The Vintage Premium Classic
If we were born a decade earlier, we’d have a huge trade-off in our hands.
First, we had awesome sounding equipment due to valve/tube technology that isn’t available nowadays.
But then, we’d have no way of recording audio perfectly.
We’d rely on tapes but aging over time, those digital media would have no way of recovery.
Transistor technologies afforded us some pretty good processing speeds for our calculators and computers, but it did away with the “lively” sound of olden valve and tube equipment.
Read the article about: The Top Mics for the Studio
Versions of the U47 Vintage King
One of them was the early Telefunken VF14m, where the Neumann U47 was based on.
Neumann’s super engineers had tried to recreate the sound of this beast with the use of seven transistors and another valve still in production today.
While most of the time, emulations and imitations shouldn’t be measured as to how close they are to the original’s sound (no two equipment can be alike).
I would review it based on its capabilities.
Design of the Old but New Mic
The 47 is also known as the Flea 47. If you’ve been watching 1940s – 60s commercials, you’ve probably spotted the appearance of this microphone.
It has that vintage appearance that the last thing you’ll ever think about is why it isn’t colored all-silver.
The original Telefunken VF14m had a BV8 transformer. Transformers are essential to the sound characteristic of any audio equipment.
It has a wide, dull-nickel-plated, duraluminum-alloy body that has the same dimensions of the original microphone. It weighs about 660g.
A slide switch allows you to select between an omni and cardioid pattern.
Two copper plates bear the microphone’s model details. The microphone has no pad or roll-off switches on the microphone. It has three layers of wires for its wire basket, similar to its original.
It also comes with an external power supply and a seven-pin locking cable.
Neumann did something interesting with the U47 design.
You could actually buy the microphone as a kit and you could assemble it yourself. It’s cheaper of course without the labor, and without the valve that comes with it.
A vintage Sound?
The Neumann 47 is astounding on vocals. Like most vintage microphones, it has a prominent high frequency with some boost added to the high mid and mids.
One thing amazing about this microphone is that you get no static artifacts from your audio. It sounds seameless and organic.
If you want an example, listen to old Frank Sinatra recordings.
They were warm and powerful. It captured his voice perfectly.
According to legend, Frank will not do recordings without this little piece of equipment that creates a great sound out of anything.
Again, the sound couldn’t run effectively if you’re not running a good A/D converter that has some great preamps for your microphone.
Final Words about this Iconic mic the FLEA
If there’s anything that could stand out with vocals, that would be valve/tube equipment. But with most of such items and products already phased out from the market, transistor/valve hybrids are the only choice.
For microphones, there’s no digital guitar or drum emulations. You’ll really need to have a great microphone for vocals and despite a whopping price of a couple of thousands the Neumann U47 is simply something that came back from history.
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