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Author Topic: Black U47s?  (Read 893 times)

BluegrassDan

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Black U47s?
« on: May 01, 2020, 09:01:14 pm »

While at Blackbird Studio in Nashville a few months ago I was shown the mic locker. They had at least one Neumann badged U47 that was entirely black. The engineer said it came from the factory that way and was a "television" model, sort of like the RCA umber painted mics.

I looked at it closely enough to be convinced that it was likely not painted by an amateur. It looked like the black paint you see on KM84s or the U47 FET.

Is this a well-documented thing? What time frames would this have been an option? Were the accompanying PSUs also black?
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Dan Boner
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Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies
East Tennessee State University

klaus

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Re: Black U47s?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2020, 10:03:15 pm »

If it's real, it would not be a "well documented" or serial thing. I personally have never seen a black U47, but there are a few NG supplies that came black from the factory.

Here are some other data points that may be relevant to getting closer to and answer:
Television was introduced in Germany in 1952. But the German broadcast system never used U47 widely, but relied on the LD mic that was specifically developed for broadcasting: The M49. Neither it nor its sibling, the M50, was offered in Anthrazit (matte gray, some call it black). But KM53, KM54, and KM56 were available in black as early as 1955.

So why would they offer the U47 in black, but not their broadcasting mainstay mic?

My best speculation: if that U47 was indeed either made or converted by Neumann to black (Gleyer Galvanik in Berlin was their long-time contractor for this kind of custom work), it was most likely a special-order.

P.S.: David Satz forwarded me a Neumann sales brochure from 1964 that mentioned most models of that era as being available in matte black, at a surcharge. It included the M49 and M50. Obviously, the U47 was not among them, having been discontinued a few years earlier.

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Klaus Heyne
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gtoledo3

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Re: Black U47s?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2020, 03:27:22 am »

I would bet a nickel that it was probably a “Church U47”...aka not a U47.
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gtoledo3

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Re: Black U47s?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2020, 03:35:19 am »

John McBride mentions that they have a Church U47 here:

https://www.mixonline.com/recording/blackbird-studio-367339

If the attachment works, there is a pic of a black Church U47, or you might google if that doesn’t work.

I am noting the point about it having a Neumann badge though. I don’t know if Church kept them on any or not. Just throwing it out as a possibility that it was one of them.

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Kai

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Re: Black U47s?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2020, 11:21:40 am »

Looks like a strange kind of Frankenstein, with this non-original pattern switch and the different diameter housing + fixed cable instead of Tuchel connector.

"Neumann and Church U47 microphones" refers to manufacturer called "Church".

I found this:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=isyufqj48Jg

And this:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mgibJRoXmS8
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BluegrassDan

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Re: Black U47s?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2020, 01:38:37 pm »

Unless my memory deceives me, I recall seeing not a Church mic but an honest-to-goodness short bodied U47 with Neumann badge.
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Dan Boner
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Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies
East Tennessee State University

BluegrassDan

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Re: Black U47s?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2020, 01:04:30 pm »

Just happened upon Elvis' old Jailhouse Rock film. Take a look at the beginning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfrC8PAQtlg
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Dan Boner
Associate Professor/Director
Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies
East Tennessee State University

klaus

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Re: Black U47s?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2020, 03:07:21 pm »

Again, this might have been a one-off, either perpetrated by Neumann, by Elite, the importer at the time, or by the film production company.
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Klaus Heyne
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gtoledo3

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Re: Black U47s?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2020, 10:45:05 am »

Well in this case, that was an MGM movie, and it sure looks like the MGM Church Cinemike shockmounting system on the mic in the film. AKA Church U47.
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klaus

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Re: Black U47s?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2020, 01:35:28 pm »

Yes, looks like the cut-off body of a Church Mic. Good eye!
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Klaus Heyne
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