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AT 5040 vs. Neumann U89I Condenser Microphones
Old 27th January 2018
  #1
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AT 5040 vs. Neumann U89I

I've spent a lot of time recently auditioning a bunch of microphones / listening to many clips when I can't get my hands on them and I've come down to these two.

Personally I really like the U89I, it's relatively flat but still has a bit of sheen up top and I have tube channels strips (DBX 676) which ain't clean to add the Mojo / uplift if I deem necessary.. There's little in the way of sibilance, all in all very nice..

The AT5040 to me at least is very similar in a lot of ways, although has more of a "high-fidelity" sound to it which is great. Only issue I found with it so far is it can be rather sibilant at times.

There is obviously the price difference to consider as a pro / con.. So which way would you sway? Also if I were to go 5040 can you recommend a decent HW de-esser?
Old 27th January 2018
  #2
I found some very effective plug in de-essser including the Waves. It has male and female settings, and besides a threshold, you can control how deep it reduces the sss. It is more effective than the hardware de essr on my Manley Voxbox and it offers more control on adjusting things.
Old 27th January 2018
  #3
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Seems a strange pair to narrow it down to, they don't have all that much in common. If you find the 5040 sibilant on your voice, buy something else, there are hundreds of mics out there!
Old 27th January 2018
  #4
I've used the Neumann U-89 for a wide variety of sessions. For vocals, piano, brass and reeds, and drum overheads, it's a great sounding mic. Since it has a medium-sized capsule, its off-axis response is very smooth.

The U-89 offers 5 patterns, the AT 5040 is only cardioid. Those extra patterns can offer flexibility for different sessions.

Neumann mics will hold their value better than most other brands, so it's also a good investment.
Old 28th January 2018
  #5
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@ Peller , it doesn't seem like it to me. They are both minimal distortion / smooth / relatively flat condenser microphones, it's just due to the multi-capsule setup the 5040 sounds "high fidelity".. They are quiet a rare design, from what I've heard of it the 5040 is not sibiliant on just my voice. Every clip I've heard so far it does seem to pick up esses, more than a U89I at least.. Which with a decent de-esser you'd get around it to a certain extent.

On the flip side I'm moving house / building a custom studio but it keeps getting delayed, the room I'm in now is well treated (relatively dead) but it's not the best room you could be in. The U89I works well in close proximity and it also has an even diffuse field response so even if I'm doing location recording at a friends house I can lay over tracks for them without worrying too much about acoustics reverberation.

Multi-pattern included it does seem like an extremely handy microphone to have, also in pretty much every shootout I've heard I always prefer the U89 bar some with the 5040.. I have literally searched through and listened to probably 70+ mic's at this point. Also it's extremely flexible, it'll take to post processing / outboard very well so I'm honestly surprised this mic isn't far more popular especially in the project studio market.. Sure I gather some think it's "boring" but there's plenty of ways to give it mojo if that's the desired result, through my relatively coloured desk and outboard tube pre-amps it's not something I'm concerned about..

Including the $1000.00 price tag difference (in favour of the U89I) I suppose it does seem like a bit of a "no brainer" really.. Although I've learn't the hard way no to cheap out and go for the best I can.
@ Timothy Powell

Agreed and thanks for the input..
Old 28th January 2018
  #6
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When you say you've "listened to" 70+ microphones, do you mean you've just auditioned other people's clips on the Internet? Because that is not worth a damn in the real world. I don't think you can properly form an opinion of a mic until you've used it yourself and worked with those recordings in a mix.

If the main thing you are looking for is a mic that works well on your own voice, there is absolutely no substitute for trying them yourself. If you're looking for a general purpose mic for all sorts of things, and it's your only high-end mic, go for one of the standards like the U87 or C414.
Old 28th January 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
When you say you've "listened to" 70+ microphones, do you mean you've just auditioned other people's clips on the Internet? Because that is not worth a damn in the real world. I don't think you can properly form an opinion of a mic until you've used it yourself and worked with those recordings in a mix.

If the main thing you are looking for is a mic that works well on your own voice, there is absolutely no substitute for trying them yourself. If you're looking for a general purpose mic for all sorts of things, and it's your only high-end mic, go for one of the standards like the U87 or C414.
I've tried out about 15 - 20 mics and then the rest I couldn't get my hands on (and probably won't be able to) so I'm forced to listen to clips and make educated guesses based upon experience with other mics (I am still of course guessing though), I could probably get my hands on the AT5040 for a while if I wait for a month or so..

There's another pro audio store I'm going to check out that has a massive array of mics and full demo room.. It's not close though so it'll be later on..

At the moment in terms of "high end" I have a U67, M149 and a Mojave MA-1000.. I plan to sell all of them as I'm moving house / building a new studio but it's for me only this time around, then of course a bunch of "regular" mics like a schopes SDC's, MD441 / SM58's, 7B's etc.

I've been recording a long time and you can't avoid the likes of U87's, if I liked them I would of just gotten one.. The U89 is something I never considered before but I like it, it's a bit like one of my other favourite mics the Mojave 201 FET but has more clarity.. I'd say I sound best with 67 / M269 style mics, but true and flat also works very well.. I don't seem to get along with dynamics and / or overly bright mics.

Appreciate the convo..

Last edited by Deleted 6ccb844; 28th January 2018 at 10:56 PM..
Old 28th January 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Is there a reason you wouldn't just hang on to the U67, then? It's a classic, it won't depreciate, it is a universal all-rounder that also sounds good on your voice -- what's not to like? Unless you need the money, I'm struggling to see why you'd sell that and buy something else.
Old 28th January 2018
  #9
Deleted 6ccb844
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
Is there a reason you wouldn't just hang on to the U67, then? It's a classic, it won't depreciate, it is a universal all-rounder that also sounds good on your voice -- what's not to like? Unless you need the money, I'm struggling to see why you'd sell that and buy something else.
You hit the nail on the head, my current premises aren't ideal and it was only supposed to be a stop gap which ended up getting extended for various reasons. When I move I'm going to build my dream studio from the ground up (just for me) and I'm going to need to sell some of my mics and outboard to part fund it.

I'd rather have an ISK 2B in a good room as opposed to a U67 in a less than ideal room.. I have treated the living hell out of it but it's still not great..

Here's the thing, honestly a lot of mic's work on my voice.. As much as I like the U67 it's just one of many that works, quite of a few of the "many" are far cheaper as well.
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