Brauner VM1 KHE
Multi-Pattern Tube Condenser Microphone
The Brauner VM1 KHE (Klaus Heyne Edition) was a limited-edition version of the VM1 tube condenser, redesigned and upgraded by Klaus Heyne of German Masterworks. Only 100 units were ever made; most were customized for specific artists and voices.
The stock VM1 is a low-self-noise, multipattern tube mic based on a NOS Telefunken EF806S (EF86) tube and a K67-style capsule from MBHO.
- The -10dB pad switch on the power supply is repurposed as a second pattern-control switch; it selects between Cardioid mode (in which the rear diaphragm is disconnected from the circuit) and Multipattern mode (in which the variable pattern potentiometer selects the pattern). By disconnecting the rear diaphragm, the signal-to-noise ratio is improved by 4dB, making the KHE the lowest-noise tube microphone on the market.
- The VM1 capsule is replaced by a modified version, manufactured by MBHO specifically for the KHE. The modification affects the porting between the two backplates, with the effect of reducing phase shift.
- The amplifier circuit is simplified to create the most direct path possible from capsule to output.
- Electrical components are upgraded.
- The 2-layer headbasket is replaced. The new grille uses a more-open mesh material, and is formed with a domed top piece to reduce internal reflections.
[T]he final, production version of the KHE is so very different from the VM1 that it is impossible to convert a VM1 to a KHE…
In the case of the VM1, there were circuitry, component, and acoustic areas that I recognized as bottlenecks for good sound. The basic architecture was very simple — almost ideal, but not quite.
The KHE microphones were built by Brauner to Heyne’s specifications, then shipped to German Masterworks for final testing. Heyne tested each mic, swapped tubes if necessary, selected the best-sounding capsule side, and performed the final tuning to suit the customer’s voice.
I go over every one of them, and first determine front side selection for the capsules, then I fine-tune it in terms of the specific customer. For example, Lenny Kravitz is one of our customers… Iím not going to give him one that is mellow. Iíll give him one with more balls in the lower mids. So I have to intuitively figure out what works where.
The KHE shipped with a shockmount, a windscreen, its powersupply and cable, and a lockable aluminum flightcase. Early production units also included a pop filter. The street price in 2002 was $8199.
In an industry where every new product is routinely proclaimed as the best thing since sliced bread, the VM1 KHE lives up to the hype. The mic’s performance completely fulfills what one would hope and expect it to achieve, given its lofty price. The VM1 KHE offers a bigger-than-life sound more often associated with vintage mics, but somehow manages to retain the superior noise performance, coherence and high-frequency extension that only rigorous modern engineering methods and componentry can produce.
Pro Audio Review, 2000
In a word, using the VM1 KHE is delightful. This beautifully crafted microphone not only looks fantastic, it sounds fantastic as well…
On vocals, the microphone is brilliant.
Photo credit: Klaus Heyne
The Brauner VM1 KHE is also known as: KHE.
The mic was released in 2002.
|Pickup Patterns||Pads & Filters|
(28 mV/Pa; 40 - 22, 000 Hz)
| Diaphragm diameter: 27mm
Diaphragm gauge: 6 microns
|n/a||Max SPL: 138 dB
Self-noise: 9.0 dB(A)
|n/a||222mm (8.74'')||52mm (2.05'')||
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