updated September 2010
Georg Neumann - The Founder
Microtech Gefell GmbH - The Company of the Georg Neumann KG
Georg Neumann born on October 13th in Chorin. Chorin is located near to Berlin, north of the Oder-Havel Canal. Its greatest attraction is the Chorin cloister, begun in 1273. Today, its remains are considered to be among the most beautiful examples of brick gothic. Georg Neumann received his professional training in Berlin at Mix & Genest and at the AEG Kabelwerk Oberspree under the supervision of Eugen Reisz. When Eugen Reisz leaves AEG in order to found his own company, Georg Neumann continues to work for him.
Germany’s first radio station in Berlin uses the famous Reisz microphone in a marble block, which has been developed to a large degree by Georg Neumann.
Georg Neumann and Erich Rickmann establish the limited partnership Georg Neumann & Co. The idea behind this new company lies in manufacturing microphones following the capacitive transducer concept. An aim they manage to achieve for the first time in serial production with the condenser microphone
CMV 3. The company also develops new forms of electromagnetic cutters and pick-ups for wax discs. These new devices allow highly improved recordings and are therefore increasingly used by the recording industry as well as radio stations.
participation at the „Große Deutsche Funkausstellung” leads to a massive rise of sales within Germany and of exports. During this time, representations are set up in England, France, the USA and India.
Georg Neumann & Co. is able to offer the level recorder P 2 that becomes the standard device for acoustic measurement in the following years.
the Olympic Games in Berlin provide the first live test for the classic M 7 electrode in a tube set-up as developed by Georg Neumann. It is still manufactured to this day. The so-called „Neumann bottle” can already be equipped with different capsules in order to change patterns. The path that the company has chosen since its founding proves to be the right one. Extensive practical experience leads to a continuous improvement of products.
Thus, the following products were created:
- Transportable recording devices
- Record players
- Dynamic pick-ups
- Condenser microphones with defined patterns
- Level recorders
- Movie theatre gongs
- Pause signals
- Measurement microphones with linear frequency range
Erich Rickmann dies. Despite the heavy loss, Georg Neumann is able to continue leading the company to full extent and according to the ideas of is deceased co-partner - due to his close cooperation with manager Erich Kühnast ever since the
founding days. The company celebrates its tenth anniversary. See a picture of the company chronic 1928-1938 below.
Georg Neumann & Co. produce under their first trademark.
This brand will continue to be used on product seals up until the mid 1970s.
stylised sound waves are added to the trademark.
This brand is used until 1949.
during the Second World War, the principal laboratory on Michaelkirchstraße in Berlin undergoes damage both by fire and bombs. To avoid further bombings, the entire company and the principal laboratory are transferred to Gefell. Both the Neumann and Kühnast families, as well as almost all employees relocate to Gefell and there continue their work in the quarters of a former textile firm. In Gefell, production continues of the „Neumannbottle” CMV 3 using the large diaphragm capsule M 7 developed by Georg Neumann. In the following years, fabrication of the M 7 capsule reaches enormous quantities and to this day, it remains a major product in the studio division of the company.
materials required for manufacturing capsules are amongst other ways secured by dismantling a fourengine fighter plane that had crashed during the Second World War near by. The M 7 microphone capsule is later used in the following microphones:
- U 47, U 48, M 49
- CMV 563, UM 57, UM 70, M 71
- UMT 71 S, MT 71 S, UM 92.1 S, M 92. S
- UMT 800, UM 900 (tube microphone with 48 V phantom powering)
During the years 1945/46, Germany is divided into four sectors after the surrender. Thuringia, initially occupied by the Americans is exchanged for a part of Berlin (Potsdam Treaty) and handed over to the Soviet Union, which changes the situation
in Gefell completely.
employees returning from Gefell establish a small workshop in Berlin (West) mainly for repair of microphones. This workshop becomes Georg Neumann GmbH, the second Neumann company, now owned by Sennheiser.
Georg Neumann moves from Gefell to Heilbronn. There, he sets up a production of nickel-cadmium accumulators following his own patents. He succeeds in manufacturing completely sealed versions, allowing these accumulators to be used in all electronic devices. As a by-product, the renowned stabilizer cells emerge. Together with the rest of the staff, Erich Kühnast remains in Gefell, a part of Germany that is now under Soviet occupation. Georg Neumann assigns to him the management of the limited partnership Georg Neumann & Co. At first, the following products are manufactured:
The year 1946 also marks the founding of the Georg Neumann GmbH by Georg Neumann in Berlin.
Erich Kühnast designs this modified trademark in Gefell:
In addition, it shows a stylised microphone bottle in the middle with the inscription Neumann. (The use of this brand is prohibited by GDR authorities as part of the forced nationalization of the limited partnership Georg Neumann & Co. in 1972.)
the company Georg Neumann & Co. increases its activities in the field of acoustic measurement technology, based on its traditions dating from the 1930s. New condenser measurement microphones are developed and become part of the serial production. These new developments are carried out in cooperation with the Heinrich Hertz Institute of the AdW.
The following types were produced:
the centralist regime of the GDR forces private companies to accept state co-ownership. Like thousands of other companies, Georg Neumann & Co. becomes a so-called BSB („Betrieb mit staatlicher Beteiligung” – company under state participation).
Nevertheless, Georg Neumann, concerned about his employees, offers his assistance in further expanding the company.
During the 1950s, radio stations in Berlin are rebuilt and production in Gefell continues, both of the known microphone types and of new ones:
- Tube microphone preamplifier CMV 563
- With the microphone capsules M 55 (omni), M 7 (cardioid), M 8 (figure eight) and M 9
- (omni) as well as M 7 S, M 8 S and M 9 S with short handles
- Tube condenser microphone UM 57, switchable patterns, omni-cardioid-figure eight
- Measurement microphone MM 10 b
the limited partnership Georg Neumann & Co. and Georg Neumann GmbH agree to equally use the Gefell trademark as created by Erich Kühnast. In order to distinguish both companies, Georg Neumann GmbH adds a rhombus in the background.
the building of the Berlin Wall sets a seal on the division of the city. The socialist GDR also cuts off all communication that has existed to this point between Georg Neumann & Co. in Gefell and Georg Neumann GmbH in Berlin. Still, the managements of the two companies stay in contact – illegally as far as the GDR authorities are concerned.
Erich Kühnast’s son Jochem Kühnast relocates from Berlin to Gefell and becomes part of the technical management in the area of microphone development.
During the three decades from the 1960s to the 1980s, production in the studio sector is mainly carried out according to the demands of radio applications. In close cooperation with „Rundfunk und Fernsehtechnisches Zentralamt RFZ" (central radio and television council) the following microphones are developed and produced until 1989:
On April 24th 1972 the limited partnership Georg Neumann & Co. in Gefell is expropriated and renamed VEB Mikrofontechnik Gefell. Further use of the Neumann trademark is prohibited by the GDR.
Instead, products are now marked with the brand RFT.
Georg Neumann dies in Berlin.
apart from the production of condenser microphones for studio and measurement applications development and test production begins of lasers, designed for usage in micro material processing, microelectronics, medicine technology and laser inscription facilities. As a tribute to these two production lines, the company will eventually on June 30th 1990 be renamed to today’s Microtech Gefell GmbH, employing the double denotations of the word „micro".
the Berlin Wall comes down. Immediately, the limited partnership Georg Neumann & Co. and Georg Neumann GmbH establish contact, discussing future possibilities of shared activities. The Treuhandanstalt takes charge of the company in Gefell with the aim of re-privatising it. The expropriated limited partnership Georg Neumann & Co. files for restitution of its company.
trade with the socialist states collapses after the introduction of the Deutschmark. Selling Gefell microphones proves to be difficult. In addition, there is a lack of marketing experience with western markets. The Georg Neumann GmbH in Berlin provided
help and distributes microphones from Gefell.
shares of the Georg Neumann GmbH are taken over by Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG. Microtech Gefell begins to set up its own worldwide distribution network.
the company Microtech Gefell GmbH is returned to the limited partnership Georg Neumann & Co. – now Georg Neumann KG.
After more than twenty years of state imposed waiving of the brand
the company now produces under the new registered trademark.
the company celebrates its 70th anniversary and at the same time the 100th birthday of Georg Neumann.
The studio condenser microphones listed under „product info” are continuously further enhanced and developed and are all available for purchase. The range of products includes high quality studio microphones with tube and transistor technology, specialised microphones and dynamic microphones as well as power supply units and accessories. By now, the company looks back on 75 years of tradition in the development, production and trade of high quality studio microphones and it stays in
contact with leading users of this technology and technical institutions. The condenser measurement microphones listed under „product info” are used for acoustic measuring, e.g. of aircraft, environmental, traffic noise et al. The range of products is continuously expanded. All measurement microphones are approved and certified by Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
Braunschweig PTB. They are calibratable and can therefore be used for legally binding measurements. All measurement microphones meet the standards of class 1 according to DIN EN 60651.
All products are available worldwide.
Georg Neumann Memorial in Gefell