My Telefunken Collection

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When I was a boy of roughly 15 years, me and my friends (did I have any real friends at that time? Don't remember any more...) were all great fans of Telefunken audio equipment. It was the time when there were no CDs, not DAT recorders, and analog recording techniques were still state of the art. Telefunken had a good name in inventing new technologies to improve them, just to name their HighCOM noise reduction system for cassette recorders or the Direct Metal Mastering system for analog records. And don't forget that it was a Telefunken engineer, Walter Bruch, who was the inventor of PAL, the colour TV transmission system used in most west-european countries.

But since I was a young boy those days, I didn't have the money to buy the audio equipment I was dreaming of, namely the RC 200 cassette deck. Things have changed since then: people are throwing out their old analog equipment, and I now have the money to buy the stuff I couldn't afford in those days. Main sources are flea markets and online auctions.

Sad to say, the section of Telefunken making audio and video equipment was a few years later sold to Thomson, similarly to other german manufacturers like Saba or Nordmende, and own developments became rarer and rarer. And the stuff that was sold under their name was somewhat....suboptimal, to stay polite (sorry, Thomson!). These days, there is no audio equipment at all with the Telefunken brand left, only TV sets and VCRs :-(

But don't let us talk about these dark times, let us open my small museum, surely more of emotional than real value:

The 'Silver' Series

represents the core of my collection. I'll call it this way because the components were only available with silver fronts (of course it was only aluminium and no silver!). It consisted of a line of components with the standard width of 19 inches, and a line of 'mini' components that had a footprint of roughly 30x30cm. Of course, there was no 'mini-shaped' record player...

Since Telefunken was a large manufacturer that also had to serve mass-needs with simpler, cheaper devices, there were three different classes of each device, with the lower-numbered variants having less features, but of course being cheaper. Telefunken offered altogether 5 component systems with the standard 19-inch width:

System T 100: System R 100:
Amplifier RA 100 Receiver RR 100
Tuner RT 100
Cassette Deck RC 100 Cassette Deck RC 100
Record Player RS 100 Record Player RS 100
System T 200: System R 200:
Amplifier RA 200 Receiver RR 200
Tuner RT 200
Cassette Deck RC 200 Cassette Deck RC 200
Record Player RS 200 Record Player RS 200
System T 300:
Power AmplifierRM 300
Pre-Amplifier RP 300
Tuner RT 300
Cassette Deck RC 300
Record Player RS 30

As one can see, there was no receiver-based system of the 300-series. Telefunken probably thought that people spending money on high-end components did not want any integrated components since that would hinder them from exchanging individual parts. Therefore, even the amplifier section was split up in a pre- and power-amplifier.

Techologically, this series of devices could be named an 'intermediate' series due to their construction principles: while the cheaper 100 and 200 series were built in the far east and their innards look a lot like japanese HiFi components, the 300-series components look like they were built in Germany. The reason is that Telefunken had a manufacturing plant in far east at that time, and all the simpler, lower-margin 'mass stuff' was made there, while the high-end stuff was both designed and and built in Germany. Components predating the silver line were mostly made in Germany (one exception is the TC 450), while newer stuff was completely made in Asia.

Regarding the 'mini' systems, there were only two: a high-end system, the M 1, and a relatively simple system ,the M 2. The M 2 was Telefunken's cheapest system at that time, costing about 800 DEM (with the cassette deck costing almost half of the complete price). And in fact, it was the one I could afford at that time :-) As I said, there were no mini record players, so the setups are relatively simple:
System M 1: System M 2:
Amplifier MA 1 Amplifier MA 2
Tuner MT 1 Tuner MT 2
Cassette Deck MC 1Cassette Deck MC 2
Interestingly, Telefunken did not offer a receiver-based variant of the M 2, which might even have been a bit cheaper, and the higher number here signifies the simpler, cheaper devices. '1st' and '2nd' class?

Two years later, the M 1 found a new incarnation as the H 750 M. The components are almost the same, however, everything just looks a bit 'cheaper':

Some other stuff that appeared in the same era but doesn't fit into the categories above:

Later Stuff

When the silver line was made, digital recording techniques hadn't made it yet out of studios and professional applications. So, if you're a fan of the silver series and still want some modern devices, you have to make compromises and buy some of the stuff that was made after Telefunken was taken over by Thomson. I do not collect these devices systematically, so this part is rather 'scattered':

Older Stuff

Of course, Telefunken made HiFi components before the Silver line came out. Though I do not collect them systematically either, it turned out over time that things tend to 'complete themselves' over time, so it starts to make sense to group 'fitting' components together again: ...and finally, the stuff that fitted nowhere else...


Of course, Telefunken also had stuff you could carry around with you:

© Alfred Arnold 2002,