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Dynamic M 80 Mics Support First Tour Since 2004

Pictured onstage with TELEFUNKEN M 80 mics are (L-R) The Dead’s Jeff Chimenti, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann , Warren Haynes, Mickey Hart. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

The Dead, comprised of founding members of The Grateful Dead, have been touring extensively this year with the new M 80 dynamic microphones from TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik. President Barack Obama is credited with inspiring the band to officially reunite after meeting with them following a February, 2008 San Francisco concert called “Deadheads for Obama.”

In October of 2008, Grateful Dead founding members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, joined by Warren Haynes and Jeff Chimenti, played a second show for the Obama campaign, called “Change Rocks”, at Penn State University. On January 1 this year, the Dead announced their touring schedule and after extensive rehearsals testing the TELEFUNKEN M 80 dynamic microphones, the audio engineers decided to use them exclusively during this year’s grueling tour, culminating in a performance at Michigan’s Rothbury Festival on July 2.

“Over the course of time The Dead have tried just about every brand and make of vocal microphones,” explained Derek Featherstone, FOH engineer for The Dead. “When it came time to do the Dead 2009 tour I was trying out different simple dynamic mics with the intention of keeping the stage wash down and the tone of all vocal mics the same. My goal was to use the same microphone model on all of the 6 vocal positions so when the band was not singing the front line wash would at least sound consistent.”

The TELEFUNKEN M 80 microphone features a low-mass capsule with an extremely thin mylar membrane and a custom wound step-up transformer from AMI/TAB-Funkenwerk(r). The M 80 delivers condenser-like performance and a rugged dynamic design, producing a microphone suitable for voice and instruments in a live stage environment.

“The vocals in this band vary greatly in tonality and strength,” Featherstone continued. “Finding a microphone that could handle and reproduce all voices well was not a simple task. Bob Weir had previously used the TELEFUNKEN M 80 and suggested I check it out. The M 80 microphone has an incredible balance of fidelity and rejection. These microphones worked flawlessly in the Dead’s somewhat hazardous live sound environment.”

For video clips of The Dead in concert, visit
TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustic founder and CEO Toni Fishman was first introduced to the microphone and recording industry while doing field recording at Grateful Dead concerts in the 1980s and early 1990s. During the 2009 Dead tour, Fishman spent the entire spring on the road beta testing new battery power supplies for two prized vacuum tube mics from the TELEFUNKEN line: the small diaphragm ELA M 260 and the large diaphragm ELA M 270. Traditionally used only in the studio, these microphones have now proven themselves excellent for live concert recording. For examples of these 2009 recordings visit:

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, jazz, psychedelia, space rock and gospel – and for live performances of long musical improvisation. As of 2003, the remaining band members who had been touring under the name “The Other Ones” changed their official group name to The Dead and continue the legacy that has made them the pioneering founders of the jam band world.

In a sense things have come full circle for TELEFUNKEN’s Toni Fishman, who got his start in audio while recording The Grateful Dead, and the now The Dead are grateful for the new mics he has developed.

For more information, visit :