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Author Topic: Which Neumann M49 Version Do I have ?  (Read 13640 times)

Offline shirk

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Re: Which Neumann M49 Version Do I have ?
« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2013, 07:34:48 pm »
A few more pics to get you past TEN, Klaus! 

Offline shirk

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Re: Which Neumann M49 Version Do I have ?
« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2013, 07:38:23 pm »
I'm also wondering if this bulbous shaped foam pillow that the transformer rests on is a home-made job as well.  It seems to position the capsule a bit higher in the grill than I'm seeing elsewhere. 

Offline klaus

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Re: Which Neumann M49 Version Do I have ?
« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2013, 09:58:39 pm »
OK, now I am at 20+.
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Offline Uwe

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Re: Which Neumann M49 Version Do I have ?
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2013, 09:13:04 am »
Rather than dismissing this specimen as non-original, I prefer to look at it as lovingly and very expertly rebuilt with technically superior, or at least much more expensive components in place of those available more than 50 years ago. With the sound primarily shaped by the apparently authentic capsule, tube and output transformer, it should be the result that counts! ... unless the goal is to sell it to a museum instead of applying it to its original purpose, namely as a creative tool to produce pleasant recordings ...
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 09:24:42 am by Uwe »

Offline klaus

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Re: Which Neumann M49 Version Do I have ?
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2013, 12:26:06 pm »
Uwe, I am not sure there even exists a museum that buys and exhibits Neumann mics. This is a working tool, priced for its sonic excellence and peculiar timbre.

We can debate whether the effect on price of the presence of original components is reasonable or not, but any observer of the vintage microphone market will agree: The bulk of vintage mic buyers and users appreciate originality, and will always pay a premium for it. The intrinsic (usable) value of vintage mics is only a portion of the overall valuation. The discount can be huge (more than 50% in some models), even when the mic was lovingly restored.

The considerable depreciation in value of this particular mic over an all-original is due to the presence of two issues:

1. Mishmash of M249 and M49 body components (this would be anything but a "very expertly" approach to vintage microphone restoration, in my book, despite the clean component layout and solder work present).

2. Lots of new, and differing materials, of electric components which affect the overall timbre of the mic: the choice of coupling capacitor alone is debatable-just ask the Bosch aficionados; installing high-Ω metal film resistors would also not be something I would choose, if I was after the warm and mellow sound of an M49. All this would be worse, without the presence, as you say, of Neumann transformer, capsule, Telefunken tube.

Some more details:
The mic (probably exiting the factory as a 1956/57 M49) has an M249 connector, but an M49 i.d. plate. The connector was mounted after the fact, and with Phillips screws, so was the added 'C' cathode circuit. The capsule is a 1990 version of a K47fet, possibly a K49. There is not a single original electronic component visible anywhere. The Solen coupling cap (a metalized polyprop) is of marginal quality in this application. I already mentioned the questionable metal film resistors. The rubber collar amp suspension is completely dried up, bulging upwards, from the weight of the hanging mic; this deterioration probably put stress on the original lacquer wiring, and probably caused the need for a completely new umbilical (white wires) between connector and amp. The capsule mount and screws don't look genuine like Neumann/Berlin parts to me (this M49 series had an M7, anyway, not a K47). They may be East German/Gefell, or aftermarket.

What did I miss?
Oh, nice, orderly lay-out of components and clean solder work throughout.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 04:09:08 pm by klaus »
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Offline J.J. Blair

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Re: Which Neumann M49 Version Do I have ?
« Reply #35 on: November 11, 2013, 07:04:04 pm »
5.1 µF output cap? 

Klaus' discussion of original components brought to mind an interesting observation I've made about the difference between the vintage mic market, and something like the vintage guitar market: With guitars, it's very essential to collectors that not only are the potentiometers and tone caps original, the guitar is devalued if the solder joints have been molested!

On the other hand, as long as the capsule is the correct type, the tube is the correct type, and the transformer is original, the sale prices I've noticed for mics on eBay seems to be mostly unaffected by whether or not the resistors and caps have been changed. 

I have a couple theories for these disparities.  The first being that vintage guitars have ceased being used exclusively as tools, and are "valuable things to collect," for some people.  It's not that only somebody needs the sound of a '62 Strat, to make the music they need.  It's that the '62 Strat is something wealthy Japanese businessmen, and lawyers who are guitar hobbyists, etc. have decided that they need.  And in a sense, they have entered the realm shared by antiques, and works of art, where condition and originality affect the value.

The second theory is that there are internet forums full of people who have the idea that these guitar items must be original, and they share the knowledge of what makes them original with each other.  There really only seem to be a small handful of people who know what the original passive components are for these vintage mics, and even fewer who care. 

Fortunately, mics are still tools.  They have gotten expensive enough, with all the people who have entered the recording game.  But unless it's some mint, new in the box example, I'm not noticing any price difference in a M49 with all the resistors and caps changed, and one that is all original.  (That is unless it's been KH'd, which then adds value, it would seem.)  It seems to be accepted that you want to replace ceramic caps, as well as electrolytic caps, etc., but I see Neumann paper and tar output caps routinely replaced with inferior caps, because people think they originals were electrolytic, or they replace the original resistors with metal film resistors, and all the other caps are changed to mylar caps, etc.  Also, guitar components tend not to go bad through non-wear related age, and don't just need replacing.  But looks at how M7 capsules, and certain caps just go bad on their own, with age.

Offline Jim Williams

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Re: Which Neumann M49 Version Do I have ?
« Reply #36 on: November 12, 2013, 11:29:52 am »
I'm with Uwe on this one. Look at those parts, I see very high quality Caddock resistors and other fine parts. The 5.1 uf Solen (French) output metalized polyprop cap isn't the best, but might be one of the best that will fit. It is obvious that the owner took great care in selecting the components.

Rather that compare proverbial apples to oranges, I see a lovingly restored/repaired/modified mic that will last for some time, as long as the capsule survives. As long as it is not marketed as an original mic and parts, I see no problems with the owner having access to a fine recording tool, exceptions made for those that worship complete originality over function. Then again, those tend to be 'collectors' that prefer to set this sort of stuff into glass exhibition cases for viewing only. I also believe old guitars should be played, not exhibited.

Offline J.J. Blair

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Re: Which Neumann M49 Version Do I have ?
« Reply #37 on: November 16, 2013, 01:07:30 am »
Jim, I'm pretty much on agreement on that.