Reading Neumann SM69...

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Danielle, Jun 28, 2005.

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  1. Danielle

    Danielle Guest

    Hi all,

    I have come to a realization that I was never taught properly (or found an manual in the mic box) how to read the capsules on the SM69. All I know is the bottom capsule is system I and the top is system II. What exactly does all those dots mean?? Thanks!

  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    I can't help you here, but you might want to contact Neumann via their website.

    They'll probably have something under "support" or technical details. is selling a few "new" ones on their website, but I doubt they'd be willing to open one of them up and scan the owners manual for you. :-( They're pretty rare, I believe, and you proably wont run into too many folks using them.

    How do they sound, btw? I'm still in the market for a good, single point LD stereo mic. It's probably a bit out of my reach, financially, but I"m keeping my options open...
  3. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    You might want to check this page.

  4. Danielle

    Danielle Guest

    You're right, I rarely see people use it. I'm still experimenting with it, but it seems like a good blending mic, not a strong candidate for main/stereo mic.

    ps. the pdf from Neumann site didn't actually describe how to set the capsules... :shock: Isn't that a bit weird for a manufacturer not to include operation details??? :roll:

  5. huub

    huub Guest

    What I do understand from the pdf, is that it's an m/s mic, I don't think a lot of people use m/s mics as a main stereo mic..Or do some of you do? I've never seen anyone use m/s for classical..
  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Having used an SM-69 for most of my adult life I can safely say it is very good sounding microphone. I can be used in many different configurations. The ones I used were upgraded from SM-2s. I don't have the microphone any more but I know the dots were used to lineup the capsules when setting it up and I know, speaking from personal experience, that it is easy enough to get the top capsule reversed so that the front of the capsule is pointing into the hall. It is a very clean sounding microphone and it has a small presence rise at 8 KHz which gives it a nice "open" feeling. I mainly did all the recording for the Conservatory where I worked with two of these microphones and a AKG C-24. If you can get a good price on this microphone I would go for it. The one problem is that this microphone uses stabizer cells for the filament supply (basically batteries used as large caps) and they maybe as rare as hens teeth. I think I would contact Neumann and find out the availablity of these cells BEFORE purchasing the microphone. As with most Neumann parts these are EXPENSIVE and I think the last time we replaced them (there are three if memory serves) they were $69.00 each. There was a modification done later to these microphones that elimiated the stabizer cells but I am not sure whether this was done to all the microphones or only on retrofit.

    Best of luck!
  7. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    I wish I could remember the color coding of the dots. I seem to remember something to the effect that the red dots are the positive sides of the capsules.

    I do have very mixed feelings about this mic. In general, I much prefer my 426. Both versions have a tendency to be rather bright but the tube version is definitely better than the FET. I find that they can work well for diffuse field work or for spots on occasion. I think the SM69 is actually a first rate drum set microphone for jazz dates.

    Compared to the other Neumann tube stereo mics, they all have a similar kind of sound. Good body in the mids and certainly a rather enhanced top end. The small-dia ones obviously don't have as large of a sound. I personally prefer the 69 to the 23 or the 2. The other issue with the 69 tube version is the noise floor is considerably higher than most modern condensers.

    My $0.02 FWIW...


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