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The M49 has a dual-diaphragm design, which allowed it to become the first condenser microphone with a remotely switchable pickup pattern having constant sensitivity: the psu doubles as a pattern selector, with a continuously-variable potentiometer for choosing cardioid, omni-directional, figure-eight or any position in-between the three.
The M49 gets its designation from 1949, the year it was jointly developed with the NWDR (Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk / Northwest German Radio). Eventually released in 1951, the M49 was a huge success, and became a standard radio broadcast microphone in Germany, as well as a staple in orchestra halls, being used as the main overhead microphone for recording.
The original units had the famous M7 dual-diaphragm capsule; this was switched to the K49 capsule in 1960, (which is identical to the K47 capsule used in the U47 mic). The original tube was the Hiller MSC2; in 1960 this was also switched, to the legendary AC701K low-noise tube. These newer versions were stamped as the M49B model. Further minor changes in tube biasing resulted in the model M49C. IN 1961 a different tuchel connector was employed for broadcast work, and this model was designated the M249. Eventually the mic was discontinued in 1974.
All versions of the M49 had the unique new Neumann grille that was slanted, thus preventing standing waves from being generated inside the grille assembly. They also used a small red circular dot or a 'jewel' to distinguish them from the similar-looking M50 model.
The Neumann M49 is best known for its use on Miles Davis, Barbara Streisand, Duke Ellington, and Simon and Garfunkel, but it also appeared on countless other classics. This mic has an incredibly rich and round tone that has the ability to make even harsher sounds much more pleasant and warm. Great on most female vocals - Norah Jones used one on her first album, and it was a favorite of Aretha Franklin.
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