Manufacturing & Production
TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik strives for perfection with manufacturing for all products. Not only should they perform and sound as best as possible, but also live up to the iconic TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik name and the history it represents. The build quality of each product should be as pristine as each microphone sounds. For over a decade, the lab team has continuously improved their craft to the highest production quality standards. The tagline, "Built to a standard, not to a price," is far more than an advertising line; it is a company-wide mentality. Every step of production is performed to strict standards in both function and quality.
Each component has been selected for superior electronic properties and sonic quality and integrity. All film capacitors used in microphones are polystyrene film, the superior choice for transparency and performance in high fidelity audio circuits. They are custom-made and branded exclusively for TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik in the USA. The electrolytic capacitors were selected through extensive technical and listening tests done with a wide variety of options to derive our component of choice. The Diamond Series features precision metal film resistors with a 0.1% tolerance, while R-F-T utilizes a still strict tolerance of 1%. All components have been chosen exclusively by sonic and electronic performance, never by price.
Prior to production, rigorous test procedures ensure the consistency and performance of each of the critical components in the microphone to the highest standard. The testing procedure includes the evaluation of every "new old stock" [NOS] vacuum tube for noise, gain, transconductance, and microphonics.
Capsules are evaluated for proper frequency response and sensitivity, while transformers are pre-tested for proper impedance, turns ratio, and frequency response. Once constructed, each complete system is burned-in and tested for overall frequency response, voltage measurements, noise, gain, phase shift, and most importantly, sonic character.
Few manufacturers can match the level of dedication and attention to detail given to the hand-built TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik productsbefore they are ready to leave the building to TELEFUNKEN's dedicated and growing allegiance of users.
MANUFACTURING: Diamond Series
For Diamond Series manufacturing, absolutely no detail is left unattended. These microphones are meticulously built to historic specifications with no expense spared. Diamond Series products are genuine recreations of the increasingly rare microphones that have forged countless legendary recordings. With Diamond Series products, you can acquire this exact sonic quality coupled with perfected assembly techniques and improved circuitry.
From capsule to chassis to contacts, every part has been reverse engineered from vintage samples and a large collection of historic AKG, Neumann, and TELEFUNKEN documents. By developing these accurate recreations of the most sought-after microphones in the industry, TELEFUNKEN is able to offer nearly any replacement part for restoration of vintage models, providing a much-needed source for the vintage restoration market.
All Diamond Series products are hand-assembled from top to bottom. Each microphone is individually wired point-to-point; no circuit boards to be found here. Every plastic is riveted by hand, and each assembly is tapped and screwed together by hand. Diamond Series microphones are produced in smaller production runs to achieve the finest attention to detail.
Over the last decade, TELEFUNKEN has perfected the art of CK12 production to be more consistent and reliable than original AKG capsules. The TELEFUNKEN CK12 was developed by reverse engineering several generations of original AKG CK12 back plate configurations and selecting what we found to have the best overall response and performance. The back plates are both precision machined and hand-sanded to extremely tight tolerances, and each membrane is tensioned and tuned by hand. Through ongoing development and extensive research, TELEFUNKEN capsule engineers have achieved a higher consistency than ever thought before, taking all the guesswork out of the previously backbreaking process of exact capsule matching.
The ELA M 251 series and C12 both utilize the German-made Haufe T14/1 transformer, the original manufacturer for TELEFUNKEN GmbH of Germany. The U47 and U48 feature a proprietary American-made BV8 transformer, built to the same technical specifications as the original.
To complete the package, Diamond Series cables and power supplies are all hand-built in the TELEFUNKEN facility located in South Windsor, CT. Diamond Series cables feature original connector ends and high quality, quad-shielded tube microphone cable with superior RF rejection made in the USA by Accusound.
TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik's premium power supplies feature the traditional styling of vintage Austrian and original Neumann NG models coupled with the improvements of modern component technology and circuit board design. Modern improvements include a slow-ramping filament voltage to extend vacuum tube life and full regulation to ensure your microphone will always operate the same, regardless of line voltage variations or location. Full regulation also means that stereo power supplies can also power only one microphone at a time at correct operating voltages.
Diamond Series power supplies are built on double-thick circuit boards for structural integrity and a PCB layout made to maximize current handling. These units are built well over-spec to ensure reliability and safe operation for decades. Each power supply is calibrated to the specific microphone system it comes with, and burned in as a full unit to ensure optimum performance and operation.
MANUFACTURING: Alchemy Microphone Series
Designed, hand-built, and tested to strict quality standards in Connecticut, USA, the Alchemy Microphone Series is TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik’s next generation of large diaphragm 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.
MANUFACTURING: FET and Direct Boxes
The newest microphone in the TELEFUNKEN product line, and first foray into non-vacuum tube condensers, is the small diaphragm M60 FET microphone. The M60 FET features a custom American-made output transformer coupled with a unique circuit topology with a high-quality FET transistor by Linear Integrated Systems. This amplifier circuit is designed to be used with the same capsule set as the TEC Award-winning ELA M 260 vacuum tube condenser. The M60 FET utilizes all through-hole components hand soldered on a high-quality circuit board akin to the R-F-T Series.
Components include Panasonic and Nichicon electrolytic capacitors, high quality polystyrene film capacitors, and an Amphenol connector. Each microphone is individually tuned for the lowest possible total harmonic distortion, and grouped as matched pairs for all stereo set configurations. The M60 FET is entirely hand-built from raw parts to completed microphone in our lab in South Windsor, CT, making it unique in the SDC market with how much attention to detail is given to the manufacturing process.
The direct box product line consists of four models: passive and active FET circuit designs, available in both mono and dual formats. The circuits are laid on high quality electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG) circuit boards with all through hole components for a sturdier product than conventional surface mount technology. All direct boxes feature a rugged extruded aluminum chassis and aluminum inner panels. This simple yet optimal form factor allows the direct boxes to withstand the wear and tear of gigging use.
At the heart of all the direct boxes are custom-wound output transformer from OEP, part of the Carnhill Group, manufactured in the UK. The passive design features WIMA polypropylene and Nichicon MUSE Series capacitors, while the active design takes a queue from our M60 FET research and features a high-quality FET transistor from Linear Integrated Systems coupled with Nichicon MUSE and Fine Gold capacitors. All metal toggle switches and metal cased XLR and 1/4” connectors from Amphenol round out the robust construction of these DIs.
Built entirely in Connecticut, the TELEFUNKEN direct box line provides users with a premium tool for both live and studio applications. These new manufacturing methods have helped evolve the lab team’s abilities to take on the growing product line of TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik.