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Author Topic: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?  (Read 19904 times)

J.J. Blair

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2010, 10:16:12 pm »

Klaus Heyne wrote on Tue, 02 November 2010 12:29

The VF14 was specifically designed for the Neumann U47 microphone. Though some of the rejects that were found not suitable to work in mics were resold on the amateur/hobby radio market.

Therefore, VF14 are almost never found on garage sales or flea markets.


It's funny, but I just mentioned this fact to a friend who came back from AES.  He was told by a very well known mic designer, who makes great products, that "the VF14 was not made to record music," and justified this statement by saying how microphonic the tube is.
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2010, 02:37:59 pm »

He is right about the VF14's microphonics-but on a static base only: it does not affect the tube's intended use in microphones much.

Through the mounting system of the tube inside the mic, and because the tube's filaments respond to external agitation with a fairly broad spectrum resonance rather than the usual pure sine waves/identifiable notes, the microphonics you get when you tap a VF14 or the mic's housing tube usually don't show up as audible disturbances.

The exception to the above being some of the non-M-selected VF14, and VF14 M approaching the end of their life cycle.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
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kats

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2010, 06:52:36 pm »

boogietube wrote on Mon, 01 November 2010 21:18

With all of out modern technology, why can't the famous VF14M be manufactured?

Sean


By now you should be questioning your faith in modern technology.
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Tony K.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2010, 06:58:21 pm »

Klaus Heyne wrote on Thu, 11 November 2010 11:37

He is right about the VF14's microphonics-but on a static base only: it does not affect the tube's intended use in microphones much.

Through the mounting system of the tube inside the mic, and because the tube's filaments respond to external agitation with a fairly broad spectrum resonance rather than the usual pure sine waves/identifiable notes, the microphonics you get when you tap a VF14 or the mic's housing tube usually don't show up as audible disturbances.

The exception to the above being some of the non-M-selected VF14, and VF14 M approaching the end of their life cycle.


Yeah.  I'm aware of it being microphonic, but the premise he was asserting was that the tubes were designed for something other than recording music.  I think it probably goes to that urban myth that the tube was developed for Nazi era military radios, or some such story.

I can't see the microphonics being an issue in the recording applications of the late 40s.  We weren't multitracking, and sticking these things 5 inches in front of saxophones, etc.
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

boogietube

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2010, 12:03:46 am »

From the wealth of information presented here, I've learned a few things.Thanks folks!
I think the most important thing was about modern technology.
From viewing the video of the hand making of a tube, it is apparent that craftsmanship certainly plays a large role in the reason we can't reproduce the VF14.
A shame, really, and you see it in every modern product. Things were made to last then. Not as much nowadays.
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Oliver Archut

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2010, 01:55:16 am »

Oh, it is possible to make the VF14; the production drawings are available, but there is no market large enough.
Telefunken made over 10,000,000 steel tubes, so the machinery and tooling costs spread across that number is minute: For maybe 10,000 VF14 the cost would reach $500 per tube. Yet, even if the tube would be made 100% the same, there still would be some people putting the authenticity in question.

Best regards,

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Oliver Archut
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We are so advanced, that we can develop technology that can determine how much damage the earth has taken from the development of that technology.

rphilbeck

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2010, 07:18:22 pm »

Good point Oliver. Have you priced out what the initial investment would be to manufacture a vf14 from the ground up?  I am curious to know what kind of money we are talking here.

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Klaus Heyne

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2010, 07:30:03 pm »

In a meeting I had with Neumann executives, 10 (!) years ago, it was calculated a $500K initial investment would be necessary to reproduce the first tube.

This was assuming no technical glitches, and we did not go into the details of the exact Wolfram (tungsten) composition for the cathode, and other metal compositions and manufacturing tricks so important when formulating filaments in tubes.

Needless to say, no Sennheiser executive would green-light such expenditure, given the parent company's disdain for tube-based technologies.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
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Oliver Archut

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2010, 07:44:24 pm »

Good point Oliver. Have you priced out what the initial investment would be to manufacture a vf14 from the ground up? I am curious to know what kind of money we are talking here.

I was contacted by two organizations that were serious in footing the bill, but after talking to them in detail they figured out very quick that making a real VF14 would be a money losing business.

The cost that Klaus points out was unreal, even 10 years ago.
Just to build the right machinery to vacuum seal the steel envelope (the two metal pieces need 180,000 Ampere at 35V to be joined together), plus the specialty machinery to make the footplate would be about $500,000.

Best regards,
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Oliver Archut
www.tab-funkenwerk.com

We are so advanced, that we can develop technology that can determine how much damage the earth has taken from the development of that technology.

rphilbeck

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2010, 07:56:35 pm »

So add the obligatory 25% for,"unforseen" circumstances and we're looking at roughly $625,000 just to manufacture the first tube. Or, was that already calculated in? Do you have an estimate of the number of u47's originally sold, and how many exist today?

I doubt Neumann's aversion to the project was based on disdain for tube mics.  Most likely it was an issue of no single individual wanting to be the schmuck who gave a thumbs up on a potential half million dollar sink hole.  
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2010, 11:15:32 pm »

Neumann is now owned by Sennheiser. And even before the take-over, Old Man Sennheiser was never too shy to say in public what he thought of that old tube junk.

Sennheiser is a multi-billion dollar revenue company  which most likely has little patience for VF14 aficionados unless they would bring in profits, which is highly unlikely.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
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rphilbeck

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2010, 02:20:01 am »

Less than half a billion actually.  I suggested it was a Neumann call.  I can't imagine a parent company dictating to a subsidiary on "how" they should go about being profitable.  Why have an executive staff at your subsidiaries if you're going to make the calls from the mother ship?  Stranger things have happened I suppose.

Anyway, I have no idea how many u47's were ever made, but if there are 1000 in existence and you got half of those owners to put down $1000 each, you've got your half a mil.  The power of the internet and these types of forums are probably the perfect outlet to communicate and gather data for such a project.

The money we are talking is pocket change for anyone who owns a U47.
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2010, 03:16:42 am »

According to the latest full annual report, in 2008 Sennheiser was valued at 3.058 billion Euros (   http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/globals.nsf/resources/F inanzbericht2008.pdf/$File/Finanzbericht2008.pdf. page 66)

Very little is Neumann's call anymore. Sennheiser keeps tightening the belts of the boys in Berlin: every part installed in every microphone designed by Neumann's engineeers is scrutinized by Sennheiser manufacturing logistics experts in Sennheiser's Wennebostel factory (where all Neumann mics are now made) to find ways to trim costs further. I could go on.

I don't believe there is a Neumann advocate-inside or outside the company- powerful enough to have the ear of Sennheiser's management for a project like remaking an obsolete speciality tube for... what? A reissue of a U47?  
Where are they going to get the other vital U47 ingredients from to make a credible re-issue?

In the case of revisiting a VF14 or even a U47, your dream would need to be fertilized by individuals with no connection to the original manufacturer of this product. (Besides, Telefunken is long gone, all machining melted down, and no other company made octagonal-socket steel tubes.)

But then, stranger things have happened: Fender, anyone?
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
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Jakob Erland

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2010, 07:37:19 am »

Klaus Heyne wrote on Tue, 23 November 2010 08:16

 (...) Besides, Telefunken is long gone, all machining melted down, and no other company made octagonal-socket steel tubes.


Valvo did...

Jakob E.
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joeyhavoc

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2010, 09:33:42 am »

rphilbeck wrote on Tue, 23 November 2010 01:20

I suggested it was a Neumann call.  I can't imagine a parent company dictating to a subsidiary on "how" they should go about being profitable.  Why have an executive staff at your subsidiaries if you're going to make the calls from the mother ship?  Stranger things have happened I suppose.


I was an executive for a wholly owned subsidiary of Hasbro and later an executive for a wholly owned subsidiary of Topps.  In both cases, Hasbro and Topps were publicly held companies who purchased successful privately held companies and made them subsidiaries.

In both cases, the parent company had the authority to veto any "investment spending" in the proposed budget for the upcoming year.  In both cases they dictated the profit level that the subsidiaries needed to achieve and could change those during the budgeting process to force the subsidiary to cut all "discretionary" investment spending.

So yes, Neumann can put in their budget that they would like to set aside $600K for an investment into making VF14 tubes, but Sennheiser can easily tell them their budget is disapproved until they cut another $800K in costs.  I'm not saying that they have done that, but that I have first hand experience in that type of back and forth between a parent company and its subsidiary.

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.
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