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Ela M 251E Microphone Sets

OmnidirectionalCardioidBidirectionalTelefunken Elektroakustik Ela M 251E

Multi-Pattern Tube Condenser Microphone

The ElaM 251E is a recreation of AKG’s Telefunken ELA M 251E microphone, a multipattern, large-diaphragm tube condenser. The original is one of the best-known and best-remembered vintage microphones in the world; Telefunken Elektroakustik’s recreation attempts to be historically accurate.

Telefunken USA Ela M 251E CircuitThe heart of any 251-style mic is the capsule. AKG’s original CK12 capsule is perhaps the most sought-after in the world, despite the fact that most have begun to deteriorate. (The repeated application of polarization voltage tends to “suck” the diaphragm into the backplate over time, causing the membrane to literally collapse. Tensioning the membrane more tightly prevents collapse at a cost of altering the frequency response.)

Telefunken Elektroakustik manufactures its own CK12-style capsules in-house. The cost per part, according to company president Toni Fishman, exceeds $1000. As of November 2005, the company was able to produce 400 capsules per year, with a reject rate of 50% and goal of increasing capacity to 500 (presumably) usable capsules per year.

The transformer in the 251E is made by Haufe, maker of the original ElaM 251 transformer. It is a 14:1 design; the Telefunken Elektroakustik unit is custom-wound by Haufe to the specs of the original, although some experts disagree.

Klaus Heyne

Transformers used in clones are not the same as in the original ELA M 250/251 design.

Even those clones which use “Original Haufe T14/1”… are anything but identical to the T14/1 transformers from the same manufacturer from the 1960s: Simple DC resistance tests alone will show that the current generation of these transformers has grossly different winding ratios. If you then take the transformer apart, you will also notice that it was wound to a different pattern than the original — all this adds up to a noticeably different sound…

The tube in the 251E is a NOS JAN-spec 6072a made by General Electric. Telefunken Elektroakustik (then called Telefunken North America) made the news in 2004 when they purchased a cache of old 6072a tubes, variously reported at 4000-6000 tubes in size.

Toni Fishman

After exhaustive searching we were able to purchase 4000 of the 6072A tubes… They were labeled by GE in 1983, but were probably manufactured ten years earlier. This tube is the same one that was used by the great Austrian microphone manufacturers…

Telefunken Elektroakustik manufactures numerous versions of the ElaM 250/251 microphone family:

ModelCapsuleTubePatternsPSUMSRP (2010)
Ela M 250CK-12AC-701Cardioid, OmniHistorical$13,495
Ela M 251CK-12AC-701Cardioid, Omni, Figure-8Historical$13,995
Ela M 250 ECK-126072aCardioid, OmniHistorical$10,495
Ela M 251 ECK-126072aCardioid, Omni, Figure-8Historical$10,995
Ela M 250 FTK-126072aCardioid, OmniModernn/a
Ela M 251 FTK-126072aCardioid, Omni, Figure-8Modern($5,995)
Ela M 251 TCK-136072aCardioid, Omni, Figure-8Historicaln/a

(MSRP current as of Nov, 2010)

Telefunken Elektroakustik Ela M 251E CaseThe 251E ships in a leather-trimmed suitcase with a vintage-reproduction power supply, a swivel microphone mount, power cable, and a padded wooden storage box for the microphone.

From September 2010 through the end of 2011, Telefunken is offering a commemorative 50-year anniversary edition of the ElaM 251E (and other ElaM models). The 251E anniversary edition includes 50th Anniversary logo stitching on the leather case, and a spare 6072a tube.


Telefunken USA’s Ela M 251 is an incredible mic. In every application, it never let me down. From the subtle guitars to the abusive transients of powerful percussion, it rose to each occasion with great results.

Pro Audio Review

While I found both the Soundelux and Lawson reproductions were excellent microphones in their own right, Telefunken USA’s Ela-M 251 recreation is without a doubt the closest match when compared to the sound and build of the original.

The Telefunken Elektroakustik Ela M 251E is also known as: 251E.


Frequency Response - OmnidirectionalClick Graph to Compare!
Ela M 251E Omnidirectional Frequency Response Chart
Frequency Response - CardioidClick Graph to Compare!
Ela M 251E Cardioid Frequency Response Chart
Frequency Response - BidirectionalClick Graph to Compare!
Ela M 251E Bidirectional Frequency Response Chart
Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Omnidirectional (12 mV/Pa; 80 - 16,000 Hz)
Cardioid (12 mV/Pa; 95 - 16,000 Hz)
Bidirectional (12 mV/Pa; 120 - 16,000 Hz)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
Diaphragm diameter: 25mm
Capsule diameter: 32mm
Diaphragm gauge: 6 microns
200 Ohms (Low) Max SPL: 138 dB
Self-noise: 16.0 dB(A)
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
567g (20.00oz) 216mm (8.50'') 51mm (2.01'')
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Includes tube power supply

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