Pure brilliance. The Ela M 251 is built from the ground up at our own shop here in Baton Rouge. We import a new and improved Beesneez Ela M 251 donor body with historically correct swivel mount, and use our own designed PSU enclosure made by Collective Cases here in the states with thick US steel. Everything from an over-sized medical grade toroidal power supply transformer to a NOS over-spec'd PIO output capacitor, an excellent Cinemag output transformer, ultra-clean tubes, and of course Eric Heiserman's handcrafted US-made CK12 capsule. Simply no expense is spared, yet we still come in with probably the most affordable SERIOUS 251 on the planet.
PLEASE NOTE: this is a special order item and takes a maximum of 30 days from time of order to complete and ship the microphone. We strive for a shorter wait time; but due to the exotic nature of some components, we say 30 days maximum.
Also note, though there is a shockmount version pictured in some photographs (I apologize for any confusion), the premium edition 251 uses the newest generation Beesneez swivel mount body, which has the historically correct Binder connection base and microphone mount. It does not require a shockmount and due to its size and weight, I would not even recommend trying to use one. It's mass and tight coupling to a heavy duty mic stand is enough to reduce microphonics.
ELA M 251 Premium Reference Edition
Our Ela M 251 is handcrafted with care here in our shop in Baton Rouge using only the best available parts. We've spent years exploring the different options available in bringing back this classic mic, and through trial and error have come up with the methods and parts that we feel simply cannot be improved upon. We feel that we bring back this vintage beauty in all its glory and then some, perhaps even with a slightly fuller, bolder sonic imprint and more voluptuous soundstage than ever before.
After analyzing nearly every reproduction available for the classic 'T14' transformer, the Cinemag CM-13114 is just heads and tails above the rest (in our humble opinion). Not a hint of phase issues or band limiting, just gorgeous wide open, three dimensional sound that makes nearly anything else sound a bit closed in or inhibited in some form or another. Our exhaustive sampling of what's out there (at our expense) is your gain.
We were delighted when our trusted US boutique capsule manufacturer Eric Heiserman finally perfected his CK12 capsule and added it to his roster; and we don't believe this mic offering would have happened otherwise. Aside from the desire to keep our microphones as much an 'American' product as humanly possible, overseas-obtained CK12's are just prohibitively expensive and notoriously unavailable; let alone the support problems of not having a supplier in the same country and timezone as us. Eric studied the original chambered CK12 for years; and when we got in our first Heiserman CK12, we knew it had been worth the wait. The Heiserman CK12 capsule was first showcased at NAMM in 2019 in Anaheim, alongside an original AKG CK12 capsule, each mounted in one of a matched pair of original AKG 414 EB P48's. No one could tell these capsules apart, including myself.
Nothing beats 'bookending' our ELA M 251 with the best stuff possible; but everything inbetween counts just as much. We were fortunate enough to obtain a stash of metal-can-sealed military surplus paper-in-oil new-old-stock capacitors from Eastern Europen, which compliment the 251 just beautifully. They are over-sized, over-spec'd, and over-voltage rated for the application at hand, guaranteeing a lifetime of flawless operation despite their vintage status. We use a number of NOS polystyrene capacitors, and the capacitors through both the mic body and power supply are extremely high quality. Every capacitor in the microphone from end to end is rated for a bit higher voltage than what will ever pass through it, to ensure a lifetime of uninterrupted use. The high-z section is almost entirely floated and wired point to point for the most open, articulate sound possible. Precision metal film resistors are used throughout, typically rated one step higher in wattage than required to ensure a lifetime of use. We use several proprietary techniques in both the microphone and power supply to suppress microphonics and vibration everywhere that it might possibly be needed.
Last but not least, after evaluating probably a dozen 6072A (12AY7) tube variants, we have settled in on the German brand TAD's Premium Highgrade valve. The tube is open, clean, and nearly transparent, allowing the beauty of the mic circuit and capsule to be fully presented in an uninhibited way. We chose this tube firstly because, after measuring the noise output of everything available, this tube is by far the quiestest tube on the market. As people who have either built or extensively worked with 251's know, making or using these microphones is a running battle against self noise. Not that the noise levels are terrible; but as most veteran engineers will tell you, a really good '251 on a good day is about 1db or more noisier than U47, which itself is not exactly low noise by today's standards. This has been a fairly accepted thing; but we've made it our goal to attack this issue from every side, and we're proud to say that after quite a lot of experimentation, our 251's have almost no audible self noise to speak of. Many things go into achieving this, some of which include having a robust power supply, top quality components and cable, attention to the length and location of wires, how the high-z section is assembled, keeping the high-z components clean and free of oil/contaminants, clean soldering work, and last but not least an exceptionally low noise tube which we searched the world over for and finally found. Years of experimenting with the 251 also led us to raise a few specific component values in order to extend and solidify the microphone's low end response. The 251, as originally designed, is a little bit shallow in the bottom end; perhaps a bit too much for modern tastes. As the mic was originally sold for broadcast use, and later adopted by recording studios as a great stereo overhead microphone, and also due to the limited bass response of vinyl; this really never presented itself as a problem until very recent times. We feel that our very subtle tweaks to the traditional voicing give it the bottom end authority it should have, without taking anything away from the creamy, rich, top end and presence that the 251 always had. We're really proud of how this mic came out, both visually and sonically.
As long as supplies last, we also include with this premium 251 the option of a NOS Jan GE 12AY7 Blackplate or Greyplate tube, for those who wish to have a more vintage sound with slightly softer top end and a touch more character.
Our 251 ships with a traditional swivel/microphone mount connector fitted with Gotham cable, a 3pin Gotham microphone cable, and a handmade power supply made to our specifications by Collective Cases, using thick US steel. We also include a handmade 6ft IEC power cable using Gotham shielded power cable stock and audiophile Japanese connectors.