First manufactured in 1951, the Neumann M 49 has long been considered a classic, one of the “Big Five” among vintage condenser microphones. The first microphone with continuously-variable, remote pattern switching, the M49 was in production until 1971 and was used on countless classic recordings, with artists including Miles Davis, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin and Duke Ellington.
The M 49 is considered to be one of the finest microphones available for recording male and female vocals. Vintage examples of the M 49 in good cosmetic and operational condition fetch a premium on the used market. Recognizing the continued demand for this classic mic, Neumann has announced a reissue, the M 49 V.
Based upon the latest version of the M 49 (the “c” revision), the M 49 V employs the same circuitry as the original but replaces the now-unavailable AC701k vacuum tube with a low-noise, hand-selected, subminiature triode tube. The capsule is the K 49, which Neumann has manufactured since the late 1950s, and the three-stage head basket remains faithful to the original.
The M 49 V forgoes the bayonet connector used in the original, instead using an RF-proof connector adopted from the one used for the M 249 (broadcast version) to ensure resistance against modern sources of RFI, such as cell phones or WiFi. A yoke mount similar to that of the original includes slight modifications for improved mechanical isolation and cable management.
Power for the M 49 V is provided by the newly designed NM V power supply, and Neumann notes that—due to the higher heater voltage required by the new tube—the M 49 V should not be operated using historical power supplies.
Interestingly, the NM V can be used to power vintage M 49s because its circuitry automatically provides optimum heater voltage for the tube. The NM V automatically adjusts to the local AC mains supply, and (for sonic reasons) is a conventional linear power supply, not a modern switch-mode power supply. Pickup pattern can be varied at the power supply continuously, from omni through cardioid to figure-eight.
The M 49 V is hand-made in Germany and will be produced in quantities limited to 25 units per month. The stock version ships with the high-pass filter set at 30 Hz (first-order) and the pattern switch activated, enabling remote pattern switching. The mic may optionally be ordered from the factory with the HPF set to 12 Hz and/or the pattern set to fixed cardioid—the latter yielding a 2dB increase in sensitivity and a 3dB reduction of the equivalent noise level. The M 49 V is reported to be sonically identical to the historic M 49.
MSRP for the set, including the microphone, yoke mount, power supply, cable and handmade vintage-style case is $10,629.