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Warm Audio WA-87 vs Neumann U87 at ZenPro Audio
Old 15th December 2016
  #1
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Warm Audio WA-87 vs Neumann U87 at ZenPro Audio

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
Attached Thumbnails
Warm Audio WA-87 vs Neumann U87 at ZenPro Audio-warm-wa87-neumann-u87-shootout.jpg  
Old 15th December 2016
  #2
Deleted 691ca21
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Thanks for doing this!
Old 16th December 2016
  #3
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Thanks

The U87 has more presence, more air, more "sparkle" but it also feels "EQ-ed". The WA87 is very close, it sounds more "natural" but i'm pretty sure you can match the U87 with a little EQ.

For the price, excellent job.
Old 16th December 2016
  #4
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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
Great job, Warren!

Chad
Old 16th December 2016
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by invalidusername View Post
Thanks

The U87 has more presence, more air, more "sparkle" but it also feels "EQ-ed". The WA87 is very close, it sounds more "natural" but i'm pretty sure you can match the U87 with a little EQ.

For the price, excellent job.
I agree, the warm sounds.......warmer to me. I've only listened to the acoustic gtr so far and just on a decent pair of desktop computer speakers, but I like what I'm haering.
Old 17th December 2016
  #6
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For some reason the Clipalator always sounds like I'm listening through a telephone or something, I'm not sure what's going on with the audio quality.

But I thought the Warm Audio compared very nicely to the Neumann GmbH, which says a lot of credit to the price differences and availability to the common musician.
Old 17th December 2016
  #7
Gear Head
 

There is only slight differences...for the money the WA87 is a fair deal....
Old 17th December 2016
  #8
Deleted 691ca21
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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 or something, I'm not sure what's going on with the audio quality.
Download the files instead of streaming them, that's what I've done. Quality is pretty good, although I wish they were lossless.

I've only listened to the acoustic guitar so far, (I had to drop the level of the WA87 0.2dB to get it exact with the U87 for a fairer appraisal), but then in a blind test I preferred the WA87 every time. Seemed far more natural sounding than the Neumann, which sounded thick and cloudy in comparison, with more room sound. I'll probably pick one up at some satge, after a few more reviews and audio clips have emerged.
Old 17th December 2016
  #9
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
For some reason the Clipalator always sounds like I'm listening through a telephone or something, I'm not sure what's going on with the audio quality.
It's an HTML based media player in a browser, but I have to say I've never heard anybody in the 7+ years of the Clipalator's existence say it sounds that bad! I don't know what the variable is, other than I think most people narrow down to a few files and download them to load into their studio's DAW and playback there.

War
Old 17th December 2016
  #10
u87 is a more focused sounding, but damn pretty close clone!
Old 17th December 2016
  #11
Lives for gear
i agree with the other posters; the Warm audio sounds warmer and the U87 sounds more focused with that extended top end. I think they both sound pretty different but honestly they are both good.
Old 17th December 2016
  #12
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
War,

Thanks for getting clipalator to work with iPad now.

Clips sound great. Warm Audio did a good job. I'd love to hear it verses a U87AI as well.

-V
Old 18th December 2016
  #13
Deleted 691ca21
Guest
I'm hearing the WA87 as having the more extended high end and presence on the acoustic guitar recording.
Old 19th December 2016
  #14
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this shootout!

So I did a blind A/B. Here is my experience.

On the acoustic the u87, to my surprise, had a more hyped high end than the wa87. In fact I assumed in the blind test that the brighter one was the wa87. The WA 87 honestly sounded more vintage compared to the u87 in this department. Another thing I noticed on the acoustic track was the u87 had this scooped mid sound that to me was unpleasant compared to the wa87. The wa87 had more higher mid detail. I wouldn't call it a mid frequency bump, just more detail. The wa87 did appear to have slightly more bottom than the u87 but this could just be because the highs in the u87 made the lows in the wa87 seem more noticeable by comparison.

As for the piano test. In this one they are almost identical except for the mid detail. The wa87 had more mid detail in that department .The u87 still has a scooped mid sound in comparison.

In the vocal test, again the u87 had a scooped mid sound compared to the wa87 but for the singer in this test I actually prefered the u87. Her voice seemed pretty nasally at certain parts (not in a bad way just a character of her voice) and the scooped mids of the u87 complemented that character. The highs were brittle and unpleasant on the u87 in this demo.


I am seriously surprised by the wa87. It is certainly a u87 in character. I'd imagine this is what a u87 sounded like back in the 70's fresh off the shelf. Any differences the wa87 had to this u87 were honestly improvements in my opinion ( I am sure many will disagree). I really wasn't expecting this much similarity at this price point. Keep in mind that this is a particular u87 that the wa87 was going up against. With vintage mics, two u87s never sound 100% alike. That being said, I think warm audio's first mic earns the "87" in it's name and then some.

Last edited by Matthewrayrgv; 19th December 2016 at 05:03 AM..
Old 20th December 2016
  #15
Lives for gear
I think the texture of the sound is very close to a U87 mic ! How ever there is a bloom missing in the low mids that makes the WA-87 pick up the Piano wrong. That sounds more like a VST piano where as the 87 sounds like a good Piano in a Good room!

This could be something as simple as the Capsule getting broken in by some Real work! After all, any U87 that has done a lot of recording is gonna sound different than a brand new unused one! The drums also appear to reveal less Headroom in the WA 87 but that could be the same issue. We will know once these really get some use - differences will become apparent. It definitely sounds better than what I associate with budget mics
Old 20th December 2016
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthewrayrgv View Post
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this shootout!

So I did a blind A/B. Here is my experience.

On the acoustic the u87, to my surprise, had a more hyped high end than the wa87. In fact I assumed in the blind test that the brighter one was the wa87. The WA 87 honestly sounded more vintage compared to the u87 in this department. Another thing I noticed on the acoustic track was the u87 had this scooped mid sound that to me was unpleasant compared to the wa87. The wa87 had more higher mid detail. I wouldn't call it a mid frequency bump, just more detail. The wa87 did appear to have slightly more bottom than the u87 but this could just be because the highs in the u87 made the lows in the wa87 seem more noticeable by comparison.

As for the piano test. In this one they are almost identical except for the mid detail. The wa87 had more mid detail in that department .The u87 still has a scooped mid sound in comparison.

In the vocal test, again the u87 had a scooped mid sound compared to the wa87 but for the singer in this test I actually prefered the u87. Her voice seemed pretty nasally at certain parts (not in a bad way just a character of her voice) and the scooped mids of the u87 complemented that character. The highs were brittle and unpleasant on the u87 in this demo.


I am seriously surprised by the wa87. It is certainly a u87 in character. I'd imagine this is what a u87 sounded like back in the 70's fresh off the shelf. Any differences the wa87 had to this u87 were honestly improvements in my opinion ( I am sure many will disagree). I really wasn't expecting this much similarity at this price point. Keep in mind that this is a particular u87 that the wa87 was going up against. With vintage mics, two u87s never sound 100% alike. That being said, I think warm audio's first mic earns the "87" in it's name and then some.
When I first did a blind test of WA-87 vs U87 (not Warren's clips FWIW) I also picked the WA-87 and was totally assuming I was picking the U87.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #17
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Thanks for presenting this War! I listened on my laptop extension speakers- which aren't very good- but relatively speaking I don't hear $3K (or so) of difference in ANY respect between these two mics! In fact, I'd have to say there's very little difference in the quality. Now, how do the recordings stack up in a mix? The fact that the WA87 is "new" and the diaphragm isn't really broken in has to do with the sonics? I don't know. But I believe we live in a time where stuff can be made to accurately replicate the older stuff.

I actually bought a WA87 from a different dealer a week ago (only because I have the 36 month interest free credit card...) I haven't used it a lot but the acoustic guitar tracks I did were superb! The vocal session I did with a male singer was very interesting! There's more presence in this mic than I've gotten from other mics in my locker. I'm not exactly saying it's waaaaay better but the vocal track required virtually no eq! (just some low cut filtering).

I think Warm has another hit with this one!
Old 1st January 2017
  #18
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After listen to all the clips. I have to say that the WA87 sounds better to these ears straight of the bat. Just more sizzle on the hi mids and top end. Bonny!
Old 2nd January 2017
  #19
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I listened through some DT880s and thought the WA87 performed very well. There were some very slight differences, but I wouldn't say one sounded better than the other. I would say the WA87 is much closer than ballpark. And I've never used any vintage gear, but my understanding is that most old U87s have slight sonic differences from each other anyway.
Old 4th January 2017
  #20
Overall I preferred the smoothness and bottom end of the U87 but the Warm picks up more of the mid range especially on the drums when you turn up the volume and snare appears. In the female cardiod shootout, some of the lows disappeared with the WA87 that were present in the U87. Do you like that added low end on your female vocal tracks? I think the more realistic $ competition in this new mic market spot will probably be with the Aston Spirit or Warm mics. Spending $3,500 on a U87 brings in a whole new bunch of mics when making that decision.
Old 6th January 2017
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Check out this shootout of theirs with the U87 (Vocals and Acoustic Guitars)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLC...ZdQZes9fZiZLVA
Old 6th January 2017
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthewrayrgv View Post
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this shootout!

So I did a blind A/B. Here is my experience.

On the acoustic the u87, to my surprise, had a more hyped high end than the wa87. In fact I assumed in the blind test that the brighter one was the wa87. The WA 87 honestly sounded more vintage compared to the u87 in this department. Another thing I noticed on the acoustic track was the u87 had this scooped mid sound that to me was unpleasant compared to the wa87. The wa87 had more higher mid detail. I wouldn't call it a mid frequency bump, just more detail. The wa87 did appear to have slightly more bottom than the u87 but this could just be because the highs in the u87 made the lows in the wa87 seem more noticeable by comparison.

As for the piano test. In this one they are almost identical except for the mid detail. The wa87 had more mid detail in that department .The u87 still has a scooped mid sound in comparison.

In the vocal test, again the u87 had a scooped mid sound compared to the wa87 but for the singer in this test I actually prefered the u87. Her voice seemed pretty nasally at certain parts (not in a bad way just a character of her voice) and the scooped mids of the u87 complemented that character. The highs were brittle and unpleasant on the u87 in this demo.


I am seriously surprised by the wa87. It is certainly a u87 in character. I'd imagine this is what a u87 sounded like back in the 70's fresh off the shelf. Any differences the wa87 had to this u87 were honestly improvements in my opinion ( I am sure many will disagree). I really wasn't expecting this much similarity at this price point. Keep in mind that this is a particular u87 that the wa87 was going up against. With vintage mics, two u87s never sound 100% alike. That being said, I think warm audio's first mic earns the "87" in it's name and then some.


Check out this shootout of theirs with the U87 (Vocals and Acoustic Guitars)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLC...ZdQZes9fZiZLVA
Old 7th January 2017
  #23
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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 7th January 2017
  #24
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.
I know sound is subjective but there seems to be a unanimous consensus that the u87 in this shootout was anything but natural. The highs were disgustingly hyped sounding compared to the wa87. I'd disagree with calling the mid range "hyped". Certainly it's more present but hyped implies "too much". The mids on the wa87 sound pleasant to the ears. The shootout for the link sent is flawed because the wa87 is closer at the sound hole, not to mention any test that is switching randomly through a passage is gonna be unbalanced because different chords produce different frequencies and harmonics. The u87 may sound fatter on E major than the wa87 sounded on Aminor. Hardly fair.
Old 7th January 2017
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthewrayrgv View Post
I know sound is subjective but there seems to be a unanimous consensus that the u87 in this shootout was anything but natural. The highs were disgustingly hyped sounding compared to the wa87. I'd disagree with calling the mid range "hyped". Certainly it's more present but hyped implies "too much". The mids on the wa87 sound pleasant to the ears. The shootout for the link sent is flawed because the wa87 is closer at the sound hole, not to mention any test that is switching randomly through a passage is gonna be unbalanced because different chords produce different frequencies and harmonics. The u87 may sound fatter on E major than the wa87 sounded on Aminor. Hardly fair.
The shootout may be flawed as most all are, but I heard it the way I heard it, regardless of any consensus, which, if it was unanimous, it no longer is!

The u87 did not sound disgusting to me. Isn't the sound of the U87 the whole point?
Old 7th January 2017
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
The shootout may be flawed as most all are, but I heard it the way I heard it, regardless of any consensus, which, if it was unanimous, it no longer is!

The u87 did not sound disgusting to me. Isn't the sound of the U87 the whole point?
Granted. Of course the u87 is the point but we can hear the u87 sound in the wa87. Which is the mind set to have in these type of scenarios because this particular u87 is gonna sound different than other u87s. It just wouldn't make sense to see how close the mic is to this particular u87, frequency for frequency. It has the same vibe and feel and improves up where this u87 is lacking or is overbearing. That's the problem with vintage gear. In the shootout you linked it didn't sound as harsh as the examples here made it out to be. This is most likely that variable. So when im listening to the wa87 I am going with a mind set of does this have the "u87" sound or vibe rather than if it models this particular u87 (which thank god it does not). That's really the only fair mindset to have when comparing new gear to vintage gear that varies in sound between the same model of that era.
Old 7th January 2017
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthewrayrgv View Post
Granted. Of course the u87 is the point but we can hear the u87 sound in the wa87. Which is the mind set to have in these type of scenarios because this particular u87 is gonna sound different than other u87s. It just wouldn't make sense to see how close the mic is to this particular u87, frequency for frequency. It has the same vibe and feel and improves up where this u87 is lacking or is overbearing. That's the problem with vintage gear. In the shootout you linked it didn't sound as harsh as the examples here made it out to be. This is most likely that variable. So when im listening to the wa87 I am going with a mind set of does this have the "u87" sound or vibe rather than if it models this particular u87 (which thank god it does not). That's really the only fair mindset to have when comparing new gear to vintage gear that varies in sound between the same model of that era.
I didn't link a shootout, so I don't know what you are talking about.

In regard to the ZenPro audio shootout, you are saying that their U87 is not representative of U87s?

Either way, I thought it sounded better than the WA87.

There was another shootout with the Stam 87, and the same line was pulled about U87s all being different. Well, to a degree. Maybe someone should post a shootout that shows that.

In any shootout I've heard with any U87, the U87, as well as the U87ai for that matter, always sound extremely similar, and very good. That's why they are being cloned and copied.

As far as fair goes, I think what's fair is that I am allowed to have my mind set even if it's different than yours. You seem like you must work for Warm Audio. Usually people are allowed to have an opinion on a shootout, aren't they?
Old 7th January 2017
  #28
@ hhamilton Actually I think you're 100% correct in your assessment. The U87 to me also sounds flatter and "cooler" in this shootout. I thought this was really apparent with the cymbals on the drum parts - the WA87 picked up more info on the high-mid range which was not flattering. However, I liked the WA87 more on the acoustic guitars.

Disclosure: I am a happy WA87 owner.
Old 7th January 2017
  #29
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warhead's Avatar
 

I can assure you that the original U87 used in our shootout is clean, unmodified, and falls in the "sounds like a U87" range (of course all mics sound a bit different.

There are other shootouts linked in this thread now, so I don't know who's complaining about what at this point.

War
Old 8th January 2017
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
I didn't link a shootout, so I don't know what you are talking about.

In regard to the ZenPro audio shootout, you are saying that their U87 is not representative of U87s?

Either way, I thought it sounded better than the WA87.

There was another shootout with the Stam 87, and the same line was pulled about U87s all being different. Well, to a degree. Maybe someone should post a shootout that shows that.

In any shootout I've heard with any U87, the U87, as well as the U87ai for that matter, always sound extremely similar, and very good. That's why they are being cloned and copied.

As far as fair goes, I think what's fair is that I am allowed to have my mind set even if it's different than yours. You seem like you must work for Warm Audio. Usually people are allowed to have an opinion on a shootout, aren't they?
My bad I thought you were the poster linking the other shoot out on these wa87 threads. I assumed you were one of the people who are hurt that a mic at this price point could actually sound as it does compared to a u87. I never said the u87 in zen pros shooutout wasn't a representative example, I said it is but one particular representative. If you listen to the other shoutouts linked the u87 wasn't as hyped in comparison. I'm not representing warm audio or anything I mistakenly thought you were the poster who keeps posting the shootout links on gs warm audio threads trying to propagate the results in a flawed shootout. You are free to have your opinion of course. never said you didn't.
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