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Rode TFM-50 and NT-49 Condenser Microphones
Old 2nd April 2018
  #1
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Rode TFM-50 and NT-49

These were announced with much fanfare last year. And they looked like an exciting new venture by Rode. Retailers have had them in their systems for over half a year now, only with 'not yet available' or similar. Has something gone horribly wrong with production - did Rode hit unforeseen problems in QC when producing the capsules in scale, for example?

JPk
Old 29th August 2018
  #2
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It seems that until today, no one has really seen or tried these two microphones. The price announced at certain retailers is dissuasive: approximately 13.000 $.

All I know is that the TFM 50 is an attempt to imitate the Neumann M150, taking up the concept of the spherical capsule. But so far even the minimum acoustic characteristics such as bandwidth or response curve are not published.

Who would buy an M150 clone for two and a half times the price?
Old 29th August 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRM Studios View Post
It seems that until today, no one has really seen or tried these two microphones.
I think TF has used them in a commercial recording of Beethoven 9 in Sydney Opera House.
Anima Eterna
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
I think TF has used them in a commercial recording of Beethoven 9 in Sydney Opera House.
Anima Eterna
The videos at the web page that Mr Spearritt has kindly highlighted demonstrate not only use of the long-lost TFM-50 (Rode's reimagining of the M50) but also what is presumably a Mark II (black body) version of the NT-5 with omni caps (witness the mic sheet in the behind the scenes footage).

The Sydney concert shown in the video took place on 25 January 2016. Last year, Rode announced in a teaser video the upcoming TFM-50, NT-49 and NTR-V (valve version of NTR). Many retailers have listed these three models (but as not yet available) for over a year.

Given that working prototypes of the TFM-50 and NT-5 Mk.II were used in the Sydney Festival concert over two and a half years ago, is it now looking more likely than not that none of these models will ever show up? The timing of these events (and Rode's own promo video last year) can only indicate that they are way behind their release timetable. Which points to production difficulties...Sadly, such an extended period of production difficulties suggests problems have arisen for which no economically viable solution can be found... I'd only be glad if I'm incorrect in these suppositions - does anyone know better?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
They are caught in the same interstellar vortex as the MKH 8030...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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Re the "new" NT45-O omnis and the MK II NT-5 ( or -55?), the appearance in the video in a couple of spots is slightly confusing. We have one closeup of the black NT5 in which the capsule has ports(!) in the style of the "old" cardioid capsule. So why do omnis need rear ports?

(We should also note that the "new" TF version of the NT45C, evidenced in the NT-SF1, has machined round holes for the ports rather than the "slit" of the "old" NT45C; so the "new NT5" cardioid - if that is what we saw - apparently is not using the TF45C design - yet?)

The old speculation game is afoot. It is interesting that TF thought highly of the original NT45-O omnis and probably not needing an upgrade compared to the cardioid. Perhaps Rode think that a version including the letters "TF" may elevate their standing in the market.

It's all in the mind, you know ...

Last edited by panatrope; 1 week ago at 12:14 AM.. Reason: missing 't'
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRM Studios View Post
All I know is that the TFM 50 is an attempt to imitate the Neumann M150
Am I mistaken in that I thought that this mic was to replicate the long NLA Neumann M50? Isn't the M150 Neumann's attempt at reviving that mic but seems that it never had the cachet (or perhaps the function) of the original? Market price-wise, there is no comparison.

But at $13,000, the Rode would still be half the price of an M50, if you can find one. However, it will still be a Rode.

D.

Oh and would I love a tree of M50s? You bet. Could I ever justify buying them? No way. Sweet dreams are made of this.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panatrope View Post
Re the "new" NT45-O omnis and the MK II NT-5 ( or -55?), the appearance in the video in a couple of spots is slightly confusing. We have one closeup of the black NT5 in which the capsule has ports(!) in the style of the "old" cardioid capsule. So why do omnis need rear ports?

(We should also note that the "new" TF version of the NT45C, evidenced in the NT-SF1, has machined round holes for the ports rather than the "slit" of the "old" NT45C; so the "new NT5" cardioid - if that is what we saw - apparently is not using the TF45C design - yet?)

The old speculation game is afoot. It is interesting that TF though highly of the original NT45-O omnis and probably not needing an upgrade compared to the cardioid. Perhaps Rode think that a version including the letters "TF" may elevate their standing in the market.

It's all in the mind, you know ...
Any colour you like...as long as it's black !
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Am I mistaken in that I thought that this mic was to replicate the long NLA Neumann M50? Isn't the M150 Neumann's attempt at reviving that mic but seems that it never had the cachet (or perhaps the function) of the original? Market price-wise, there is no comparison.

But at $13,000, the Rode would still be half the price of an M50, if you can find one. However, it will still be a Rode.

D.

Oh and would I love a tree of M50s? You bet. Could I ever justify buying them? No way. Sweet dreams are made of this.
Yes I think you're right, the Rode TFM50 leapfrogs back over the M150 to claim kinship with the Neumann valve powered M50. I'm pretty sure Plush sold a pair of M50's (with Decca lineage) maybe a year or two back...?

I'd rather have the consistency of a matched pair (or trio) of Rode M50's than the 'vintage aura' of the Neumann originals, which had some parts substitutions over their lifespan run. Not to mention the stupid runaway 'rarity pricing'......
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Yes I think you're right, the Rode TFM50 leapfrogs back over the M150 to claim kinship with the Neumann valve powered M50. I'm pretty sure Plush sold a pair of M50's (with Decca lineage) maybe a year or two back...?

I'd rather have the consistency of a matched pair (or trio) of Rode M50's than the 'vintage aura' of the Neumann originals, which had some parts substitutions over their lifespan run. Not to mention the stupid runaway 'rarity pricing'......
Surely that depends on how good they sound? There are many copies of various Neumann mics that really don't sound much like the originals and arguably the M50 is a very different animal. The fact that Neumann haven't produced a particularly great clone of the original I would say proves that. It also has to be remembered that the mythology surrounding the M50 is predominantly due to the recordings Decca made with them and these microphones were modded by Decca, particularly the fact that they took the valves out and made them Fet based to reduce noise.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
Surely that depends on how good they sound? There are many copies of various Neumann mics that really don't sound much like the originals and arguably the M50 is a very different animal. The fact that Neumann haven't produced a particularly great clone of the original I would say proves that. It also has to be remembered that the mythology surrounding the M50 is predominantly due to the recordings Decca made with them and these microphones were modded by Decca, particularly the fact that they took the valves out and made them Fet based to reduce noise.
Well, Mr Faulkner would agree with you....and he more than most should know....and can't you see the twinkle in the eye of Rode's CEO as he jumps to the (then hypothetical) challenge of a 'replacement' in this video....from 24:25 to 25:25

YouTube
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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Plush's Avatar
Buying a vintage Neumann M50 will cost you around $12,000-$15,000 in the used market. No way they go for over $25,000.

I sold two Neumann M50 into a Swiss studio in January 2018. The delighted engineer told me that they were the best sounding ones that he ever heard. Now he has 5 M50 mics.

It took me 5 years to find a credible buyer.

Prices will only go up.

If the Rode version is expensive, it won't sell. Because it is not a Neumann M50.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
The $13000 price tag is just nonsense. That would make it the most expensive new microphone out of any company. Unlikely it would break the $2000 mark by much or at all if it ever does release. It is a Rode.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Somebody email Tony Faulkner and ask him when his Australian unicorn mics are going to be released.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
Somebody email Tony Faulkner and ask him when his Australian unicorn mics are going to be released.
DIY JC....

How to find us – Green Room Productions


TF was the consultant only....Rode the manufacturer

RODE Microphones - Contact
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
The $13000 price tag is just nonsense. That would make it the most expensive new microphone out of any company. Unlikely it would break the $2000 mark by much or at all if it ever does release. It is a Rode.
I'm more intrigued by the coy 'watch and wait' silence that's ensued in the 2 years since the (clearly then matured) product appeared...and was featured on the DVD release !

RODE Microphones Online Store — Anima Eterna Brugge - Beethoven Symphony No. 9

My guess is that the M50 patent/intellectual property still resides with Neumann...who would have been watching with interest from the sidelines as the mic was prototyped and then deployed with considerable effectiveness.

If Rode has tooled up and is ready to roll, I'd bet that Neumannheiser have revived or reasserted their copyright over the design principle, now that it's a viable product-in-waiting, and delay is explained by patent lawyers wrangling for Berlin's pound of monetary flesh ?

In that 2 year vacuum, why haven't other boutique valve mic makers worldwide hopped in with a similar product also ? Methinks legal wranglings are behind the delay....Greg Simmons (Simmosonic)...any inside info (you were there !) ?
Anima Eterna: Interview with Tony Faulkner on Vimeo
Stereo Masterclass

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 08:02 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I'm more intrigued by the coy 'watch and wait' silence that's ensued in the 2 years since the (clearly then matured) product appeared...and was featured on the DVD release !

RODE Microphones Online Store — Anima Eterna Brugge - Beethoven Symphony No. 9

My guess is that the M50 patent/intellectual property still resides with Neumann...who would have been watching with interest from the sidelines as the mic was prototyped and then deployed with considerable effectiveness.

If Rode has tooled up and is ready to roll, I'd bet that Neumannheiser have revived or reasserted their copyright over the design principle, now that it's a viable product-in-waiting, and delay is explained by patent lawyers wrangling for Berlin's pound of monetary flesh ?

In that 2 year vacuum, why haven't other boutique valve mic makers worldwide hopped in with a similar product also ? Methinks legal wranglings are behind the delay....Greg Simmons (Simmosonic)...any inside info (you were there !) ?
Anima Eterna: Interview with Tony Faulkner on Vimeo
Stereo Masterclass
15 years are all they get, same as drug companies. There are a few M50 clones out there, the Flea is one obvious example. I think a, it’s a little bit of a limited market, b, the M50 is a very specific design and probably not easy to replicate. They were particularly special in that they had a huge bottom end.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
DIY JC....

How to find us – Green Room Productions


TF was the consultant only....Rode the manufacturer

RODE Microphones - Contact
I’ve already emailed Rode about the availability of these new mics. They replied that they hope to have some news to announce soon. That was back in April. Nothing yet.

I was kind of hoping that Tony would see one of these threads and post some kind of update. Since he was the design consultant I would think he might know something. But I’m sure he’s probably under an NDA also.

As per the patent issue, let’s not forget that they also announced a new revision to the NT5, which Rode owns the design for, and a new ribbon mic, and a new tube LDC (the NT49) which presumably is their own design also. And we haven’t heard anything on the availability of those mics either.

I’d like to add a couple/three pairs of NT5s to my inventory. But I’m waiting for the new version to be released to see how it sounds. Certainly as an audio guy that works in dark theatres all the time, I’m more interested in black mics than silver ones. I’m sure I won’t be able to afford the new TFM-50 or NT-49 mics once they do become available.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
I’d like to add a couple/three pairs of NT5s to my inventory. But I’m waiting for the new version to be released to see how it sounds. Certainly as an audio guy that works in dark theatres all the time, I’m more interested in black mics than silver ones. I’m sure I won’t be able to afford the new TFM-50 or NT-49 mics once they do become available.
The black NT5s look good and perhaps have improved performance....I just don't think I'm ready for the integral Ethernet type of connector they will apparently be fitted with (see Vimeo video in post#16), irrespective of how RF proof they claim to be.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
The black NT5s look good and perhaps have improved performance....I just don't think I'm ready for the integral Ethernet type of connector they will apparently be fitted with (see Vimeo video in post#16), irrespective of how RF proof they claim to be.
Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Hopefully they have an XLR only version too, at a reduced cost...hopefully.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Still, at 2-3k for the Røde (if so), why not just use a KM133? sdc, ball, diffusefield omni, neumann ...
Old 1 week ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heva View Post
Still, at 2-3k for the Røde (if so), why not just use a KM133? sdc, ball, diffusefield omni, neumann ...
Yes, sensible advice. and I love my M150's. But don't get to use them much. Do we really need all that low end when everyone is listening on phones?
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Do we really need all that low end when everyone is listening on phones?
Are you listening to any music on phones? I'm not. If I were limited to listening to music only on a phone, I'd hear hardly any music at all.

So are you seriously suggesting that you should limit your captures to only what a phone can reproduce?
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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I don't think anyone posting (even semi-regularly) here sees themself as in the game of producing or recording LCD* music. Whether listening on headphones, cellphones or any kind of speaker, the accurate capture and reproduction of low end (and every other end) is likely the goal.

I'm sure the M50 type of mic is capable of capturing a full, perhaps overblown bottom end...and the challenge is to master the recording so it translates well to earbuds, Auratones, home-cinema boxes and in the car...a big ask, but we're up to the task

* Lowest Common Denominator
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
Are you listening to any music on phones? I'm not. If I were limited to listening to music only on a phone, I'd hear hardly any music at all.

So are you seriously suggesting that you should limit your captures to only what a phone can reproduce?
Of course not Bruce. But most of the audience doesn't care about low end and cannot listen to it in their tiny flats.
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
But most of the audience doesn't care about low end and cannot listen to it in their tiny flats.
Not having the means to listen to it doesn't mean they don't care about it. I think, at least hope, that you are underestimating people a wee bit.

Even my wife cares about the bottom end of both music and movies. She didn't until I bought a pair of subwoofers for the HT/music room. Didn't understand why I thought it was necessary. But she does now, and she's adamant about it. Education is a powerful thing.
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
Education is a powerful thing.
Indeed. But I think the world has moved on from the M50. Perhaps Rode have realised this too.
Old 1 week ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Indeed. But I think the world has moved on from the M50. Perhaps Rode have realised this too.
That's a good point David, the M50 had its genesis at the cusp of the mono to stereo era and the design criteria (increasing directivity with rising frequency) were aimed at allowing a single (mono) or stereo pair of them to be suspended high above an orchestra in the diffuse field, and pick up entire ensemble detail without the need for spot mics.

We certainly have moved on from that era, and spot mics are now considered the norm in orchestral miking. It's interesting that Decca employed the M50's in their Tree AND used spot mics, arguably starting a trend that continues to this day

There's considerable M50 detail in Remote GS threads we've contributed to in recent years, including info supplied by Decca veterans/insiders

Neumann M-50....vintage rising top end

Neumann M 50 | RecordingHacks.com

The Wilkinson Legacy
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Greg Simmons (Simmosonic)...any inside info (you were there !) ?
Oh no, called out!

I don’t have much to offer other than I was there at the recording, and in Tony’s hands the TFMs sounded absolutely wonderful. I also felt that the new NT5s sounded more open and airy than the originals; I suspect they have a better off-axis response, but that’s hard to say for sure due to the way Tony was using them (as explained in the interview, he calls it his “thinking man’s reverb” set up).

I’ve had a lot to do with Rode over the years and I’ve signed a few NDAs along the way. However, I lost touch with them a couple of years ago, after I suddenly decided to leave Australia and pursue a life of travelling and recording (so far, so good on that one).

I honestly have no idea where things are at with the TFM50 and the other mics being discussed here.

Last edited by Simmosonic; 1 week ago at 11:49 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #30
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Just because the real Neumann M50 is out of the price range of casual recordists, I caution against saying anything like, "it's time seems to have past."

Many of the best recordings done today use the M50 at Teldex Studio in Berlin, at Ideé Und Klang Studio in Basel, Tony F.'s recordings, BIS, Harmonia Mundi, DG, etc. Anywhere where big league sound is required.

When one uses two or three M50's on orchestra (or piano) you hear a regal tone and one can use the main mics for 80% of the finished sound. It was never true that M50 mics were used without spot mics.

What, pray tell, would replace them today?

There are many great omni mics today but none have the "to the center of the earth" bass that the real ones have. You have to have the real thing to get THAT SOUND.

I sold my pair because I found that they were too expensive to not sell them. I never had a maintenance issue and they always worked. The place where I sold them has acquired even more M50's now.

By the way, Neumann KM133 (D or A) sound nothing like a M50 and the modern Neumann variants do a Don Rickles imitation of the M50 very nicely but without the huge (not bloated) bass.

TLM50 manufacture suffered so many rejects that the mic was discontinued. TLM 150 is a good mic but not the real thing. However, these will do in a pinch.

Others are:
Schoeps MK2--the world's best capsule
Sanken CO-100K--sparkle-y
Sennheiser MKH20--response to 60 KHz.
Sonodore--60 volt Rens special
Gefell super mics
Some secret weapon Russian omni mics--truly the best

of course others.
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