Neumann U47 Mic

In a world of not settling for anything but the best sometimes the question of what’s the best can’t be answered unless it’s more specific but in recording music, there are a few microphones that do what no other mics can do. What is the best Studio microphone ever made most people in the recording studios say Neumann U47 Microphone, why?

Engineers & musicians from Sinatra to the Beatles & today consider the Neumann U47 the best because of its:

Innovative design
warm sound quality
Gold Membrane
Hand-wound transformer
Telefunken Tube VF 14M (a military spec metal tube) instead of glass
Switchable Polar Patterns
Double diaphragm
Solid Build

Time & Price are not always equated with quality but certain brands and types of mics have historically crushed the competition while carrying a big price tag. and still do.

Neumann Microphones

When anyone talks about microphones the name Neumann comes up in the conversation as the best and most expensive in the world. Neumann has a reputation as the innovator and excellence in the field of microphones and other audio products.

Georg Neumann GmbH was founded in Berlin in 1928 by Georg Neumann. In that year he developed the first mass-produced condenser microphone called the CMV3 which developed the nickname ‘Neumann Bottle’. It measured approximately 9 cm in diameter and 40 cm in height and weighed nearly 3 kg. Hitler himself used the Bottle Microphone to make speeches that he was known for that would eventually help him lead the world into War.

CMV3 Bottle Microphone
Developed by Neumann in 1928
Neumann U47 Microphone
Developed in 1947

It was after the war in 1949 the U47 mic was developed it was the first switchable pick-up pattern condenser legendary mic that had a double diaphragm capsule. Both diaphragms could be variably polarized with respect to the centre electrode, so enabling omnidirectional through to its cardioid characteristic polar patterns. The U47 had three parts of the mic that made it such an incredible piece of technical genius. It was engineered with added elements that would be used in the microphone and recording industry for many years to come. It contained features that were never used before or thought of before in the field.

  • The Membrane was made of Gold-The company made it this way because of gold’s anti-oxidation properties which prevents that from happening for a super extended working life.
  • The Telefunken Tube VF 14M it was a military spec medal tube(normal tubes as most people know are made of glass) that isn’t produced anymore and vintage collectors as much as $2,000 thousand dollars for it now.
  • Neumann’s special hand-wound transformer that is located in the bottom of the capsule

This mic was used by everybody from the Beatles to Frank Sinatra. These days Ed Sheeran. The quality is unprecedented with other manufacturers try to duplicate the special construction and the sound but can’t do what Neumann has been doing for years.

This why this mic hangs in many top-notch recording studios around the world. The vintage sound is something musicians search out to produce their music. There is no competition for this special vintage sound.

The Neumann U47 Microphone was considered a genius when it was developed in 1947 and cannot be reproduced today. Other great Mics are similarly built and developed since then many by the pioneer Neumann.

Because the cost to reproduce these mics and other electronic equipment is too much along with hard to find instruments that are considered vintage sounding equipment, companies today won’t try to compete with this sound but rather make other less expensive but quality microphones that considered top-notch in their own right.

A U47FET was released produced in the 1960’s and became very popular with DJ’s and became known for it’s work recording Bass Drums and Bass Amplifiers. In 1949 the M49, became the first microphone that could be remotely switched. Neumann produced the SM2 in 1956 which was to remain the only stereo microphone in the world for many years.


The U67 was developed in 1960, it was Neumann’s last tube-driven microphone circuit for many years. Also in that year the original U87 was released now in the U87A version, it is probably the world’s best known studio microphone. In the 1960’s transistors slowly replaced tubes in their use as amplifiers and impedance converters.

When field effect transistors (FETs) were invented Neumann used them in the “KTM” 1965. A short time later Neumann developed “phantom power” with 48V thus removing the need for a separate power supply for each microphone. Each microphone input at the mixer could be fed centrally with 48V. Multi-core microphone cable was replaced by three-core standard cable and three-pin XLR connectors.

In 1983 Neumann unveiled their “FET100” series the first had 5 direction polar patterns adding wide angled cardioid and hyper-cardioid directional patterns in addition to the usual omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-eight patterns and they allowed greater modulation without distortion and reduced self noise figures.

Hybrid technology made it possible to incorporate all the electronics into the capsule housing, thus creating the KM100 series “active capsules”. Their small size plus a wide range of accessories e.g. swivel mounts, goose-necks, stereo mounts and hangers make them ideal for unobtrusive use in television programme making.

In 1991 the family of Georg Neumann sold their majority interest in the company to Sennheiser electronic. In 1993 Neumann launched the TLM 193 large diaphragm microphone, its low price, allowed a new set of customers to buy a “real Neumann”. It was followed by the TLM 102 and TLM 103. The Neumann was available to Home Recording enthusiast who could have never afforded them if it wasn’t for their merger. Since then their name is associated with developing the first Digital microphone,binaural” stereo recording and Wireless Sennheiser’s SKM 5000 / 5200

But the U47 that made Neumann synonymous with greatness!

The Most Expensive Microphone in the World

According to most authorities on recorded sound a Microphone is the most important tool for getting that greatness to come across. Just what we have been saying in the 1st part of the article it can also make the most difference in the studio.

Chasing the sound of a Vintage tube microphone like a Neumann U47 or a 57 Les Paul Gibson Guitar will provide the to old of trade for today’s greatest musicians who can pay that price for creating the greatness of a Sinatra or a Dylan.

There are other microphones that are on the same plateau that a Neumann would be or close to it. Some are Vintage and some are new with all the bells and whistles engineered for the same greatness as the vintage mics but to make it on their own.

The Sony C-800G PAC Microphone System$9,990.00

One of the most exspensive microphones on the planet used for professional post production work in film and Recording music in the finest studios anywhere. The mic is designed with a dual Large-Diaphragm for pure vocal reproduction capability. It contains a 6 AU6 Vacumn Tube for warm sound quality and whats called a Peltier cooling system that provides optinum tempertures(there’s 3 of them) It’s available in Cardioode and Omnidirectonal.

The Sony C-800G PAC Microphone System-

The Vintage Neumann U47 approx. $13,000.00

Originally released in 1947 for the 1950’s era. It’s considered revolutionary for its design performance and quality. There has been nothing before this guy came out of Georg Neumann’s mind. The fidelity was enhanced by the new materials and tube design which far superseded the earlier “bottle” type design. Users could switch polar patterns without swapping out capsules. This mic produced a warm life-like tone and set its place in history for recording greatness in audio and sound technology.

The Vintage Neumann U47 approx. $13,000.00

Next up is a Telefunken Electroakustik ELO M 251 E-$10,999.00

This is a representation of the 1940-1950’s original mic that was made legendary because of it’s longevity and performance. Its a new Vintage replica yes– but it is a nearly exact closeness in performance, build and design as the predecessor is stunning. This one is convincing, the real deal and got people talking.

The Neumann Vintage U67 Tube Condenser Microphone-$16,000.00

Telefunken Electroakustik ELO M 251 E

This used mic is one of the most desired microphones in its class. It’s revered because of its historical place in the music industry. This is the model that replaced the U-47. It was first released in 1960 and was around for the era of music that changed a generation. It was a multi-pattern tube Condenser mic versatile that could be used for drums’ voice and the acoustic guitar that was just making its way onto the scene in Popular music. Manufacturers clone it looks today and this vintage mic can keep up with the most modern studio mic.

The Neumann Vintage U67 Tube Condenser Microphone-$16,000.00

Vintage Telefunken U47 Tube Microphone-$20,000.00

This mic is one of the original released mics from 1947 this system includes all original working parts. It’s owned by a collector in in Russia and is highly prized as a superior worldwide music collectors item. Its considered an investment piece and as of last year said to be worth more than $20,000.00

These microphones are priced based on their collectible and market value. Prices were based on 2018. The Neumann genius comes around once in a lifetime and his ideas carry on through the ages. The jump between the “bottle” type mic and the U47 is an amazing feat that came just at the right time to pave the way for Pop Music and the Recording Studio that started with Sinatra.

References: MoneyInc Magazine- The 5 most Expensive Microphones in the World



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