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Telefunken · Hand-Held Microphones

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Microphones for Speech and Vocals Hand-Held Microphones Brand Telefunken

Telefunken

The name TELEFUNKEN dates back to 1903. The company began as a joint venture between Siemens & Halske and AEG. When a patent dispute arose, German Emperor Wilhelm II urged the two corporations to merge, and the joint company TELEFUNKEN was born.

By the 1900s, TELEFUNKEN was a leader in the global technology industry with a range of ventures including wireless radio communications, television sets, electronic video cameras, vacuum tubes, preamplifiers, microphones and much more. In 1947, TELEFUNKEN began selling the world-famous U47. The U47 was the world's first condenser microphone with a switchable polar pattern (cardioid and omnidirectional) and was especially popular in the United States, where ribbon microphones were the standard for recording studios. The U47's fidelity and fine detail brought it to the forefront of recording studios everywhere.

When U47 designer Georg Neumann decided not to renew his distribution contract withTELEFUNKEN, the U47 was withdrawn from distribution. TELEFUNKEN wanted to replace it with an equivalent microphone and commissioned AKG to develop a new series of microphones for their product line. Of these great microphones, one became a legend: the ELA M 251. The design was based on the AKG C12 already in production, with the CK12 capsule at its heart. In 1959, the ELA M 251/251E was introduced to the world public.

Although only produced from 1959 to 1962, the TELEFUNKEN ELA M 251 is considered one of the best sounding microphones of all time. While many other microphones were distributed and developed by TELEFUNKEN, the U47 and the ELA M 251 remain their most famous contributions to the world of recording. In conjunction with the microphones, TELEFUNKEN vacuum tubes were among the highest quality tubes available, and many variants are highly sought after today. TELEFUNKEN went through a series of ownership changes and company iterations, finally ceasing any production or new development in 1985.

In the four decades that the ELA M 251 was out of production, it achieved legend status as one of the best microphones ever made. The combination of the limited original production quantity and the fragility of the microphone meant that good, working examples became increasingly rare and exponentially increased in value. To illustrate this, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article in the 1990s calling the original ELA M 251 one of the best overall investments of the 21st century. As with any old electronic device, certain parts of these original units began to fail, rendering some of them unusable. TELEFUNKEN recognized the potential and need for this microphone and was reborn.