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Neil Dorfsman Takes Soundelux ELUX 251 To The Stars

Condenser mics are faithful recreations of Telefunken's ELAM 251 (November 12, 2004)

With classic audio equipment of the '50s and '60s increasingly expensive and hard to find, not to mention costly to repair and maintain, many engineers are turning to Soundelux, a company manufacturing new reproductions of their favorite gear. Soundelux now offers over half a dozen ultra high-end studio microphones from the era, including the ELUX 251, a faithful recreation of Telefunken's revered ELAM 251 condenser mic - which was music to Neil Dorfsman's ears when he found out about it.

"I first used an ELUX 251 four years ago and was just knocked out by it," he recalls. "I used it on a solo violin and thought it was very smooth, very warm, and just a really pleasant sound." Dorfsman, an engineer and producer who lists Sting, Oasis, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, XXXXX, No, Elvis Costello and Dire Straits on his resume, now owns two ELUX 251 microphones, purchased one year apart.

Although recognized as an exceptional microphone for male or female vocals, the ELUX 251 is very versatile, according to Dorfsman. "I recently did a thing with the really brilliant musician, Marc Anthony ("Chocolate Genius"), for a big band session: Four horns tripled, drums, upright bass, piano, and vocals. I used the mics on the session extensively. I also used one of the 251s on Marc's vocal. Whenever I had a solo horn I would put it up."

Such versatility has made the ELUX 251 his go-to mic for all occasions, he reports. "I try to bring it everywhere I go, because a lot of studios don't have a great mic selection, unless you're working at a high-end studio with a big budget. So you're often like a "Commando" bringing stuff with you to make the place work. I just know the ELUXES are going to sound good and help me in a situation where I might otherwise be struggling."

He elaborates, "I do a lot of work in 'non-studio' studios, like everybody else. Most people I know are kind of working in closets with a Pro Tools rig. So I wanted to get a couple of really good microphones without breaking the bank. I thought the price of the ELUX was great, considering the workmanship that had gone into it, so I got a couple - and I use them all the time."

As he explains, "I've always been a Telefunken 251 fan. It's my favorite mic for most applications, when I can get one. But they're not consistent, and average ones are very disappointing. And I couldn't afford a real one. They're $12,000 each!"

Acknowledged for his skills at both engineering and producing, Dorfsman has been honored with an armful of trophies. They include a Grammy for Best Engineered Album (Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms") and Grammys for Producer of the Year ("Nothing Like The Sun" by Sting, "Scenes From The South Side" by Bruce Hornsby). His engineering contributions to Sting's "Brand New Day" garnered another engineering Grammy in 1999. The year he won the TEC Award for Engineer of the Year he was also nominated for the TEC Awards' Producer of the Year.

Just recently, Dorfsman took his ELUX 251 mics to a session with Björk. "She was layering various recorders for a soundtrack. I used the 251 with an all-tube chain. It sounded beautiful, really present and clear, like the glass between the rooms had disappeared."

The ELUX 251 offers a slightly different character to the original ELAM 251, says Dorfsman. "The original ones I always characterize as very clear and sparkly at the top end. The ELUX 251 is a little 'thicker' than the original 251. It has a little more warmth to it."

About the TransAudio Group
TransAudio Group, founded by industry veteran Brad Lunde, has quickly become the premier U.S. importer/distributor for high-end audio. Success hinges on TransAudio providing users with technical expertise extending far beyond the norm. TransAudio Group's product lines include A-Designs (USA) AEA ribbon microphones (USA), ATC Loudspeakers (UK), Brauner (Germany), Drawmer (UK), Geoffrey Daking & Co. (USA), George Massenburg Labs (GML) (USA), Mercury Audio (USA) Mission Audio (UK) Phoenix Audio (UK) Soundelux (USA), SoundField (UK), and Z-Systems (USA).

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Related Keywords:Neil Dorfsman, Soundelux, ELUX 251, Condenser mics, Telefunken, ELAM 251, microphones,

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