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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.