Microtech Gefell is one of two companies founded by microphone pioneer Georg Neumann and, after a long history including a period of state co-ownership, is once again an independent firm run by a member of the founder's family.
Established in Berlin as Georg Neumann & Co in 1928, the company began manufacturing microphones based on capacitive transducer technology. Neumann trained at electrical firms Mix & Genest, later part of ITT Corp, and AEG, where he worked in the electric cable division. The laboratory director at AEG was Eugen Reisz, who is credited with developing the first quality carbon mic. Reisz, working with Neumann, also developed the marble block mic used by Germany's first radio station in 1923. In 1936 the Neumann company produced the M7 electrode in a tube setting. This would go on to be used in a number of classic mics, including the U47 and M49. Neumann left Berlin in 1943 after his factory was bombed and set up new premises in the eastern German town of Gefell. After the war Neumann established a new company, Georg Neumann GmbH, in Berlin.
The Berlin Wall and the Cold War divided the two Neumann operations geographically but they did communicate with other up until the founder's death in 1976. By that time the East German company was partly owned by the state but some of its technologies, including nickel membranes, were used for Berlin-produced Neumann mics such as the KM-54 and KM-56 condensers. Later renamed VEB Mikrofontechnik Gefell while in state ownership, it continued to produce condenser mics for studio and measuring applications and moved into laser technology for micro material processing and microeletronics. This was reflected in it being called Microtech Gefell after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The re-privatised firm continues to produce the M7 capsule, as well as microphones for broadcast and recording - notably large membrane tube models such as the M92.1S and UM900, condenser mics including the M 930 and M960 - and measuring equipment and special manufacturing systems.