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Neumann M49 vs M149
Old 24th May 2013
  #1
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Neumann M49 vs M149

Hi members,

For a few years now, I'm thinking about buying a neumann M49 or M149 mic. I used it in the past on different cd recordings in a studio and it always sounded great on my voice. Right now I have a few AKG ULS 414 B mics and I have one Neumann U87. The U87 is great on everything. Espeically guitar and violin. With my voice it only sounds nice when I sing in medium or low register. When I sing higher it sounds very nasal. Also I'm just exciting about having a M49 or M149.

I recently had 2 chances of buying a real Neumann M49 for around 4000 dollars. Of one the tube was changed by sennheiser and the other one was a very old one. I was afraid to take the risk. I called Neumann in Germany and they told me that most probably the tube of the old Neumann M49 had to be replaced and it would cost extra money. Also I read stories of people having troubles with old neumann mics making a buss sound and other stuff. I'm just afraid to buy an expensive mic without warranty.

Now I was actually thinking about buying a new Neumann M149. I always thought it was exactly the same built as the M49 only with more patterns.
But I also read other stories. It this true? Is it the same as the M49? Or is is the Neumann M49 very different in sound from the M149

I want a sound that is better then the Neumann U87 otherwise it's a waste of money. I hope someone knows.

Also the Flea M49 crossed my mind. But I cannot find a reliable company that sells it in a store.

I'm making another threat about a preamp question.

Thanks in advance for the asnwers,
Anna
Old 24th May 2013
  #2
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Callison's Avatar
If you can get a m49 for $4000 bucks, DO IT!!!! I just sold a m149. Good mic but nothing like a M49.
Old 24th May 2013
  #3
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
My Soundelux E49 is an M49 clone. And it kills the M149 in every way.

I agree the vintage unit is vastly superior. But those clones are nearly identical to the real thing.
Old 24th May 2013
  #4
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Since the end of the 50s, the M 49 and the M 149 have the same capsule, the K 47/49.
Old 24th May 2013
  #5
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Avening's Avatar
 

The M49 and M149 sound fairly different. The M149 is transformerless, and tends to lean towards a cleaner, lower distortion characteristic. It's an excellent mic, with exceptional clarity. Great in front of a orchestra, piano, choir, ect... Can also make a fantastic vocal mic, but I find myself reaching for something else in the chain to give it some excitement.

The M49 on the other hand is as classic Neumann as it gets. Incredibly smooth with a lovely top end and lots of weight in the lows. It's has more self noise than the M149, and tends to break up just a little when pushed hard (at least the ones that I've used). Mojo for days. Some of the best vocals I've ever heard have been from this mic and a 1073 (with some 660/670 or LA2A). Find a good one, and you'll have it for life. You will most likely have to spend more than $4K to find one, however.

Flea makes great mics so I hear, but admittedly, I've never used one. Might be the best of both worlds? Perhaps someone will chime in on that for you.
Old 24th May 2013
  #6
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SteelyDani's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avening View Post
The M49 and M149 sound fairly different. The M149 is transformerless, and tends to lean towards a cleaner, lower distortion characteristic. It's an excellent mic, with exceptional clarity. Great in front of a orchestra, piano, choir, ect... Can also make a fantastic vocal mic, but I find myself reaching for something else in the chain to give it some excitement.
Do not be fool by the fact that the M149 has no output transformer. The truth is that the M149 do not need it at all. It is an exceptional and extremely versatile mic and a a clear improvement over the U87. It has almost all its advantages and none of its drawbacks. Several years ago I bought my first M149. A few months later I could not resist the temptation to buy the second.

Before buying an old M49 think twice. It's certainly a fantastic mic, but its condition and maintenance can be a nightmare for a layman in vintage mics.

Last edited by SteelyDani; 24th May 2013 at 02:35 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 24th May 2013
  #7
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monsieur x's Avatar
Hmm, to get the M149 to work for vocals, I've always had to use a lot of things for EQ and color in the chain.

Very versatile, but too "straight" for me on vocals. And I only ever used maybe cardioid and figure of eight with success.

I don't know. It really depends on what you're looking for and already own.

I definitely would not buy it new, it takes a huge hit on the used market. And I think that's for a reason. . .

Clients tend to be "impressed" though, if that matters to you.

Definitely worth listening to in your environment. Maybe pickup a used one, or get a demo somehow?
Old 24th May 2013
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for the replies!

If the M49 is so mind blowing, why did Neumann stop making them?

Yes, I have been thinking about clones. The Flea is the only one I know which comes close.

Then I guess I'm better of with a Flea M49 then a M149. Right now I regret not buying that old Neumann M49 for 4000 dollars.

Greetings,
Anna
Old 24th May 2013
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
My Soundelux E49 is an M49 clone. And it kills the M149 in every way.
I like the M149 a lot. It's ironic because 10 years ago people (including Fletcher) thought it was a breakthrough product for Neumann. I don't think it's fair to compare the Soundelux E49 and Neumann M149. They are completely different mics in so many ways (general tone, frequency curve, etc) and only (maybe) 30% interchangable. I hear amazing things about FLEA also from people I trust, I haven't heard them myself though yet.
Old 24th May 2013
  #10
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vernier's Avatar
One isn't better than the other ..each is just different. That said, I like those three in this order: 87, M49, with the 149 for room, not vocal. As for your voice, I'd broaden the choices and keep searchin'.
.
.
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Old 24th May 2013
  #11
just a fyi, Flea has a new cheaper version called the Flea next 49. It cost about $3500, and they claim it sounds identical to their regular 49 version. It just looks different. Not sure how the grille affects the tone though.

Also Vintage king audio carries the Flea line of microphones.
Old 24th May 2013
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avening View Post
The M149 is transformerless, and tends to lean towards a cleaner, lower distortion characteristic. It's an excellent mic, with exceptional clarity. Great in front of a orchestra, piano, choir, ect...
Can also make a fantastic vocal mic, but I find myself reaching for something else in the chain to give it some excitement.
+1



R.
Old 25th May 2013
  #13
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Vintageidiot's Avatar
Wunder offers a 49 as well I believe, correct me if I am wrong....
Old 25th May 2013
  #14
QRS
Gear Maniac
 

a real M49 for 4000.-$ ... you know that one in good shape would normally cost much more?
take a FLEA M49 and don´t look back (yes, i´ve compared flea M49 to original neumann M49´s).
the M49 sounds smooooth as baby´s butt. somehow "pillowy" tone but enough "cut" and wonderful highs... record a vocal and place it loud in the mix: sounds like paradise.
quite different to the M149 (more upfront, less warmth, brighter).
i don´t want to bash the M149! it´s a great mic on it´s own and i had two of them in the past. but if you want a neumann M49 in new clothes --> FLEA!
Old 25th May 2013
  #15
The m149 is a good vocal mic that will sound good on a lot of vocalists, though its not gonna blow your mind.

A good m49 is more like $9k - $12k.

The Soundelux e49 is another good choice but not exactly a direct replacement for the m49.
Old 25th May 2013
  #16
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Plush's Avatar
Here I have FLEA 49 and also Neumann M149 as well as the real Neumann M 49 mics.

For a reliable new mic choose FLEA every time.
Neumann M149 is a lovely mic offering a super great sound, but it is not a M49 sound. Its sound is defined by low noise and low distortion with a modern, crisp and clear presentation. There is none of the wooly sound of a real M49 in the M149. And there isn't supposed to be.

The M149 is not a re-creation of the Neumann M49. It is its own fantastic sparkle-y modern sound.

FLEA has several versions of the FLEA 49 as described above by a different poster.


Deal direct with IVAN at FLEA.

A real Neumann M49 in great shape will cost you $8,000-$10,000 at least.
Old 25th May 2013
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Neumann M149 is a lovely mic offering a super great sound, but it is not a M49 sound. Its sound is defined by low noise and low distortion with a modern, crisp and clear presentation. There is none of the wooly sound of a real M49 in the M149. And there isn't supposed to be.

The M149 is not a re-creation of the Neumann M49. It is its own fantastic sparkle-y modern sound.
very accurate description of the M149.
Old 25th May 2013
  #18
The M149 excels more at capturing spoken word than singing... just in my experience and humble opinion... but what do I know?
Old 25th May 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemo12 View Post

I want a sound that is better then the Neumann U87 otherwise it's a waste of money. I hope someone knows.
,
Anna

I would highly advise you check out the Innertube Audio tube insert for the u87. It turns the u87 into a tube mic as goes as any in the world. You will save yourself $3000 and have an incredible mic.
Old 25th May 2013
  #20
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Martin Kantola's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemo12 View Post
If the M49 is so mind blowing, why did Neumann stop making them?
A number of wonderful microphones are no longer in production, for various reasons. One was probably that Neumann wanted to make solid state microphones. It's hard to imagine now, but there was a time when tube mics were not highly regarded at all by many.

Martin
Old 26th May 2013
  #21
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M49 is a much sonically richer sounding mic than the flea. The flea sounds bright in comparison, and it is a brightness I do not prefer. I have not used the M149, but my guess it is no contest between that and a M49.
Old 26th May 2013
  #22
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie View Post
M49 is a much sonically richer sounding mic than the flea. The flea sounds bright in comparison, and it is a brightness I do not prefer. I have not used the M149, but my guess it is no contest between that and a M49.
Did you debate this with Plush who stated on this forum that the FLEA 49 is very close to the 'real thing' ?
Old 26th May 2013
  #23
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SteelyDani's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie View Post
I have not used the M149, but my guess it is no contest between that and a M49.
The M149 is a great mic. A real gem. It only has a problem and severe, by the way: its evocative name necessarily invites to comparisons and perhaps to entertain false hopes.
Old 26th May 2013
  #24
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Why would I have to debate?

I use to own an M49. I listened to a you tube of someone putting a real M49 against the Flea. No contest to me. The top of the M49 is creamy. The Flea, not. I don't need to debate. I use my ears, and use my judgement. Good enough for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Did you debate this with Plush who stated on this forum that the FLEA 49 is very close to the 'real thing' ?
Old 26th May 2013
  #25
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie View Post
I use to own an M49. I listened to a you tube of someone putting a real M49 against the Flea. No contest to me. The top of the M49 is creamy. The Flea, not. I don't need to debate. I use my ears, and use my judgement. Good enough for me.
Every M49 will sound different - FLEA is the closest modern clone, IMHO, and close to what the M49 would have been when it was first made, rather than an old one many years old.
Old 26th May 2013
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie View Post
I listened to a you tube of someone putting a real M49 against the Flea. No contest to me.
Not a fair comparison (was this *your* M49?), or a high quality enough of a format to make any critical decisions about sound IMHO.
Old 27th May 2013
  #27
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For those you have ears to hear

All you need is some ears to hear. Yeah, I owned a M49 for years, and I know what they sound like. I never said the Flea was a bad mic. What I said, the Flea sounds significantly different than a M49.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Not a fair comparison (was this *your* M49?), or a high quality enough of a format to make any critical decisions about sound IMHO.
Old 27th May 2013
  #28
PDC
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Holy crap. People are making suggestions based on YouTube crap codec? Wow.
Old 27th May 2013
  #29
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Maybe this time you'll get it. I owned an M49 for years. I know what these mics should sound like. In the one comparison that I saw on You Tube, I heard the M49-hmmmm sounds like an M49 that I know and love. Then they put up the Flea for comparison. Let me soften my tone here. The Flea definitely has some traits that are similar, but there are differences also. Screw the codec crap, screw the rest. I am just going off of what I know and what was presented in the video. If you are considering any mic vintage or new, hear it in your environment and use it for a session. That is the best thing to do. Either you will love it or you return it.

Now the folks that say "well that is not what the M49 would of sounded like when it was new". Unless you are of the age and actually heard a M49 new from the factory, then that statement is nonsense. I never heard one new, so I cannot make that statement.

The price differential is large between a M49 and a Flea. That is a factor. If you like an M49 sound and after auditioning a Flea in your room and you feel it delivers close enough to what you are looking for, then go for it. It appears to be well made.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
Holy crap. People are making suggestions based on YouTube crap codec? Wow.
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