ELA M 251E

 

ELA M 251E

Arguably one of the most beautiful microphones ever produced, the TELEFUNKEN ELA M 251E has been featured on countless hits and classic recordings over the decades. By virtue of its smooth, yet present and “open” sonic character, the ELA M 251E large diaphragm tube microphone is a true classic with very few rivals.

The TELEFUNKEN ELA M 251E includes an edge terminated, dual backplate CK12 capsule capable of cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional polar patterns, a New Old Stock 6072a vacuum tube and a Haufe 14:1 ratio output transformer (the same found in the AKG Acoustics GmbH C12). Each reissue is 100% true in every detail to the original [the parts are interchangeable with the 50+ year old originals], and will deliver the same sonically opulent response that made theELA M 251E one of the world’s most sought after recording tools.

Each ELA M 251E microphone system comes complete with M950E power supply, M850E 25′ quad-shielded Accusound ACX-7 tube microphone cable, M750 elastic shock mount, FC50 locking flight case and WB50 wooden microphone box.

HISTORY

Arguably the most beautiful sounding microphone ever produced, the TELEFUNKEN ELA M 250 / 251 was originally sold in two variations: the “ELA M 250E / 251E” version utilized a 6072a tube, while the “ELA M 250 / 251” version contained a TELEFUNKEN AC701 tube. The “no-suffix” microphones were built to satisfy the standardized requirements of the German and Austrian national broadcast systems. While both versions of these microphones have achieved legendary stature in the modern recording industry, the road to achieving this legendary status was far from instantaneous.

In 1947 Neumann GmbH first built the U47 microphone. From 1947 to 1958 TELEFUNKEN GmbH used their established global distribution network for the products produced by Neumann GmbH, which were sold under the TELEFUNKEN name with a TELEFUNKEN logo badge.

In 1958 when Neumann GmbH notified TELEFUNKEN GmbH that they had decided to not renew their distribution contract, TELEFUNKEN reached out to AKG Acoustics about the possibility of AKG creating a “U47-like” model for TELEFUNKEN to plug into their global distribution network.

This U47-esque microphone was to be known as the ELA M 250. Like the U47 this new microphone featured the polar pattern selection (cardioid and omnidirectional) switch on the head of the microphone. Around 1958 Neumann GmbH also released their U48 microphone, which featured cardioid and bidirectional pattern selection. The TELEFUNKEN ELA M 251 was an amalgam of these two microphones as it was capable of switching between all three patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional).

The switch housing at the base of the capsule assembly is where the similarity between the Neumann GmbH U47/48 and the ELA M 250 / 251 microphone series ends.

The design engineers at AKG Acoustics also came up with another very handy feature, which was the capability to minimize the time necessary to accomplish “field repairs” of the microphone. Both the C12 and U47/48 microphones require a fair bit of knowledge, a steady hand, as well as a couple of screwdrivers to get to the internal workings of the mic

.In order to perform a “field repair” of the ELA M 251E, one simply needed to unscrew the base ring from the bottom of the mic and the metal body tube would slide right off (no tools necessary!!). Once the body tube was removed either the capsule or the amplifier could be replaced in under a minute, saving precious time during an expensive broadcast or orchestral recording session.

Unfortunately for TELEFUNKEN GmbH, these field replacement provisions also proved to be a sales impediment outside of the orchestral recording world as the plastic bits employed in these microphones added significant cost to the construction of the microphones.

The added cost made them markedly more expensive at the time than the Neumann GmbH and AKG Acoustics GmbH products, thus the non-government owned facilities of the time did not adopt these systems as readily as TELEFUNKEN GmbH would have liked. It is thought that fewer than 3700 total original ELA M systems were built from 1960 to 1965 when TELEFUNKEN GmbH discontinued sales of the microphone.

Today, prime examples of vintage ELA M 250 / 251 [both “E” and “non E”] microphones have become rare and highly sought after jewels, commanding tens of thousands of dollars on the vintage market. TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik’s historic recreations of the ELA M 251E exemplify the best qualities of the finest specimens of these legendary beasts, and while more expensive than most modern microphones, they are true to the heritage of their 50+ year old brethren.

Today TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik has brought advancement to this classic system through the development of the CK-13™ capsule. While the CK-13 can be fit to any existing ELA M 250 /251 system it can also be found in the ELA M 251 T which is available through your favorite reseller via the “custom shop.”

*Check out a comparison made by Sweetwater Sound of a Telefunken Elektroakustik 251E with a vintage 251E

The pro-tools sessions can be downloaded here

Audio only can be downloaded here

 

Type Condenser Pressure Gradient
Capsule CK12 - 25 mm Edge Terminated Diaphragm
Tube GE JAN 6072a (NOS)
Transformer Haufe T14/1
Polar Pattern Cardioid, Omnidirectional and Bidirectional
Frequency Range 20Hz - 20kHz, ± 3 dB
Sensitivity 17mV/pa ± 1 dB
THD at 1kHz at 1Pa (Amplifier) <0.2%
Output Impedance 200 Ω
Maximum SPL (for 1% THD) 130 dB
S/N Ratio 85dBA
Self Noise (Amplifier) 9dBA
Dimensions 216 mm L x 50 mm Dia
Weight 596g
Current Draw from Mains 80 mA
Power Supply M 950E PSU - 7 Pin Female XLR Input, 3 Pin Male XLR Output
Cable M 850E - 25 ft Accusound TX-7 Cable, Vintage Compatible 6 Pin Female Stand Mount, 7 Pin Male XLR
Shockmount M 750 - Clasping Elastic Mount
Wood Box WB50
Flight Case FC50 - Vintage Style Locking Combination Flight Case, FC50S for Stereo Set