Common name: Neumann KU 81i
Production Status: Discontinued / Vintage
The KU 81 is the second “Dummy Head” stereo microphone system launched by Georg Neumann GmbH in 1982 and manufactured until 1992, when it was replaced by the KU 100 dummy head. Neumann dummy heads are developed in cooperation with IRT (Institute fur Rundfunktechnik – Munich). The system consists in a reproduction of a human head with two pressure condenser microphones inside. Two special version KM 83 microphones are installed inside the head. Tunable Helmotz resonators and further coupling allows the 5 mm ear canal reproduction to reach the 21 mm microphone capsule (for details refer to Dr. S. Peus’s writings and other specific pieces). The target in developing this type of microphone system is to create the illusion for the listener of being in the actual recording room. The dummy head polar pattern is quite different compared to that of standard microphones. The KU 81 is diffuse field equalized (the KU 80 was originally equalized for free field that resulted in poor loudspeaker reproduction compatibility). The KU 81 new outer ear shape was designed after research at the Ruhr Univeristy in Bochum. The headphone listening is absolutely impressive, while the loudspeaker reproduction is now almost correct with good directional resolution, natural depth and reverberation.