Telefunken Elektroakustik AR-51 by halcyo
The Telefunken AR-51 is the newest mic in their R-F-T range of microphones, which are 'more affordable' than their higher end lines, which can run many thousands of dollars. At under $2000, this microphone is within reach of fairly serious project studio owners without the dough to swing $5k or more for a microphone.
However, don't assume that Telefunken skimped on the design of the R-F-T line. If their Diamond series mics are the 'Holy Grail' microphones, the R-F-T line is still highly professional and very high end.
The AR-51 is a solidly built, fully featured, and beautiful looking tube condenser mic. If I were to describe its sound in a phrase, it would be "modern, smooth, tube goodness". In many modern genres, engineers are looking for sounds that pop out from the speakers and stand strong amidst walls of synths and drums, and the AR-51 does just that. It has a nice, present, SMOOTH top end that really gives the right amount of excitement to a pop vocal without being rough, zippy, or strident. This top end is not cheap sounding like many lesser 'bright' condensers, but just eq'd enough to sound fantastic in a mix without touching a dial. The mids are also smooth and have that classic tube heft and weight that carves out a place in a dynamic mix for any given part. Although not as large in the lows as many more 'vintage' sounding microphones, I find that it is beautifully and tightly voiced in this range, where you would be reaching for the lo-cut knob on your eq with those other vintage sounding mics when it comes to mix time.
I find that this mic's strongest trait is how easy it is to capture a performance that is nearly eq'd just right for a mix. If you are looking for a mic to record pop/rock/r&b vocals, you barely need to eq this thing. It gives you a present, smooth, up-front vocal that is solid and tight. It is very flattering.
The power supply allows for changing between 9 polar patterns from omni to cardioid to hyper cardioid to figure-8 and steps between. The shockmount is totally pro and well made. The mic comes with all the cables necessary to hook it up and get making music!
For pro studios looking for another modern, versatile color - or a project studio looking for a flagship, go-to mic for lead tracks, the AR-51 fits the bill.