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Author Topic: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify  (Read 27665 times)

J. Mike Perkins

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Klaus:

I don't think this has been covered in any one post, but could you or someone here explain the different K870/K87/K67 types that Neumann has used over the years and about when did they make the changes?  I have seen brass metal ring K67 capsules on old U67 mics from the early 1960's.  I have a very old U87 that has a sort of rubberized fiber board like capsule ring.  I have another U87 from the 70's that has a brown plastic ring capsule.  I have a U77 that looks like it has a replacement K67 white plastic ring capsule from the 1980's or 90's(?).  So there appear to be at least 4 overall types?  Has the diaphragm material been the same over the years?  Is the difference in tone due just to the material that makes up the capsule ring or is there something else going on? Finally, I know the handwritten numbers on the capsule ring mean something and one of the numbers is some type of date code.  Can you explain that?  Thank you again for sharing your knowledge on this forum.
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types over the years
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 04:26:54 PM »

Thanks for reminding me to do something I should have done a long time ago.

Here is a rough overview over the K67/87/870 capsule generations. One day, I will add photos, just not right this minute.

1. Similar appearance as K47/49, but with two backplates mounted against each other with four M3 screws (If I recall correctly). Brass diaphragm rings, no mounting threads for the capsule mount in the backplates (these were held in the threaded mounting ring via three pointed set screws), ca. 1960-1961

2. Same as above, but with eight M2 threads in the two backplate halves (2x4, offset from each other), ca. 1961 to 1964

3. Same as above, but with brown fiberboard diaphragm rings replacing the brass rings, ca. 1964 to 1966

4. First generation of plastic diaphragm rings (ivory color), whose mounting screws were recessed into the plastic, to be flush with the ring's surface, ca. 1966 to 1980

5. Same as above, but with white instead of ivory-colored rings

6. Same as above, but diaphragm mounting ring screws no longer recessed, since 1980

Versions five and six went through five generations combined; their subtle differences through time are only noticeable to an expert. Likewise, it's initially not easy to separate a K67 from a K87 by looking at it. Though, upon closer inspection, you can see the 40µ aluminum separator ring between the two backplate halves on K67/870.

Since the late 1970s, all K67/87/870 are marked with a single digit indicating the last digit of the year of manufacture (i.e. "7" for 1987, 1997, 2007, etc.)  This can be confusing for a layperson, because numbers repeat every 10 years. But the combination of build characteristics and date number allows pinpointing the year of manufacture fairly easily.

P.S.: Because of considerable interest, I also made this post a sticky
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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gkippola

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Anyone know the approx years that Telefunken logoed 67s were shipped?
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klaus

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They were"loggoed" from the beginning to the end to any Telefunken-distributed dealer/consumer
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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Marnay

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Hello Klaus,
As you had indicated it is difficult to find the difference between a K87 and K870 capsule.
Can you help me with it's pictures of indicate me the K870 K87?
The B capsule is covered with plastic all around.

Thanks in advance
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klaus

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The "A" capsule seems to be a K67/870, deducting from the sliver-appearing small spacer between the halves.

The "A" capsule may be a K87, if I interpret the small nick in the plastic ("TE46" side) under the 9:30 screw correctly: this would be where the lead-out solder eyelet for the front diaphragm wire is mounted. The screw indents the plastic a bit, because it's pressing down into the eyelet at that spot. Only (older) K87 have that eyelet.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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Marnay

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Thanks Klaus
You confirmed this as I thought, A capsule is a K870/67 it has a silver leaf between the halves
And not the other capsule.
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M Stage

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2014, 04:18:09 AM »

This thread seemed an appropriate one to ask the question of whether or not the attached photos are of an authentic K870 capsule. The capsule is from a mid 1990s u87ai.  Is it an authentic Neumann capsule? It does not have the hand written numbers that most I have seen have. Also it is missing the white curved plastic on top. Any thoughts on this one? Has it been reskinned? Why would it be missing the numbers seen on most others?
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M Stage

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2014, 04:20:51 AM »

and the rear view of the capsule
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M Stage

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2014, 02:44:21 PM »

Any thoughts or info from anyone on this capsule pics I have posted?
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2014, 04:07:44 PM »

To give a conclusive answer, I need one more close-up: a head-on shot of the area of the white plastic diaphragm ring that shows the big hole (there are two of them on each side, which are the opposite ends of the four attachment screws for the capsule halves).

To be more precise: the location of the holes on the front side would be at 6:30 and 12:30 respectively.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

M Stage

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2014, 04:28:01 PM »

Here is the front of the k870 capsule in question.
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2014, 06:44:16 PM »

I have a pretty extensive collection of mid-1990s K87/870 which I compared yours to
They all had the black felt-pen i.d. markings which yours is missing. (Look carefully: can you still see their faint outline in the plastic?)

The other important difference: the lacquer seals on the 12 mounting screws on the diaphragm rings are missing. on your capsule. So, while I think the hardware on this capsule is genuine Neumann, down to the diaphragm ring injection mold indentations, their size and location, I believe that this capsule has been re-diaphragmed by a third-party provider.

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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

M Stage

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2014, 07:03:31 PM »

May I ask how does re-diaphragming a capsule affect it's value compared with one that is original? What is a used all original Neumann k870 capsule valued at, and how much less is a re-diaphragmed Neumann k870 valued at?
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2014, 07:13:55 PM »

I have never found a case, where a re-diaphragmed capsule of a valuable condenser mic did not affect its value. \

Value reduction of a mic due to re-diaphragming can be dramatic (ELA M251) to barely noticeable (KM54). But this much has been clear to me, and I continue to stress it: I have yet to hear a re-diaphragmed K87 that sounds remotely as emotionally appealing, as smooth, as musical, as frequency balanced, as an original.

Most of the reskins of this capsule model I have heard are amateurishly made, and atrocious sounding, with many also suffering mechanical instability over time. And ALL reskins fall short enough, in my opinion, that I would never consider this cause of action, just because I could save a couple of hundred dollars on a reskin, and especially when the original capsule is still in production.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com
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