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Sony c100, the Neumann u87 killer?
Old 24th May 2019
  #1
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Sony c100, the Neumann u87 killer?

i am looking to buy a new FET mic for my studio after i purchased an Avalon 737. after hearing so much about the classic u87 >> Avalon 737 chain i was sold to get the Neumann over the newer AKG 414. then i was introduced to the sony c100 and it seems to me that this mic can outperform the neumann in many situations, but it doesn't have the whole seniority factor that the neumann u87 has.

in my opinion there isn't really another high end fet mic that consistently outperforms or compares to the neumann u87 series other than the akg 414 which few folks swear sounds better for some reason (eww).

my question is, will there be a chance that the c100 will be the u87ai killer? does it have a chance? i mean there isnt much other competition. for the price and it being a modern high end reasonably priced microphone i dont see why not with how it sounds. i mean i cant be the only one seeing this.

its almost like neumann u87 is to sony c100 as neuman u47 is to sony c800g. it hasnt happened with the u87 quite yet but the 800g really replaced the u47 in many modern music applications although they are quite different. if you want to use a high end tube mic and want a vintage, most musicians i see go for the u47 (c12 allot too or the 251, u67 etc. but mostly u47 i see). but other than that its normally the 800g i come across now adays. will the u87 have the same fate?
i dont even know if there is a better example but name a better fet mic than the u87, and then tell me why that or the u87 is at all better than the brand new sony c100. i just dont see the comparison with the price and all.

also i do realise that microphones are all preference and one isnt "better" than the other, but all im talking about is popularity and prestige.

but with all that said, would you rather recommend a neumann u87ai to someone or a sony c100

can you guys help me decide? thanks, its my first post.
Old 24th May 2019
  #2
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerwoots View Post
in my opinion there isn't really another high end fet mic that consistently outperforms or compares to the Neumann u87 series other than the akg 414 which few folks swear sounds better for some reason (eww).
i own both those mentioned microphones, as well as a selection of other classics.

its not really about OUTPERFORMS at all.

microphones have sonic characteristics, and those characteristics make the microphone a good or a less good choice, for any intended sound source.

the sound source determines if the choices are appropriate.

an 87 might outperform a 414 on a sound source thats trebbly and harsh.
a 414 might outperform an 87 on a sound source thats dull and needs definition.

i hope that helps.

Buddha

Last edited by jayfrigo; 1 week ago at 03:37 PM..
Old 24th May 2019
  #3
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What he said. They have different characters and will suit different sources. Neither is 'better' than the other.
Old 24th May 2019
  #4
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I was reading another forum about the C100 and it explained allot, and I understand how they are much different sounding and not really all that comparable.
but I haven’t heard any examples of the C100 with the avalon 737. They just said it wasn’t the best preamp for the C100. Which I don’t understand. Does anyone have both of these the C100 and the avalon 737? Is seems like it would sound great together on paper.
Old 24th May 2019
  #5
Gear Guru
Maybe the new Chandler.....but all these mics are different......a copy/clone might be more on the mark.....
Old 24th May 2019
  #6
the sanken mics cu 41/44x are IMO the best FET mics.

The sony c100 seems inspired by their design

i'd take the sankens over the sony or any of the neumann fets (which i have owned - u87, tlm67, tlm49, tlm 103).
Old 24th May 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musaee View Post
the sanken mics cu 41/44x are IMO the best FET mics.

The sony c100 seems inspired by their design

i'd take the sankens over the sony or any of the neumann fets (which i have owned - u87, tlm67, tlm49, tlm 103).
or Sennheiser mkh800. now that's a stunning mic.
Old 25th May 2019
  #8
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Okay so it seems like I’m going with this for my workhorse chain in the studio for recording mostly rappers and rb singers

Sony c100>> bae 1073 >> tube tech cl1b

I’ve heard the Sony C100 through the bae1073 on another thread and it sounded fantastic. I prefer it over the harsh mid heavy U87ai in this same chain. I’ll post some audio files in a few months, I need to save up for the tube tech
Old 25th May 2019
  #9
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I can always upgrade to the 800g but that will take like another year of saving
Old 25th May 2019
  #10
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The old U87 (used a few great ones) is superior to the new U87ai.

I would say the C100 is a great microphone (even next to a C800) and the U87ai is not

As a all purpose mic in a retro context the old U87 can be very useful..
Old 25th May 2019
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by steffo View Post
The old U87 (used a few great ones) is superior to the new U87ai.

I would say the C100 is a great microphone (even next to a C800) and the U87ai is not

As a all purpose mic in a retro context the old U87 can be very useful..
I know it's not particularly well appreciated up here, but I absolutely LOVE my U87ai.
Old 26th May 2019
  #12
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by themiracle View Post
I know it's not particularly well appreciated up here, but I absolutely LOVE my U87ai.
i have an old u87 and i agree with what you say.

people will always say the old stuff is better. mics/preamps/EQs/ compressers/ whatever........

many of the newer mics are slightly brighter, and have a lower noise floor.

there is nothing wrong with bright microphones.

i have a few myself. old and new.

Buddha
Old 26th May 2019
  #13
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I feel like the Sony C100 is the only real example of a modern fet mic that’s not made in China and has the sound to stack against the classics such as the U87 or the akg 414. And with the potential to be an industry standard, unlike the other mics mentioned which are not by any means seen in most big studios.

Am I just hyping up my future purchase or is this a decent observation of the near future?
Old 26th May 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
i have an old u87 and i agree with what you say.

people will always say the old stuff is better. mics/preamps/EQs/ compressers/ whatever........

many of the newer mics are slightly brighter, and have a lower noise floor.

there is nothing wrong with bright microphones.

i have a few myself. old and new.

Buddha
I prefer new stuff in general. The problem with the new U87’s is not that its bright.

When I grew up the local radio station had (and still have) about 50 old U87,when I did recordings there I had to use a lot of them.

A few years ago another studio had a few new ones and one day I decided to figure out the difference. I did a blind test and the old ones sounded what I would have expected the new ones to sound. More open, clearly more headroom. The difference was not subtle or a matter of Taste
Old 26th May 2019
  #15
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I think the C100 looks like a cool mic, and the sample recordings sound like it could be useful for sure. One thing that might keep some old timers from warming up to the C100 is that the SDC element is an electret, which was initially associated with low cost home and prosumer mics. And electrets are, at least on paper, capable of losing the capsule polarization over time. That said, Sony has had good experience with a number of electrets before; the ECM 377 in particular was not bad sounding. And there are other modern electrets like the KSM32, which are good utility general purpose mics. If that’s where your instinct tells you to go, why not. Probably won’t suck, and it is a whole world of new sounds and approaches to be had.

On another note...

If you plug in a U87ai next to vintage 87, the AI is going to have more level and tap out the headroom of the preamp faster. The other thing going on is that the vintage 87 and the AI are usually strapped for different output impedanxes by default - vintage often at 50 ohm, AI at 200 ohm stock. Some preamps and boards will yield more difference with that than others, but you can adjust the way the output transformer is strapped. It is really pretty difficult to overload the internal electronics of the AI unless you go for a brutal kick or snare drum position, so that is unlikely.

The 87 and 414 are almost inherently linked to the history of recorded music in a way that few other mics are...part of the evolution of Neumann’s line from 47, 49, 67, 77, 87, 87ai and then AKG’s C12, C12a, 412, and 414. It’s hard for anything to come along and change what people associate as being the tones of classic hits. So that is a unique slot even if other mics come along and have objectively desirable qualities.

There are definitely mics I prefer to the 87AI but the fact remains that if you’re working with someone and they are wanting to layer up some overdubs, do a bit of this a bit of that, and you are going by the seat of your pants... it is a *great* choice. If the results sound wrong it wasn’t the mic, and if anything the 87ai “sounds like a record”.
Old 26th May 2019
  #16
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerwoots View Post
Am I just hyping up my future purchase ...?
Yes.
Old 26th May 2019
  #17
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In my opinion the c100 is exceptionellt at that price. C414 and U87 are good microphones, when people ask me I oftem suggest trying those, in most cases people find them to midrangy and I guess by todays standards that is true.

The C100 is a way ”better” mic with that in mind, you can get a crystal clear modern Vocal sound - impossible with a U87/414. I had a 251 that can sound great but sometimes I was looking for that transparent in your face sound like c800/Manley ref c. I think the C100 sounds better then the Manley at a much Lower price.
Old 26th May 2019
  #18
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AKG 414s are now considered by some as too bright but this was a asset back in the day of analog as it retained some ‘bite’ following multiple generations and analog ‘dubs’. But as we shifted to digital all hf was retained...and considered too much by some.
I brought in a C100 and clients whose ears I respect were underwhelmed.
Old 26th May 2019
  #19
I’d stay clear of the sony. I avoid that “midrange” level of prosumer equipment.
i was always disappointed at this level.

Either go cheaper with something like a 4040/4050 or save a few more dollars for the TG mic or cop a gefell or some other professional mic

also... IMO it would be better to spend the $4000 on a mic and $1400 on your compressor. The mic is more important.
Old 26th May 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIKEHARRIS View Post
I brought in a C100 and clients whose ears I respect were underwhelmed.
Were they looking for a C800 sound? Even the C800 Will underwhelm a lot of people that only know it is supposed to be a än amazing microphone. It is actually very unflattering to a Singer, no distorsion/ compression and with a medioker Singer it can really sound awful. The amazing thing about that mic (as well as the C100) is that the high end is crystal clear and Will find a natural place in the highend in a modern production. I think it is important to be aware of that when you pick a microphone, a U87 can sound cooler and ”better” in solo, other mics can have a cool vibe that is very impressive out of context. There is a reason the C800 is THE mic in hip hop/R&B..and a lot of pop. It has the potential to make a production lean on the quality of the vocals.
Old 26th May 2019
  #21
The TG Chandler is the coolest sounding/looking mic in its price range imo. Don't like the 87ai. The AA CM800T is closer than the Sony C100 to the C800G.
Old 26th May 2019
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
The TG Chandler is the coolest sounding/looking mic in its price range imo. Don't like the 87ai. The AA CM800T is closer than the Sony C100 to the C800G.
That would be really cool if it is true (the quality of the transients/highend), a pretty cheap mic Personaly I’m amazed that Sony managed to deliver that quality at that price.

To most people the character and frequency response is more important then ”quality” and if so - taste is way more important when it comes to a mic.

To me the 4050 sounds like a cheap U87 and the Sony sounds like a way way better Vocal mic.

The Chandler looks really cool, if I was to buy one mic today it could be it..

Last edited by steffo; 26th May 2019 at 10:42 AM..
Old 26th May 2019
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steffo View Post
Were they looking for a C800 sound? Even the C800 Will underwhelm a lot of people that only know it is supposed to be a än amazing microphone. It is actually very unflattering to a Singer, no distorsion/ compression and with a medioker Singer it can really sound awful. The amazing thing about that mic (as well as the C100) is that the high end is crystal clear and Will find a natural place in the highend in a modern production. I think it is important to be aware of that when you pick a microphone, a U87 can sound cooler and ”better” in solo, other mics can have a cool vibe that is very impressive out of context. There is a reason the C800 is THE mic in hip hop/R&B..and a lot of pop. It has the potential to make a production lean on the quality of the vocals.
+1

IME the 800 can be brutal to say the least.

But when you have a singer like Dave Gilmour with huge "bear hug" of a baritone voice, or Sting with a husky rasp, or a great rapper etc then the 800g just tells it as it is and has the bandwidth to capture everything and present is with great clarity and presence.

If the singer has a thin tone and is looking for some support and a pair of "rose tinted glasses" then an 800G is not going to be the best choice.
Old 26th May 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
+1

If the singer has a thin tone and is looking for some support and a pair of "rose tinted glasses" then an 800G is not going to be the best choice.
True

This Will be even more obvious with the C100 that has less Low end.
Old 26th May 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
What he said. They have different characters and will suit different sources. Neither is 'better' than the other.
Microphones don't suite different sources, they suite different tastes and preferences, they also suite different preconceived biases which may not have anything to do with sound. Gearslutz hype for example is one source for bias and misunderstanding.
Old 26th May 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Microphones don't suite different sources
That's an unusual point of view.
Old 26th May 2019
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
That's an unusual point of view.
Even when quoted out of context it's still true, but maybe I should quantify it by adding the word 'good' or 'accurate' in front of microphone.
Old 26th May 2019
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by steffo View Post
That would be really cool if it is true (the quality of the transients/highend), a pretty cheap mic Personaly I’m amazed that Sony managed to deliver that quality at that price.

To most people the character and frequency response is more important then ”quality” and if so - taste is way more important when it comes to a mic.

To me the 4050 sounds like a cheap U87 and the Sony sounds like a way way better Vocal mic.

The Chandler looks really cool, if I was to buy one mic today it could be it..
What is your point? I like the C100. And actually in this day and age the market is full of idiots who don’t care about frequency response. They care about fashion.
Old 26th May 2019
  #29
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My point is that it takes skill to use a C800 in a way that makes it worth having.

Same goes for a microphone like the C100, if you don't see what separates it from a U87 the risk is that you will not find any use for it.

It goes both ways of course, a U87 can be great..

Most people can't hear a quality difference but can easily spot a difference in character and frequency.
Old 26th May 2019
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by steffo View Post
My point is that it takes skill to use a C800 in a way that makes it worth having.

Same goes for a microphone like the C100, if you don't see what separates it from a U87 the risk is that you will not find any use for it.

It goes both ways of course, a U87 can be great..

Most people can't hear a quality difference but can easily spot a difference in character and frequency.
I just don't like the U87ai. I have a pair of early 70's ones I'm selling so I'm spoilt.
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