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Author Topic: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones  (Read 4913 times)

mike zietsman

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Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« on: October 30, 2011, 06:10:00 am »

Hello,
I have always wondered how one goes about identifying a re-skinned capsules in second hand microphones?

Is that something that can be learned on a forum or is it more technical than that?

I think it would be a valuable skill for forum users to have when buying old microphones/parts.

Thanks,
Mike

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klaus

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2011, 03:35:48 pm »

Yes, cool idea to learn to visually identify originals and re-skins (not that it's all that hard doing it with your ears, as long as you have a well-working original to compare to!)

Some re-skinners make it easy to identify their work by signing it (Stephen Paul and Doug Walker come to mind; their capsule mods are signed "Stephen Paul Audio" or "SPA" and "DW" respectively).
Others may use letters and a color scheme, like Siegfried Thiersch does ("STM" plus a red or blue tinted plastic tape on the perimeter of his M7- style capsules.)

Others do not identify their work, but a trained eye can detect differences in the hue of the gold sputtering, surface texture, the type and color lacquer applied to diaphragm mounting screws, or the color of the plastic diaphragm rings.

Where it gets tricky is with some of Thiersch's and others' re-diaphragming jobs of Neumann K67, K47 or AKG CK12. And it gets even harder when trying to determine whether a nickel diaphragm on a Neumann KM5/6/7/8x was replaced.

I may attempt a stickie on this subject soon that attaches JPGS to these descriptions.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

J.J. Blair

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 07:38:58 pm »

CK12s tend to be easier, because the material is very unique and easy to spot, and I only know one person who reskins them, who has the original material.  Frequently, Neumann's can be easy to spot, because the paint on the screws will have been removed. 

I really look forward to Klaus' sticky.
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mike zietsman

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 08:12:10 pm »

I really look forward to Klaus' sticky.

As do I. It would be awesome if someone could create an online collection of pictures to be used for showing the various differences - the problem would be that whoever made the collection would have to be an expert and time is not free. I doubt a wiki style of moderation would be accurate in this instance.

Frequently, Neumann's can be easy to spot, because the paint on the screws will have been removed. 

does the attached capsule look original?
(it is an old capsule that I have since sold in the mic it went into)

People who responded in this thread on klaus's old forums seamed to think so:

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/t/33544/0/

but it looks to me as though the screws have been obviously tampered with (or has the lacquer coating just worn away with age?)



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klaus

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 08:25:33 pm »

Looks to me like a genuine Neumann K87. The screws did not always have lacquer marks. And there was a time when the lacquer was clear.

This looks to me like a ca. 1988 model which may even have been cleaned and front-side-selected at one time by me (I recognize the "V" as in "vorne" = German for "front".)
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

usattler

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2011, 04:30:41 pm »

I am sceptical whether this is a K87 or even an untampered Neumann capsule. Missing is the wire and lug for the center contact, and if this is supposed to depict a K47fet, then the markings are on the wrong side. Original K47fet capsules have the markings on the front only, nothing on the idle back...
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Uwe Sattler
Technical Director - Neumann|USA (retired)

klaus

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2011, 04:38:47 pm »

Hello Uwe, welcome!
This could very well be something else than what I identified, but the lug and wire are sometimes missing on used capsules (the box is most likely from a newer Neumann capsule).

When I clean capsules (this looks to me like it's been a while, judging from the accumulated filth on it) the markings often disappear, as cleaning the diaphragm rings thoroughly is crucial for good resistance between the plates.

My experience in this case tells me that aftermarket diaphragms typically look quite different from this one in their hue of the gold deposit.

Can the picture-sender send another shot, showing the back of the capsule? That might help.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

mike zietsman

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2011, 05:08:45 pm »


Can the picture-sender send another shot, showing the back of the capsule? That might help.

sure...


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mike zietsman

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2011, 05:41:23 pm »

I would also like to add that much of the perceived filth on this capsule is actually on the box - the capsule in the state that it arrived to me passed the breath test twice in a row with no problems.
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klaus

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2011, 05:50:42 pm »

Yup,
That side used to be the front side, which I marked as "H" at the time I worked on it ("H" for "hinten" = rear) and shows the typical Neumann numbers. Also note: a nasty gash in the diaphragm, with more or less audible consequences.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

mike zietsman

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2011, 06:31:59 pm »

Klaus,
what would those "typical neumann numbers" generally relate to? Are they useful in identifying anything about a capsule?

Thanks,
Mike
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klaus

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2011, 07:33:49 pm »

The only number of relevance (which is not visible in the tow pictures you show) is the last digit of the year it was made. As they repeat every ten years, you need to know certain construction features that changed over the years to identify the decade.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

J.J. Blair

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2011, 01:31:36 pm »

I am sceptical whether this is a K87 or even an untampered Neumann capsule. Missing is the wire and lug for the center contact, and if this is supposed to depict a K47fet, then the markings are on the wrong side. Original K47fet capsules have the markings on the front only, nothing on the idle back...

You're not saying it's a K47, are you?

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radiovinhet

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Re: Identifying re-skinned capsules as opposed to new ones
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2011, 05:45:08 pm »

Quote
I am sceptical whether this is a K87 or even an untampered Neumann capsule. Missing is the wire and lug for the center contact, and if this is supposed to depict a K47fet, then the markings are on the wrong side. Original K47fet capsules have the markings on the front only, nothing on the idle back...
No way!   ;)
This capsule has a K67/K87 backplate, as you can see by the drill holes.
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