1948 - the prototype
SCHOEPS was founded in June of 1948.
This is the very first prototype of a SCHOEPS tube microphone. Diameter approx. 80mm, length approx. 320mm. The capsule had an omni pattern and the amplifier part was designed with two of the famous RV12P2000 valves.
This microphone can still be visited in our museum (as most of the others on this page).
1949 - The CMV 50/2
The microphone is getting smaller:
Diameter is now 70mm at a length of 280mm.
Now the capsule can be changed via a bayonet coupling.
1951 - The CM 51/3
In 1951 a smaller tube, the Telefunken EF 94 (6AU7) becomes available. Together with a small size output transformer the microphone's dimensions could be reduced to a diameter of 35mm and a length of only 240mm.
The capsule has a bayonet coupling and can be swiveled about +/- 30°.
1952 - The M 201
In order to minimize the microphone's dimensions the output transformer and some electric components are placed outside the microphone in a black box in line with the microphone's cable. This results in one of the smallest microphones then available (length 140mm, diameter 23mm).
For the first time our capsules are threaded onto the amplifier part (instead of the bayonet coupling).
The M 201 was also available with a two way capsule system, a smaller one with omni characteristic and a larger one with figure-eight pattern. By switching on or off the figure-eight one could choose the capsule over-all characteristic omni or cardioid.
1953 - The CM 51
Bayonet mounted different capsule types are available:
CM 51/7 - Omni
CM 51/N9 - Cardioid
CM 51/U - Switchable omni/cardioid
S/G 51/9 - Elastic suspension
CMN 51/9 - Power supply
CMKV 51/9 - Microphone cable
In 1955 the French version CM 51F with a Sogie connector was manufactured.
1954 - The M 221
The M 221 was introduced in 1954. Taking advantage of the TELEFUNKEN AC701k valve, the M 221 was the very first tube microphone on the market with a diameter of only 20 mm.
The M 221 A was manufactured in limited quantities for just a few months. Following improvements to the design the M 221 B was introduced. The most obvious difference between the A and B versions was the way the capsule was mechanically adapted to the amplifier body. The M 221 A type has female threads and the B model male threads (the same as the current generation SCHOEPS Colette Series amplifiers but with a different contact plate).
As the electrical circuitry is very similar in all types, you may use the new power supply NTM 221 with the included K5 TU cable for all versions.
1964 - The CMT 20
The World's First Phantom-Powered Microphone
The CMT 20, launched in 1964, was a milestone for the company: the first transistorized phantom-powered condenser microphone in the world. It was powered by 8.5 Volts with the plus pole grounded. Low-noise FETs are used today as impedance converters in the input stages of nearly every condenser microphone on the market, but such components were not available at that time. The only way to keep the noise low was to use a radio-frequency circuit in which the capsule modulated an RF carrier.
The CMT 20 had a transformerless, balanced output stage which used coupling condensers. Later the same year an improved version, the CMT 200, was released; it was also phantom-powered (this time at 9-12 Volts, in view of its becoming a studio standard) and its output was also transformerless, but this time direct-coupled. A similar output circuit topology is still found in SCHOEPS microphones to this day.
1965 - The CMT 3- / 4- / 5- Series
Transition from Nickel Diaphragms to Mylar Diaphragms
Only one year later transistorized condenser microphones of the series CMT 3-/4-/5- were developed. Now that field-effect transistors of the necessary quality were available for use in microphones at the highest quality level, this series represented a transition in solid-state microphones from RF circuit technology to the superior linearity of audio frequency technology. At the same time, the previous metal membrane material was replaced by specially manufactured Mylar with improved reliability.
The available capsules remained the same types: The CMT was delivered as omni (for example CMT 52), universal cardioid (CMT 54), close speech cardioid (CMT 540), supercardioid (CMT 541), switchable omni/cardioid (CMT 55) and switchable omni/cardioid/figure-eight (CMT 56) with single diaphragm design. The capsules specifications were close to the data of the current capsules MK 2S, MK 4, MK 40, MK 41, MK 5, MK 6.
Microphones of the CMT series were manufactured until the Eighties. They are still serviced by SCHOEPS and may reach today's Colette quality without problems.
1969 - CMTS
The SCHOEPS CMTS 301 and 501 stereo microphones were optimized for coincident stereo recording. Using a matched pair of specially-adapted three-pattern capsules [link], they excelled at X/Y, "Blumlein" and M/S stereo techniques.
Much of the direct sound reaches the microphones from significantly off axis when these recording methods are used. Thus their success depends on smooth, uniform frequency response at all angles of sound incidence – a hallmark of SCHOEPS microphones. Large- and/or dual-diaphragm microphones cannot match these qualities.
A particular advantage of single-diaphragm cardioids is their ability to maintain full directivity at low frequencies. Thus they can pick up all the interchannel difference information that is critical for the sense of spaciousness. By contrast, stereo recordings made with coincident dual-diaphragm cardioids tend to collapse into mono at low frequencies.
The CMTS remained in demand and was produced for over a decade after the rest of the CMT series had been discontinued.
1973 - The Famous Colette Series
manufactured until today
In 1973, the Colette series was launched, the most extensive and versatile microphone system ever conceived. The "Active Colette tubes" are familiar to the millions who have seen the Three Tenors or "Les Miz" on TV; they are also used by the upper house of the German Parliament. The "Active cable" is widely used (but not seen!) in "stashed" (hidden) microphone rigs by film and TV recordists, in stage sets, and in concert halls and opera houses. This is possible because the microphone amplifier can be separated from the capsule. making the visible part of the microphone substantially smaller. Today, this modular microphone system has been widely imitated, but SCHOEPS continues to offer the widest selection of transducers and accessories. That same year the MK 6 Colette capsule was developed out of the MK 26. A year later it was followed by the MK 5, a switchable two-pattern capsule (omni/cardioid) with improved high-frequency response. The MK 5 is still in the catalog.
All models have been improved over the years. Today the Colette-series includes 20 capsules, 6 micophone amplifiers (analog, digital, battery-powered, for pocket transmitters, tube version), active accessories (such as microphone tubes, filters, goosenecks, table microphones, cables) and accessories (like elastic suspensions, cable hanger, clamps, stands, instrument adapters, pop- and windscreens) as well as stereo microphones and accessories for stereo and surround.
You find the current Colette series described in detail here.
1976 - ORTF Stereo Microphone MSTC
The first stereo microphone using the ORTF principle (a recording technique originally developed with SCHOEPS capsules) in a unitary housing.
1990 - KFM 6
"Sphere" recording represents a family of two-microphone stereo techniques which are neither coincident (X/Y, M/S), near-coincident (ORTF) nor spaced in the usual sense (A/B). Instead they use two pressure (omnidirectional) transducers separated by a solid, acoustically opaque object. In sphere recording, the two transducers are embedded directly in the surface of that object.
Although the sphere is nearly the size of a human head and the transducers are placed in positions somewhat like those of human ears, sphere stereo recordings are definitely intended for loudspeaker playback, unlike "dummy head" recordings. Given optimal microphone placement, sphere stereo recordings can offer a natural sound, strikingly good depth and spatiality, full low-frequency pickup, and good localization-blending all the virtues of the other types of stereo recording system.
1994 - The CCM Compact Microphones
In 1994, along with the miniaturization already made possible by the active Colette cables and tubes, a new miniaturized microphone was introduced. Called the CCM, this series represents the smallest ever "classic" studio condenser microphone (that is, without an electret element), with a fully balanced output.
1998 - PolarFlex
The significant sonic differences among condenser microphones of the same nominal directional pattern, other than frequency response, stem from variations in directionality across the frequency range. Deviations from the ideal occur particularly at low and high frequencies. While these response irregularities may be unwanted, they can sometimes offer practical advantages in adapting to room acoustics, for example.
Before the PolarFlex, such characteristics were unalterable except by choosing different microphones. But with the DSP-4P Processor, not only can nearly-ideal (that is, frequency-independent) patterns be chosen, but almost any desired relationship of pattern to frequency can be selected as well.
2003 - Double MS
Double M/S is a three-microphone adaptation of a two-microphone technique conceived by Alan Blumlein in 1931, then developed in practice by Lauridsen in the 1950s. The original technique used a front-facing microphone of any desired directional pattern, a sideways-facing figure-8, and a sum/difference matrix to convert the resulting signals into L/R stereo. This approach offered full mono compatibility plus some ability to adjust the reverberance and image width of the stereo recording, though those two parameters were interdependent.
By adding a third, rear-facing, directional microphone and further matrixing (in which the one figure-8 serves two M/S pairs), surround recordings can be obtained that offer excellent localization and a good sense of spaciousness.
For two-channel stereo, the image width and reverberance can now be adjusted independently.
SCHOEPS provides exclusive support for the Double M/S recording technique, including
specially developed microphone sets, accessories and computer software.
2005 - The CMIT Shotgun Microphone
A shotgun microphone uses a directional transducer mounted behind a perforated "interference tube." The tube partially cancels upper-mid- and high-frequency sounds that arrive off-axis, thus increasing the directivity at those frequencies. It was invented in the early 1950s by Drs. Günther Kurtze and Konrad Tamm.
The CMIT 5 U is an especially high-quality shotgun microphone, the result of an intensive development project at SCHOEPS . It largely avoids the well-known drawbacks of comparable microphones: It has considerably smoother off-axis response than any previous design; there are no distinct side lobes.
Furthermore its polar pattern doesn't become overly narrow at high frequencies. For these reasons, some call it "the SCHOEPS among shotguns."
In addition to its sonic qualities, its blue color is striking and its very light weight is an especially great advantage for film and video sound recordists.
2008 - MK 22
The “Open Cardioid” directional pattern lies between the classic cardioid and the “wide cardioid.” It is a special variant which combines both good directivity and very natural sound quality.
The years of experience which many recording engineers have had with the various types of SCHOEPS cardioid microphones have played a large role in the design process. The MK 4 cardioid is often relied upon as a reference microphone, even in difficult recording situations; its sonic transparency and outstanding suppression of rear-incident sound make it a universal problem-solver. The MK 21 wide cardioid offers an alternative when its lower directivit y fits the recording situation, e.g. for the first desk of strings or for solo piano. This capsule type is prized for its sonic character (similar to that of a pure omnidirectional microphone) and its relative lack of proximity effect. Then the wish arose for a “middle way” which would combine these characteristics into a single capsule. The result is the MK 22 Open Cardioid.
2010 - SuperCMIT
The SuperCMIT marked the start of a new era at SCHOEPS. Already experienced in the realm of digital microphone technology (one predecessor of the SuperCMIT was the “CMD 2” from 2006), SCHOEPS developed this digital microphone which contains a digital signal processor with a special algorithm to increase the microphone’s directivity.
Starting point for this development was a new type of beam-forming algorithm from ILLUSONIC which allows, for the first time, adaptive beam-forming with high sound quality. Once the potential of this technology had become clear, a dual-capsule microphone with the necessary signal processing was developed. The success of the project depended critically on the idea of avoiding any aliasing or artifact problems with the algorithm. Thus the algorithm in the SuperCMIT is applied only below 5 kHz; above that point, only the signal from the forward-facing element (with its directivity enhanced by the interference tube) is used. In this way the SuperCMIT is like a digital “big brother” of the CMIT 5.
The SuperCMIT was fairly far along in its prototype stage in 2010 when a sporting event was scheduled to take place at which loud plastic noise makers (“vuvuzelas”) threatened major problems for the TV audio pickup. Development was accelerated, and by the time of the event, it was possible to ensure that sounds from the playing field could be picked up without difficulty. In the years since then, the SuperCMIT has
also become a favorite microphone for film sound.
2014 - V4
Everyone who visits the little “microphone museum” at the company’s building in Durlach admires the old CM 51/3 from 1951, with its lovely blue body and the noble appearance of its capsule head. When the time came to develop a new, modern capsule for studio applications, this older visual design came to mind.
The V4 U was given a new, highly original capsule with a 33 mm diameter ring-shaped plate which causes a gradual increase in directivity at higher frequencies, similar to a large-diaphragm microphone. But the V4 remains a true small-diaphragm microphone with all the advantages that this implies.
The electronics of the microphone also offer fundamentally new approaches—for example, a bridge-type output circuit which can handle especially high sound pressure levels without distortion.
The “retro look” initially caused the most comment, but once people heard the sound, most have become enthusiastic about the microphone itself. The V4 U combines world-class technical accomplishment typical of SCHOEPS with a classic, timeless optical design.