The History of Neumann Microphones
Company founder Georg Neumann was born on October 13, 1898 in a small town just outside of Berlin. He received his vocational training at the firm of Mix & Genest in Berlin, and later worked in a research laboratory at AEG’s Oberspree Cable Works. His work there was focused on building amplifiers, but the director of this laboratory, Eugen Reisz, founded his own firm a few years later and took Georg Neumann as an employee.
While working with Eugen at his new firm, Georg Neumann helped to create higher quality microphones. At the time, microphones used for sound recordings were carbon microphones that had very low quality. When Georg studied these microphones, he tried putting powdered carbon on a marble slab, introduced a direct current, and inserted two electrodes. This gave a very “thin” sound, so Georg tried stretching some rubber membrane over the contraption. With the new membrane installed, low frequencies were finally present and Georg Neumann’s first microphone was born. It was called the Reisz-microphone, and it gave birth to the first German radio station in 1923. This microphone had a linear frequency response between 50 Hz and 1 kHz, and it had an excess of 10 dB up to 4 kHz. Shortly after Neumann’s creation, he decided to leave Reisz and start his own firm so that he could mass produce a microphone using the capacitative transducer principle.
Once Neumann started his own firm he created the CMV 3. This was the first ever mass produced condenser microphone, and it was also far superior to the Reisz microphone. It became known as the “Neumann Bottle” for its shape, but this microphone was also 40 cm in height and weighed 3 kg. The CMV 3 was established as the standard for studio use, and its design remained unchanged between 1928 and the end of World War II.
In 1947, Georg Neumann made his most important contribution to electrical engineering. He...