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The Telefunken Ela-M 250 / 251

Pro Audio Hall of Fame / Telefunken ELA-M 250/251

The Next Step Forward In Microphones

Sometimes, one piece of legendary gear can spawn another. In this case, one of the most revered vocal mics of all time was on the verge of disappearing, causing a rival to be born out of necessity.


In 1958, Telefunken announced to Georg Neumann that it was discontinuing the production of its VF14 steel tube, the heart of the Neumann U 47 and U 48 condenser mics. In exchange for the tube, Telefunken had gotten the distribution rights for Neumann microphones. But this deal ended when the VF14 was stopped.


Neumann began to develop a new microphone, while Telefunken went looking for a new manufacturer to partner with, and found them in Austria. The result was one of the finest microphones (or family of microphones) ever created, the ELA-M 250 and 251.


A vintage Telefunken Ela-M 250 with power supply

AKG And Telefunken Unite

AKG in Vienna had been building its highly successful large diaphragm condenser mic, the C12, since 1953. Telefunken contracted with AKG to make a modified version of this mic with significant improvements, and a pair of microphones were born; the model 250 with Cardioid and Omni patterns (like the U 47), and the model 251 with an additional figure-eight pattern (like the U 48).

These two microphones used three of the four key elements that made the AKG C12 so desirable. They included a Haufe T-14/1 output transformer, a socketed 6072 tube and a CK12 capsule. The fourth element was the head grille, and for this, the new mic had a larger cavity with an extra inner mesh, that contributed significantly to the frequency response.

A disassembled Ela-M 250 microphone

Variations From the AKG C12 Design

Another difference was that the Ela-M 250/251 had the selector switch right on the body of the mic, just like the Neumann U 47. The selector switch was even color-coded to make it easy to determine from a distance w