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Author Topic: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?  (Read 2328 times)

RuudNL

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Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« on: May 14, 2020, 02:49:52 AM »

Yesterday, I found an article about the United Studio Technologies UT FET47.
http://www.unitedstudiotech.com/
They claim to make a microphone that is close to the Neumann U47 FET, but for a price of only $800...
Built with some NOS components (FET, styroflex capacitors), Heiserman capsule and Cinemag transformer.
Unfortunately I can't find them yet in Europe, it seems this microphone was introduced at the end of 2019.
I will try to get my hands on one. Maybe it is as good as they say and if not, it is always possible to modify things.

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gtoledo3

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Re: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2020, 10:58:48 AM »

Two things I noticed from investigating, being possibly of interest:

-the capsule is Chinese production, with guidance by Heiserman, and has dual backplate type construction.

-the output transformer is held in place with zip ties, as opposed to the original construction.

I don’t present these points to suggest the mic can’t be useful or good sounding, just that they figure in when thinking out the price point vs quality.

It seems as though covid-19 must have put a hamper on production. If they ever went to being available at Vintage King or Sweetwater (I was looking), they must have sold out very fast.

I wonder if the body metal material is the same.
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klaus

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Re: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2020, 01:57:02 PM »

Quote
Yesterday, I found an article about the United Studio Technologies UT FET47.
They claim to make a microphone that is close to the Neumann U47 FET

That's what happens when a company fails to trademark one of its model: someone will grab that famous name, then market a copy suggesting the same value as the original, for a fraction of the price. 
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Klaus Heyne
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RuudNL

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Re: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2020, 02:02:54 PM »

I always considered mounting a transformer with zip ties as a very amateuristic solution!
But that is something that can be solved.
The fact that the capsule (backplate?) is made in China doesn't mean very much to me.
Lots of commercial microphones have capsules that are made in Asia.
It seems that (anyway that is what I am told) even the capsules in the current Telefunken microphones have their origin in China.
But still, I would be interested to see and hear one of their microphones.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UT47FET--united-studio-technologies-ut-fet47-large-diaphragm-fet-condenser-microphone
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klaus

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Re: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2020, 04:14:09 PM »

You mentioned Chinese capsules, and their relative value and quality.
No one else makes large or small diaphragm condenser microphone capsules of Neumann's quality, consistency, and durability.

I am sure of one thing: If the Chinese or anyone else could reverse-engineer Neumann capsules, that German company's advantage in the marketplace would shrink, and possibly disappear.

But no one can: capsules are one component of a high-quality microphone that defies reverse-engineering, no matter how much money or engineering skills you throw down. Critical aspects of manufacturing can only be stolen or copied through direct observation and recording of the process in action. As long as Neumann keeps the doors shut to outsiders, only rudimentary aspects of their capsule manufacturing methods will leak (see the "How it's made" video).

I've had conversations about this with AKG's former director of product development who confirmed that notion: capsule making is the Coca Cola formula of any of the legacy companies, never to be divulged to any outsider.
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Klaus Heyne
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Kai

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Re: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2020, 05:16:49 PM »

... No one else makes large or small diaphragm condenser microphone capsules of Neumann's quality, consistency, and durability. ...
Don't forget about Schoeps.

Their capsules are of at least same quality, but higher consistency with very low tolerances.
Schoeps, with one exception, builds small diaphragm condensers only.

I've quite some, and non of those failed through 35 years.
- OK, one with mechanical pattern switching (singe diaphragm omni/cardiod/figure of eight) a speciality only Schoeps does, had it's rubber rings replaced after 30 years.
Cost at Schoeps ~80€.

Even those tube types I have, that origin from the sixties are all original, not a single part in their electronics had to be replaced yet.

The Schoeps mic's are so consistently manufactured to the same standard that there is hardly a audible difference from their 1970's generation to today.
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klaus

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Re: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2020, 09:16:42 PM »

I was considering to add Schoeps to my statement- their capsules are indeed world-class- but my experience with the company has been soured over the years:

While I think the world of the COLETTE series, in my experience older products like Schoeps' 3-pattern MK6, and its dual-pattern M934 have not held up over time (I have three MK6 and they all suffer from the same unrepairable problem). When any of these and other historic products are defective and need restoration, repair, or parts, Schoeps will not service them. Too old to bother. They also changed capsule threads between female and male on M221, so M934 capsules will only fit the corresponding body thread.

Then you add the hit-and-miss U.S. representation of the company by Posthorn in New York. No service is done in the U.S. (unless that has changed recently).
With other words, in my book, a microphone company and its capsules are only as good as service and replacement availability and support.
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Klaus Heyne
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David Satz

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Re: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2020, 01:34:39 AM »

Klaus, a few things if I may. First, Posthorn Recordings is still a Schoeps dealer, but hasn't been Schoeps' U.S. representative for a long time now; Redding Audio took over that role nearly twenty years ago (!). They do perform some minor service there, but most is still done at the factory, by the same people who make new microphones.

Second, the capsule/amplifier threads were changed among the M 221, M 221 A and M 221 B series because of greatly differing polarization voltages. We've talked about this in other threads before. Capsules of the M 221 A type were built for 60-Volt polarization, and it would have been dangerous to let them be used on the original M 221 amplifiers, which provided 120 Volts to the capsule. The slightest air motion would bring the nickel-foil membrane into direct contact with the backplate. Telefunken (Schoeps' main representative at this time) warned in their brochure for the M 221 A that the capsules from older M 221 microphones couldn't be used on the newer amplifiers. But the difference between the threads on the M 221 vs. M 221 A capsules wasn't very obvious--just a slight difference in pitch and diameter, so that when you try to put them together, you can't. 120-Volt polarization was again used in the M 221 B, so different threads were again needed, and that time the difference was made much clearer.

--Regarding the MK 6 (still one of my favorite Schoeps capsules), Schoeps always recommended that three-pattern capsules be sent back to them periodically for service--the only capsule type for which they ever made such a recommendation. For about 25 years, older MK 6 received for service were routinely updated with a newer synthetic gasket material that doesn't dry out with age. My original pair were built in 1972-73 (they're pre-"Colette series") and updated in 2004 by the same person who had originally built them (!). They work fine today, and age alone should no longer affect them--nor my CMTS 501 stereo mike, which had its capsules similarly rebuilt. I'm sorry that it's too late for yours now--as it would be for me, if I should accidentally drop and break any of mine. That makes me reluctant to use them any more. I went through all the Kübler-Ross stages of anger, bargaining and grief about this.

That said, though, it's not quite true (as I have experienced more than once) that Neumann can still repair all their older microphones; it depends on what you have and what it needs. Certain parts are simply no longer available--and while some could probably be manufactured again now, the expense would be prohibitive for the small number that are required. Thus the problem in essence is the same as with Schoeps, and it's not a situation in which either manufacturer deserves to wear either a pure white or a pure black hat.

--best regards
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klaus

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Re: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2020, 02:15:41 AM »

Thanks for commiserating about the MK6, and your perspective on Schoeps.

As to Neumann's treasure trove of old parts: I have found that there are a very few things they don't have anymore. What also helps: having made only variations on two types of LD capsules in the last 60 years, and reissuing mics using parts that are interchangeable with those of the originals.

I am gratified about Neumann's corporate pride and sense of history: during my last visit to Berlin, Martin Schneider could still find and hand over officially "obsolete" parts. I cannot say that I ever found Schoeps as approachable in this regard. How much I wanted them to restore several of my 221 capsules (not the metal membrane type), but was rebuffed with the comment: "buy our current product!"

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Klaus Heyne
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soapfoot

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Re: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2020, 07:24:20 AM »


It seems that (anyway that is what I am told) even the capsules in the current Telefunken microphones have their origin in China.


I reviewed the TF51 for TapeOp

In the process, I spoke with representatives and technical staff at Telefunken USA (nice folks, and forthcoming with information). They confirmed that the capsule in this moderately-priced mic was "an OEM capsule, built to our spec, from a trusted supplier that many other mic manufacturers use." Another person within the company confirmed that this trusted OEM supplier was located in China.

However, they went on to clarify that on their much-more-expensive microphones (like their version of the Ela M 251), the CK12 capsules are made "in our lab in South Windsor, CT." So there is some distinction to be made there
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gtoledo3

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Re: Anyone familiar with the UT FET47?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2020, 10:57:27 AM »

If they don’t actually advertise a spec, they are free to do whatever they want.

If you go to their site, it is hard to find any language that describes the provenance of the capsules anymore. There is an entire manufacturing section that seems to breeze past it, and it doesn’t seem to be part of the individual product pages. I didn’t look at each individual one, just a few.

In reading stuff like this, it can help to be careful not to make assumptions, because any bit of language that can allow for some more affordable process, usually does.

For example, take the “Heiserman” capsule in the UT47fet, which winds up not being the US production Heiserman capsule. Or the original Telefunken USA mic that was a rebadged ShuaiYin (http://www.shuaiy.com/).

Where I am going with this; if a capsule is assembled in US or Europe, don’t assume that the metalwork hasn’t been made in China. If a manufacturer specifies something US or European for one item on a premium tier, and doesn’t specifically mention similar for others, the omission may actually point to what is going on with other mics in the same line.
—-


Sidenote - I was recently reminded how Sanken had been a leader in developing titanium capsules that have become popular in some newer mics.
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