Die U47 Zeitmaschine.... (the U47 time machine)
Can an U47-remake be as good as the original ?
My name is Gunter Wagner and I am specialised in tube microphone technology since more than 35 years.
My special field is the Neumann U47, since I fell in love with its sound and its technical design when I worked as a sound engineer in Germany in the early seventies.
The more I learned about tube microphones in the following years, the more I respected the U47 design.
Considering that it was designed 1948/49, shortly after WW2 - at a time when it was hard to find sources for unusual parts and materials in Germany - its historical impact on the recording industry from the early 50's until today is undisputed and truly remarkable.
Other microphones at that time were often electronically more complex, but mechanically very... well,.. simple. This often made them unreliable and sometimes even sounding a bit 'tinny'. The U47 is completely the other way around: Mechanically super solid and complex in important details (like its unique flexible tube suspension, the capsule interconnection or the sophisticated triple layer mesh in the grille), the U47's circuit design has a brilliant simplicity.
There was no computer simulation in 1948, and test equipment for acoustical measurements and research was simple and vague, at least for today's standards. Nevertheless the U47 turned into a milestones in German recording technology and became one of the world's best and most sought-after microphones.
But as we know, even the most ingenious design does not guarantee a world-class sound, so here is the question: Did they know 1948 what they were doing or was the U47 just a "lucky shot" ? We will never find out...
... Keeping the old Neumann U47 alive...
When Neumann more and more ran out of original U47 parts in the early 80's, we started re-manufacturing U47 parts to make sure that we could continue professional service and restoration the old classic U47. From 1989 we re-made most key parts of the old U47 and supplied authentic spareparts to many microphone technicians and manufacturers around the world. (See http://wagner-microphones.com/U47Parts/U47clone-.htm ).
1998 I built the first completely new U47-reproduction as a special order for one of my international clients. The response was overwhelming. Finally it was possible - by matching capsule, tube and output transformer in combination with the fully authentic U47 body-mechanics - to achieve 100% of the look, feel and the sonic quality of the classic U47. Not just a copy of an old U47 with all its problems, but making U47 to the quality and sound when they were new, 60 years ago!
Because the U47w is made from U47 spareparts and authentic reproduced parts, basically each item - from the mechanics, the body and the head to the transformer and the capsule - is directly interchangeable and fully authentic to the old Neumann part in an old U47. In other words, if you take the headgrille or a capsule or even the output connector, it fits directly to an old Neumann U47 because it does not just look as the original, it is always a fully authentic replacement part for the Neumann U47.
Meanwhile we handmade more than 250 U47w for clients around the globe who find it amazing that they can now use a true U47 without the limitations and unpredictability of a 60 year old mic. Output gain, frequency response, noise, distortion and the famous character - all specs are identical to the vintage U47.
Hard to believe? Have a look at the images and read some background information:
Original versus "Remake"
The Power Supply
Made from U47 Spare Parts
What existing U47w users from around the world say about it
(click for next image)
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