Current news concerning the Neumann company and its products.
January 2017
“Making the unknown calculable”: How the Neumann KH 80 DSP raises the standard of monitor sound

With the KH 80 DSP, Neumann.Berlin launches its first studio monitor with digital signal processing. “Our DSP engine is an in-house development that primarily takes a formerly unknown variable and makes it calculable: the room. Expect clear, high-precision sound wherever you are monitoring,” explains Wolfgang Fraissinet, President of Neumann.

Thanks to the upcoming “Neumann.Control” software, in the future the new KH 80 DSP two-way near-field studio monitor will be able to fully calibrate itself to the room. This can be performed either automatically (Precision Alignment), with some simple questions (Guided Alignment), or adjusted with complete flexibility us-ing the built in 8-band fully parametric equalizer (Manual Alignment).

KH 80 DSP front view

“In the KH series we have always been obsessed with the details when it comes to the calculation and modeling of the drivers, waveguide and cabinet,” emphasizes Fraissinet. The result is a frequency response with such neutrality that it defines a whole new reference class – and at a price that was previously unthinkable for a Neumann Studio Monitor. Using mathematical models, the two drivers were calculated to a degree of depth, “which is unusual even for our industry,” explains Fraissinet. Nonlinear distortion is thus minimized from the very beginning. The MMD™ Waveguide (Mathematically Modelled Dispersion™) optimizes the frequency response on- and off-axis, and enables more movement within the listening area and more consistency even in the most varied acoustic environments.

KH 80 DSP rear view

The KH 80 DSP is designed as an ideal monitor solution for recording, mixing and mastering in project, music, broadcasting and post-production studios.

Every mechanical and electronic element – from the driver to the amplification – is handpicked and harmonized in accordance with Neumann standards. The DSP engine also ensures a linear frequency response with a FIR filter. This makes sure that in every environment all frequencies are precisely timed.

January 2017
NAMM 2017: Neumann U 67 Microphone Selected As 2017 TECnology Hall of Fame Inductee

Studio specialist Neumann.Berlin announced that its classic U 67 microphone was inducted into the Technical Excellence and Creativity (TEC) foundation’s TECnology Hall of Fame for 2017. Wolfgang Fraissinet, president, Georg Neumann GmbH, was on hand to accept the award on Saturday, January 21st during the NAMM show in Anaheim, California.

Wolfgang Fraissinet

First launched in 1960 as a replacement for the U 47, the three-pattern U 67 tube mic was designed for close miking of vocals in studio applications. The mic was an immediate success with engineers the world over and has since proven to be a powerful studio workhorse, used at top studios on a broad range of sound sources

Neumann U 67

„Wir fühlen uns geehrt, dass die TECnology Hall of Fame die bemerkenswerte Ingenieurskunst des U 67 auszeichnet“, sagt Fraissinet. „Nichts demonstriert seine herausragende Qualität besser als die Tatsache, dass es in den letzten 50 Jahren in nahezu jedem Top-Studio dieser Welt anzutreffen war und ist und für zahllose Aufnahmen eingesetzt wurde. Das U 67 repräsentiert auf perfekte Weise Neumanns Engagement für Innovation und unübertroffene Klangqualität – ein Engagement, das bis heute anhält.“

Founded in 2004 by George Petersen and presented since 2015 by the NAMM MUSEUM of Making Music, the TECnology Hall of Fame honors and recognizes audio products and innovations that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of audio technology.

Steeped in History

Inside the Neumann U 67

At the end of the 1950s, German electronics firm Telefunken announced the end of production of the VF 14 M steel tube used in Neumann’s beloved U 47 microphone. With but one last production run before a key component of their classic mic was gone forever, Neumann knew they needed to design a suitable successor if the company wished to retain its lead as the premier manufacturer of studio vocal microphones. The result would be the culmination of 30+ years of condenser microphone development by Neumann: the U 67.

The U 67, designed by Neumann’s Dr. Ing. Gerhart Boré, combined classic Neumann sound quality with some of the latest innovations in microphone technology, a response to the rapidly changing needs of the recording studio. Having already incorporated switchable polar patterns into their KM 56 miniature microphone, Neumann wanted to bring this functionality to the new U 67. This resulted in the development of the new K 67 capsule, a dual capsule with two separate back electrodes that featured omni-directional, cardioid and figure-eight polar patterns. The capsule was also designed to deliver a flat frequency response between 40 Hz and 15 kHz, bringing unprecedented detail and realism to any sound source.

Neumann U 67 Catalog

In the late 1950s, many vocalists began singing close up on microphones to achieve a fuller sound. While the technique helped create a desirable vocal characteristic, it could also introduce an excessive low-end boost due to the proximity effect. To manage this, the U 67 incorporated a new low-frequency attenuation switch, enabling signal roll-off beginning at 100 Hz. This gave engineers an additional tool to use in achieving a rich but balanced sound. Additionally, a steep high-order low-cut below 40 Hz was built into the mic to eliminate unwanted sub-frequencies before they reached the tube amplification stage, averting low-frequency overload.

The finishing touch was a new elegantly tapered body with modular components that could be easily disassembled without tools for tube replacement and maintenance. It utilized the widely available EF 86 tube to make upkeep of the microphone easy for owners anywhere in the world, ensuring a long life even in hard-working studio applications.

The U 67 was an immediate success, garnering accolades for its unprecedented functionality, versatility, and sound quality, and earning a place in the mic lockers of top studios around the world. It quickly picked up the mantle of the discontinued U 47, with several thousand sold during its first five years of production. Its variable polar patterns, flexible low-end attenuation, and flat frequency response made the U 67 usable on such a wide range of applications that it became affectionately known as “the workhorse.” In 1967, many of the advances made in this classic microphone would go on to inform Neumann’s next classic: a solid-state microphone called the U 87.

The Freedom of Sound: The new TLM 107

At this year's AES (Audio Engineering Society) Convention, Neumann announced its newest studio microphone: The TLM 107 large diaphragm microphone. It stands for innovation based on tradition and is a universal, standard-setting microphone with multiple polar patterns for studio, broadcasting and demanding home recording applications.

The TLM 107 features a surprisingly fresh design and a novel operating concept. The TLM 107 is a modern, high-resolution sound transducer with excellent reproduction characteristics that enable it to capture the original sound without any coloration, thus ensuring unlimited design freedom in mixing and post-production.

The recently launched TLM 107 has won the "Best of Show Award" at the AES Convention in New York City. The editors of "Pro Sound News" and "Pro Audio Review" present this award each year to new and outstanding products exhibited at US pro audio shows. They are assisted in this task by the editors of their sister magazines "Mix" and "Audio Media".

Complete product information is available on

TLM 107
Change of Neumann Distribution in Japan

The Neumann Headquarters, Berlin have decided to transfer the distribution of all Neumann products from our long-term partner Electori/Tokyo to Sennheiser Japan K.K., starting January 01, 2013.

The Neumann Card Game App

A card game based on Neumann’s current and selected classic microphones is now available at the Apple App Store. The rules are similar to those of childhood card games. The winner is the player who knows which microphones can handle the highest sound pressure levels, have the lowest self-noise, have the greatest number of directional characteristics, or have been available on the market the longest.

The app for the iPhone, iPod and iPad – naturally free of charge – has a single-player mode with two levels of difficulty, where players match their skill against the computer, and a multi-player mode using Bluetooth. In each case, a game of 10 or 20 rounds can be played, or the game can finish when one player has no more cards. In an entertaining way, aspiring and experienced audio engineers will learn many things about the strengths of individual mics, and can test their knowledge.

In addition to its role as a game, the app can function as a miniature product catalog. It also contains information about areas of application – for both analog and digital mics. More information can be found at the Apple App Store or following this link:

Card Game App
QR Code
KH 310 A presented at AES in San Francisco

The Three-way Active Studio Monitor KH 310 A was launched at AES in San Francisco. Full product information and specs can be found on the corresponding product page:

KH 310 A
Neumann Capsule Heads for the Sennheiser 2000 Series Wireless System

At prolight+sound 2012, for the first time Neumann is presenting the capsule heads KK 204 (cardioid) and KK 205 (supercardioid) for the Sennheiser 2000 Series wireless system.

Neumann capsules have already been used in combination with the Sennheiser SKM 5200 handheld transmitter for the past 10 years on some of the largest stages of the world, where the highest demands are placed on a high-resolution sound and transmission reliability. With the development of the KK 204 and KK 205 capsule heads, the Neumann sound is now also available for the Sennheiser 2000 Series. The synergies between the key areas of expertise of Sennheiser handheld transmitters and Neumann capsule sound permit us to offer our customers a wireless system of absolutely uncompromisingly quality, even for the most demanding live applications.

The acoustic features of the KK 204 and KK 205 capsule heads are derived from the multiple award-winning wired Neumann stage microphones KMS 104 and KMS 105. The KK 204, with a cardioid directional characteristic, ensures the best possible suppression of sound originating from 180° to the rear, while the supercardioid KK 205 has greater directivity, and maximizes incident sound from the front as compared to sound from the rear. Due to the “single polar pattern design”, the polar patterns are very uniform over the entire frequency range, thus providing the basis for excellent resistance to feedback.

In the development, particular importance was placed on the effective damping of pop sounds and handling noise, as well as on an extremely low level of self-noise. The KK 204 and KK 205 capsule heads thus have a wide dynamic range. In addition, they are designed to be very easy to service.

The design is adapted to the construction of the SKM 2000 handheld transmitter. The capsules, and also of course the transmitter unit, are available in both nickel and black. Included with the capsule heads is a large nylon bag, which can hold not only the capsule but also the handheld transmitter, battery packs and additional accessories.

Kapselkopf KK 204 / KK 205
Kapselkopf KK 204 bk / KK 205 bk
Neumann – Know Your Classics

What is a classic? Whether in the field of art or technology, a classic is always the best of its kind, pointing the way and providing a standard against which all others are measured.

Masterpieces are not simply a window to the past. Da Vinci’s wealth of innovations and his technical brilliance are timeless; his search for perfect proportions as an expression of inner harmony imparts to us a sense of perfection and of deeply felt humanity. Neumann microphones also convey these ideals. Classics such as the U 87 revolutionized our expectations of studio microphones and today are considered to provide the epitome of a balanced, well-proportioned sound: A type of perfection centered on humanity.

In the luminous colors of expressionist painter August Macke, we experience the harmony of people and their surroundings. His abandonment of traditional perspective anticipated in some sense our modern understanding of recording: Since the 1960s at the latest, as visionaries such as the Beatles and Brian Wilson were redefining pop music, the goal has no longer been mere reproduction, but rather the presentation of an experience: Emotion and expression. The recording process has itself become an art form. Here sound colors are the palette and microphones the paintbrush for a new type of musician, the recording artist. There were – and still are today – Neumann classics such as the U 47, M 49, U 67 and U 87 with which almost all the great masterpieces of pop music were created.

Jan Vermeer – the incomparable warm light in his paintings fascinated his contemporaries and to this day continues to inspire our admiration. Few painters have so often been copied, and yet Vermeer’s mastery remains unequalled. Many of his works still pose new mysteries for us: For instance, who is the Girl with a Pearl Earring? Books and films attempt to reveal Vermeer’s secrets, nevertheless, like all great masterpieces, his paintings ultimately remain inexplicable. Countless myths have also grown up around Neumann classics such as the legendary U 47, and the success and technical brilliance of Neumann microphones have repeatedly attracted imitators. However, the many vain attempts to imitate classics such as the U 47 or the U 87 ultimately only confirm the status of the originals as timeless masterpieces.

Leonardo Da Vinci
August Macke
Jan Vermeer
Neumann Development Department leadership team changes - Berlin

Wedemark, Germany, 21 December 2011 – After 37 years’service with the company, Dipl.-Ing. Stephan Peus, President of Development at Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin, will retire at the end of 2011. Joining straight from university, Stephan Peus began his career in 1974 when he joined Neumann’s microphone development team in Berlin. In 2000 he was appointed President of Development at Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin. He played a major role in the continued development of Neumann’s microphone technology for the studio and stage sectors.

Stabswechsel im Entwicklungsbereich

(From right to left) Dr. Heinrich Esser, President of the Professional Systems Division at Sennheiser electronic; Wolfgang Fraissinet, President of Marketing & Finance at Georg Neumann; Stephan Peus, President of Development at Georg Neumann; Prof Dr. Jörg Sennheiser, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Sennheiser electronic; Jürgen Breitlow, Director of Research & Development at Georg Neumann.

When developing new products, Stephan Peus was inspired by customer requests and was always keen to achieve the highest-possible levels of technical excellence. Neumann microphones connect the world of the artist with that of the sound engineer – whether at live concerts, in the studio or on any of the big international stages. Peus and his team continuously strove to achieve the highest quality and the famous Neumann sound with every new model, pushing the limits to the final three decibels (which are always the most expensive ones…)

Major milestones of successful microphone development:

During the 90s the warm sound of the tube came back into fashion. As a result Neumann developed tube microphones such as the successful M 149 Tube. In 1997 the TLM 103 – the quietest microphone with a noise level of only 7 dB (A) – enthused the global markets. In 2002, Sennheiser and Neumann produced their first joint product – the KK 105 S capsule head with the SKM 5000 handheld transmitter; making the legendary Neumann sound wireless and introducing a whole new sound dimension to live stage applications. A year later, in 2003, the company launched the BCM 104 – the first product of the new Broadcast line – and specifically tailored to voice applications. In the same year Neumann made the leap into the age of digital microphone systems (Solution-D); products which fulfilled the highest requirements of professional audio productions and which are another highlight of innovative audio technology of the future. Stephan Peus and his team pioneered all these developments based on his profound acoustical knowledge and experience.

Awards for Development and numerous Patents

Neumann developments have received the TEC Award for “Outstanding Technical Achievements” thirteen times. The pinnacle of the company’s history was the Technical Grammy Award in 1999, which was received for overall technical achievement.

“With his work for Neumann in Berlin, Stephan Peus has been a major driving force in global audio technology. He and his team set the standards for innovative and future-orientated audio technology far beyond the boundaries of the company. He achieved great successes for the company, and we are both proud and sad to see him retire,” says Volker Bartels, spokesperson for the Executive Management Board of Sennheiser Group and President of Corporate Services.

New Leadership Structure at Georg Neumann

Dr. Heinrich Esser

On 1/1/2012, Dr. Heinrich Esser, President of the Professional Systems Division at Sennheiser electronic, will now in addition, become President of Research & Development at Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin. In the future, Wolfgang Fraissinet, long-standing President of Marketing & Finance, will head the operative management at Neumann in Berlin. Together with Dr. Heinrich Esser he will drive the strategic development of Georg Neumann and optimise the company’s close proximity to its markets and customers. Jürgen Breitlow will become Director of Research & Development. Breitlow is an experienced development engineer and has been with Neumann for 11 years. He has worked closely with Stephan Peus and Wolfgang Fraissinet over the past few years and is ideally qualified and prepared to take on new leadership tasks.

Sennheiser Group with its headquarters in Wedemark (Hannover region, Germany) is one of the leading manufacturers of microphones, headphones and wireless broadcasting systems. In 2010 the company, which was founded in 1945 and is in family ownership, made a turnover of approx. 468m Euros. Sennheiser employs more than 2,100 staff worldwide and has its own factories in Germany, Ireland and the US. Sennheiser has subsidiaries in many parts of the world, including France, the UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark (Nordic), Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico and the US. The company also cooperates with trading partners in many other countries. Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin (studio microphones and monitor speakers) and Sennheiser Communications A/S (a joint venture business manufacturing headsets for PCs, office and call centre use) are also part of the Sennheiser Group.

Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG

Leona Lewis

Leona Lewis - ‘Digital to Air´ performance on BBC 1

In 2011, BBC Radio 1 broadcast a special live-to-air performance by one of the UK's brightest vocal talents, Leona Lewis, performing a cover of Labrynth’s Let the Sun Shine and an amalgamation of Leona’s Better In Time and Rihanna’s Man Down, with two very different backing bands. This ‘Live Lounge’ broadcast from London’s Hackney Empire, hosted by the station’s Trevor Nelson, helped launch Hackney Weekend 2012, where Leona and Plan B, both from the area, will play at a huge free music event to celebrate the London 2012 Olympics.

This unique, one off performance, utilised 24 Neumann digital microphones - a mix of seven TLM 103 Ds, four KMS 105 Ds and 13 KM 184 Ds. The digital microphone set up was augmented with a few analogue Sennheiser evolution models, comprising two e904s, an e905, an e901 and two classic MD421’s, demonstrating that the deployment of digital and analogue microphones together on one stage can be achieved with ease.

The Neumann digital microphones were fed straight into a DiGiCo SD Rack, via a bespoke 48 channel patchable AES multicore system and associated AES microphone cables, supplied by VDC Trading. The SD Rack contained eight AES 42 input modules, effectively eliminating the need for an external converter and achieving an all digital signal path from the back of the microphone capsules straight to broadcast. Control was via a DiGiCo SD9 digital mixing console which, in turn, fed an XTA DP448 for system control using standard AES left and right, direct to a pair of K-Array KR400s.

Dave Wooster and Alan March, Sound Reinforcement Specialist and Business Development Specialist respectively for Sennheiser UK, were on hand throughout, with Wooster mixing the performance for both monitors and FOH from the SD9 and supplying the BBC with their live sound feed with a direct MADI split from the SD rack.

“The whole production was geared around producing the best sound for the live broadcast, whilst providing the audience of invited guests with the best possible coverage without interfering with the broadcast sound,” explains Wooster. “Also, for the first time, the majority of the stage was mic’d with a selection of Neumann’s new digital microphones, providing a digital path from the back of the capsules through to the system processors feeding the Karray KR400 system in the auditorium, which Sennheiser UK also supplied.

“The clarity of the signal coming from the digital Neumann microphones was simply stunning. A complete lack of any form of low level system noise resulting in perfect reproduction,” states Wooster.

Alan March continues; “We fully expect our investment in the SD Rack AES42 input cards to pay off. We are now in a position to demonstrate to anyone who wants to listen, the benefits of a digital mic set up in a live environment. The input cards eliminate the need for a separate external converter and the results were clearly audible – or more accurately, not!! Complete silence coming down the mic cable and the absence of any low-level noise that can be introduced at an analogue mic pre-amp stage makes a huge difference. Everybody involved was really impressed by the total cleanliness of the audio.”

Hackney Empire is a traditional UK theatre, with a ground floor and three balconies. The audience was spread across the ground floor and the first balcony. A pair of KR400s were placed either side of the stage on the floor of the auditorium. From this position, using the system’s flexible angle options, complete coverage was achieved.

“We created a very basic mix on the SD9 for the FOH system, as the main focus of this show was for the live radio broadcast, but the KR400s really made the most of the feed they received,” continues Wooster. “The combination of the KR400s and the level of quality produced from the digital mics was a perfect partnership for this event.”

He continues, “The definition in both areas was nothing short of amazing, with the performance of Let The Sun Shine, with piano and strings – the only two instruments being played - full of body and dynamics, allowing Leona’s vocal to sit perfectly in the mix and demonstrating the true capabilities of the K-array system. In fact, the theatre’s technical manager’s initial scepticism when he first saw the system was soon replaced by comments of ‘I have never heard such audio reproduction from any system in this venue, let alone one with such a discrete profile. Truly amazing!”

Story and photos: Sennheiser UK

With the following link you can watch the performance and hear the results:

Dave Wooster
Dave Wooster
HiHat mic: KM 184 D
HiHat mic: KM 184 D
TLM 103 D for percussions
TLM 103 D for percussions
KMS 105 D vocal microphone
KMS 105 D vocal microphone
Céline Dion
© Gérard Schachmes

Celine Dion and audio crew handpick Neumann and Sennheiser for Las Vegas performances

Las Vegas, November 2011 – Global superstar Celine Dion’s recent return to The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace Las Vegas has once again been a resounding success, marked by sold-out shows and rave reviews. Her previous headliner show at Caesar’s ran from 2003-2007 and was attended by over 3 million fans. This time around, Celine--who performs with 31 musicians including a full orchestra and backup band--personally selected the Neumann KK 104 S cardioid capsule coupled with a Sennheiser SKM 5200 II handheld transmitter to deliver her legendary vocals. In addition to her vocals, a full array of Sennheiser and Neumann microphones are used to capture the complex performance, which is produced by AEG/Live Concerts West and directed by Ken Ehrlich, renowned for his work on the Grammy Awards.

Celine is appreciated by her audio staff for her amazing ear and sense of sound, as well as her strong capability for participating in technical decisions. Before launching the show, she spent a full day reviewing gear and testing microphones with Denis Savage, her sound designer and FOH engineer; François “Frankie” Desjardins, her system designer; Charles Ethier, her monitor engineer and Marc Theriault, her RF engineer.

Audio Crew

A win for the Neumann KMS 104 S
“We were using the A-B-C-D testing methodology,” explained Desjardins, who has been working with Celine for 18 years, and it always came back to the Neumann head. At the end of the day, Celine was convinced she had the best microphone in her hand --a Sennheiser SKM 5200 II transmitter outfitted with the Neumann KK 104 capsule.”

In addition to featuring over 31 musicians on stage, Celine's show also includes a spectacular light and video display as a backdrop. As she performs, moving stage pieces, video and lighting enhance the theme of each song. Still, there is an intimacy to the show that highlights Celine's stunning unique voice. The KK 104 S accurately captures every nuance and detail throughout each performance.

For Celine, performances all come down to emotion and self-expression. “I think she loves the KK 104 S because it allows her to express herself best,” comments Desjardins. “She creates this natural compression with the mic and her voice by pulling away when she pushes more, in order to keep the same dynamic."

Desjardins says that the KK 104 S is remarkably consistent in its sound, regardless of how the mic is positioned to the singer: "When she sings off-axis, the sound is almost identical to the on-axis sound except that it is of course lower in intensity,” he explains. “A lot of other mics would change tone, and possibly lose all the details when they reach 25 degrees off-axis. The KK 104 S can handle this--it’s one of its greatest characteristics.”

A collaborative relationship
Sennheiser was involved from the outset in helping Celine’s audio staff allocate a wide range of possible microphones for the show. “We have a great relationship with Sennheiser, and they have always been right behind us on everything,” said Desjardins. “For this show they made every effort to source equipment for us--not only microphones, but wireless equipment. This really helped us identify our needs.”

“Sennheiser is pleased to have played a significant role in Celine’s most recent performances at the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace Las Vegas,” commented Jean Langlais, president of Sennheiser Canada. “Celine is a very discriminating artist who is intimately aware of every aspect of her performances--especially the sound. It is clear that this has been a success not only from the perspective of Celine and the technical teams involved, but also the millions of fans who were lucky enough to attend.”

In addition to Celine's use of the Neumann KK 104 S, the show is also outfitted with an array of other Sennheiser and Neumann mics. "We are using the Sennheiser SKM 2000 XP wireless series on the backup singers, coupled with a MME 865 capsule,” said Desjardins. “And we have Sennheiser and Neumann all over the drums--the Sennheiser evolution 900 series sound fantastic for this application.”

Drummer Dominique Messier was very involved in researching which microphones sounded best on drums, recording everything on multi-tracks and playing it back in order to determine what worked best. He ultimately chose Sennheiser e 902s for the toms; a Neumann KM 150 for the high-hat; a Neumann KM 184 and MKH 800 TWIN on overheads. “He also put a Neumann TLM 102 on the vintage kick drum we’re using,” explains Desjardins, and it not only delivers the right sound, but also compliments the look.”

Sennheiser MKH 800 TWINs are used on the three conga drums. “We put the 800s in the middle of them, and by using this different pattern, I have to say, I’ve never heard balance like that.” said Desjardins.

Story: Sennheiser USA

George Massenburg

Neumann KH 120 monitors chosen by audio practitioner and professor George Massenburg

Over the course of his five-decade long career, George Massenburg has been a successful equipment designer and manufacturer, an internationally renowned record producer and engineer, a multi Grammy(r) Award winner, and a member of the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. More recently, he has turned yet another page in his career, and is now an associate professor at Montreal’s prestigious McGill University, where he was named to the Dean’s Chair in the Schulich School of Music in 2010.

Fifty years ago, Massenburg first had the opportunity to hear a Neumann U 67--a microphone he eventually acquired and still cherishes. Just weeks ago, he tried the new Neumann KH 120 studio monitor, which has earned a coveted spot in his daily workflow. In his role at McGill, the only university in North America to offer a Master’s and PhD degrees in sound recording, Massenburg is helping students understand the role that audio plays in a much broader context of film and multimedia.

You have accomplished so much in your career. What inspired you to take on a role as professor?
GM: In 1995, an acquaintance from Poland named Wieslaw Woszcyk contacted me. At that time, he was a young sound engineer with a degree looking for work in New York City. Eventually he found his way to Montreal to McGill University, which had--and arguably still has--the best post-graduate music and sound recording track in the world, which is modeled after a European Tonmeister degree. Over the years, McGill graduates have done very well--these are people who love sound recording before they come in and that makes all the difference. The real attraction for me in teaching is that I really learn a lot--so when the opportunity came up for me to join the faculty, the attraction was irresistible.

I came on to develop some new tracks, one of which is a formal effort in video production--something that I have been increasingly interested in for years. Here I have an opportunity to, for instance, take musicians and teach them how to be cameramen, rather than trying to train journeyman cameramen to be sensitive to music. Another of my roles is to elevate McGill in the eye and ear of the Internet--to extend the presence of McGill to the world.

What was your first experience with Neumann?
GM: The first time I held a Neumann microphone was in 1961, when I was invited to come and see a friend’s studio. It was Deane Jensen, and I was just 14 years old. Listening to early stereo recordings played from an Ampex 300 through Beyer DT48 headphones transmuted my genes right there on the spot, and that’s when I knew I had to record music. It was all about picking microphones and listening to different positions for them. We had a couple of Neumann U 67s, U 48s, KM 56s and others. That was my first introduction to recording, through Neumann many years ago.

Where do the new Neumann KH 120 studio monitors fit into your world now?
I like the Neumann KH 120 studio monitors; they fill an empty niche in my workflow. They are so small that I can pack them for the road, and set them up just about anywhere and really get a sense of a mix. With the KH 120s, an Apple(r) MacBook Pro 17, my DAW, Prism converters, and a portable work surface, I can do a pretty darn pro mix in a hotel room--I have not been able to do that easily until now. Recently, I’ve been mixing the McGill Opera production of La Bohéme on them--a big, high-definition show--and found them to be very relatable to the outside world.

What are some of the sonic attributes you appreciate in the KH 120s?
First and foremost, they are flat and transparent. But the size is what makes them a real winner. I don’t need to have a wall of monitors driven by 10,000 watts of power--these are all that I need. They are just heavy enough to give me punch in the low end, and they speak evenly at both high and low levels.

What are the benchmarks you consider when evaluating a studio monitor?
A couple of things: first, a studio monitor should be flat, but at the same time fill a room (if there's an artist or outside producer present you'll want to impress them). Better monitors will have a tight center image, along with even dispersion, transparency (the ability to hear subtleties in the presence of loud stuff), and flatness through the crossover region. Both speakers in a pair need to be well matched so it sounds like one speaker. I liked the crossover of the original Klein and Hummels a lot, and the Neumann KH 120 is a very nice improvement on this--it is very well designed and tooled. The stereo imaging was also great in the Klein and Hummels, and it is even better in the Neumann KH 120s. The center is dead center.

How important is it to have a common reference point when monitoring?
If you're used to going into the same, big control room and listening to your work on the wall or on near-fields, they're a basis for your choices--a reference. But often these days we're going into a musician's-poor-excuse-for-a-studio, and we need near-fields that we can really depend on--although you'll have to deal with the often-poor acoustics of the room, and maybe pull the monitors in close so the room doesn't contribute too much to what you're hearing. But if you can take monitors that you like to this sort of gig, you'll have a much better idea of what you've got. This is exactly the niche that the KH 120s fill for me--they do pretty much everything that I need them to do.

Having run a successful equipment company, what is your perspective on the importance of maintaining integrity throughout the manufacturing process?
What you always worry about after you hear a great product is whether a company will decide to mass-produce it at a low cost, possibly in an inferior manufacturing environment. That's never going to happen with Neumann and Sennheiser--these companies are still all about quality and carrying this throughout the manufacturing process. Speaker serial numbers 10,001 and 10,002 will sound as good as the pair that I have.

Story and photo: Sennheiser USA

November 2011
Neumann Launches Active Studio Subwoofer

The Neumann name is synonymous with audio excellence at the front end of the audio chain. It was therefore natural for Neumann to extend its involvement to the world of audio reproduction. Neumann recently announced the new KH 120 two-way active nearfield monitor. This was received so enthusiastically by customers and reviewers alike that it is now followed by the launch of a matching subwoofer, the KH 810.

Over the past few years, numerous developments in transmission technologies have increased the demands placed on professional monitoring systems. As a result, modern production facilities now require high-quality monitoring systems that can accurately reproduce any signal, including the latest 7.1 discrete high definition formats.

The KH 810 is far more than a simple subwoofer; it serves as the heart of a modern monitoring system. The comprehensive 7.1 High Definition Bass Management™ system meets the latest demands of the industry and perfectly complements the Neumann KH 120 nearfield two-way monitor. It can be used either as a subwoofer dedicated to reproducing the LFE channel, or as a means of providing low frequency extension with an increased maximum SPL. With the KH 810, it is now possible to assemble flexible monitoring systems for studios of different sizes, with a smooth, uniform response that ranges from below 20 Hz to above 20 kHz.

The integrated 7.1 High Definition Bass Manager™ is compatible with all formats, from mono to the latest 7.1 high definition systems such as Blu-ray. Eight electronically balanced analog XLR inputs ensure flexible interconnectivity for modern studios. Four-mode LFE channel processing guarantees maximum compatibility across all formats, while 4th order crossovers and flexible acoustic controls allow seamless system integration. Built-in volume control permits centralized system adjustment of replay levels, independently of the source. The electronics can be located remotely to reduce cabling, and to allow the cabinet to be mounted flush to a wall.

State-of-the-art amplifier technologies and acoustic components have been used to ensure maximum accuracy of sound reproduction. A robust 10" driver, solid cabinet and carefully designed ports guarantee tight, articulate, distortion-free low frequency reproduction down to 18 Hz, even at high playback levels. By using sum output, Plane Wave Bass Array™ (PWBA™) techniques can acoustically improve lateral consistency in the listening area and further increase low frequency linearity. The flexibility of the system is further enhanced by an extensive range of accessories.

The combination of KH 120 and KH 810 is ideal for tracking, mixing and mastering in music, broadcasting, project and post-production studios.

KH 810 Front View
KH 810 Front View
KH 810 Rear View
KH 810 Rear View

Sign to the castle

Festive Opera Gala with Digital Microphones

At the 2011 Thurn und Taxis Schlossfestspiele music festival in Regensburg, audio engineer Carsten Kümmel relied on digital Neumann systems in combination with an Innovason digital mixing console.

The 9th Thurn und Taxis Schlossfestspiele took place at the castle in Regensburg from July 5 to 24, 2011. This is the time when Princess Gloria opens her castle park, and one of Germany’s largest inhabited castles is transformed into a genuine event location. The performances take place in the castle courtyard, in the open air – rain or shine.

Every summer there is an opera in Regensburg – this year Turandot was performed. Each year there is also a festive opera gala, this time with Maltese star tenor Joseph Calleja and the celebrated soprano Kristine Opolais. Regensburg – “Regen” is German for “rain” – lived up to its name the entire evening, however the audience of just under 3,000 did not allow its mood to be dampened by the large amounts of water falling from the sky.

For eight years, Carsten Kümmel has been responsible for the audio aspect of the Schlossfestspiele. The graduate audio engineer and classical music specialist is in his element in the front-of-house (FOH) position. However, it is not easy to achieve good sound in the open air, with a large orchestra. “Last year, for West Side Story we had 103 inputs, and the mixing console had 104 channels and 48 buses, which meant that we really used it to capacity,” explains Kümmel. Nevertheless, here it is a matter of not only the large number of channels, but also the multitude of delays, since each microphone has its own delay line.

Audio Engineer Carsten Kuemmel

This year Kümmel, with his audio colleagues Christoph Böhm and Dunja Maurer, worked for the first time with digital Neumann microphones for all the instruments of the orchestra.

In the FOH position which, being under the stands with a peephole over the mixing console, is really not ideally situated, Carsten Kümmel had two Eclipse mixing consoles from Innovason for the Hofer Symphoniker orchestra conducted by Daniel Klajner. Altogether 42 microphones were positioned on the stage, all of them Neumann Solution-D mics. These worked directly with the Innovason mixing console.

The Odeon Concerte company, the event organizer in Regensburg, always endeavors to find the best way to make the sophisticated concerts a perfect delight for the artists and audience. In this instance, Carsten Kümmel was asked to implement a completely digital solution, utilizing a digital pathway from the microphone to the amp.

This was a case for the French mixing console manufacturer Innovason, which has entered into partnership with Neumann and Sennheiser. Here the remote control for the digital microphones is already built into the mixing console.

The signal goes from the digital Neumann microphone to a Digital Microphone Interface (DMI) and from there to the mixing console. Kümmel explains: “The DMI is a box where I go in with eight microphones and come out with eight EtherSound signals. This is a device from Neumann that works together with the mixing console.”

As emphasized by Kümmel, the difference is enormous: “I have complete remote control of the microphones from the mixing console. I can change the directional characteristic, if the microphone allows this, and I can also make a line check directly from the mixing console by switching on the signal generator in the microphone. One can implement a high-pass filter, attenuator, limiter – or whatever is desired – directly at the console.”

Practical assistance for installing the system is also provided by the small lights on the microphone, which can likewise be controlled from the mixing console. During the installation, if the audio engineer on stage does not at once find the “second violin” microphone, the light can easily show the way. However, Kümmel stressed several times that Dunja Maurer, his colleague in Regensburg, is very experienced with orchestras, and also immediately established a good connection with the musicians.

Kümmel is already looking forward to the next Solution-D software version, which is to permit delays to be set directly at the digital microphone. In fact, he makes extensive use of delays. For instance, he uses a delay for each of the 42 individual stage microphones, and if he can do this directly at the microphones, in many cases this will eliminate the need for an entire second mixing console.


Carsten Kümmel is clearly as enthusiastic about the interaction between the digital microphones and the mixing console as he is about the mixing console itself. He says: “What excites me about the Innovason Eclipse is the possibility of keeping all the channels clear via the SmartFader concept. I have faders, for example one called Strings. Pressing it brings up all the string mics on the left side, so that I can work on one group after another, while always maintaining order and keeping an overview.”

Another great advantage of the Innovason console mentioned by Kümmel is the possibility of making a multitrack recording via the built-in hard disk recording system. This gives him the opportunity of recording the dress rehearsal or a soundcheck directly. Then, when the musicians are no longer there, he can play it all back to try out the sound in a wide variety of positions, so as to adjust for optimal sound. The recording is accomplished very easily, by pressing the Emergency Record button. The console then records all 64 tracks directly, without the necessity of creating a project or routing anything.

High-quality equipment was also used for the sound reinforcement in the Regensburg castle courtyard. There were two towers, one to the left and the other to the right of the stage, each with nine Q1 systems from d&b, which were only for those seated in the stands. Kümmel states: “I did not angle them to the extent that they were directed toward the parquet, first because the people sitting below would then localize the sound upward, and secondly because I do not like Q1 speakers to be too sharply angled; this breaks the tower up into individual speakers, which destroys the effect of a line array.”

For the nearby area of the parquet, Q7 loudspeakers were installed laterally, with a flying 12/20 in the center. In addition, for the first row eight E3 speakers were used, so that there too the sound could be localized in the center of the stage. Kümmel explains: “We wanted to avoid the situation where people sitting far to the left, with a speaker still further left, would see a signal originating to the right, but hear it to the left. They should be able to localize the sound in the direction where they see the star tenor.”

The bass was provided by two flying QSubs, as well as four QSubs on the ground, three directed forward and one directed backward, and one B2 speaker on the ground for the lowest frequencies.

As stage monitors, three KS systems were installed in the lateral traverses for the entire festival, in order to facilitate communication, as well as to provide sounds in the opera that should not be heard over the PA, such as CD recordings, calls, stage music and sound effects. At the opera gala, there was also a d&b MAX monitor for Ms. Opolais and Mr. Calleja.

However, that was not all, adds Kümmel: “Beneath the stage I concealed four loudspeakers per side to project toward the castle walls and from there back to the stands. With the Lexicon 960 I added backward reverb, so as to imitate a concert hall somewhat. This could not be heard directly, but if I turned it off, the music would suddenly sound as if it was no longer coming from the stage, but from the loudspeakers.”

Incidentally, the line array hangs in the open air the whole time, with no protection from the rain. “If the loudspeakers could be damaged by rain, they shouldn’t be there,” says Carsten Kümmel.

For him the greatest challenge was posed by the few minutes of soundchecks with the orchestra before the performance. Kümmel explains: “You wait the whole day and rehearse it in your mind, and then the soundcheck starts and you have to give 200 percent and are running, running. I have to use as little of the musicians’ time as possible. How long did I take? Perhaps seven, eight minutes. By then you have to be finished.”


As is the case each year, all of the technical equipment was supplied by the Sugar company from Sinzing bei Regensburg. Kümmel considers the proximity of the company to the festival site to be a great advantage: “One can always react quickly, since the source of supply is in a village close by; this reduces stress, and the people there do a really good job.”

The digital microphones, together with the Innovason mixing console, made a perfect debut in Regensburg. Carsten Kümmel states: “We had no malfunctions or other problems at all.”

According to Carsten Kümmel: “Whoever has worked this way once certainly does not wish to return to analog mics. This is all new territory, however classical music has always pioneered innovative technology, particularly in the area of digital technology.”
Stage in the evening
Stage in the evening
Audio Engineer Carsten Kuemmel
Audio Engineer Carsten Kuemmel
DMI-8 Digital Microphone interfaces
DMI-8 Digital Microphone interfaces



Digital premiere at Berlin's Classic Open Air 2011

For twenty years, music lovers from Germany and abroad have been traveling to the Classic Open Air Festival in Berlin to enjoy internationally acclaimed artists performing classical masterpieces in the magnificent setting of the Gendarmenmarkt square. During the past years around 600,000 people have attended 105 concerts, with musical offerings ranging from opera, operetta and musicals to crossover productions featuring pop, soul, swing and jazz classics.

With this year's series of concerts between July 7 and 12, the organizer celebrated 20 years of staging this successful event. At the same time, a new technical concept made its debut behind the scenes. This year for the first time, the audio infrastructure was digital, based on the use of two all-digital Eclipse mixing consoles from Innovason and digital microphones from Berlin-based manufacturer Neumann.

Video documentation on Youtube


An Ethersound network linked microphone interfaces, stageboxes, monitor mixers, FOH mixers and the built-in recording facility. This type of system offers much greater flexibility than an analog setup – right from the planning phase. It is much easier to carry out changes at short notice – if necessary, even during live operations – because there is no fixed point-to-point wiring to consider. Routing remains highly flexible and independent of the hardware.

During setup, the greatly reduced cabling complexity makes life much easier for the technical crew. All of the audio channels are carried by a single cable no thicker than a pencil. There is no comparison with the equivalent analog multicores.


Martin Kaiser from TSE AG and the event's technical director says, "Another powerful benefit is its immunity to interference, especially at events with complex lighting systems. The deployment of digital microphones means that the background noise is now below the threshold of audibility for audience and musicians. The cumulative background noise from the large number of open channels needed when an orchestra is miked up would otherwise be quite audible. In addition, when we were soundchecking the string section we were immediately impressed by the superb sound quality of the digital mics (Neumann KM 184 D and KM 143 D). We hardly needed to use any eq at all. The TLM 103 D large diaphragm microphone proved to be a highly effective choice for the double basses."


The fact that the gain setting can be stored in a digital microphone – prior to signal splitting – means that the various downstream devices, particularly the monitor and FOH mixer, require just very little trimming. The signal generator and LED indicators built into the mic greatly facilitate the process of correctly matching microphones to instruments during line check and soundcheck. In practice, this feature can save valuable time as well as money, since these adjustments can be carried out directly from the mixing console.

Says Manfred Bamberg, FOH sound engineer, "Being able to store all the parameters and copy the channel settings is a tremendous help. On tour, the M.A.R.S. recording system built into the 64-channel Eclipse console even lets you perform a 'virtual soundcheck' without the musicians being present by playing back a recording of the previous day's performance and using that to adjust the basic mix. When the musicians arrive, no more than minor adjustments should be needed."


Wolfgang Fraissinet, President of Marketing/Sales for Neumann, says, "The companies that provide sound systems for major events are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of digital audio technology – and of digital microphones. Their successful debut at this large and prestigious event here on our doorstep marks a very important milestone for us."


Double Gold for Neumann
This year, two products of the Berlin microphone manufacturer Neumann have been distinguished by the Outstanding Technical Achievement TEC Award at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, USA: One is the large-diaphragm microphone TLM 102, which has quickly succeeded in establishing a new entry-level class for Neumann studio microphones, making professional Neumann quality accessible to new groups of users. The other prize-winner is the KMS 104 plus, a model variant in the Neumann stage microphone series that is especially optimized for female voices.

Wolfgang Fraissinet, President of Marketing/Sales at Neumann Berlin, states: “This year the entire Neumann team in Berlin is particularly pleased to have received this coveted award twice – in both the studio and stage areas. With models in the KMS series having already been honored by the TEC in the years 2000 and 2007, Neumann has now also achieved the status of acting as a reference for wired stage microphones in the realm of vocal microphones. These two TEC Awards mean that Neumann has now received the award a total of thirteen times, and is thus once more leading the way in the audio industry.”

The TEC Award

Founded in 1985, the Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards is the foremost program recognizing the achievements of audio professionals. Presented annually by the TEC Foundation for Excellence in Audio, the TEC Awards recognizes the individuals, companies and technical innovations behind the sound of recordings, live performances, films, television, video games, and other media. TEC Awards nominations are made by a panel of industry professionals and voted upon by members of various professional organizations and audio industry websites.

KMS 104 (plus) / KMS 105 - Studio quality on stage

The quality of studio condenser capsules in a sturdy housing suitable for the stage. Pop, wind and handling noises are eliminated using innovative acoustic and/or electronic filters. The low self-noise, clearly defined directional characteristic, and excellent feedback resistance and speech intelligibility make the series ideal, e.g. for in-ear monitoring applications. The KMS 104 plus has been especially optimized for the requirements of female voices in the rock and pop field.

TLM 102 – The gateway to the “Neumann sound”

With its ingenious design and attractive price/performance ratio it is ideal for project studios and home recording, or where budgets are tight. Its special strengths are vocal recordings (with very good speech intelligibility and handling of pops and sibilants) and recording at high SPLs.

2 TEC Awards for Neumann
TEC Awards Documents
TEC TLM 102 Envelope
TEC Awards KMS Envelope

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