You are here

Warm Audio WA-251

Multi-pattern Valve Capacitor Microphone
By Matty Moon

Warm Audio WA–251

Telefunken's ELA M 251 is considered by many to be the Holy Grail of vocal mics — but at 10 grand a pop, owning one is a mere aspiration for most of us. Enter Warm Audio...

The Telefunken ELA M 251 is one of the all-time classic vocal microphones: the sort of thing that you might, if you're lucky, get to try one day — or if you're even luckier, to own. However, a microphone worth £$10,000 or more is a huge luxury and, let's face it, well out of the financial grasp of most of us. Warm Audio are offering a more practical alternative in their WA‑251, the latest entry into their catalogue of affordable products inspired by high-end, high-priced audio equipment.

The Telefunken company has its origins in early-1900s Germany. They originally worked alongside Neumann, notably distributing the U47 in the USA, but when Neumann decided not to renew their contract in the 1950s, Telefunken began working with AKG. Soon after, the ELA M 251 and 251E were born. Both employed AKG's CK12 capsule and a Haufe T14/1 output transformer, but the 251E (for 'export') used a 6072 valve in place of the less widely available AC701k. The microphone was originally only in production for a few years from 1959, and has since reached iconic status. As these original microphones have become rarer the price has skyrocketed, and they now fetch eye-watering figures when they do come up for sale.

After decades of silence, the Telefunken brand was reborn in the 1990s, and today they manufacture a faithful reissue of the original ELA M 251E. As you would expect, this microphone comes with a suitably extravagant price tag (around the same as a vintage original), so, again, it's a major investment for any studio or individual. So if Warm Audio have made it possible for us to experience its qualities for a fraction of the price, their WA‑251 will have an unbeatable USP!

Warming Up

Warm Audio were started 'in the garage' in 2011 by Bryce Young, out of a desire to manufacture sonically high-end products that are also affordable. In their own words, they manufacture homages to "popular coveted...

You are reading one of the locked Subscriber-only articles from our latest 5 issues.

You've read 20% of this article for free, so to continue reading...

  • Buy & Download this single article in PDF format £1.00 GBP$1.49 USD
    For less than the price of a coffee, buy now and immediately download to your computer or smartphone.
  • Buy & Download the Full Issue PDF 
    Our 'replica SOS magazine' for smartphone/tablet/desktop. More info...
  • Buy a DIGITAL subscription (or Print + Digital)
    Unlock ALL web articles instantly! Visit our ShopStore.
Published November 2019