Uher M534

Uher officially gave the M534 the rather odd title “Dynamic Tubular Directional Microphone”, which refers to its shape (although it is not all that tubular) and its directional pattern (which is cardioid). It has an M/S (“music/speech”) switch, which activates a high-pass filter to increase speech intelligibility and decrease handling noise.

With its fixed cable, it was directed at amateur tape recording aficionados and field reporters, but it has a solid metal body and is quite sturdy. Like many other Uher microphones, its capsule was made by AKG – judging from the specs and a superficial glance (although many AKG dynamic capsules look rather similar), it might share the same capsule with the AKG D190, only its impedance has been slightly modified, probably to match the Uher tape recorders it was sold with. I also happened upon a microphone with a similar body as the M534 labeled “AKG MD 35” (which does not match the AKG mic nomenclature at all) and “AKG in Germany”.

It was also available as a stereo pair, called M634, which came with a stereo bar in addition to the normal table stand that all M534s had. One tiny problem with the Uher M534 is its flimsy mic clip which uses a slide-in system similar to the Sennheiser MD421 – they get lost and break very easily. Luckily, the Uher doesn’t have the same large diameter as the MD421 and can therefore be chucked into smaller mic clips. An SM57s clip should work just fine.

The "poor man's SM57"?

The Uher M 534, the “poor man’s SM57”?

So, what can you expect? Speaking of Shure’s all time classic, I’ve heard it being called a “poor man’s SM57”, which describes its strong and weak points fairly well. It’s really not bad on guitar cabinets, and overall a quite usable all-purpose dynamic mic.

It is very common in Germany, judging from the huge numbers of M534s and M634 stereo pairs sold online and the prices they go for (often incredibly cheap), and since it has a metal body and a quite strong reinforced metal grille (it was built for field reporting, after all), you might want to get some of those and use them on snare drum, toms (splashy surf sound toms!) or other percussion applications where you’d expect the microphone to take a beating or two. And if it doesn’t take the beating too well, it’s cheap to replace it.

Lift the fancy Uher metal foil decoration, tiny metal bolts will appear - hammer them in gently, and voilà, enjoy your view at the Uher M 534's capsule.

Lift the fancy Uher banner, and tiny metal bolts will appear – hammer them in gently, and voilà, enjoy your view at the Uher M 534’s capsule.

Or try and open it to see if a wire has come loose inside. You’ll have to remove the Uher metal band around the lower part of the grille, gently hammer in the tiny metal bolts and then open the mic – see the picture to get a better idea of that.

If you manage to grab a stereo pair, you can also try dynamic overheads, congas or other stereo percussion situations – matched pairs of dynamic microphones are becoming increasingly rare nowadays, and it’s a lot of fun to experiment with these techniques.

To use it with contemporary recording equipment, we’d recommend cutting off or desoldering the 3-pole DIN plug and soldering on a male XLR connector, as the DIN connector does not have a screw thread and thus doesn’t really work well with any DIN-XLR adapters you might already have. You shouldn’t encounter any problems, the original DIN plug is balanced, the output is low-Z only and the connector is wired in a straightforward style.

Specs!

  • Frequency response: 50 – 16000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Impedance: 500 Ω (Some sources say 600 Ω)
  • Max SPL: 128 dB

Sounds!

You’re never too far North for Southern Rock! A sound sample of the Uher M534 on a transistorized guitar amp can prove that.


Docs!

Uher M534 manual in German, French and English, scanned by Christoph of Tonband.net

Style: (4.0 / 5)
Sound: (4.0 / 5)
Uniqueness: (2.5 / 5)
Usefulness: (4.0 / 5)

Trash:Gold ratio 1:3


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9 Comments
  1. This is really a great microphone that sounds very nice. It’s probably similar to the AKG D190 (also completely underrated), but somehow the frequency response seems a bit more extended at the top.

    I had one and sold it, but I shouldn’t have!

    PS: Nice website, I have got lots of good microphone suggestions over the years from the legendary SENAP thread, glad to see you are continuing his work.

    • Hey Santiago, thanks for stopping by and commenting! There’s another Uher microphone, the M537, that supposedly uses the AKG D190 capsule – I have a broken one lying around, and the capsule looks a lot like it, only it has a plastic bass port on the back which probably gives it more bass? I guess?

      It’s quite fascinating what modifications of the housing can do to the tone of a capsule…Anyway, we’ll try and investigate the trails that Senap has laid out and maybe find some new hidden gems here and there!

  2. Hey guys! Cool page you have here.

    I recently bought a pair of these Uhers and replaced the DIN connector for an XLR one.

    Oddly enough, on one of the microphones i get a high frequency noise while the other is perfectly fine.

    Could it be a grounding problem on the soldering? Is it a normal trait with these kind of microphones? any guess would be appreciated!

    Cheers!

    • Hi Vítor, thanks for stopping by! Normally you’d expect the microphone to start humming first when the ground isn’t properly connected, but there might be something else wrong with the grounding, causing the mic to pick up high frequency noise from surrounding electronic devices.

      Maybe you accidentally bridged two contacts on the XLR connector, or your soldering isn’t very stable and has come off when you reassembled the connector? Worst case I could imagine: The ground connection has somehow disintegrated inside the shell of the microphone. I’ve never seen that on an Uher M534 (and I’ve seen some really battered ones), though.

  3. Hi thrashblitz! Thanks for the answer.

    Well, after a second check, it’s happening to both microphones! Although there are some positions where I lay down my xlr connector that reduces the noise significantly (ex: on the tolex on the top of my amplifier) it never really disappears, just gets reduced.

    I’m not really sure what might cause this, and I’d like to get it fixed because these microphones sound amazing!

    • Hi Vítor, it sure sounds like the ground isn’t properly connected. Did you double-check your wiring and soldering? Another guess might be that you got a stereo pair with a custom 5-pin connector with shared ground wire (I’m unaware of any Uher M634 stereo combinations that were built this way, but I know of some others) – they are a little harder to rewire.

  4. hi,i’ve bought one of Uher m538 and it is soo goood,but i have big problems to solder xlr to the cable…it is not working! how do you wired it?”! thanks

    • Hi Matteo! Hm, normally the wiring is very straightforward, simply desolder the old connector and solder on the new XLR connector – could you tell me a little bit more about the problems you are having?

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