Telefunken U 47 1950s Nickel

Reverb Estimated Used Price Range

  • $9,000$14,000

Though built by the Georg Neumann company, a number of vintage U 47 tube microphones were badged as a Telefunken products -- Telefunken was their distributor and likely had a hand in the design of the microphone.

The Neumann U 47 was the first commercially available switchable pattern microphone and a recording legend, used extensively on many famous recordings and regarded by Beatles producer George Martin as his favorite mic. It is widely regarded as the most iconic vocal microphone in history, with exceptionally clear high-mid response, described by renowned mic technician Klaus Heyne as "authoritative."

The U 47 can switch from a cardioid to an omnidirectional pattern. It is known to have higher output of around 5 dB in cardioid mode.

Originally, the U 47 was sold with the PVC-skinned M7 capsule. When Neumann engineers found about a decade later that the PVC was cracking and the sound of the capsules was changing over time, they switched to the Mylar K47 capsule in the late 1950s. The K47 generally has a brighter, more aggressive sound, especially when compared to M7 capsules which have "mellowed" over time as the PVC has dried up.

Telefunken VF14M tubes ("M" for microphone-grade. Many non-M VF14 tubes exist and may work just fine, but must be tested over a period of 48 hours inside the microphone for noise and stability) were used in original U 47s, though toward the end of the microphone's production, Neumann's repair department were swapping the original tubes for Nuvistors, as their supply of VF14M was dwindling.

Only 5000 U 47s were manufactured, with about 3200 specimens produced as long bodies and around 1800 short-bodied. Early specimens may be labeled Telefunken, as they originally distributed the microphone. *Market prices can vary widely on original specimens based on originality, condition and accessories included.

Years of Production: 1947 - 1965 (original issue)

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