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Warm Audio WA-87 vs Neumann U87 at ZenPro Audio Condenser Microphones
Old 8th January 2017
  #31
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I dunno what you are all hearing but it sounds like a 600 dollar copy of a 2000 dollar microphone to me.

It doesn't have the depth or detail of the original. I'm sure it would do the job, but it's definitely not as impressive as I was expecting.
Old 12th January 2017
  #32
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I can dig it that you appreciate the Neumann more. Except for the price difference. As someone else pointed out in a different thread "suppose the WA87 were the vintage mic and the U87 the new one? How would we compare them?" My point is this: I CANNOT hear $3K difference in these mics- by ANY stretch! Anyone who claims they "can" hear that much difference has NEVER learned how to use an EQ!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Downloaded the acoustics and listened blind. Heard the difference right away, (which to me is always funny because I don't think I've ever heard a clone or a copy that actually sounds the same), but because of the comments here I was thinking the natural sounding one must be the WA87, and the more upper middy hyped one was the U87. To my surprise, it was the other way around.

I'd take the U87 for sure.
Old 12th January 2017
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacalait View Post
I can dig it that you appreciate the Neumann more. Except for the price difference. As someone else pointed out in a different thread "suppose the WA87 were the vintage mic and the U87 the new one? How would we compare them?" My point is this: I CANNOT hear $3K difference in these mics- by ANY stretch! Anyone who claims they "can" hear that much difference has NEVER learned how to use an EQ!!!!!
I clearly hear the 3K because nothing but a Neumann can offer that specific sounding difference in tone. There is no alternative Neumann sound available for less. Just fyi, you can't dial-in the timbre of the Neumann capsule with an EQ or any other device -Someone could put lipstick on this pig and might try a chain with frequency selective compression, EQ and and a hint of saturation to come closer.
No one but Neumann has access to the original diaphragm material. Therefore Neumann 'clones" do not exist . . at all. It is easier to make a replica of almost any other equipment
Old 12th January 2017
  #34
I posted this quote in the other thread and I'm posting it here so that, maybe, some of the criticism can be put in perspective. From Warm Audio's website: "The desire to re-introduce the warm tone of this classic mic at an affordable price to an all new generation of recording artists was the inspiration behind the WA-87." Who said clone? Warm Audio doesn't. Maybe clone is a loaded term. Maybe we should refrain from using it. Or maybe we should understand that a clone, philosophically speaking, will never exhibit all of the same traits as the original.

If you want the best money can buy, then get the Neumann! If you want something affordable that sounds in the same vein of the Neumann, get the Warm (surely there are other options, too). Knowing this, I don't think anyone can be disappointed with either.

Edit: Though I'd be disappointed if my only option for a good U-87 style mic was over $3,000.
Old 12th January 2017
  #35
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@warhead Why did you decide to go with different samples in the Clipalator?
Old 12th January 2017
  #36
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I'm not really wanting to criticize the Warm, but if a product uses a 100% circuit copy of an existing product, I think the word clone is fair to use. And what would be the best thing to compare it to? You guessed it. Anyway I think it's a great sounding mic from what I've heard so best of luck to Warm Audio. Affordable, but professional gear is a passion of mine and they seem to be providing a much needed quantity of this for up and coming, and even successful producers.
Old 13th January 2017
  #37
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yummerz View Post
@warhead Why did you decide to go with different samples in the Clipalator?
The bulk of the early mic tests were in a studio that is now closed down, and performed by a guy who moved 1,500 miles away.

The latest ones are our dedicated space here, that has a Yamaha 6'1" grand piano, my DW drum kit, a Martin acoustic guitar and a Randall tube amp (with those swappable modules) as well as my daughter Grace moving forward. It has changed our approach, a little bit more of a head to head in most cases (like a U87 vs WA87).

War
Old 21st January 2017
  #38
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Well I fell like an idiot.

Okay I do voiceover for national TV commercials.

After borrowing my buddy's WA87 and bringing it to MY studio..I finally got a chance to hear it on my gear and determined that he has a defective preamp. On my system it sounds VERY CLOSE to a current offering of the U87.

I must say that the older Neumann U87i is a better mic than the newer ones. But that can be said also for the "classic" U47fet..I bought one from Zen Pro Audio...and was not overly impressed..My vintage U47fet is just a way better mic after all those years. The "reissue" is okay but ...to me at least..not the OH WOW mic I was expecting..just my opinion.

So the upshot is that the Warm WA87 is a very solidly built condenser mic with a quality transformer circuit..add a slight low end tweak and it is a real performer for voiceover at a very realistic price point. I did two projects that are airing now..one I saw last night and it did sound stellar technically.

I will order one or two from Warren.
Old 30th January 2017
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
For some reason the Clipalator always sounds like I'm listening through a telephone ...
Ney, U87 is the reason it sounds like a telephone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthewrayrgv View Post
...u87 had this scooped mid sound
That's a first and probably the only.
Old 2nd February 2017
  #40
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"*IF YOU ARE A COMPETING DEALER / SELLER OF PRO AUDIO GEAR, YOU ARE NOT A CUSTOMER OF ZENPRO AUDIO AND ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STREAM OR PLAY OUR FILES. GO TRAIN YOUR OWN STAFF!"

Tell me this is a joke...
Old 2nd February 2017
  #41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianFernandez View Post
"*IF YOU ARE A COMPETING DEALER / SELLER OF PRO AUDIO GEAR, YOU ARE NOT A CUSTOMER OF ZENPRO AUDIO AND ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STREAM OR PLAY OUR FILES. GO TRAIN YOUR OWN STAFF!"

Tell me this is a joke...
My impression is that they are saying competitors cannot link or stream it from their own site... because then ZenPro would be paying for the extra bandwidth but the sales would go to the competitor. Seems reasonable.
Old 6th February 2017
  #42
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianFernandez View Post
"*IF YOU ARE A COMPETING DEALER / SELLER OF PRO AUDIO GEAR, YOU ARE NOT A CUSTOMER OF ZENPRO AUDIO AND ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STREAM OR PLAY OUR FILES. GO TRAIN YOUR OWN STAFF!"

Tell me this is a joke...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ellekei View Post
My impression is that they are saying competitors cannot link or stream it from their own site... because then ZenPro would be paying for the extra bandwidth but the sales would go to the competitor. Seems reasonable.
It's way more than bandwidth (yes, we pay for that too).

At this moment in time I have over 7 years of work invested in the Clipalator, tons of money too. I am letting other dealers know that yes, they cannot use our files for staff or customers. One reason is we compete against several online sites that I know for a fact don't order / inventory / listen to this gear, yet tell people in private conversation what they think of it and how it compares to things.

We actually earn the right to say yes, we've heard it, and here's our info.

I didn't realize this was an odd concept to anybody, to protect our work and investment.

War
Old 6th February 2017
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
I didn't realize this was an odd concept to anybody, to protect our work and investment.

War
It shouldn't be. Keep on keepin' on, Warren.
Old 17th March 2017
  #44
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Thread is a couple months old- has anyone actually bought a WA-87 after checking sound clips from this post?

If so, how are you liking the WA-87?

I'm considering ordering one after hearing these clips & others posted online...

I don't want a mic that feels "cheap", I'd pay double the price based on sound clips I've heard though..
Old 18th March 2017
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_gant View Post
Thread is a couple months old- has anyone actually bought a WA-87 after checking sound clips from this post?

If so, how are you liking the WA-87?

I'm considering ordering one after hearing these clips & others posted online...

I don't want a mic that feels "cheap", I'd pay double the price based on sound clips I've heard though..
I bought it as soon as it was available. I absolutely love it! My only complaint is the shock mounts grooves are pretty cheap and easy to strip. I can't wait for warm audio to release their 414eb this year!
Old 19th March 2017
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
We tested the new Warm Audio WA-87 microphone vs an original Neumann U87 (not AI...) on drums, acoustic guitar, grand piano and female vocals here at ZenPro Audio. You can hear it in our Clipalator microphone folder (scroll to the Warm Audio WA-87 folder, all clips inside).

Clipalator Audio and Video for Pro Audio Gear @ ZenPro Audio

In stock and shipping!

War
I've been loving the Clipilator, War. It's a fantastic tool; and it's kind of shocking how varied everything sounds. For example, in the microphone tests I can't believe how much better the U-87i and KM-84 sound in comparison to every mic. To my ears, the U-87 is one mic to rule them all in that it's the only one that sounds fantastic on every source you tested. I believe the KM-84 would fare a special well, but alas it wasn't tested on vocals. Your thoughts on the KM-84 pertaining to vocal duty?

I do, however, have a complaint. I've noticed that the newer offerings are being tested with different sources and material. Maybe it's just me, but this is unfortunate, because the newer sources seem to drastically even the playing field. I'm not sure why? Has anyone else noticed this? The true test to my ears in the old clips re: microphones was the drum. i.e. could it sound balanced on the kick and snare while picking up the hihats in an even, yet flattering reproduction? The original Neumanns seem to be killer at this, whereas practically every other microphone you tested were neutral at best, and in what was far more often the case, absolutely unusable at the other end of the scale in their ability to pass this test while proving to be nice on AG, EG, Vocals, etc. The AKG 414 variants acquitted themselves acceptably (although certainly not providing any wow-factor IMO), as did the TLM 49, the U195, and surprisingly one (or two?) of the ADK mics. Maybe a Peluso, too?

But now it seems as if every microphone tested with the newer material sounds fine. Have you noticed this? It's driving me nuts!
Old 19th March 2017
  #47
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Thread Starter
The studio the older clips were recorded in is closed, and the musician who played everything moved half way across America. That's why moving forward I have everything setup the same way in a room I own, performed by me and my daughter.

We try to test same family or brands of mics together but that doesn't always make sense.

I continue to provide the best info possible, but some things cannot be repeated forever and live microphone recordings will be subject to change the most over the years, vs running outboard gear with raw, original recordings to process.
Old 20th March 2017
  #48
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
The studio the older clips were recorded in is closed, and the musician who played everything moved half way across America. That's why moving forward I have everything setup the same way in a room I own, performed by me and my daughter.

We try to test same family or brands of mics together but that doesn't always make sense.

I continue to provide the best info possible, but some things cannot be repeated forever and live microphone recordings will be subject to change the most over the years, vs running outboard gear with raw, original recordings to process.
fair enough. your clipilator is amazing.
Old 29th March 2017
  #49
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
The studio the older clips were recorded in is closed, and the musician who played everything moved half way across America. That's why moving forward I have everything setup the same way in a room I own, performed by me and my daughter.

We try to test same family or brands of mics together but that doesn't always make sense.

I continue to provide the best info possible, but some things cannot be repeated forever and live microphone recordings will be subject to change the most over the years, vs running outboard gear with raw, original recordings to process.
War, I just came across your WA87 Zenpro mod clips on the clipalator. That upgrade takes the mic to a differnt level. It sounds fantastic.
Old 20th April 2017
  #50
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadowV View Post
War, I just came across your WA87 Zenpro mod clips on the clipalator. That upgrade takes the mic to a differnt level. It sounds fantastic.
Sorry for my delay here, but yes it does! It has been very well received for sure.

War
Old 5th May 2017
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Sorry for my delay here, but yes it does! It has been very well received for sure.

War
Hey warren, I love the Mod you did to my wa-87. I was wanting to just throw this out there but I think it would be cool if you could do the shootout again between the vintage u87 and the modded warm audio 87. After all the point of the mod is to get the sound to be closer to the vintage (i'd imagine anyway). I'd be curious to know how the modded version stacks up. Also, maybe redo the wa87 vs modded shootout because the fact that they are two separate performances throws everything off. For example in the acoustic example if you listen to the Cinemag version the acoustic is being strummed softer compared to the clip with the AMI giving the illusion that the mod gives more high end however in the piano example we see the opposite (since I'd image it's harder to give drastic difference piano performances) and the AMI is significantly warmer.
Old 8th May 2017
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthewrayrgv View Post
Hey warren, I love the Mod you did to my wa-87. I was wanting to just throw this out there but I think it would be cool if you could do the shootout again between the vintage u87 and the modded warm audio 87. After all the point of the mod is to get the sound to be closer to the vintage (i'd imagine anyway). I'd be curious to know how the modded version stacks up. Also, maybe redo the wa87 vs modded shootout because the fact that they are two separate performances throws everything off. For example in the acoustic example if you listen to the Cinemag version the acoustic is being strummed softer compared to the clip with the AMI giving the illusion that the mod gives more high end however in the piano example we see the opposite (since I'd image it's harder to give drastic difference piano performances) and the AMI is significantly warmer.
Hey Matthewrayrgv ,
did you say you had the transformer mod done from Zenpro? I think you did...its right there!
anyway, do you think its really that much better? I have a wa87 and I'm really liking it. Ive been looking around at other mics (tube) because for some reason in my mind I keep thinking they MUST be better on a male vocal and acoustic guitar...I'm sure I'm trippin, but theres gotta be something to a U47 or ELA M251 right? anyway, again...I really love my wa87, sound so good with an eventide doubler and stacked with harmonies that I wonder how much better can it sound...whatcha think? Thanks
Old 8th May 2017
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shanesbg View Post
Hey Matthewrayrgv ,
did you say you had the transformer mod done from Zenpro? I think you did...its right there!
anyway, do you think its really that much better? I have a wa87 and I'm really liking it. Ive been looking around at other mics (tube) because for some reason in my mind I keep thinking they MUST be better on a male vocal and acoustic guitar...I'm sure I'm trippin, but theres gotta be something to a U47 or ELA M251 right? anyway, again...I really love my wa87, sound so good with an eventide doubler and stacked with harmonies that I wonder how much better can it sound...whatcha think? Thanks
Yea I think it made the mid range more natural sounding and opened up the microphone a bit.

A tube microphone isn't a magical end all be all microphone. It's just different. And yet not all tube mics are the same in sound either.

The thing is, It all comes down to the source. "Male vocals" is such a general term and can be many things in terms of sound. Let me give you an example. I have a very muddy vocal (think eddy vedder). I find I usually have to cut a lot around the 100-300hz area to clean it up and boost around the 2k a bit for more clarity. So I look for a microphone that more or less doesn't require me to have to do that so much in post. In the case of a u87 style microphone (like the wa87) it works for my voice in terms of the midrange presence already being there but it doesn't help that it has a bit of lower midrange right off the bat (though proximity effect can fix this). So with that said, whether a mic is tube, fet or transformerless it is all irrelevant. It's about whichever microphone that is going to more accurately represent your source and help it sound good off the bat. Again, it depends on the source and what type of sound that source has.
Old 13th May 2017
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthewrayrgv View Post
Yea I think it made the mid range more natural sounding and opened up the microphone a bit.

A tube microphone isn't a magical end all be all microphone. It's just different. And yet not all tube mics are the same in sound either.

The thing is, It all comes down to the source. "Male vocals" is such a general term and can be many things in terms of sound. Let me give you an example. I have a very muddy vocal (think eddy vedder). I find I usually have to cut a lot around the 100-300hz area to clean it up and boost around the 2k a bit for more clarity. So I look for a microphone that more or less doesn't require me to have to do that so much in post. In the case of a u87 style microphone (like the wa87) it works for my voice in terms of the midrange presence already being there but it doesn't help that it has a bit of lower midrange right off the bat (though proximity effect can fix this). So with that said, whether a mic is tube, fet or transformerless it is all irrelevant. It's about whichever microphone that is going to more accurately represent your source and help it sound good off the bat. Again, it depends on the source and what type of sound that source has.
Thanks for the info...I'm totally with you. Its like "ah man, you must have a Gibson because its a Gibson and it's better than that tricked out Epi you had worked on" I totally had an epi that I absolutely loved, had it worked on and sounded every bit as good as my Gibson.(subjective of course) I know this 1st hand because I had both in my hands and through my rig you absolutely could not tell which was which. Now, I'm not saying that is the same for microphones, I'm simply saying that's where my mind is going "a 47 MUST be better". Of course not, or EVERYONE would be singing through a 47. Anyway, I was just being honest about what I was thinking, pure gear lust, not simple practical experience and fact. Just me justifying it my own mind.

AS far as the WA87, I really was/am curious about the benefit the transformer upgrade would give it. When you say more natural midrange and opened it up a bit...would you say its a significant improvement or is it possibly allowing the WA87 to sound even closer to the vintage type of U87 they based it on? Is it possibly that the mod put the mic over the top for you in that (forgive me for putting words in your mouth, I'm just wanting to understand) it was nice prior, but now its there? I guess I'm trying to decide if it makes sense to do it for mine. I can only assume that if this transformer suits the overall sound of the mic better and potentially puts it the "closer to the original" category that the cinemag was a more affordable option for them.

Again, thanks so very much, I really appreciate it
Old 14th May 2017
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shanesbg View Post
Thanks for the info...I'm totally with you. Its like "ah man, you must have a Gibson because its a Gibson and it's better than that tricked out Epi you had worked on" I totally had an epi that I absolutely loved, had it worked on and sounded every bit as good as my Gibson.(subjective of course) I know this 1st hand because I had both in my hands and through my rig you absolutely could not tell which was which. Now, I'm not saying that is the same for microphones, I'm simply saying that's where my mind is going "a 47 MUST be better". Of course not, or EVERYONE would be singing through a 47. Anyway, I was just being honest about what I was thinking, pure gear lust, not simple practical experience and fact. Just me justifying it my own mind.

AS far as the WA87, I really was/am curious about the benefit the transformer upgrade would give it. When you say more natural midrange and opened it up a bit...would you say its a significant improvement or is it possibly allowing the WA87 to sound even closer to the vintage type of U87 they based it on? Is it possibly that the mod put the mic over the top for you in that (forgive me for putting words in your mouth, I'm just wanting to understand) it was nice prior, but now its there? I guess I'm trying to decide if it makes sense to do it for mine. I can only assume that if this transformer suits the overall sound of the mic better and potentially puts it the "closer to the original" category that the cinemag was a more affordable option for them.

Again, thanks so very much, I really appreciate it
It was nice prior to the mod however the mod just made it more usable to me. Most shootouts (and my own experience) I heard the mid range was always very "pinched" around the 4k. Now at the time of the shootout on this thread it didn't sound like that but I guess this particular u87 sounded in such a way that it contrasted with the wa87 differently than when compared to other u87s. I have even heard a shootout where the two mics (u87 and wa87) were literally indistinguishable. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMUgIPQOdmI&t=) Then I heard another shootout where the mics (while similar sounding) showed that the u87(AI) had more of a compressed sound with a smoother top end (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npCcp47GSZo)

So It's hard to say if the mod made it sound closer to a u87 since in some cases the wa87 already sounded like one. However all I can say is the microphone mod sounded better for my style of singing and voice type. I'll tell you what. My local rental place is getting a wa87 in a few weeks. I'll rent it and do a shootout (since zenpros shootout is flawed. Seriously no offense!!!!) and I will post a link on here with the thread I make. Until then, get the microphone and try it out. You can always return it.
Old 14th May 2017
  #56
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Mods are very often a lateral move. They make a difference. Up to the engineer/context to decide if it's an 'improvement'. Often, it's an improvement in one context, not in another.

That said, Warren knows what he's doing and I have had a ZenPro modded piece or two here (still have a ZenPro modded CL 7720) and they've been great.
Old 23rd May 2017
  #57
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Last edited by Matthewrayrgv; 23rd May 2017 at 04:41 AM..
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