U47: The Neumann’s King!


 The Neumann U47 is a genesis of large diaphragm condenser microphones that produces a unique sound that has highlights the vocal of the fantastic musicians back in the days. The Beatles used it to great effect, as did the balladeer. From Ella to Adele, the Kingston Trio to the King of Pop, the vocal sounds of jazz and rock, folk and pop wouldn’t be identified without a U47 within the studio. The U47 has the proper frequencies for the human voice which made the mic the king of vocal microphones.


In post-war Berlin, the U47 was the first microphone produced by Georg Neumann GmbH, and it became the standard industry microphone in the first fifties and beyond. Neumann U47 can be a large-diaphragm mike. it’s one of every of the foremost famous studio microphones and was Neumann’s first microphone after the Second warfare. Fabricated by Georg Neumann GmbH 1949 and 1965, a tube design was used; early U47s microphones used a capsule known as the M7 capsule, then this was replaced by K47 capsule from 1958.

Neumann U47 is assumed to be one altogether several all-time preferred tube recording microphones (“The Big Five”). The U47 was very known in the U.S. balladeer owned his U47; vocalizer, jazzman, balladeer, Tony Bennett, and thus the Beatles also used it. During a long period, it’s hard to go looking out for an album recorded within the 1950s or 1960s that failed to have a U47 on it; The Beatles used the mike for just about every track they sang from 1962 through 1970.

Neumann U47 is believed to be one altogether several all-time preferred tube recording microphones (“The Big Five”). Its desirability relies totally on the synergy of its three sound-shaping components: capsule, tube, transformer. 



Features of the U47 microphones

 The original U47 employed a steel-jacketed Telefunken VF14 tube, developed by Telefunken specifically to be utilized in microphones. With Heyne, it was in 1946 that the VF14 was produced; considering the 25% ownership share own by Telefunken in Neumann, and many could think that engineers from Telefunken had a great input in the development of the U47 mics. PVC ages poorly, and as early as 1958 the Neumann factory was using the M7’s successor, a capsule remarked because the K47/49, which used a metalized polyester diaphragm.

The capsule (K47) used, shares a backplate, which permits tensioning challenges, therein both diaphragms should be tuned in the same way to produce Omni patterns or balanced Figure-of-8. In the original German language, the documentation of Neumann for the U47 mic and similar mics was “Niere” — which means “kidney” — and this is used to denote the Cardioid pattern.  The FET version of the U47 was intended to be phantom-powered, designed a few years after the VF14 tube. However, the U47 mic became unavailable soon. Two versions of the microphone were sold were U47feti – male XLR connector U47fet – male DIN 41524 (Tuchel) connectors.

History of the U47 microphones 

The U47 created its legendary sound with precision German engineering and then the right synergy of all the right elements: an outsized wire-mesh head grille surrounding a capsule design perfected in 1932, this was amplified by a wartime vacuum tube wartime (Telefunken) feeding a custom-wound transformer. it absolutely was the primary mic produced by Georg Neumann GmbH in post-war Berlin, and have become the industry standard microphone within the primary fifties, when engineers like Rudy van Gelder (who got the second-ever U 47 to seem within the States). 

Rudy discovered that its sensitivity brought a heightened detail and sense of presence to their recordings. Aficionados with his early note will confirm the fantastic ways those recordings sound, and this is mainly because of the U47 characters. But the reproduction of the U47 came at a worth, and it became 3 times the worth of the next-most expensive mic, the RCA 77 ribbon mic. The combination of the output, the diaphragm, the tube, and the head grille, created a tone many called “magical” that have never been duplicated. Each separate element had a task to play within the creation of a most amazing transducer. 


The U47 microphone was presented for the first time at the Berliner Funkausstellung (Berlin Radio Show) in 1947 as a prototype; the first documented commercial sale of the microphone (serial number 72), keep with Klaus Heyne of German Masterworks, occurred in December 1949. The original U47 used the M7 capsule, which was identical because the capsule developed initially for the Neumann CMV 3 microphone designed within the late 1920s (“Neumann bottle”).

U47 Neumann vintage


Since PVC membranes deteriorate and dry out with age, in 1958 the M7 capsule was replaced by the K47 (sometimes cited because the K 47/49) which had the same acoustic design due to the M7 but has the membrane product of age-resistant biaxially oriented PET film. The U47’s circuitry was supported by the Telefunken VF14 M device (the suffix “M” indicates a coffee noise valve, suitable to be utilized in microphones) then the GN8/BV8 transformer; for export to the American market, the GN8 transformer got replaced in the late 1950s with a GN8b that featured lower output. keep with the German expert Andreas Grosser, a minimum of 5 different output transformers were used within the U47.


Telefunken has made the VF14 a pentode manufactured exclusively for Neumann between 1946 to 1957; the discontinuation of this microphone (U47) was caused by Telefunken’s choice to halt production of the VF14, and Neumann depleting its stock of tubes (VF14). To simulate the obsolete VF14 and Wisconsinued pentode, custom and solid-state tube emulations were created specifically by Telefunken for the U47 et al. Beginning in 1962, and instantly plug-in replacement kit (“AR47”) was offered by Neumann for the VF14 which features the Nuvistor 13CW (this requires a minor supply modification. 

 U47 was the original primary switchable condenser mic (omnidirectional or cardioid). They were able to achieve this functionality by disabling the polarization voltage to the back of the diaphragm of the mic capsule.

Voice test of the first U47 replica by Mic&Mod in 2014 (U87 for guitar recording)

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Mic & Mod is specialized in DIY Vintage Microphone Kits since 2013. Why buy expensive vintage microphones in poor condition when you can build them yourself?

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