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Author Topic: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?  (Read 31825 times)

Jeff D

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #45 on: November 27, 2010, 02:47:36 am »

If a modern VF14 existed I think you'd see new microphones designed around it.  Sales would be far greater than the remaining U47's require.

ratite

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2010, 03:29:37 am »

I was thinking the same thing.Also people who own 47 inspired mics would be rushing to swap out their EF tubes (and mod their mics) for the new VF.That could be a much larger potential market than original 47 owners.
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Tim Campbell

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2010, 12:24:03 pm »

I don't think you'll see a big rush of people designing mics around a modern VF14 if it costs in the ballpark we're discussing.
You can buy AC701's easily at 600 dollars each or much less but you don't see modern designs built around them, only expensive recreations.
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David Bock

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #48 on: November 27, 2010, 06:12:52 pm »

Quote:

I am simply exploring, learning, and discussing sir.
I wasn't invested in the thread enough to criticize any one member's contribution, just the speculation in general. What creates a business success is not likely to be a general public internet committee decision.  

Oliver Archut

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2010, 10:56:04 am »

If you could get the right materials I'm sure it would be possible
to handmake small batches of these tubes with minimal equipment in a glass envelope. A neon sign shop could do the vacuum for you.


Sorry, no neon shop pump will work here. They used just basic mechanical pumps.

Original materials? Hoesch in Hohen-Limburg/Germany made all the needed materials up to 1989 when the plant was closed. There is no off the shelf manufacture anymore, so getting the ball rolling with newly made materials is quite expensive.

AC701? The first 1000 tubes were all hand-built at Ulm, it is possible but even here, just too expensive.
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joeyhavoc

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #50 on: November 29, 2010, 11:28:25 am »

KB_S1 wrote on Fri, 26 November 2010 12:35

Also the startup costs only have been discussed here.
How much per unit?
What would be genuine amortisation levels required?

That's the right question and the real problem.

The tooling is $500K.  I believe that the materials could be made again, however, since no one is currently producing them, going and finding a company in the US (or somewhere) who COULD produce them and then working with them to get it right would probably take about 18 months, a lot of development costs and a large minimum order.  Then another 12-24 months would be needed to "practice" making the tubes and fine tuning the production process, destroying raw materials in the process.

A VERY rough ROI (return on investment) scenario looks something like this:

* $1-1.5M cash investment to get to the first acceptable production units ready for sale (maybe)
* 3-4 years until that end result is realized or it is determined that more time and money must be invested or the project should be killed
* Market demand and product pricing is purely a guess at this point

Pending the price, the profit level and the rate of sales, you may be looking at covering the original investment 6 years after the initial investment.  That's a tough sell to any investor.  I don't think that it is impossible, but it will take someone who loves microphones AND has $3M (in case round one doesn't work or the estimates are wrong...) that they are prepared to just throw away if the project does not succeed in the end.

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.
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MDM,

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #51 on: December 01, 2010, 12:42:44 pm »

So it's not possible to modify EF14 tubes?
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David Satz

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #52 on: December 08, 2010, 08:51:53 am »

Just wondering, since your evidence seems quite strong--if initially, the only prospective market for the VF 14 was that a selection of them would be used in Neumann's U 47, isn't that a rather small quantity of sales to justify Telefunken's developing and producing this new line? I seem to recall that in the early post-war years, Neumann (quite understandably, given the conditions) considered themselves lucky if they could build three or four microphones per week of acceptable quality. It almost seems as if the original economic basis for the VF 14's production was as mismatched with reality as the idea of reproducing it today.

Do we know whether the EF 14 was produced at the same time? And if I recall correctly, there was also a third model with some other filament voltage; was it introduced at the same time as well? Were those other versions more widely sold and/or more profitable for Telefunken than the VF 14, perhaps?

--best regards
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KB_S1

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2010, 09:09:47 am »

I am sure others know the facts but as Telefunken were state subsidised, the usual ROI/profit margin arguments probably did not apply.

When the U47 was being produced there was possibly a 'need' for the microphone and not the profit.
Now of course there is no state subsidy or need for that specific product.

There was a use for the lesser grade VF-14 tubes, too, I think, which would spread that cost.
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rphilbeck

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #54 on: December 08, 2010, 01:18:34 pm »

Maybe we could "vote" it into production.
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #55 on: December 08, 2010, 02:22:51 pm »

David Satz wrote on Wed, 08 December 2010 05:51

Just wondering, since your evidence seems quite strong--if initially, the only prospective market for the VF 14 was that a selection of them would be used in Neumann's U47, isn't that a rather small quantity of sales to justify Telefunken's developing and producing this new line?

The tube was indeed exclusively used by Neumann (see previous posts).
What made the start-up of the VF14 at relatively low expectant numbers feasible:
It was not a new development, but a variant of existing octagonal tubes. Basic start-up construction for a new tube was not necessary, as manufacturing of similarly constructed tubes were already in production at Telefunken, and at high output (EF14, UF14.)

The deviation of the VF14 from similar octagonals-filament arrangement and cathode material-was probably not deemed that much of an extra investment within a giant electric company like Telefunken that it mattered. Besides, who could have foreseen in 1947 the transistor revolution two decades hence?

Quote:

It almost seems as if the original economic basis for the VF 14's production was as mismatched with reality as the idea of reproducing it today.

Given that the machinery for any of the octagonal steel tubes is gone, you can apply that statement to the reality of today.
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Klaus Heyne
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MI

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #56 on: December 08, 2010, 03:31:40 pm »

rphilbeck wrote on Wed, 08 December 2010 13:18

Maybe we could "vote" it into production.


I would be curious to see how many "Voters" would remain if the producers demanded
a cheque for 2,000$ immediately...I think very few would remain in the room.

MI
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rphilbeck

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #57 on: December 08, 2010, 05:03:00 pm »

MI wrote on Wed, 08 December 2010 15:31

rphilbeck wrote on Wed, 08 December 2010 13:18

Maybe we could "vote" it into production.


I would be curious to see how many "producers" would remain if the voters demanded a cheque for 2,000$ immediately...I think very few would remain in the room.

MI



I switched around some of your words to support the political quip I was trying to make in the original post.
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Arf! Mastering

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #58 on: December 08, 2010, 11:38:30 pm »

I think the sonic attributes of the VF14 do not live up to its reputation.   It's just a tube, and with a proper transformer and circuit, there are many good tubes that can do the job just as well.  Oliver has amply proven this with a few of his designs. The perception of the U47 as God's microphone, IMO, is thanks to the god-like voices that sang through it - Nat Cole, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, etc., not to any supernatural attribute of the mic itself.   That's not to say that a good U47 doesn't convey an inspirational sound for singer, but, for example, I've heard an aftermarket U47 clone built with an original Neumann K47 capsule and an AC701 tube go up against one of the best all original U47/K47 mics in NYC and you could barely tell the difference.
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: Why Can't The VF14M Be Made Again?
« Reply #59 on: December 09, 2010, 03:47:14 am »

Arf! Mastering wrote on Wed, 08 December 2010 20:38

(...) I've heard an aftermarket U47 clone built with an original Neumann K47 capsule and an AC701 tube go up against one of the best all original U47/K47 mics in NYC and you could barely tell the difference.


Knowing your experienced ears, Alan, then the playback system's resolution must have been pretty poor, or you were not used to the room/speakers/environment.
An AC701 in a U47? It's like a woman in men's clothes- the two shall never be confused.

In this context I wanted to share this: I just finished a U47/K47 Nuvistor re-conversion for a local client whose mic I not only intimately knew, but which I had tweaked to the limit over the years, trying to get "that" U47 sound out of it. The client finally had saved enough money and bought a VF14 on eBay (the parties agreed: I would check the tube out first);
Then I did the conversion. The improvement in the mic's rendering of depth was uncanny. It's as if the mic was telling me: "thanks for giving me back what I needed to make you respond on an emotional, rather than cerebral level!

Give people a relaxed listening environment they are familiar with, exchange just ONE variable in the test set up of a U47- the tube- and I bet you, 99 of 100 listeners will blindly and rather quickly choose a VF14 over any other contender.
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Klaus Heyne
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