NORMALLY, I WOULD NOT ASSOCIATE “Telefunken” with “affordable,” but in the case of the M80 ($299 retail/$249 street), you not only get a great-sounding and versatile mic, but one that’s very friendly to your equipment budget.
The agent at Telefunken represented the M80—which was originally designed as a live vocal mic—as a great mic for loud guitar amps or, because of its side-rejection properties, snare drums. The first time I used it in the studio, I was blown away by how accurate it sounded. Much the same way we gauge a good compressor by how little it colors your sound, I was amazed that the mic didn’t just sound good, but it sounded almost exactly like the amp sounded in the booth. It seems that even with my stalwart Shures (SM57 and the mighty SM7) and others known for their guitar-amp miking abilities, when I bring the faders up I am usually greeted with a good sound but not one that accurately represents the sound of the amp. This mic takes incredibly high SPLs but somehow manages to keep a wonderful transparency. They explain this in depth at their website, t-funk.com.
As with the guitar amp, the M80 sounds wonderfully clean and super-accurate on a snare drum. But—and to quote Pee Wee Herman, this is a big but—the bleed from the hi-hat was reduced by at least 50 percent. If you’ve ever tried to mix a drum set, either live or in the studio, you know all about how much the hi-hat bleeds onto the frickin’ snare channel. In the loud rock tune I was recording, I had almost completely independent control of the volumes of the hi-hat and the snare drum. Awesome!
This mic is built like a cop’s flashlight (if you’ve ever been hit by one, you know what I’m talking about). It has a very cool black, rubber-like finish and fitted holder. And get this—it’s made in the U.S.A. This new American-owned and operated arm of Telefunken, known as Telefunken Elektroakustik, makes all their mics in New Haven, CT. With what we spend on strings, pickups, amps, and processing gear, what’s another $250 to help us accurately reproduce our sound onstage and in the studio? My prediction is, get an M80 and you’ll bring it to every gig and session you do.
KUDOS Incredibly accurate. Can handle high SPLs. Great construction.
CONTACT Telefunken Elektroakustik; t-funk.com
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