Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

The history of TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik

By editorJuly 1, 2012


TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik of South Windsor, Connecticut has been following the tradition of excellence and innovation set by the original German TELEFUNKEN GmbH that began over 100 years ago.

For over a decade, the TELEFUNKEN team has continuously improved their craft to the highest production quality standards they could set forth. The tagline, “Built to a standard, not to a price,” is far more than an advertising line; it is a company-wide mentality. Every step of production is performed to strict standards in both function and quality.



While TELEFUNKEN GmbH was widely regarded as Europe’s finest tube and audio equipment manufacturer, their foray into microphones did not begin until 1947, with the distribution of the world renowned U47.  When this was removed from their product line, they released arguably the world’s most sought after historic microphone, the ELA M 251 in 1960.  Production of the ELA M 251 ceased in 1963, leaving a limited number of units available to the recording industry for decades to come, with even less availability of replacement parts.

The rebirth process began in 2000, when owner Toni Fishman set out to recreate the switch assembly for the 251s in his extensive vintage microphone collection.  The casting of these plastic molds set into motion what would be a full-on revival of the TELEFUNKEN microphone legacy.  The subsequent years were spent reverse engineering and sourcing every part of the historic ELA M 251 build, right down to the last screw. This thorough research has led to the creation of TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik’s Diamond Series, which includes historically accurate reproductions of the U47, C12, and four different versions of the ELA M 251.

Simultaneous to the development of the Diamond Series, TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik introduced the R-F-T Series in 2005.  The R-F-T brand name is a nod to TELEFUNKEN’s former East German rival R-F-T; a company that was also producing fine microphones during the 50s and 60s, but were more affordably priced than their TELEFUNKEN counterparts.  However, the modern R-F-T Series takes only its name from the historic R-F-T company.

AK-47 MkII

With newly developed amplifier designs that take advantage of modern manufacturing processes and standardized metalwork, they encompass the build and sonic quality one expects from a TELEFUNKEN microphone at a more affordable price.  Industry acclaim and demand grew steadily for the R-F-T Series over the years, and in 2009 TELEFUNKEN introduced a redesign of the line.  Through new and revised circuit designs, PCB layouts, and component upgrades, the R-F-T Series was refined to consist today of the AK-47 MkII, AR-51, AR-70 Stereo, CU-29 Copperhead, and ELA M 260, all of which are all hand-assembled in South Windsor, CT.

M81 Dynamic Microphone

Rounding out TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik’s product line is the Dynamic Series.  Released in 2008, the first offering in the series was the M80, a microphone that featured a low-mass diaphragm coupled with a specially designed output transformer and head grille shape that quickly became a favorite in both live and studio environments.  Soon to follow were custom shop color variations (gold, chrome, and faux-wooden designs) and wireless capsules for use on popular transmitters.

The most recent addition to the Dynamic Series is the M81.  Building off the strengths of the M80, the M81 retains many of the same attributes, with a new frequency response that has been sonically tailored to tame brighter sounding sources and fatten up thinner sounding ones.  As with everything in the TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik product line, microphones in the Dynamic Series are constructed in South Windsor,CT with the highest level of quality and attention to detail as those found in the Diamond and R-F-T series.

Looking towards the future, TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik stays firmly rooted in the classic designs and build quality of the past.  With an array of exciting new products in development, TELEFUNKEN will continue the legacy of diamond, keeping true to the quality and sonic integrity that it holds.

The TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik™ TEC Award-winning line includes the ELA M251, U47, U48, C12, AK47 MkII, AR-51, CU-29 “Copperhead”, ELA M260, ELA M270, ELA M250, and M80/M81 dynamic mics, as well as cables, large diaphragm and small diaphragm mics, and vintage microphones.  TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik™ microphones are built to a standard, not to a price.


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