Okay, let me be as clear and concise as possible: the Telefunken AR-51 is the best condenser microphone I’ve ever tested for this mag (and I’ve tested a few). This mic utilizes circuit design elements of the revered Telefunken Ela M 251 and C 12. While they maintain their status amongst engineers as cornerstones of any world-class studio, those vintage mics are also as cost-prohibitive as you might expect. An original M 251 or C 12 in decent shape can command prices in excess of $20, 000, and even third-party reproductions can hit the $8000 mark. For the average engineer or home-studio owner in today’s economy, that kind of expenditure is, um, shall we say, difficult to justify.
So, we can’t afford the vintage hotness, but we still want the good stuff, right? We’re serious about our technique and the tools we use. We’re picky about microphones, even if we can’t afford the ones which cost more than our kid’s college tuition. With this “middle market” in mind, Telefunken has introduced a series of mics called the R-F-T Series. I have no idea what the acronym stands for. Really Funken Tele? [According to Telefunken, Radio Fernmelde Technik referred to a group of communication technology manufacturers in former East Germany. –AH]
The AR-51 features a signal path that includes a vintage new-old-stock tube amplifier stage married to the same Swiss-made Haufe T14/1 output transformer as in the Ela M 251E and AKG C 12. The cost of the mic is kept near-earth with the inclusion of a “globally-sourced” (Chinese made) power supply and capsule.
Lest you think that the folks at Telefunken Eletroakustik are skimping on us, note that the microphone and everything included with it are of top-grade build quality. The dedicated power supply is solid yet compact and has a selectable polar-pattern switch with nine different omni, cardioid, and figure-8 stages. The mic and its accessories came to us in a standard cardboard shipping suitcase, with ample custom-cut foam inside. Need a better case? A crafty owner could conceivably transfer the foam housing to a more stable, moisture-proof, hard-shell case. (Telefunken offers a leather-bound latching flight case for $149.) The AR-51 itself is housed in a handsome, velvet-lined wooden box with sturdy latches; the box has the same look and finish as the one shipped with their Ela M 251 reproduction (Tape Op #34). A metal-frame shockmount rounds out the included accessories — all quality touches that add to the overall value of this mic package.
Musical production question: recording vocals
I have a phantom powered condenser microphone and I want to know how to get it to work and connect to a computer sound card. I have a notebook computer and think I need to get some type of external sound card- basically something better than the factory card I have now. If I won't be able connect it to a sound card, what do I need to get it to record directly to my editing software, Adobe Audition 3.0, with very high quality? Trying to get a truly professional sound for a song I've written.
Here is the mic:
Also I've got a AudioTechnica battery powered condenser thats pretty good for overhead mic or acoustic.
Battery powered mics are electret condensers. Phantom powered mics are usually regular diaphram condenser. Its a slightly different mic.
Some electret condensers are very good, but these usually also run on phantom power too and I find they sound better with actual phantom power. The AKG C1000 is sort of an industry standard for certain applications and its battery powered.