Telefunken TD26

One of those tiny tape recorder sticks, yet again! A fixed DIN cable, unbalanced to make things worse! A cheapo table stand made from bent wire? Oh, well. The Telefunken TD26 certainly does not look like the big fish if you see it on pictures, and less so if you consider how similar it looks to the TD16 – which is a mean little plastic stick which shares the ridiculous wire table stand with the TD26. Everything about this microphone seems to cry out “amateur tape recording ahoy”, but once we plugged it in and screamed a few unquotable words of pure boorishness into the poor thing, things changed. Boy, were we in for a surprise!

This is how you remove the TD26s aluminium hat, so that it picks up mind control messages from outer space.

This is how you remove the TD26s aluminium hat, so that it picks up mind control messages from outer space.

It had such nice top end sparkle and warm vintage mids that we were at a loss: How could…this small dynamic stick…? Ok, it has a nice and heavy metal housing, so that might have given us some clues. But still…why…did it sound so good? The answer was, as usual: Sennheiser. The TD26 is actually a rebranded Sennheiser MD 402 which even exists (and this is no small achievement for a vintage tape recorder mic) in an XLR version without fixed cable, the MD 402U. So, once again, Sennheiser got OEM’d by Telefunken, to the benefit of all. The funny thing is: While Sennheiser claims a modest frequency response of 80 – 13,500 Hz, the dirty lying marketing hyenas of Telefunken decided to claim that it reaches from 50 – 18,000 Hz. Ha! Hahaha! No worries, though! It was sold with tape recorders with an upper bandwidth limit of 12,000 Hz anyway, so what’s the big deal?

It’s actually supercardioid, so cranking up the gain and pointing it at talking people in the room is super cardioid fun! Also, this qualifies it as hihat microphone, dynamic overhead (I cannot stress this enough: only use the Telefunken TD 26 version on overheads!!! The Sennheiser MD 402 does not reach up to 18,000 Hz!!111) and, quite obviously, spacy second guitar cabinet mic, placed at about half a meter from the amp. In all seriousness, this microphone is definitely an asset to any studio in terms of sound, directional pattern, size and overall novelty.

Specs!

  • Impedance: 750 Ω
  • Frequency range: 80 – 13,500 Hz (No, Telefunken, NO! 18,000 Hz?! Liars!)
  • Size: ~14 cm long, diameter ~2cm
  • Pickup pattern: Supercardioid (highest sensitivity ~25cm from the tip)

Docs!

English manual for the TD26 at Poppop.nl

Style:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Sound:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Uniqueness:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Usefulness:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Trash:Gold ratio 1:2

2 Comments
  1. Can I ask you a question?
    I recently bought one of those… Can i just do some soldering from the mixi xlr (din) to a proper xlr?
    thanks!!

    • Hi Paolo, sure!

      The problem with the TD26 is that it has unbalanced wiring by default and can not be connected to a proper balanced XLR easily. You can build a workaround by bridging pins 1 and 3 on the XLR jack and connecting the ground (-) and then connect the signal (+) to pin 2, but this will also be an unbalanced connection and is kind of dangerous if you accidently apply P48 voltage into the mic.

      What you can do: Connect a simple TS jack (guitar plug) and use it as an unbalanced mic, maybe even with a DI Box. You’ll have a higher noise floor, but it works fine and phantom voltage can not ruin your mic by accident. Or, but that’s really advanced stuff: remove the mic’s cable entirely and connect a balanced XLR cable, with pin 3 going to -, pin 2 going to + and pin 1 connected to the metal housing of the mic. It’s a lot of effort to do that, though.

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