schneider says so. Because of that type of circuit, it is no longer what is considered a true tube circuit.

And even though the obvious purpose of the tube is impedance conversion, duh, my point which you have missed over and over, is that impudence conversion could've been achieved a number of ways, and it is my belief that a tube was used for the way they wanted to market this microphone. If you are going with a mostly solid-state circuit, particularly if you were going to run the path through an IC, The tube was intended for the way they wanted to market this microphone. If you are going with a mostly solid-state circuit, particularly if you were going to run the path through an IC, there is no beneficial purpose to employing a tube for the impedance conversion other than the fact to say there is a tube in the microphone. I don't see why you can't understand that as my point.
Old 10th December 2015
  #93
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
OK, I will give you that. Let's say they have not innovated any great analog mics since then.
The question is: "do they need to?"

Microphone technology is pretty mature, so there is not that much you can do.

They came up with the TLM 102, that brought a quality mic. at a reasonable price and the KM-A series.

The GFM 132 was an excellent mic., but with too few sales to justify its continuation (luckily I have a pair ).

The U87Ai is still pretty well an "industry standard", the TLM 170R is still loved by those who want a more neutral LDC.

So they cover the range they need to.

And for those who don't like the Neumann "flavour" there are plenty of other manufacturers that produce hich quality mics with a different "colour" (or lack of "colour").

The market in the USA does seem to be a bit different from the rest of the world. The market for "vintage" and "vintage sounding" valve mics does seem to be a lot larger over there than in the rest of the world - so a perceived demand in the USA may be very small compared with a world view and may not be enough to warrent putting a mic. into production. Though smaller companies - Flea and Brauner for example - can more easily cope with producing small runs of a high quality mic.
Old 10th December 2015
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
The 149 is a hybrid mic.
Indeed. Which does not mean that the tube has only a marketing role.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
And even though the obvious purpose of the tube is impedance conversion, duh, my point which you have missed over and over, is that impudence conversion could've been achieved a number of ways, and it is my belief that a tube was used for the way they wanted to market this microphone.
Of course they could have used a FET instead of the tube like in the TLM 49 who has the same capsule, the same basket shape (may be not the same mesh grid ?) and sounds different. In the same way like in a 'true tube microphone', that is including a transformer according to your definition, the tube could be replaced by a FET-based circuit.
The same kind of comparison between M 149 and TLM 49 holds for the M 150 and the discontinued TLM 50 (despite of different basket shape). On another forum, while I was proposing the TLM 50 as a valuable alternative, David Bock replies that the M 150 is preferred in USA: in this case also, the tube makes a sonic difference and is not only a marketing trick.

Last edited by didier.brest; 10th December 2015 at 02:07 PM..
Old 10th December 2015
  #95
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Indeed. Which does not mean that the tube has only a marketing role.
In your opinion. You don't know that for a fact.

In my opinion, they wanted to make a mic with a tube in it as cheaply as possible, and the hybrid design was the answer to that problem, not the answer to any specific audio or operational problem.


Quote:
Of course they could have used a FET instead of the tube like in the TLM 49 who has the same capsule, the same basket shape (may be not the same mesh grid ?) and sounds different. In the same way like in a 'true tube microphone', that is including a transformer according to your definition, the tube could be replaced by a FET-based circuit.
And look how much cheaper they charge for it. It's a difference of about $4,000, and there's no way that the M149 costs $4,000 more to make. Congrats, Didier! You just proved my point for me!


Quote:
The same kind of comparison between M 149 and TLM 49 holds for the M 150 and the discontinued TLM 50 (despite of different basket shape). On another forum, while I was proposing the TLM 50 as a valuable alternative, David Bock replies that the M 150 is preferred in USA: in this case also, the tube makes a sonic difference and is not only a marketing trick.
You're out of your element. First off, the TLM50 is not analogous to the TLM49. The TLM50 is not on an SMD circuit like the TLM49. It's more analogous to the TLM170, in terms of manufacturing cost and design. Secondly, the TLM50s all failed initially, which gave them a very bad rep, probably leading to their eventual discontinuation. Allegedly, Neumann made a capsule in that which grew spores between the diaphragm an the backplate, because the materials were incompatible, much in the same way that you don't use copper and ferrous pipes together. The TLM50 would up being a disaster for the company before they switched to titanium diaphragms. Expensive, hard to make capsules that failed.

Last edited by jjblair; 10th December 2015 at 06:48 PM..
Old 10th December 2015
  #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
The market in the USA does seem to be a bit different from the rest of the world.
John, you're right. My guess is that much of their market abroad is broadcast driven, which has a smaller footprint here. I also believe they discovered that the real money makers are the "prosumer" products, which is where the 103 and the 102 fit. You make much more money selling a boatload of 103s and 102s than you do selling a handful of high ticket mics. The incentive to make the next high end game changing mic is not there for them, as it is for say David Bock, with his 507.
Old 10th December 2015
  #97
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
And look how much cheaper they charge for it. It's a difference of about $4,000, and there's no way that the M149 costs $4,000 more to make.
FET cadioid TLM 49 1398 €
Tube cardioid M 147 2290 €
Tube 9 directivities M 149 3955 €

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
First off, the TLM50 is not analogous to the TLM49.
It is not what I said. I said that there is some analogy between the comparison of the M 149 with the TLM 49 and the comparison of the M 150 with the TLM 50 because in both cases the tube provides some part of the sonic signature which makes the tube microphone sounding differently from the FET microphone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Secondly, the TLM50s all failed initially, which gave them a very bad rep, probably leading to their eventual discontinuation.
The TLM 50 was introduced in 1990 and discontinued very recently, may be because of the introduction of the KM 133 having the titanium capsule of the M 150, solid-state electronics and a removable diffraction sphere. The nickel capsule of the TLM 50 was more difficult to manufacture because it had to be thinner than the titanium capsule for the same weight and such a thickness, 2.5 µm, could not be achieved by mechanical means. The initial manufacturing issues did not prevent the TLM 50 to have a more than 20 year life.

Last edited by didier.brest; 11th December 2015 at 01:06 AM..
Old 11th December 2015
  #98
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho monkey View Post
<SNIP - stay on topic please>

Please, would you ask John Willet to do so ? There is no Neumann-dedicated thread where John participated without him mentioning Gefell, often in a way like here suggesting that Gefell would be more Neumann than Neumann. Do we have to face this endless hidden advertising from UK Gefell reseller without any reaction ?

Last edited by didier.brest; 11th December 2015 at 01:04 AM..
Old 11th December 2015
  #99
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
FET cadioid TLM 49 1398 €
Tube cardioid M 147 2290 €
Tube 9 directivities M 149 3955 €


It is not what I said. I said that there is some analogy between the comparison of the M 149 with the TLM 49 and the comparison of the M 150 with the TLM 50 because in both cases the tube provides some part of the sonic signature which makes the tube microphone sounding differently from the FET microphone.


The TLM 50 was introduced in 1990 and discontinued very recently, may be because of the introduction of the KM 133 having the titanium capsule of the M 150, solid-state electronics and a removable diffraction sphere. The nickel capsule of the TLM 50 was more difficult to manufacture because it had to be thinner than the titanium capsule for the same weight and such a thickness, 2.5 µm, could not be achieved by mechanical means. The initial manufacturing issues did not prevent the TLM 50 to have a more than 20 year life.
Dude, I don't know if you just don't speak English as a first language or what, but talking about this with you is circular and frustrating beyond belief.

First you did not refute at all what I just said about the TLM comparison. I said that you can't compare the two mics, because the circuits of the TLM49 and TLM50 are totally different, and in fact, the TLM49 was trying recreate aspects of what they described as "the tube sound."

And look at the MSRPs, for my price assertion. The M149 MSRPs were closer to what you would find the mic for sale at places like Coast Recording, before the advent of the internet and places like Sweetwater selling the mic. When the mic came out, the MSRP was $8500, and you have to negotiate to get it off of that. Things were different then. You could not buy that mic then for what Sweetwater sells it for now.

Second, you have no idea what you're talking about with regards to massive failures of the original nickel capsules in the TLM50. This has been known about for years. I've known about it since the mid '90s, which was certainly not 20 years after their introduction. And my point is that it's my feeling that this reputation played a part in their unpopularity. Believe me, if the mic were popular, they would still make it. You're reading the press releases saying that they changed the capsule because it was difficult to make, but trust me, it was because of the high rate of failure. I was just having a conversation with one of the people you quote as an authority in one of your earlier posts, just this week, where we were discussing the massive amounts of capsule failures in the TLM50s. I had to actually tell him about the spores created by the metal reaction, as he did not know about it. But the failures were well known about by everybody except you, apparently.

You obviously just want to disagree with me about something, and want to make some point that my opinion is wrong, or whatever, or you would just stop with your inane nonsense already. You don't have to agree with my opinion, but there is no metric by which you can disprove it. You keep trying to use the circuit of the design to disprove my belief, but you have failed at every turn to dissuade me, in fact simply repeating stuff I've already said as some type of argument in your favor.

Give up, dude. Just say, "I don't agree that this was their reasoning for the design." But if you're trying to change MY mind, every single thing you say either only proves my point, or is irrelevant. Unless the designers themselves say, "Honestly, the reason to not use a transformer, and use an FET and an IC in this circuit had nothing to do with cost control, because we were given carte blanche to make the best mic possible, regardless of cost," then nothing will change my mind that brass at Sennheiser/Neumann saw the renaissance of interest in tube mics, knew they had to get in on that wave, and told the designers "make a mic with a tube in it, but do it as inexpensively as possible." Now, you don't have to agree with me on that, but nothing in the circuit of this mic says anything else to me.
Old 11th December 2015
  #100
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post

Please, would you ask John Willet to do so ? There is no Neumann-dedicated thread where John participated without him mentioning Gefell, often in a way like here suggesting that Gefell would be more Neumann than Neumann. Do we have to face this endless hidden advertising from UK Gefell reseller without any reaction ?
Didier, you are misrepresenting me, please desist.

I have posted 5 times in this thread and only one post mentions Gefell. That was only in passing, and was, truthful, accurate and relevant to what was being discussed at the time.

I have also mentioned many other manufacturers when it was relevant.

You have made insinuations that I said things that I clearly did not say and seem to put your own twisted interpretations on things I do say to infer I say things that I didn't say.

Please desist.

You also totally ignore the fact that I have corrected negative posts about Neumann without mentioning Gefell at all, as I wanted to put the record straight.

Because I distribute (I am not a retailer) Gefell in the UK I actully post a lot *less* than I would post if I were not the distributor - and I am also a consultant and could also sell you a Neumann, Sennheiser, Schoeps, DPA, etc. if you asked, as I am on good terms with all of them, and many others as well.

I also stick to factual infomation, rather than personal feelings - I have also discussed this with the owners of Gearslutz to clarify things and they are very happy with the way I post and have no complaints at all. And if they are happy, so should you be - unless you have a hiddden agenda...
Old 11th December 2015
  #101
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Hi John,

Let me give you an advice with your own words at the time when you was not yet the UK Gefell distributor:

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Gefell grew out of the remains of what Neumann was forced to leave behind on the East. Forget their old connection with Neumann. Gefell are now a top rank microphone company on their own right.
Old 11th December 2015
  #102
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Hi John,

Let me give you an advice with your own words at the time when you was not yet the UK Gefell distributor:



Yes, true, and still true to a large extent; but written before I knew that they were still owned by Neumann's original company and before I fully researched the history of the two halves of Neumann.

Georg Neumann & Co., established in 1928 (now Georg Neumann KG) owns Microtech Gefell

Georg Neumann GmbH, established in 1946, trading as Neumann Berlin is now owned by Sennheiser (since 1991)


Neumann history on the Neumann website is HERE

Neumann history on the Gefell website is HERE

In fact the Neumann Logo was designed by Erich Kühnast in Gefell in 1949 - it was used without a diamond on microphones produced in the Gefell factory and with the famous diamond on microphones produced in the Berlin factory.

The two factories worked closely together until 1961, when the Berlin wall went up, and management still kept in close contact (illegally) after that.

Gefell were trading as Georg Neumann & Co. until 1971 when they were approprated by the state.

So the two companies were tightly bound together. When the Berlin wall and the iron curtain came down in 1989 there was the possibility of the two joining up again. But, before this happened, Neumann's heirs sold Neumann GmbH to Sennheiser. A couple of years later Microtech Gefell was restored from State ownership back to Georg Neumann & Co. As Neumann's heirs still did not want a microphone company, they then sold Georg Neumann & Co. to a management buyout of Georg Neumann's original staff and heirs.

To be honest, I don't think that Neumann and Gefell microphones really compete with each other at all - more, they compliment each other. And if they *did* come back together I can only think of one Neumann microphone that would be discontinued and one Gefell one (Neumann TLM 103 as it's too close to the Gefell M930/940/950 series and the Gefell SMS 2000 series as the Neumann KM-A and KM-D series is more flexible); otherwise, everything else comliments rather than competes - and that's why I said "you have a choice" earlier in this thread.
Old 11th December 2015
  #103
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Weepit's Avatar
 

JJ vs Didier was far more interesting.

Don't most people just skip the posts by the salesmen?

Gefell are the New Originals? I thought it was the Tap...
Old 11th December 2015
  #104
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Quite a read over a microphone.I think as others have said if you get it for under $1.3k its a fine mic.For those who like more shimmer this is not that mic at all.It's a nod to a U47 but lacks the butter IMO...But sometimes you don't want butter...you want nice olive oil.
Old 11th December 2015
  #105
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weepit View Post
Don't most people just skip the posts by the salesmen?
Obvious selling posts, yes.

Others, no; as anyone connected with a company has more insight and expertise - and I *do* get plenty of PMs asking for technical help about Sennehiser and Neumann mics as well as Gefell and others, which I am happy to answer.

But I have never posted a "salesman" post and only mentioned a product when it was relevant and never hyped anything up.

Suggesting something "worthy of consideration" is only adding something to be considered and in no way a "sales post" - which is why Gearslutz are happy with how I post (and I checked).

In fact, personally, I am very careful to avoid any "sales" type posts.

Now back to topic...
Old 25th December 2015
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlheinz View Post
Quite a read over a microphone.I think as others have said if you get it for under $1.3k its a fine mic.For those who like more shimmer this is not that mic at all.It's a nod to a U47 but lacks the butter IMO...But sometimes you don't want butter...you want nice olive oil.
I think it's a fine mic for the retail price too- there isn't a mic on the market that is a modern mic that is around the same price that sounds nearly as good. Just my humble opinion.
Old 25th December 2015
  #107
Gear Addict
I bought an m147 new in 2000. My knowledge and resources for testing alternatives was limited at the time, and the only other mic I considered/compared at the time was an at4060. I picked the m147 because its off-axis rejection was better and it sounded "clearer" in my solo vox tests at the store. Of course it's "clearer" than that at4060; the m147 has a rise in the upper mids.

15 years later, I have extensively shot out my m147 on my voice with tlm67, Flea 47, Flea 49 Next, at4060 (I eventually got one), and U87ai. I have had ample time to test these mics on their own and in a dense mix, with whatever processing I might use, and a/b them with quick switch flips. My 15 year quest for the best mic for my voice is now over, and I have picked . . . my m147.

To be fair to all those mics, with eq and compression in a dense pop-rock mix, I can make them all sound darn near the same, and all sound really good.

So there it is. 15 years and a pile of mics and I end up where I began, and with a mic that gets flamed around here a lot. I was really surprised that I like the m147 on my voice better than the Flea 47, which is also awesome, but a little too bright in the highs for my methods in the mix. Some here will certainly conclude I must have tin ears. Maybe I do.
Lee
Old 26th December 2015
  #108
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Klaus's Avatar
 

In my mind it is obvious what a tremendous contribution a first-rate capsule like a Neumann K47 can make to the sound of even a mic with questionable electronics.

The U87 is another example: despite Neumann's considerable concessions to the fidelity-limiting requirements the German broadcast board required, the K87 capsule makes up for a lot of the processor's shortcomings.

Last edited by Klaus; 26th December 2015 at 04:19 AM..
Old 28th July 2017
  #109
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So I'm digging up this old thread... I bought a used m147 and just got it here today. I'm unfortunately probably going to have to return it as there is a noise issue that sounds almost like a ground hum, I'm doing some tests at another studio tomorrow.

I had an ambitious plan to do a youtube video where I recorded everything with just the m147 just to show it's not as horrible as this place makes it out to be! I don't know if I'll be able to do that since this one's probably going back. In the mean time, I've included a link below of me using it on acoustic guitar and vocals. I apologize for the "musicianship", I wasn't planning on posting this and just did a quick and dirty take of each so I could hear the mic. I used an AEA TRP preamp, so you're literally hearing the mic without any preamp influence. Not a lot of processing going on, UAD fairchild and pultec plugin on both acoustic and vocal track and a limiter on the master buss.

It's been a few years since I've used an m147, my only initial complaint about it is that the proximity effect was a bit obnoxious on the acoustic guitar. I used a Taylor K20, it's an all Koa dreadnought. It's one of the most well balanced overall guitars I've played, micing it with the m147 was like fighting a really boomy old martin! I liked it on my voice though. I use a Blue Kiwi on a lot of vocals but wanted something different that was tube, not very sibilant, but mid forward (But NOT like a U-87). It did that very well, I intentionally pushed EQ in a few places I have sibilance issues and it took it well. I should have thrown on a mild deesser, but I left it off so you could hear how well it handles sibilance even when pushed to extreme.

My only other initial reaction was that it has an almost extreme vintage character to it in the way the mids are pushed and distort a bit. I think Neumann really bent over backwards to try and give it some character, almost like that tube is being pushed harder than it would be normally. Anyway, here's the snippet:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1...3ZqSnNnQUxsaGs
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