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Introduced in 1957, the UM57 utilizes the famous M7 large-diaphragm capsule, with a PVC membrane, in conjunction with an EC92 triode tube. The amplifier circuitry is very similar to the famous CMV 563 microphone. Three polar patterns are selected via the power supply: omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-of-eight. The UM57 is a great all-around microphone, especially sweet on woodwinds and vocals.

The UM57 was manufactured by Neumann Gefell in East Germany. During World War II, Berlin was the home of the original Neumann company, (Georg Neumann & Co.) which was forced to move south to the town of Gefell to avoid the bombing raids on the capital. The factory itself had been bombed and burned, and all salvageable equipment was moved to the new location. After the war, Neumann returned to Berlin to resume operations as Georg Neumann GmbH, while manufacturing also continued in the town of Gefell. The Potsdam Conference of 1945 sealed the fate of Berlin and Germany as a whole, dividing each into four sectors. The Soviet sector of the country, which included the town of Gefell, eventually became the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1949. 

Neumann Gefell continued producing components for the factory in Berlin for a few years, but by 1953, cooperation between the two arms of the company became almost impossible due to the Cold War. After this time, Neumann Gefell continued to manufacture microphones, including the famous CMV 563, with no direct involvement from Neumann Berlin. In 1957 they released a new microphone using the M7 capsule – the now classic UM 57.

From the 1950s onward the two arms of the Neumann company used the same logo - the Berlin Neumann placed the logo in a diamond shape, while the Gefell Neumann placed it in a circle. This is one easy way to tell the difference between the products of the two different Neumann factories. Although the companies attempted to stay in contact on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain, when the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 this became not only extremely difficult, but illegal. Eventually in 1990 the company was rechristened Microtech Gefell, and they remain to this day a manufacturer of high quality studio, live sound, and measurement microphones.

From the original Neumann brochure:
"The M 57 microphone is a high-quality and universally usable condenser microphone with switchable directional characteristic. Omni, cardioid and figure of 8 directional characteristics can be switched on by remote control. Switching takes place by means of a rotary switch at the pertinent mains connection. The change of the directional characteristic makes the most favorable adjustment possible to existing acoustic imaging conditions. The microphone capsule is a pressure-gradient transducer with two gold sputtered diaphragms. The capsule and the microphone amplifier form a unit and ensure working reliability due to the stable mechanical structure. The connection of the microphone takes place with the microphone termination cap C 57. The cable between microphone and power supply unit can have a length up to 100 meters."

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