Universum was the HiFi brand of the giant German mail order company Quelle, directed towards the German domestic market only. In the rest of the world, these Universum branded microphone models were sold by many different HiFi equipment brands. Among many low and lowest quality microphones for use with cheap tape recorders, there are a few usable oddball OEM mic gems, most of them probably built in Japan in the 1970s. Most notably, those were electret condenser mics, but there are also some dynamics among them.
Some of Quelle’s audio and HiFi equipment has also been distributed under the brand name Privileg, which they normally used for home appliances, and the label Senator (or Universum Senator) is generally considered to specify their higher quality products. Quelle was an OEM seller only, but also assembled their own equipment from the parts they bought from countless different manufacturers. One Universum device might contain parts from Germany, Austria, the GDR, Italy, Japan, Korea, China – no rules! Wherever they got the good (or often rather mediocre) stuff cheap. On the other hand, Quelle also imported entire devices from manufacturers who did not have a European branch office and acted as manufacturer by law.
Companies with supposed trade relationships to Quelle during the between 1960 and 1990 – which might or might not concern the Universum microphones as well – are Sony, JVC, Teac, Sharp, Pioneer, Audio Technica, National Panasonic, Matsushita, NEC, Goldstar, Samsung, Salora, Finlux, Südfunk, Beyerdynamic, Europhon, Telefunken, Siemens, Philips, Hitachi, Otaki, Loewe, Akai, Toshiba, Wangine, Fisher, Funai, Micro Seiki…yeah. Well. There could be virtually ANYTHING in there.
Universum branded mics have also been sold in other parts of the globe as Realistic, RCA Starmaker, JVC, Teac, Nakamichi, Pioneer, Hitachi, Primo and many more.