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This section offers you a comprehensive introduction to the Neumann company, as well as an extensive overview of the company history and the products which have previously been placed on the market.

If you would like to visit Berlin, you can find interesting links with information about this fascinating metropolis, which has been in a state of constant change since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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Georg Neumann – An Inventor and His Life's Work
Company founder Georg Neumann was born on 13 October 1898, in Chorin, some 80 km Northeast of Berlin. He received his vocational training at the firm of Mix & Genest in Berlin. Later he worked in a research laboratory at AEG's Oberspree Cable Works where the focus was on building amplifiers. Eugen Reisz was director of this laboratory. A short while later, he founded his own firm and took on Georg Neumann as an employee.

In those days, the microphones commonly used for sound recordings were carbon microphones. These resembled a shoe polish tin, partially filled with carbon grains, with openings on one side to admit the sound. These openings were backed by fine gauze to prevent the carbon grains from falling out. By modern standards, the quality of these microphones was dreadful. The transducer principle used in these microphones was also jokingly referred to as a "controlled loose connection".

Georg Neumann examined this microphone, scattered powdered carbon on a marble slab, inserted two electrodes, introduced a direct current, and spoke into this configuration. A corresponding response which, by Georg Neumann's account, was very "thin", emanated from the attached loudspeaker.

Next Neumann stretched a rubber membrane over the contraption, spoke into it again, and suddenly the low frequencies were there. A new microphone was born, the Reisz marble block microphone.

It was into this microphone that the first German radio station, a Berlin station broadcasting on the 400 m band, sounded its "first yawp" from Vox House on Potsdamer Platz in 1923.

With a linear frequency response between 50 Hz and 1 kHz this microphone had an excess of 10 dB up to 4 kHz, which decreased to approximately 15 dB at 10 kHz. Not quite what we would call a studio microphone these days.

Neumann had never been one to settle for compromises. In and of itself, the microphone was indeed a sensation. Consumed by the idea of mass producing a microphone using the capacitative transducer principle, he soon parted company with Reisz to found his own firm in Berlin, together with Erich Rickmann, on 23 November 1928.

Since until then the only place in which it was possible to manufacture a condenser microphone was in the laboratory, his plans for industrial production seemed rather fantastic.

Georg Neumann
Georg Neumann
Reisz-microphone
Reisz-microphone
Erich Rickmann - Co-founder of the company
Erich Rickmann - Co-founder of the company
The Neumann Bottle
The CMV 3 was the first ever mass produced condenser microphone, far superior to the Reisz microphone, and it gained recognition under the nickname of the 'Neumann Bottle'. It wasn't exactly small, measuring approx. 9 cm in diameter and approx. 40 cm in height. Its weight of nearly 3 kg made reporting a very strenuous job.

Telefunken, a subsidiary of AEG and Siemens, took on the marketing rights to Neumann's microphone.

Between 1928 and the end of World War II the Bottle's design remained virtually unchanged, during which time it became firmly established as the standard for studio use and was used extensively in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. At this time there existed already a selection of exchangeable capsule heads with different polar patterns.

CMV 3 (1928)
CMV 3 (1928)
Capsules for the CMV 3
Capsules for the CMV 3
More than Just Microphones ...
By 1928 Neumann had spread his attention to other aspects of studio engineering, such as record making. It was his interest in record technology that was, in fact, the real reason for the split with Eugen Reisz.

His enthusiasm and Reisz' opposition were stirred by a commission from Neumann's friends in England to build a machine for cutting records. This machine was to become the basis for Georg Neumann & Co's secondary line of products.

The earliest disc cutting machines were belt driven. The head was moved forward by a spindle, which was itself driven via a worm gear and a further gear from the base of the turntable. The obvious parallel between this configuration and later record playing deck is particularly significant when it is considered that by 1930 Neumann had already made the transition from belt drive to direct drive with the motor acting as a direct extension of the turntable spindle.

Throughout the '30s and early '40s the company began to take on a recognisable shape. Diversification brought continued innovation, ranging from electro acoustic measurement equipment to cinema gongs and station identification code signals (used by broadcasting companies to broadcast their station identification) to standard linear microphones.

Neumann also developed a pistonphone for calibrating both standard and pressure microphones. The pistonphone generated a sound pressure which could be controlled optically with great accuracy within the 20 Hz to 600 Hz range via the movement of a piston which displaces a given volume of air. The amplitude of the piston was observed through a microscope, enabling the microphones to be calibrated to an exceptionally high degree of accuracy.

Disc cutting machine (in the 30’s)
Disc cutting machine (in the 30’s)
Disc cutting machine (in the 30’s)
Disc cutting machine (in the 30’s)
Microphone test setup
Microphone test setup
His Most Important Invention?
It was during the course of this widening development work that Georg Neumann made his most important contribution to modern electrical engineering. In 1947 he developed a process by which nickel cadmium batteries could be made without the excessive formation of gas and so totally gas tight - an invention that has direct links with virtually every modern electronic apparatus. Flash units, hearing aids, cameras, radios, etc, all rely on minute nickel cadmium batteries, whose availability is the result of this development.

One of the by products of Neumann's process were stability cells, containing a cathode consisting essentially of cadmium, cadmium oxide and a nickel anode. These cells had a comparative capacitance of 100 to 160,000 µF at a frequency of 50 Hz, depending on the size of the cell, and Neumann was able to use them to stabilise the heating voltage for condenser microphones.

Their outstanding filtering capacity was extremely useful for filtering the heating current, particularly for directly heated tubes.

Stability cells (1947)
Stability cells (1947)
 Workshop (about 1930)
Workshop (about 1930)


Pour l'instant, seules quelques parties de ce site Web sont traduites en français. Dès qu'un contenu n'est pas disponible en français, c'est la version anglaise du texte qui est affichée.