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faulty vintage u87. what to do?
Old 10th May 2006
  #1
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faulty vintage u87. what to do?

I just bought a vintage u87 off of ebay. i paid $1200 for it. the mic has the usual dents in the body, but the xlr connector looks like it was smashed and bent back into shape with a pair of pliers. the mic is doing a few things that are screwed up:
1)volume drops out intermittently. particular when i switch patterns.
2)in omni mode the back of the mic is louder than the front. i assume that is not normal.

i don't know much about these mics, but could use some advice on what my best course of action is. i think $1200 for the mic would be acceptable if i can get it serviced for a few hundred and be good to go. i need help determining how screwed up the mic is. when i open it up it has a battery compartment with no battery. do i need a battery? i do not know how to open the top to view the capsule. is it the single screw in the middle or the screws on the side? what should i be looking for in terms of whether the capsule is ok or not?

my options at this point are:
1)track down the ebay seller and cripple him/ try and get my money back.
2)send the mic for servicing(don't know who to send it to)
3)call it a partial loss and buy an innertube for $1500, but i don't know if the capsule is good.

any advice/ technical knowledge would be really appreciated.
Old 10th May 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I recently bought an older 87 that had just been refurbed by Korby, and I think it sounds GREAT!! Better than a lot of similar cost mics (and more) I'd been trying... thus, try Korby, if the seller doesn't come through...
Old 10th May 2006
  #3
Gear Addict
 
digitalson's Avatar
 

i know a guy who just reconditioned our 5 u87's and did a awsome job...like brand new ...very reasonable also...email me and ill give you his info
[email protected]
Old 10th May 2006
  #4
Lives for gear
Omni mode - that sounds like what you would expect from an old mic that has been used a lot. It has mainly been used in cardioid mode and the tension is lower on that side of the capsule. The only way you would probably get a better match in omni would be to replace or rebuild the capsule.

The volume usually does drop out when changing patterns. If you've got intermittent dropouts, I would expect dirty pattern switch, bad solder joints, etc.

It does not need a battery. When the body shell is off, you should be able to push the side rails in at the top, which will release the capsule portion from the body electronics. Once you've pulled off the head, there are some screws up through the plastic piece with gold pins sticking out. Loosen or remove those screws and the windscreen should come off the capsule/base assembly. You can examine the capsule for dirt, oil, etc. Sometimes cleaning can help, but it is very delicate and something you might not want to try yourself.

Hope that helps.
Old 10th May 2006
  #5
Lives for gear
 

talked to someone at korby. she said the reason the back is louder than the front in figure 8 is because the front is probably dirtier. she also said that 99% of the time it would just be a cleaning to fix the drop outs $200. she told me to breath on the mic and see if that causes it to drop(and it does) this would indicate dirty or damaged capsule. capsule rebuild is $700. i guess worst case scenario would be a $1900 vintage 87. not so bad i guess. we will see if this seller responds. does anyone know if re skinning the capsule will detract from the vintage 87 sound?

quincy
Old 11th May 2006
  #6
Lives for gear
If you are getting dropouts with explosive p's at a normal level, chances are the diaghram is too loose and will need to be reskinned or replaced. If it is very dirty, that could be adding to the weight of the diaghram and causing it to bottom too quickly, but doubt if it's that dirty. Pop the cover on the capsule and you'll be able to see how dirty is really is.

Another option is, if you don't need omni and f8, you can always spin the capsule around and rewire so that you are using what was the backside, which has probably seen little to no use.
Old 11th May 2006
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quincyg
talked to someone at korby. she said the reason the back is louder than the front in figure 8 is because the front is probably dirtier. she also said that 99% of the time it would just be a cleaning to fix the drop outs $200. she told me to breath on the mic and see if that causes it to drop(and it does) this would indicate dirty or damaged capsule. capsule rebuild is $700. i guess worst case scenario would be a $1900 vintage 87. not so bad i guess. we will see if this seller responds. does anyone know if re skinning the capsule will detract from the vintage 87 sound?

quincy


Just have them re-do it. They just did an early 70's one for us. It sounds better than any 87 I've heard. Up until that mic I didn't even like 87's that much. One of their technicians said it's all in the tuning of the capsule. Great company.


Steve Mabee
Primal Gear
Old 11th May 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 

so far the seller has not responded. i guess i will go ahead and send it to korby and see what they have to say. i would hate to spend $2k on a u87. i would be happy to have a nice serviced one for $1400 though. i guess either option is not terrible. i will try the explosive p thing.

thanks for that tip!

p.s. i have heard of explosive poo's before, but never explosive p's. i don't think i should test it with an explosive pooh as korby probably would charge me a lot the clean up job.

sorry.
Old 12th May 2006
  #9
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ToddF's Avatar
Did the seller say it had problems?

If not did you pay with Paypal?

You have recourse with Paypal and Ebay if you got less than the seller advertised.

Make sure to leave appropriate feedback to the seller.

What was the Ebay item #?

Todd
Old 13th May 2006
  #10
Gear Addict
 

i would NOT consider this mic defective. I have 2 u87's and they BOTH drop for a sec when you switch patterns... this is normal... you probably shouldn't do that while it's plugged in anyway. As for the dropping out from time to time... maybe it's b/c of the xlr input being bent to hell. Just get a really tight cable in there, the mic shouldn't be moving while it's in the stand anyway. Just use it, did you expect a vintage mic to operate flawlessly? lol... one of mine was purchased under almost EXACTLY similar circumstances. I find that this mic more than my others benefits GREATLY from a good pop filter.
Old 13th May 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 

here is the auction info:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=7409212720

i have had no luck in the past with paypal in terms of no performing sellers. i got burned on some roto toms that the guy simply never sent. paypal said they could do nothing.

the mic was said to be in excellent condition, but "as is". legally "as is" does not trump the statement of condition.

don't get me wrong, the mic is not really functional at this time. the drop outs occur with any direct breath. the xlr clicks into place ok. we will see what korby says. i'm hoping he says it is an excellent mic that needs a little cleaning. it does sound great when it's working. makes my voice sound very rich and thick, which is saying alot, cause my voice sucks.
Old 16th May 2006
  #12
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ToddF's Avatar
The (As is) would have kept me from bidding. Excellent condition is misleading. I am always wary when sellers don't put up a picture .

You did get it cheap, so if you have to put $400 or so into it you will have a mic worth what you paid.

Hope it all works out.
Todd
Old 16th May 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
 

the seller is being cool. we will probably split the repair cost. i am looking at another large diaphram mic and the seller is telling me that direct breath on a gold ld mic will always cause a short drop out. i don't think this is correct. anyone?
Old 16th May 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
As you suspected regarding the direct breath, it is not correct that all mics will be affected. I have two old U87's. One has the original capsule and is not affected by direct breath. The second was bought "as is" and had the problem, which was remedied by replacement of the capsule. I have also worked on a number of U87's that had the problem in varying degrees. If the capsule diaphram was dirty, cleaning would reduce the sensitivity, but still it's just a matter of time until the tension drops enough to cause major problems. I have heard that someone retensions the diaphram. I don't have any info about who or how it is done.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #15
Lives for gear
 

thanks everyone,
well mr korby kicks ass! they checked out and cleaned the mic immediately and say it is working great. a 3 day turnaround, really great! for $200 they cleaned it and reshaped the body. they did tell me that this is just a temporary fix and depending on usaged it could need a new capsule in 1 year or in 10 years. i hope it lasts longer.
the seller said he will split the costs.

all is well that ends well.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #16
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

good to hear it has worked out for you!
Old 23rd May 2006
  #17
Gear Addict
 

how well did they reshape the body... I have one that looks like it was "used as a hammer" as someone described on another forum. lol
Old 23rd May 2006
  #18
C/G
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C/G's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zkaudio
how well did they reshape the body... I have one that looks like it was "used as a hammer" as someone described on another forum. lol
As far as I know, Neumann still sells the body tubes if yours is too far gone.
Old 30th May 2006
  #19
Lives for gear
 

i wasn't expecting the body reshape. you can't even really see the dents at all. excellent!!
Old 9th June 2006
  #20
I would like to chime in myself. I just got my U87 from Korby a couple weeks ago, and they must have a big bag of "magic screwdrivers" over there, because this thing sounds amazing. The mids are like velvet, and the highs are smooth. Also has tons of depth and largeness.

I had the capsule redone, the body and grill reshaped, a switch replaced, and a fet replaced.

It was a great sounding U87 before, but this really stepped it up. It is clearer and more detailed, but still keeps the U-87 sound, it is just better. Hard to explain, but I would highly recomend Korby for doing anything to a U87.
Old 12th June 2006
  #21
Gear Addict
 

who is the best person to contact over there? I am going to send mine in. Anyone know, in comparison, how much it would cost to have klaus go over it (aside from the wait time).?
Old 12th June 2006
  #22
Chris the one at Korby, hes great to work with. They had mine in and out in a few weeks.
Old 19th July 2006
  #23
Lives for gear
 

only bad news is that the seller flaked out on splitting the repair cost. not suprised.
Old 19th July 2006
  #24
Gear Addict
 

they aren't replacing any parts with this service are they? I am totally against anything that makes it "unoriginal"... a cleaning and "tune up" i am all for, though.
Old 21st July 2006
  #25
The only thing they replaced on mine was the fet because the old one wasn't looking so hot but they asked me first.

Great mic.
Old 23rd July 2006
  #26
Lives for gear
 

just a cleaning in my case, but if parts are bad i am sure they would want to replace them.
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