Telefunken TD200

“Gosh, that thing is heavy” were my first thoughts when I held the TD200 package in my hands – it’s not the mic though, it’s the cast iron table stand that gives the little plastic box its weight – the mic itself is rather on the light side, might be bakelite or plastic, I am not sure – in any case it’s a rather funky looking table mic, that Telefunken TD200.

Stand, clamp and microphone - it's all in one plastic box with the Telefunken TD 200.

Stand, clip and microphone – it’s all in one plastic box with the Telefunken TD 200.

It was officially the top shelf product for use with the Telefunken magnetophon tape recorders, and as such was rather expensive. A German July 1967 Telefunken catalogue recommended it like that: “You’ll always achieve perfect, brilliant recordings: audio documents of lasting value.” Does the microphone itself also have a lasting value?

For one, being a tape recorder mic, it has an attached cable, which requires you to solder an adapter yourself. It also has a kind of counterintuitive most sensitive point: Right at the tip, not at the larger part of the grille, as its appearance might suggest. Its continuous bass roll-off switch also acts as an on-off switch if you turn it all the way down. You could also get two TD200s as a stereo pair with dedicated stereo bar and a DIN 5-pole stereo adapter to match the Telefunken magnetophon tape recorder.

So, how does it sound? We opened one up (it has no screws, it’s simply clasped together with the plastic grilles), and the capsule looked like it was made by Sennheiser – it had the three part fan shaped cover, the coated wires looked like wires I have seen in Sennheiser microphones, the mesh cover also looked familiar.

Now that's some protective reinforcement! Plastic bars with lots of fresh air in between.

Now that’s some protective reinforcement! Plastic bars with lots of fresh air in between.

To my ears, it sounds somewhat like the MD 421, only a lot darker, with less top end and a little warmer. As such, it might perform well in situations where you’d expect an MD421 to perform well and where you want some nice lower frequencies, like bass drum or bass cabinet. It might also sound great on snare drum, floor tom or toms in general, but it’s made from rather brittle plastic (or bakelite) and even though there is some reinforcement behind the grille, it would probably not withstand getting hit by a drumstick, so I would avoid those hot spots.

Specs!

  • Frequency range: 40 – 18,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 500 Ω
  • Pickup pattern: cardioid, 18 dB rear rejection
  • Size: 53 x 46 x 250mm
  • Weight: 320g
  • Year of introduction: 1966
Style:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Sound:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Uniqueness:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Usefulness:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Trash:Gold ratio 1:4

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