Our Telefunken U47 Review
Founded in Berlin in 1903, Telefunken was a German television and radio apparatus company. They were the first company to design a 2-stage Hi-Fi amp and worked for decades making transmitters, vacuum tube, and radio relay systems.
It wasn’t until 2001 that Telefunken USA was incorporated to build replicas of vintage microphones. They are well-known for producing some of the most reliable and high-quality microphones in the world, which is why they are so sought after by musicians of all skill levels. The U47 is a powerful microphone that is no exception.
What Is the Telefunken U47?
Even though the Telefunken U47 was originally developed in 1947, it has gone through recent updates and improvements, ensuring that it is just as reliable and hard-working as it was designed to be. Some of the recent updates include a new M7 capsule that is nestled inside the large chrome head. The new BV8 transformer is also an update, but the diamond logo on the front remains the same, proudly displayed on the front body of the microphone.
This is the first condenser microphone that offered selectable polar patterns. This means that users will be able to pick the polar pattern that best matches their needs so that they will enjoy the best sound quality without picking up ambient sound or losing out on the voice or music coming from a different direction. Thanks to the quality components and updates, the Telefunken U47 offers an incredibly vibrant and rich tone that is clear and bright.
Who Is this Microphone Designed For?
The great thing about the Telefunken U47 is that it can be used in almost any recording situation without fail. It does great for recording a solo artist who is singing or playing an instrument, but just as easily can be used to record a chamber ensemble or backing vocals. Because it is so versatile, it is a great option for any musician who needs their microphone to be able to function in more than one way.
The downside to this microphone is the cost. It is more expensive than other similar options on the market, but this is a testament to the quality of Telefunken products as well as how long this microphone will last. Due to the higher price, it is generally not a great option for beginning musicians who simply may not have the funds necessary to be able to afford it. It is, however, a wonderful choice for professional musicians as well as large churches who are looking for exacting detail and high-quality sound from their equipment.
Upon first glance of the new TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik U47, it's easy to see the "family resemblance." The large, chrome head grille houses a newly manufactured M7 capsule. Its matte nickel finished body houses a new BV8 output transformer and a newly developed VF14k vacuum tube; a "plug and play" replacement for the rare VF14M tubes found in the original. The classic "TELEFUNKEN" diamond logo proudly adorns the front of the body tube.
All of these accouterments show that this microphone means business. Since its original development in 1946, the TELEFUNKEN U47 has been the microphone of choice for generations of recording professionals. The first condenser microphone to offer selectable polar patterns (cardioid and omnidirectional), the original U47 also featured the famous M7 capsule which had been developed in 1928 by Georg Neumann.
To this capsule was added an amplifier built from military surplus VF14 tubes (they had been used in field and aircraft radios), and BV8 output transformers. The combination of these components created a sonic quality that was absolutely unheard of in the English speaking world of the mid-1940s when darker sounding, less detailed ribbon microphones were the standard.
The introduction of the U47 brought a new level of fidelity to the audio world, and is still considered to be one of the finest microphones ever produced. Whether you're recording a symphony, a "crooner," or any facet of modern music, you'll find a great tool in the U47.
Its authoritative mid-range and extended low-end response dance from your ears - much as a vintage wine dances from the palate. Everything, from vocals to the loudest of guitar sounds, full on orchestral recording, beautiful backing vocal arrangements, or a chamber ensemble will benefit wildly from the rich and vibrant tone of this stunning microphone.
The Telefunken U47 ships with everything that you will need to fire it up and start recording, and all of the accessories are high-quality and handpicked by Telefunken, so you can have confidence that they will exceed your expectations.
It ships with an M 940H power supply, M740 shock mount, M84OTH 25’ Sommer tube microphone cable, an FC40 locking flight case, and a WB40 wooden microphone box. This means that you will not only be able to set up your microphone and start using it immediately but also that you can keep it safe and protected when it is not in use, which is important, as it is an investment.
Primary Features of the Telefunken U47
One great feature of the Telefunken U47 is that it offers dual pickup pattern modes. This really sets it apart from other similar microphones on the market, making it a real workhorse. Not only does it allow for shaping of the pickup area, but the Telefunken U47 has differing patterns, which will result in subtle changes to your mic’s sound. This is great for fine-tuning the tone, and one reason why this mic is best for professionals. Other great features include:
- Airy treble, robust bass, and smooth midrange
- Based on microphones from the 1950s on
- Dual-sided M7 capsule
- Provides omnidirectional and cardioid polar patterns
- BV8 output transformer and VF14K metal tube
The technology inside the Telefunken U47 has been updated from the original M7 capsule, but you can still enjoy the same sound from the classic U47. The new components included in this microphone are a BV8 output transformer as well as a plug-and-play VF14K vacuum tube. Together, these 2 components make it difficult to tell the new updated Telefunken U47 apart from the vintage option, as they both have incredible tube-microphone tone.
Alternatives to the U47
The Neumann TLM 49 is a wonderful alternative to the Telefunken U47, especially if you are looking for a microphone that offers the same level of power and incredible recording but at a lower price. It has a K47 capsule and transformerless design as well as elastic suspension. The downside is that it is a cardioid polar pattern microphone, which may not work for all musicians.
Another great alternative is the Wunder CM7. While a little more expensive than the Neumann, it is still much more affordable than the Telefunken U47. It features an improved modern design with a single n-channel transistor that results in better highs and lows. It’s perfect for vocals but is a complete workhorse in the recording studio.
Conclusion – Is the Telefunken U47 a Good Option for You?
The first thing to remember about the Telefunken U47 is that it is a serious investment due to the power that it provides as well as the higher price tag. If you are ready to take your music and recording to the next level, then you will want to consider this option, but only if you are able to control it and make the most from the power that it has.
It offers an incredible sound that mimics a classic tube condenser microphone, but it is updated and improved to meet your needs and to provide you with the power and adjustments that you need for fine-tuning. Musicians who are serious about recording and want to take their music or vocals to the next level will definitely want to consider the Telefunken U47, while beginners and musicians who only dabble in recording will want to look somewhere else.
We hope our Telefunken U47 review has been helpful. You might be interested in our list of the best wireless mics for church.