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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.

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The Big Success
In retrospect, 1947 was a prolific year for the Neumann company. On top of one major discovery the company launched the microphone that has probably had the greatest influence in the development of modern studio microphone technology. The U 47 was the first switchable pattern condenser microphone. Its impact, especially in America, was such that the dominance of RCA's ribbon microphone as the studio standard was eclipsed.

The U 47 had a double diaphragm capsule. Both diaphragms could be polarised with the same voltage or neutralised with respect to the centre electrode, so that the omnidirectional and cardioid characteristics were adjustable. A 'special' (U 48) was also produced, in which the diaphragms could be polarised with opposite voltages with respect to the centre electrode, so that it was possible to switch between cardioid and figure of eight directional characteristics.

U 47 (1947)
U 47 (1947)
The First Remote-Switchable Microphone
Other models appeared in 1949 and 1950, both bearing some notable progress. In 1950 the M 50 featured a pressure capsule embedded in acrylic glass to give an outstanding omnidirectional pattern. But more important was its predecessor, the M 49, which was the first microphone that could be remote switched.

Neumann's work on the M 49 coincided with a similar invention by an engineer called Grosskopf, of the Central Laboratory of the Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg. Here, one microphone diaphragm was fixed in the opposite direction to the centre electrode while the other one received a capsule bias which could be varied via a potentiometer.

This made it possible to switch the characteristic smoothly from omnidirectional, via cardioid, to figure of eight.

Neumann acquired the patent for this principle, and produced the first remote switchable microphone, the M 49. Numerous microphone manufacturers followed, but all under license from Neumann.

M 49 (1951)
M 49 (1951)
New Demands Posed by Television and Sterephony
In Europe during the '50s the two most important developments in broadcasting technology were undoubtedly the upsurge of television and the arrival of stereophony, both requiring their own specialised microphones.

By 1953 Neumann was meeting the demands of television companies for smaller models with a selection of condenser microphones only 21 mm in diameter choice of omnidirectional or cardioid models were available, plus a switchable model which combined omnidirectional, cardioid and bi-directional characteristics.

To record in stereo naturally called for two microphones placed in such a manner that their time/amplitude response was coincident. The ideal solution therefore was to mount two capsules in one housing.

In 1956 Neumann produced the SM 2, which was to remain the only stereo microphone in the world for many years.

KM 53 (1953)
KM 53 (1953)
SM 2 (1956)
SM 2 (1956)
Measuring Technology
During the course of the next two and a half decades the potential for realistic sound reproduction offered by stereophony generated intensified research in the recording world. For the laboratories one of the first breakthroughs was the arrival, in 1934, of Neumann's P 2, the first factory produced logarithmic display level recorder. This became the standard measuring equipment in acoustic testing laboratories for many years, notching up world-wide sales in the process.

In this connection, one also should not overlook the calibration microphones developed by Neumann.

Attenuation recorder (1934)
Attenuation recorder (1934)
Measuring microphone MM 2 (1949)
Measuring microphone MM 2 (1949)


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