TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik of South Windsor, CT has been following the tradition of excellence and innovation set forth by the original TELEFUNKEN GmbH of Germany that began over 100 years ago.
TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik's origins began in 2000 when owner Toni Fishman acquired the rights to the name and diamond logo for use in North America. The company began with the reverse engineering of a single microphone part: the ELA M 251 polar pattern selector. Mr. Fishman purchased an original Telefunken ELA M 251 for use in his recording studio, but when he received it he discovered that the polar pattern switch was no longer functional. Realizing that this was a common issue with the original units, the idea to recreate it was born.
The switch was reverse engineered and brought into production for other 251 owners with the same issue. With one part down, the goals were set high to successfully reverse engineer the entire microphone exactly as it was originally manufactured. The next two years were spent developing each and every part of the microphone right down to every detail. Numerous original documents and drafts from TELEFUNKEN and AKG were acquired, and coupled with thorough reverse engineering the ELA M 251 was brought back to life with meticulous accuracy.
Diamond Series Development
Fast forward to 2002. TELEFUNKEN of South Windsor, CT showcased the newly revived ELA M 251 recreation for the first time at the 2002 Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention. Given the prestige and status of the original versions, the newly manufactured reissue shocked the audio industry with its remarkable accuracy to the original, both inside and out. The microphone won the 2003 TEC Award for Studio Microphone Technology.
Now with the ball rolling, TELEFUNKEN spent the next year utilizing the same reverse engineering process to successfully recreate and release the U47 and C12, both to the same exacting standards of their original counterparts. This cross-section of classic microphones provides a living collection of the microphones used in countless sessions that helped define the benchmark sounds of high-fidelity recording.
In keeping with the tradition of the ELA M 251, all parts for the Diamond Series microphones are custom tooled and machined in the USA, largely in Connecticut and other New England states. Every microphone is assembled from the ground up and tested in the TELEFUNKEN lab before leaving to go work in the field.
Alchemy Microphone Series
Designed, hand-built, and tested to strict quality standards in Connecticut, USA, the Alchemy Microphone Series is TELEFUNKENElektroakustik’s next generation of large diaphragm tube condensers. These new microphone models feature unique sonic profiles developed from the ground up.
With the combination of vintage microphone elements and modern fidelity and reliability, the Alchemy Microphone Series delivers microphones each with a distinctively original sonic fingerprint. The Alchemy Microphone Series is an evolution and refinement to past models in the R-F-T Series (CU-29 Copperhead, AR-51, and AK-47 MkII), benefitting from over a decade of in-house microphone design and production.
TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik has implemented numerous improvements sonically and mechanically to the Alchemy Microphone Series, tailored all the way down to the accessories. Boasting newly designed custom headgrilles for transparency and openness, hand-plugged circuit boards precisely laid out with careful attention paid on directness and length of traces (especially for high-impedance lines), and selected American and European vacuum tubes and transformers, no detail was left unaddressed.
Like all TELEFUNKEN microphones, the Alchemy Microphone Series is assembled in the same American facility as the legendary Diamond Series (ELA M 251E, C12 and U47) by a small, dedicated team of engineers and technicians. Each microphone is individually tested and listened to. All critical components are quality controlled in-house before assembly, including capsule frequency sweeps, vacuum tube burn-in and noise grading. These high standards lead to extremely tight tolerances from microphone to microphone - something few in the industry can claim.
The TF29 Copperhead features a new old stock American-made 5654W vacuum tube, all-brass K67-style capsule, and a premium Swedish-made Lundahl output transformer.
The TF39 Copperhead Deluxe is an expansion of the “Copperhead” sound with the addition of a dual membrane K67-style capsule, allowing for 3-pattern selection between cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8.
The TF47 is a new design based on the “German” sound, drawing inspiration from the historic U47 and M49. At the heart of the TF47 is an all-brass K47-style capsule, new old stock 5840W vacuum tube, and custom-made historically accurate BV8 transformer (as found in the U47).
The TF51 is a fresh take on the “Austrian” microphone sound associated with the Telefunken ELA M 251E and C12. The 6072A vacuum tube (also found in our ELA M 251E and C12) is mated with an edge-terminated style capsule similar to the historic CK12. The output transformer is a custom German-made Haufe transformer, the original manufacturer for TELEFUNKEN.
Concurrent to the R-F-T Series development, TELEFUNKEN entered the ranks of dynamic microphones. The Dynamic Series began in 2008 with the release of the M80, a handheld dynamic microphone with a custom-wound output transformer and a uniquely thin low-mass voice coil, providing a frequency response with a pleasant high-end bump which yielded an almost condenser-like response. The M80 grew exponentially over the next few years and became a major player for dynamic microphones on vocals and snare drum applications.
From there, TELEFUNKEN developed a variation of the M80 which subdued some of the high-end of the frequency response to cater to brighter sound sources, in turn creating the second Dynamic Series offering in 2012, the M81. The M81 went on to win the 2013 TEC Award for Microphone Technology in Sound Reinforcement.
The M80 and M81 grew in popularity and application, and in turn alternate packages were developed. The M80-WH and M81-WH were introduced to offer the same circuit and sound of the mic for use with a Shure or Lectrosonics wireless system. The M80-SH and M81-SH were released next, shortening the length of the microphone and adding a threaded stand mount to the body. This is ideal for mounting on the rim of a drum or in front of guitar amplifiers to provide a more low-profile package.
The third Dynamic Series microphone design was the TELEFUNKEN M82 Dynamic microphone for kick drum and broadcast vocal applications, released in April 2013. This unique kick drum design is the first TELEFUNKEN microphone to feature on-board EQ switches. Housed in a U47-inspired microphone body, the M82 retained the classic TELEFUNKEN look.
To tie all of these newly developed dynamic microphones together, TELEFUNKEN released the DD4 and DD5 Drum Microphone Sets in December 2013. This package brought the growth of the Dynamic Series to a defining point, offering each sound in a single package with TELEFUNKEN Stage Series cables.
FET and Direct Box
TELEFUNKEN entered another new domain in January 2015 with the release of the company’s first FET transistor-based microphone, the small diaphragm condenser M60 FET. The M60 FET was designed to operate with the same capsule set as the TEC Award-winning ELA M 260 vacuum tube microphone. The M60 FET is designed in the vein of a classic transformer-coupled FET amplifier, exhibiting extremely accurate phase coherency and low distortion. It is equally suitable for recording studio and live applications. The Drum Pack options were expanded to include the DC6 and DC7, both with a pair of M60 FET’s for overhead applications.
Continuing the path into new territories and markets, TELFUNKEN released a series of Direct Boxes in December 2016, offering passive (TDP-1, TDP-2) and active FET (TDA-1, TDA-2) transformer-based DIs in both mono and dual packages. The design concept is based around the tried-and-true large format transformer-coupled direct box with a rugged extruded aluminum chassis and all through-hole component assembly.
This design direction will continue and push TELEFUNKEN towards new microphone and accessory designs, while continuously improving our craft.
As TELEFUNKEN moves forward, one foot is rooted in the rich history of the brand, and the other in new microphone innovations. TELEFUNKEN has evolved exponentially from a single pattern switch to one of the industry leaders in top quality microphones.