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Telefunken Elektroakustik Marks 20th Anniversary

Telefunken Elektroakustik is celebrating two decades in business this year.

Telefunken Elektroakustik founder and owner Toni Fishman
Telefunken Elektroakustik founder and owner Toni Fishman Nicholas Sonsini

South Windsor, CT (February 24, 2021)—Microphone manufacturer Telefunken Elektroakustik, founded by Toni Fishman as a 21st-century revival of the original company founded in 1903, is celebrating two decades in business this year.

“Telefunken pioneered a new era in transducer technology and held the top position in microphone design throughout most of the 20th century,” says Fishman. “While they ceased production in 1985, their microphones continued to be held in the highest regard. But as time went on, keeping those prized mics operational became increasingly more difficult and prohibitively expensive.”

In addition to Telefunken Elektroakustik’s 20th anniversary celebration, the company is also celebrating two additional milestones this year: the 60th anniversary of the original ELA M 251E, which was produced between 1958 and 1961, and the manufacture of the company’s own 1,000th newly reborn ELA M 251E microphone.

Telefunken Elektroakustik’s origins date to 2000, when founder and owner Toni Fishman acquired the rights to the name and diamond logo for use in North America. The company began by reverse-engineering a single microphone part: the ELA M 251 polar pattern selector.

Paul “Willie Green” Womack Tours Telefunken

Fishman had purchased an original Telefunken ELA M 251 for use in his recording studio, but when it arrived, he discovered that the polar pattern switch was no longer functional. Finding that this was a common issue with the original units, he reverse-engineered the part and made it available to other 251 owners.

Fishman went on to successfully reverse-engineer the entire microphone exactly as it was originally manufactured. He spent the next two years acquiring original documents and drafts from Telefunken and AKG, and developing every part of the microphone.

“When we accomplished this milestone,” Fishman says, “we knew we could tackle other similar legendary microphones. Our goal all along has been to look into every classic microphone and bring it back to life with full respect and attention to the original details. As a result of this precision workmanship, we have been able to apply that knowledge to some entirely new microphone designs that have gained wide acceptance in the recording and touring industry.”

Today, Telefunken’s products combine vintage style and sound with the reliability of a modern-day microphone design. Over the past few years, the company has also introduced a new line of direct boxes, a series of XLR and instrument cables, studio isolation headphones and a line of vacuum tubes.

“We’ve developed quite an extensive research and development facility here in South Windsor,” adds Fishman. “We have a complete performance soundstage and recording studio for realistically testing out our new microphones and auxiliary gear.”

The Telefunken brand began with a joint venture in 1903 between Siemens & Halske, who were developing wireless communication for the German Army, and AEG (General Electric Company), who were doing similar work for the German Navy. When a patent dispute arose, German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II urged the two groups to combine their efforts. The prefix “tele” comes from the Greek word for distance; “funken” is the German word for spark, or to make work through an electric spark.

Telefunken Elektroakustik •