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Vintage U48 Vs. What? Condenser Microphones
Old 5th February 2016
  #1
Vintage U48 Vs. What?

I recently had a chance to borrow a couple of really nice vintage Neumanns. A U48 and a U87. The U48 had the magic fairy dust floating all over it. Are there any modern mics being made today that have that degree of flavor and vibe? It was a pretty special thing that I have yet to hear in a newly made LDC.
Old 6th February 2016
  #2
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My personal opinion is no.

I have a Flea 47 and it is a GREAT mic, but it doesn't sound exactly like a vintage U47 in good shape. (BTW, I know you asked about the U48, but I'm assuming that we can equate the two since they are essentially the same mic with a different choice of pickup patterns).

The vintage U47s I've heard have a very specific something that I don't hear in any modern reproduction I've listened to. It's a smoothing out of the highs and high mids in some kind of magical way.

I'm sure some modern mics have their own magic special something, but I've not heard one that has that particular magic special something.
Old 6th February 2016
  #3
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Oldone's Avatar
The closest thing I have heard and it's like a similar relative vs an identical twin is the M149/M150. I compared about a dozen mics last year to a really good U47 at Vintage King. Bock, Pearlman, Peluso, Brauner, Manley, Flea, Gefell, none of them had that sound. Many had their own magic mind you, but not like the U47. The closest mics, unfortunately not modern, that came close were a U67 and a M49 from days gone by. I thought the U87, modern version, captured some of the magic on the low midrange but the M149/150 mics were a bit closer overall.

You have to pay if you want that sound. That said, it doesn't mean you can't make a record with a lot of other mics. They just won't have that sound.
Old 6th February 2016
  #4
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Vintageidiot's Avatar
I finally heard the Flea at VKLA, really gorgeous. Like the Wunder I heard back when. Maybe you would hear it the same, or not....
Old 6th February 2016
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post

The vintage U47s I've heard have a very specific something that I don't hear in any modern reproduction I've listened to. It's a smoothing out of the highs and high mids in some kind of magical way.
Yes! That's a big part of it. You could take any nasal or sibilant singer and it's instantly smoothed over in a lovely way. The 87 I tried did that as well.... but it was the U48 that added some extra body and glue to the low mid range. It was a perfect combination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
The closest thing I have heard and it's like a similar relative vs an identical twin is the M149/M150.
Does it do that smoothing out of the top end that we're talking about above?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot View Post
I finally heard the Flea at VKLA, really gorgeous. Like the Wunder I heard back when. Maybe you would hear it the same, or not....
Yeah... Flea is def on my short list of new mics to try.
Old 6th February 2016
  #6
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Salty James's Avatar
Flea 48 is blowing our minds at our spot.
Beating out some crazy great mics!
Old 6th February 2016
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

It's the capsule.

Even so, a real U47/48 can still be pretty sibilant with the wrong source or placement.

Maybe look for a vintage Gefell UM57 with good condition M7, upgraded parts, or CMV563. Don't buy on ebay.

U47FET has similar thing but is too congested for vocals, IMO. UM70 has great top but is a bit light on the bottom, so probably not what you want.


Otherwise, you should try Flea 47 through a thick preamp with lower ohms rating or option, like Electrodyne 501, which will very noticeably soften the top end vs for example, 1200 ohms 1073 type.

And since U48/U47 capsules have different voltages in cardioid, the Flea 48 probably sounds a little different from the 47, so compare both if you can.


Also consider the Josephson C715, that has a ridiculously smooth capsule derived from C37, and has fat proximity response.
Old 6th February 2016
  #8
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by South Brokelyn View Post
I recently had a chance to borrow a couple of really nice vintage Neumanns. A U48 and a U87. The U48 had the magic fairy dust floating all over it.
Hope you had some of this around:



Ok, I'll get me coat.
Old 6th February 2016
  #9
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Oldone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by South Brokelyn View Post
Does it do that smoothing out of the top end that we're talking about above?
The articulation and subtly is not as refined and EQ range emphasis is slightly different (sweet spot) but, like I said, similar and yes smooth at the top but more or less so depending on the pattern you choose. It's not a U47/48 but similar in nature.

Let me also suggest, hopefully you are using everyone's comments as a general reference and you will follow on with an actual mic comparison. No amount of typed words should be used as a basis of purchase. You don't get "It" unless you hear "It". In my experience anyway.

Would I rather use a U47 for vocals, yes. Can I afford it, no. So I found the next best thing in modern mics which was the Neumann M149, used and in good shape for roughly half of the list price. Saved a bundle and it's close enough for me and was a step up from the U87.
Old 15th February 2016
  #10
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Salty James's Avatar
Regarding the Flea 48:
There is a richness and complexity to the sound. Natural smoothing of the high yet somehow the highs are a lil excited, yet really smooth.. it's a great mic.

The lows sit like a rock. Using it for everything low. Never seen a mic capture both extremes so well!
Old 15th February 2016
  #11
...a new kid on the block

InnerTUBE Audio U-4700
Old 15th February 2016
  #12
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Jamie Mac's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by South Brokelyn View Post
I recently had a chance to borrow a couple of really nice vintage Neumanns. A U48 and a U87. The U48 had the magic fairy dust floating all over it. Are there any modern mics being made today that have that degree of flavor and vibe? It was a pretty special thing that I have yet to hear in a newly made LDC.
Unless you need the figure 8. I would be looking at 47 clones in stead of 48. I'm not sure about the clones, but the original (unmodified) 48 was almost identical to the 47 but had lower output sensitivity. So more gain required. Thus more noise.

My own consensus is that the 47 is preferred over the 48.
Old 15th February 2016
  #13
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
the Stayne has done it again ... !!!!

this must be exclusive to DSPDoc's as it is not on the website .. very nice ..



Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
Old 15th February 2016
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Yeah, the good old U47/48 ...

In the seventies (and early eighties or so) many were thrown in the dustbin, especially here in Europe.
And the U87 was MUCH preferred.
Had there been an internet Gearslutz forum at the time, U47/48 lovers would have been collectively laughed at.
And the majority is always right, remember.
Funny thing is human hearing hasn't evolved much since.
That can't be it.
Must be some other mechanism at play.
Digital recording?
Nostalgia?
Rarity?
Group behavior?

Anyway, I like 'em.
And I do prefer them over vintage U87s, let alone new ones.
You have access to one of each now.
Shootout time?

Yes, hard to clone 100%.
Old 15th February 2016
  #15
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pongmaster's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by legato View Post
Yeah, the good old U47/48 ...
In the seventies (and early eighties or so) many were thrown in the dustbin, especially here in Europe.
while this is true, i think that comes solely from the broadcast industry, which indeed threw them out in large numbers. but as a technical manager there at that time i would've done that too. too large, too many cables, too many psu's.

so i don't think it was about sound.

it would be interesting to know what the high end studios did at that time.
anybody?
Old 15th February 2016
  #16
thanks for the input and suggestions everyone.

yeah, I'm not looking for a clone so much. I'm just curious if there are any mics being made now that have that same level of MAGIC as a vintage 47/48. This was the first time I got to use one in my studio that wasn't a FET and it changed the game for me.

I'm looking forward to trying out the Flea and also that DSP looks interesting...
Old 15th February 2016
  #17
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
Adam from DSPDoctor mentioned the new U4700 from Innertube audio ... this could be worth listen .. he is doc mixwell - hit him with a PM ... nice guy .. he helped me with some Gefell issues ..
Old 16th February 2016
  #18
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Mac View Post
Unless you need the figure 8. I would be looking at 47 clones in stead of 48. I'm not sure about the clones, but the original (unmodified) 48 was almost identical to the 47 but had lower output sensitivity. So more gain required. Thus more noise.

My own consensus is that the 47 is preferred over the 48.
I prefer my 48 over my 47 in most cases. Its has the same magic and reedy bottom but is smoother and sweeter. Mind u the capsule is a kk47 in the 48 and an M7 in the 47.
Old 16th February 2016
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Having heard them side by side, Nordic Audio Labs NU-47 or NU-49 come quite close in the fairy dust department.
Old 16th February 2016
  #20
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DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pongmaster View Post
while this is true, i think that comes solely from the broadcast industry, which indeed threw them out in large numbers. but as a technical manager there at that time i would've done that too. too large, too many cables, too many psu's.

so i don't think it was about sound.

it would be interesting to know what the high end studios did at that time.
anybody?
Well not a basis to generalise but Abbey Road is a good example of a studio that has managed to retain them in significant numbers - and there are others. Of course many of the high end studios of former eras are now gone, and their equipment sold or dispersed, regardless of good and bad decisions made along the way.
Old 16th February 2016
  #21
Not trolling and I'll probably get flamed but I don't buy the U47 myth. I don't think they sound as great as they are purported to be (yes. I've used one and A/Bd one with much cheaper tube mics). If somebody gave me one that I could never sell, I wouldn't use it. I quit using any tube mics because I don't want the hassle of extra power supplies and extra cables.
Old 16th February 2016
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
Adam from DSPDoctor mentioned the new U4700 from Innertube audio ... this could be worth listen .. he is doc mixwell - hit him with a PM ... nice guy .. he helped me with some Gefell issues ..
Thanks jwh1192, I appreciate the shout out. The 4700 is my new baby, Stayne did the handy work, but after I told him what I wanted. He nailed it. This mic is making me a very happy man lately. Some of my clients are reporting favorable feedback with comparisons. It stands up next to mics costing twice the price. Plus its very versatile. Kick, Bass Cabs, Vocals, Drum Overheads, Acoustic gtrs, plus it does variable pattern, unlike other "clones".

Quote:
Originally Posted by South Brokelyn View Post
thanks for the input and suggestions everyone.

yeah, I'm not looking for a clone so much. I'm just curious if there are any mics being made now that have that same level of MAGIC as a vintage 47/48. This was the first time I got to use one in my studio that wasn't a FET and it changed the game for me.

I'm looking forward to trying out the Flea and also that DSP looks interesting...
Hey South Brokelyn,
Let me know if I can be of assistance with the U-4700. For what you are looking for, I think it is a truly worthy contender! You can reach me by PM here at Gearslutz, or by email
[email protected]
...or the old school method, by toll free phone# 1-866-988****11


doc_out
Old 16th February 2016
  #23
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GreenNeedle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
Not trolling and I'll probably get flamed but I don't buy the U47 myth. I don't think they sound as great as they are purported to be (yes. I've used one and A/Bd one with much cheaper tube mics). If somebody gave me one that I could never sell, I wouldn't use it. I quit using any tube mics because I don't want the hassle of extra power supplies and extra cables.
As with most things audio, it takes time to learn and appreciate great things. Like adding the right subtle effects in mixing, you take them away and wonder how life could go on with out them. Well it could, but you certainly would prefer to not live in that particular hell
Old 16th February 2016
  #24
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DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
Not trolling and I'll probably get flamed but I don't buy the U47 myth. I don't think they sound as great as they are purported to be (yes. I've used one and A/Bd one with much cheaper tube mics). If somebody gave me one that I could never sell, I wouldn't use it. I quit using any tube mics because I don't want the hassle of extra power supplies and extra cables.
Unless you're hearing characteristics that add emotion or impact or something else that you aren't getting any other way, then absolutely it is not going to be worth the expense and added inconvenience. Tube mics in general are larger, more cumbersome (added PS, cables), not to mention noisier and less reliable than most others, so you have to have compelling reasons to want to go there.

There's no shame in saying that something doesn't move you or have "that *it* thing" for you, and looking elsewhere. But that doesn't make it a myth. Nor does it make it any less legitimate for those who see value in a particular sound to take the epic journey (if that's what's required, as is the case with the U47/48) to get there.
Old 16th February 2016
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Weepit's Avatar
 

So you told Stayne what you wanted and in a few weeks you had a mic on par with a u48?

You guys should tackle world peace next. I figure a month, maybe 2, and we are golden.

Hard to find good posts here lately that aren't ruined by people trying to sell stuff. Sad. So very sad.
Old 17th February 2016
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weepit View Post
So you told Stayne what you wanted and in a few weeks you had a mic on par with a u48?

You guys should tackle world peace next. I figure a month, maybe 2, and we are golden.

Hard to find good posts here lately that aren't ruined by people trying to sell stuff. Sad. So very sad.
Whatever,
Its obvious you have a problem with me and my shop, since you have attacked me before,

peace
Old 17th February 2016
  #27
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
you are going to need the "Tube Conversion Kit for World Peace" and they are backordered right now ... standing by !!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Weepit View Post
So you told Stayne what you wanted and in a few weeks you had a mic on par with a u48?

You guys should tackle world peace next. I figure a month, maybe 2, and we are golden.

Hard to find good posts here lately that aren't ruined by people trying to sell stuff. Sad. So very sad.
Old 17th February 2016
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
Thanks jwh1192, I appreciate the shout out. The 4700 is my new baby, Stayne did the handy work, but after I told him what I wanted. He nailed it. This mic is making me a very happy man lately. Some of my clients are reporting favorable feedback with comparisons. It stands up next to mics costing twice the price. Plus its very versatile. Kick, Bass Cabs, Vocals, Drum Overheads, Acoustic gtrs, plus it does variable pattern, unlike other "clones".



Hey South Brokelyn,
Let me know if I can be of assistance with the U-4700. For what you are looking for, I think it is a truly worthy contender!


doc_out
What are differences between u4700 and bock 47? Have you shot out these two mics or used them ?
Old 18th February 2016
  #29
Gear Addict
 
carival's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weepit View Post
So you told Stayne what you wanted and in a few weeks you had a mic on par with a u48?

You guys should tackle world peace next. I figure a month, maybe 2, and we are golden.

Hard to find good posts here lately that aren't ruined by people trying to sell stuff. Sad. So very sad.
Wtf?? Isn't this a thread about someone looking for mics similar to a u48? Possibly looking to buy one? The u-4700 might be one. What's the problem??? Are we not capable of receiving information and personally determining it's value? sheesh.

or

How dare you inform me of a microphone that I might like to know exists. What were you thinking Doc?

world peace thing is totally funny though. Stayne figured it out, but he won't tell anyone how it works. haha
Old 18th February 2016
  #30
yeah. everyone on here is crazy. That's ok though. I still got lots of good leads out of the thread. And some entertainment as well.
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