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Author Topic: How To Date A Neumann U87/U67 Capsule  (Read 25130 times)


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How To Date A Neumann U87/U67 Capsule
« on: June 21, 2013, 04:34:35 PM »

Here is a rough overview of K67/870 and K87 capsule generations (some day, I will add photos). The U67 and U87 types are identical in construction and acoustic design, except that the K87 uses a non-conductive spacer between the two half capsules, and an isolation sleeve over the four capsule assembly screws, while the K67/870's spacer is made of conductive aluminum and the assembly screws are not sleeved.

Though this primer focuses on K67/87, diaphragm rings for K47/49 are identical, therefore the information is equally valid for these types.

Here then are the generations which are easily discernible even by non-experts.

1. Similar appearance as early brass K47/49, but with two backplates mounted against each other with four M3 screws (if I recall correctly). Brass diaphragm rings, no threads in the backplates for capsule mounting screws (this capsule version was mounted with three pointed set screws threaded into the mounting ring, similar to how M7 were mounted to the U47 capsule mount ring), ca. 1960-1961

2. Same as above, but capsule is held in the mount with four M2 slot screws (two each screwed into each backplate half), ca. 1961 to 1965

3. Same as above, but brown fiberboard diaphragm rings replacing the brass rings, ca. 1966 to 1967

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, since ca. 1980's

6. Same as above, but diaphragm mounting ring screws no longer recessed, since ca. mid to late 1980s

Versions 5 and 6 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. Upon closer inspection, you can see the 40µ aluminum separator ring between the two backplate halves on K67/870.

Since the late 1970s, through 2009, all K67/87/870 are marked with a black paint/felt inscribed single digit, indicating the last digit of the year of manufacture (i.e. "7" for 1987, 1997, 2007, etc.)  This can be confusing because numbers repeat every 10 years. But the combination of build characteristics and date number allows pinpointing the year of manufacture.

Since 2010, two digits are used to identify the year of manufacture. F. ex. '12' = 2012
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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