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Author Topic: Test: Ben Sneesby's K47-Type Capsules  (Read 4353 times)


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Test: Ben Sneesby's K47-Type Capsules
« on: April 17, 2011, 10:22:06 PM »

Originally Posted By: Klaus Heyne on Thu, 20 May 2010 

The timbre of the original Neumann K47 sound is almost there in Ben Sneesbyís new K47-type capsules: good, tight, and balanced bass, a mid range signature closely related to Neumannís, and no pointedness or breakouts in the high frequencies. With other words, a fairly well-balanced response overall, and clearly more so than with K47/M7 efforts by other independent capsule makers whose products I have tested.

While there is still a small amount of aggressive constriction in the mids, it is clearly not so dominant that it would stick out in an ugly way, as it does with some of the recent K47/M7 capsule types made by MG and Thiersch.
What, then, could still be improved in Benís capsules so they could be a ready-to-use, unquestioned, true alternative to Neumannís K47 for my work (and I would not want to use a comparison to anything but the past and current gold standard in capsules)?

1. A capacity of the transducer to respond to complex, fast, signals with higher speed and without audible mid range smear,
 and (maybe related to it?):

2. Adding a slight bit of that narrow, but vitally important, range of high frequencies- that inoffensive, barely noticeable amount of Ďairí on top of the reedy and timbre-correct mid range of his capsules. Because it is that slight amount of Ďairí that Neumann capsules have which then seamlessly connects to the mid range, that makes their capsules so smooth overall, despite the robust and prominent low mids.
A bit more about the slight midrange smear or congestion I hear:
I am not a capsule maker, and can only speculate a possible connection between a slowly responding diaphragm that is not quite capable of dissolving incoming highs and mids quickly enough to render that famous, emotionally engaging, three-dimensionality which Neumannís K47 capsules still possess to this day, and still exclusively. I understand that the variables of diaphragm construction, preparation and mounting are many, and ideal balance points are hard to measure and translate into manufacturing parameters. Yet, the devil hides somewhere in there...
To sum it up: I found the two capsules Ben sent me to have a lot of what makes Neumannís K47 so appealing; but, as usual, to achieve the final 10% of anything is an unpredictable, hap-hazardous, uphill battle.
Considering how far Ben has come in such a short time, I hope he will go all out in his efforts to conquer the last bit of the performance gap between his and Neumannís K47.
Additional notes: Benís capsules were within the same timbral tolerance, side-to-side- and capsule-to-capsule as Neumannís. With other words, acceptably close in a professional application.
Minor issue that I think Ben should address: the threads in the backplates are one metric size up from Neumannís. With other words, if the capsule is to be used in a Neumann product, you should request the correct M-size screws that will work with the oversized threads.
Minor issue I donít understand: Ben uses super-thick washers under the central lead out screws that are also a bit rough on the surface, with a potential to mar the diaphragm upon contact. Unless there is an acoustic or electric reason for it, I would change them to gold-plated washers of conventional thickness.

Test setup:

Source: my voice, as always.

Neumann-comparison capsules used against Benís 2 K47-style capsules:
1961 Brass K47, 1975 ivory plastic K47, NIB 2009 K47 against Benís two specimens, yielding four front sides altogether

Method: quickly switching back and forth between two stock KK47 heads (one with the capsule/side under test, the other with the Neumann comparator) on the same U47 (1957 model in perfect functional condition, as if that needed mentioning)

Number of tests: 12
Ben Sneesbyís 2 capsules x 2 sides = 4 front sides
(I only tested cardioid performance)
 U47 stock capsules (preselected front sides) = 3

Ben Sneesby responds:


"Hi Klaus, thanks for the review and critique. (...)
 The only observation I have is that the washers I use for the centre screw
 are only rough on top as they are gold plated, and the underside that has
 direct contact with the diaphragm is smooth as smooth can be, thus never
 causing damage to the diaphragm.(...)
One more thing:
 The reason I have chosen to use the m1.4 screw is that the tap to make the
 threads is larger, hence less likely to break during manufacture. Also, the
 larger screw allows me to tighten each screw to a set torque setting whereas
 in the M1- due to its small size, torque setting of the capsule ring is not

Please feel free to post this on the site, I am happy to get some more
 comments and ideas from the members. I will definitely keep working on
 designs and methods to make the perfect capsule."

Thanks again

Ben Sneesby                                         
Managing Director
: 0419 481 569 (Australian Customers)
 :: (02) 6633 1463 (Factory)
 :: (614) 754 0957 (USA and Canada Customers)
 :: [email protected]

Klaus Heyne
 German Masterworks
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworksģ
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