Common name: Neumann M49
Production Status: Discontinued / Vintage
The M 49 is a high grade condenser microphone developed by Georg Neumann GmbH in partnership with the NWDR – Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (Northwest German Broadcasting) located in Hamburg. NWDR engineers worked al lot with CMV 3 and U 47 models so they discovered the limits of these microphones in live broadcasts. The main limit being that it was necessary to approach the microphone in order to change the polar pattern. The other limit was that the microphone sensitivity changes with the polar pattern. Moreover they noticed that most of the dramas would have had benefits from different microphone patterns depending on the atmosphere and settings being described. The M 49 was developed to overcome these problems. It was the first remotely controlled pattern microphone, continuously variable between omnidirectional through cardioid to bidirectional while maintaining a practically constant sensitivity. The pattern can be changed by slowing rotating a control potentiometer without any switching noise. The microphone amplifier was designed in cooperation with NWDR’s engineering department just to achieve this. Georg Neumann designed the microphone with some further improvements that later became the standard for Neumann’s products. The dual diaphragm capsule was housed in a new shaped head grille for the purpose of avoiding diffraction and interference typical of previous cylindrical head grilles (refer to Stephen Paul’s piece about the effect of U 47’s head grille). The U 47 has only limited damping for the tube and the capsule holder. The M 49 amplifier is mounted on a rubber disk decoupling the amp itself from the microphone housing. The M 49 development started in 1949 and the microphone was presented to German broadcasters in 1952. The microphone received several revisions and it was in production until 1974. The first version is largely different from the later ones. Externally it is easily recognizable by the absence of the Neumann logo replaced by a “red gem”. It employs the M7 capsule with a little metal electron tube developed by Hiller for microphone amplifier, named MSC 2. The output transformer is the CT M49/1 having only two windings for a single output impedance. This transformer is wound without an electrostatic shield. Because the microphone was designed for broadcast applications its preamplifier circuit features high frequencies attenuation. Later versions had a different H.F. filter and a low frequencies roll off. These microphones can be modified to achieve a full frequency response with lower phase distortion. The classic yoke mount holder isn’t a genuine Neumann accessory and it never appeared in the catalogue. It was in fact manufactured by Danner – Berlin.