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Do I have a Fake Neumann U87 Ai ?????
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sebdj
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#1
15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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Do I have a Fake Neumann U87 Ai ?????

I bough a Neumann U87 Ai on eBay for 2100$
When I received I was not sure if it was normal that it sound not like a Neumann U87. It sound very Mid frequency and it is very hard to mix.
(almost like a phone or singning into a bottle of glass and it hurt the ears)
(It is the first Neumann U87 I have played with)


So I open it to see inside and It's writting U89 On the green electronic part.
Is that normal??
Look at the picture (You can zoom in to see the letter) :

https://picasaweb.google.com/1018957...O71_mAxaTk8wE#


You can also hear what I recorded :
http://soundcloud.com/dreammotion/test
Vocal Chain
Mic : Neumann (Supposed) U87 Ai
Pre-amp : A-Design P1
AD Converter : Avid Mbox 3
No compressor or Eq has been added


Please tell me do I have a Neumann U87 Ai or I got screwed??
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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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sebdj
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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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Thank you for your reply
I corrected the description I meant no compressor or eq has been added.
The sound is completly untouched.

Is there a possibility the guy changed the capsule or something?
It is normal for a Neumann u87 AI to sound like that?
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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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Yes . This is why I sold mine. It works great on people that sound smooth.

However, if they sound the slightest bit nasally or harsh, this mic will sound really bad on them.
Sometimes anyway.

Yours might be a bit exaggerated, definitely her voice. This person seems to use a lot of what is called "head voice". Those TRUE preamps do nothing to warm up the sound either though, so it's probably what's actually there.

I don't know how many times I put mine up, listened, and swapped it for a Beyer MC740 or 414 or something.

It will work on the right vocals though.

Good luck,
john
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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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try different sources first (male voice for example), then try a different mic with the same settings of the rest of the chain.
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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
Yes . This is why I sold mine. It works great on people that sound smooth.

However, if they sound the slightest bit nasally or harsh, this mic will sound really bad on them.
Sometimes anyway.

Yours might be a bit exaggerated, definitely her voice. This person seems to use a lot of what is called "head voice". Those TRUE preamps do nothing to warm up the sound either though, so it's probably what's actually there.
It will work on the right vocals though.
+1 All around
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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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Do you have the chance to compare it to an akg 414?
I think the problem is the voice and not the microphone.

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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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The majority of "do I have a fake U87" threads tend to be by people who've bought one as their new best mic and are expecting it to be their 1-for-all mic that turns everything to gold.

When they find out that in fact it's just another mic with it's own ups and it's own downs, they assume it must be fake because they'd heard that U87's make everything sound amazing.

This is just not the case. You probably have a perfectly genuine mic, just be aware that the fact it is a U87 does not change the fact that you still need to choose the best mic for any particular job. It's not a 1-for-all mic by any stretch of the imagination, and I regularly use alternatives to ours, from the RE20 to the Baby Bottle to the SM58, they all have their own character that works on the right source and doesn't work for the wrong source.
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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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With a little EQ and mic positioning you'll get there.
It's a great mic, but doesn't suit all voices as stated before.
I'm mixing at the moment some songs with the vocal recorded with the same Neumann and i cut lot's of 800Hz and boost a bit on the top. They have similar tone to their voices.
My guess is that the AKG won't do her any justice...
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15th September 2011
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Hey, I know it's a not so well liked mic around here, but it's inexpensive, and ok to have as a fallback mic.

On voices such as hers, I had a really good results with an old AKG Solidtube. People either like it or hate it, but it does a good job at "taming" these types of timbres IMHO. It has a LOT of low mids, and bottom, and this helps when the vocal is on the "thinner" side like this.

Or a ribbon, but get a good quality one.

Aside from that, these are the type voices 67's and 47's both work better on, but very expensive.

You can try getting an old V72 as well, to run your mic through. It will help a little, but changing the mic is a better bet.

My 2 cents.

john
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15th September 2011
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The u87ai will not flatter anything. If you want a gnat fart recorded in the highest fidelity and clarity than this is your mic. If you want a turd polished or some added mojo, this is not the mic for you. I bought one so I would have the litmus that all other modern LDC's are compared too and for the most part it only gets used as needed for the source. For almost any instrument I might record, it will almost always work just dandy. For vocals, it only works well on some. My Groove Tubes md1a and md2, Beyer 500 and sm7 often get chosen over the u87. Also, a dark tube mic pre can be a nice compliment for the u87ai.
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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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I can't imagine anyone could identify a mic from a clip like that. Far, far too many variables.
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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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I've never heard a U87 sound like that. Where is the low mid push you hear even in female voices? Perhaps the mic is not in spec. Also sounds like gain staging could be off! Last a U87AI is a hot output mic, make sure your adding too much gain at the mic pre input, perhaps try the pad on your mic pre.



Jazztone
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15th September 2011
Old 15th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
Also sounds like gain staging could be off!
I'm listening on computer speakers so I didn't want to say anything, but I did think I heard a bit of hair on it.
Like I said, way too many variables to say it sounds like a model XYZ mic.
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15th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
I've never heard a U87 sound like that. Where is the low mid push you hear even in female voices? Perhaps the mic is not in spec. Also sounds like gain staging could be off! Last a U87AI is a hot output mic, make sure your adding too much gain at the mic pre input, perhaps try the pad on your mic pre.



Jazztone
You mean upper mid push? Most of the ss neumanns have this upper mid thing going on. Not sure what you mean here.

To me, it does sound like a later ai, post Senheiser. The glossy highs, and nasally resonant upper mids. It doesn't sound like a lot of proximity if that's what you mean?

This is probably a "worse case" mismatch scenario though for mic and voice...no offense.

Yeah PROBB, it does sound like maybe there is a bit of distortion on top of all that...maybe hit the converters too hard? Good call.

To me though, other than that, it is pretty much the sound of an ai.

On mine, I had one guy, that everytime we used it, it sounded like he was lighting up the transformer on certain notes. Ringing galore...maybe overshoot, I don't know. Awful.

On him, it was literally unusable.

john
sebdj
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16th September 2011
Old 16th September 2011
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I have listen to a thousand of vocal sample of the Neumann U87 ai
for like three years before buying it. It was my dream microphone I wished to have. Now I have it and I'm like...What the f.. ??

There must be something wrong in my vocal chain or something...
Can it possibly be the wired??

Or maybe the capsule inside has been changed?? Is that possible??
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16th September 2011
Old 16th September 2011
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Sigh. I've had a Neumann u87ai for 10 years and I love it.

Most of the vocalists I use it for have fairly smooth voices, but I have zero complaints. I tried other big studio mics and this was always the right one for me.

It's been hard for me to get a bad sound with this mic.

If you feel that the mic is NOT sounding the way it should, you can send it to Neumann / Sennheiser in the US and they will service the mic for a small fee. Frankly, it really SHOULD sound pretty great on just about everything.
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16th September 2011
Old 16th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealbigd View Post
The majority of "do I have a fake U87" threads tend to be by people who've bought one as their new best mic and are expecting it to be their 1-for-all mic that turns everything to gold.

When they find out that in fact it's just another mic with it's own ups and it's own downs, they assume it must be fake because they'd heard that U87's make everything sound amazing.
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16th September 2011
Old 16th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baskervils View Post
Sigh. I've had a Neumann u87ai for 10 years and I love it.

Most of the vocalists I use it for have fairly smooth voices, but I have zero complaints. I tried other big studio mics and this was always the right one for me.

It's been hard for me to get a bad sound with this mic.

If you feel that the mic is NOT sounding the way it should, you can send it to Neumann / Sennheiser in the US and they will service the mic for a small fee. Frankly, it really SHOULD sound pretty great on just about everything.
Did you listen the audio sample in the post?
Can you tell me if it is normal it sound that way??
Thank you!
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16th September 2011
Old 16th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sebdj View Post
Did you listen the audio sample in the post?
Can you tell me if it is normal it sound that way??
Thank you!
What does she sound like on other mics?
How close was she?
Is the room treated in any way?
Also the clip does seem to be a bit over-modulated.

No mic is a magic trick. No mic works for every singer.
And again- I don't believe anybody could listen to a solo vocal clip and without knowing anything about it say "That's a model XYZ-123" mic.
#21
16th September 2011
Old 16th September 2011
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This sounds like a perfectly mediocre singer through a perfectly functional microphone. The U87 does not come prepackaged with tasteful use of eq, compression and effects, or with a built-in talent booster.

Impossible to identify the mic from a random clip, but it sounds like a totally working microphone to me. Maybe work on the performance and try the other mics that you have? Just because a U87 is a good mic, doesn't mean it will always be the best one.
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16th September 2011
Old 16th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trollofjustice View Post
This sounds like a perfectly mediocre singer through a perfectly functional microphone. The U87 does not come prepackaged with tasteful use of eq, compression and effects, or with a built-in talent booster.
There's been a lot of dancing around that one, but yeah.
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21st September 2011
Old 21st September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trollofjustice View Post
This sounds like a perfectly mediocre singer through a perfectly functional microphone. The U87 does not come prepackaged with tasteful use of eq, compression and effects, or with a built-in talent booster.
Don't say that too loud, some people might get butthurt!

To me it sounds like a u87ai.
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24th September 2011
Old 24th September 2011
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Can you post some male speech/rap/smooth singing vocals?

To be honest, it sounds like an u87 to me.

I didn't have direct opportunity to record with the u87 but I have mixed two different albums recorded on it.

For the first person I was working on the album recorded threw u87 I was like "Wow, this thing just need some lil bit compression and it's done" It was perfectly sitting in the mix.

But the second person, the chain was u87 > LA2A > I can't remember which converter, and I couldn't make it there, it had that upper midrange pushed, sibilants were wierd, I thought that it's because the LA2A, later they recorded it clean for me, and it was pretty much the same thing, the guy doesn't have smooth voice, everything of his voice is in upper midrange, and that pretty much sounded like this clip you uploaded.

Upload a male vocal sample so we can help you
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25th September 2011
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I agree: too many unknown variables to know.

Thoughts:
Try to relax......I understand your feelings, but just try to relax and try some other takes.
It does NOT sound like a cheap/harsh/eshy/hashy Chinese capsule, if that makes you feel better.
You probably expected bigger, rounder, more low/mid and depth - the clip sounds a bit pinched and narrow.
Have her sing up closer to the mic, really close, and turn the mic to the side just a tiny bit.
Let's see a picture of the capsule.

Good luck........

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27th September 2011
Old 27th September 2011
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to me it sounds like shes too close to the mic and the signal is too hot. Try backing her off the mic a tad bit and making sure all your levels are good and not too hot somewhere along the chain.
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3rd April 2012
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I agree with ysf. She sounds like she's singing in a vacuum and the gain has been overcompensated.
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22nd April 2012
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U87ai can definitely be a bit underwhelming at first listen when compared to the hype that has surrounded it for years

But (assuming yours is in good working order) when you get the positioning, pre-amp settings, compression, etc. right, it can sound awesome in a way
that few other mics can.

But it WON'T sound its best without some talent on the part of the performer and some basic engineering skills
#29
11th June 2012
Old 11th June 2012
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I don't know how to spot one but there are some fake Neumanns going around. Take yours to a music store and compare it.
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11th June 2012
Old 11th June 2012
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I got the same gear (insert name of famous artist) uses so why don't my recordings sound like (insert name of famous artist).
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