Telefunken U-47/U-48

Telefunken U-47/U-48

Classic Tube Microphone Daily Rate: $125

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The original "U 47," invented in 1947, was the first switchable pattern condenser microphone. Its impact, especially in America, was such that the dominance of RCA's ribbon microphone as the studio standard was eclipsed.


The U 47 had a double diaphragm capsule. Both diaphragms could be polarised with the same voltage or neutralised with respect to the center electrode, so that the omnidirectional and cardioid characteristics were adjustable. A 'special' (U 48) was also produced, in which the diaphragms could be polarised with opposite voltages with respect to the center electrode, so that it was possible to switch between cardioid and figure of eight directional characteristics.


The original U47 employed a VF14 tube, which would become hard to find within a few years, leading to changes to the U47 design as well as the introduction of the U47fet, a FET condenser intended to sound the same as its tube-designed sibling.

Early U47 (and U48) mics contained Neumann's M7 capsule, in which the brass backplate was covered with a thin PVC diaphragm. PVC ages poorly, and as early as 1958 the Neumann factory was using the M7's successor, a capsule known as the K47/49, which used a metallized polyester diaphragm.


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