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Neumann U87ai + UA 6176 = Wow!
Old 3rd June 2020
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Neumann U87ai + UA 6176 = Wow!

Hi Everyone,

I recently received a Neumann U87ai, and yesterday for the first time, I took it for a test-listen.

I paired it with my UA 6176 tube channel strip, adding just a notch of high end and low end EQ (from the 6176), and set the compressor input/outputs to 10:00 & 2:00 ‘Dr. pepper’ setting.

And wow.

What a sound. Just an amazing warm rich detailed sound.

For reference, I also have a Mojave MA-1000 (which I also really like, and will record a sample soon), and today, I am expecting a Lauten Audio Eden (with its 3 voice settings, which I look forward to testing and comparing).

(I also quickly added a little mandolin and banjo on the 2nd and 3rd track of the tune, all via a MixPre 10).

I know some people somehow bash or downplay the U87ai. I mean, yes, it is a neural mic. But that means with a change of EQ settings, you can shape it into the tone that you want, and absolutely can make it sound extraordinary.

I just wanted to share my experience.

I do have a very rough test recording (not mixed, and just a partial song improvised on the spot), but I think it shows what the U87ai combined with the 6176 can sound like. The file is a HQ wave file (saved to my Google Drive), and I believe you need either a laptop or desktop to play it (I don’t think that mobile devices recognize the file):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Dx2...ew?usp=sharing
Old 3rd June 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
Honestly, the u87ai is bashed so much on here and for no reason. I posted some clips of it through the Redd pre and I feel like it sounds better than when I use my c800g with the Redd, on my voice. c800g is good but it needs a Neve pre I find. I do like the u87ai into the LA-610, used it like that many times, I also like the Shure ksm32 into the 6176, very underrated mic.
Old 3rd June 2020
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellohead View Post
Honestly, the u87ai is bashed so much on here and for no reason. I posted some clips of it through the Redd pre and I feel like it sounds better than when I use my c800g with the Redd, on my voice. c800g is good but it needs a Neve pre I find. I do like the u87ai into the LA-610, used it like that many times, I also like the Shure ksm32 into the 6176, very underrated mic.
Hi HelloHead...

Yes, I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the U87ai (based on many of the forum comments I’ve read), and if you didn’t EQ it whatsoever to suit your ear, or perhaps don’t pair it with the right mic pre, then yes, it is a neutral mic (and could sound “non-standout” to some), but this thing can sound really extraordinary, as long as you have the ability to change EQ settings and have it in a complementary signal chain.

I would rather have a neutral mic that can sound amazing on any source (with some fine-tuning of settings) than a bold colored mic that is less able to be shaped for a wide range of sources.

Anyway, there are a lot of great mics there, and the U87 is an industry standard for a reason.
Old 3rd June 2020
  #4
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by KD_Banjer View Post
Hi HelloHead...

Yes, I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the U87ai (based on many of the forum comments I’ve read), and if you didn’t EQ it whatsoever to suit your ear, or perhaps don’t pair it with the right mic pre, then yes, it is a neutral mic (and could sound “non-standout” to some), but this thing can sound really extraordinary, as long as you have the ability to change EQ settings and have it in a complementary signal chain.

I would rather have a neutral mic that can sound amazing on any source (with some fine-tuning of settings) than a bold colored mic that is less able to be shaped for a wide range of sources.

Anyway, there are a lot of great mics there, and the U87 is an industry standard for a reason.
I find that the c800g has no cream sometimes, it's too real, too bright, too 3d. There's no smoothness and no "vintage ness" to it. That's it's downfall sometimes, it's a mic where you better have an idea of what you're planning to accomplish before spitting into it. The u87ai on the other hand (and u67), feel like it's leading you during the performance, so you can sing in it and get emotion behind your takes. If you dont already have that emotion with the c800g, I find it doesn't translate. I find you can't work the mic.

On the other hand, the u87ai, u67, even manley ref c, you can work it during the performance.

Which is why I dont get the fascination with the c800g, because if you aren't really good and credible right off the bat, it will capture the take sure, but I can't tell you how many times I've had to do and redo takes to get the take I was satisfied with, because there wasnt enough emotion behind it initially. u87ai feels like a condenser sm57, you can really work the mic to get it there.

To everyone obsessed with bright and clear mics, I'm sorry but, unless you're already someone, no one jumps on a c800g and gets traction, it's just too commercial sounding right off the bat. I think it's a mic for already established artists in my opinion.
Old 3rd June 2020
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellohead View Post
I find that the c800g has no cream sometimes, it's too real, too bright, too 3d. There's no smoothness and no "vintage ness" to it. That's it's downfall sometimes, it's a mic where you better have an idea of what you're planning to accomplish before spitting into it. The u87ai on the other hand (and u67), feel like it's leading you during the performance, so you can sing in it and get emotion behind your takes. If you dont already have that emotion with the c800g, I find it doesn't translate. I find you can't work the mic.

On the other hand, the u87ai, u67, even manley ref c, you can work it during the performance.

Which is why I dont get the fascination with the c800g, because if you aren't really good and credible right off the bat, it will capture the take sure, but I can't tell you how many times I've had to do and redo takes to get the take I was satisfied with, because there wasnt enough emotion behind it initially. u87ai feels like a condenser sm57, you can really work the mic to get it there.

To everyone obsessed with bright and clear mics, I'm sorry but, unless you're already someone, no one jumps on a c800g and gets traction, it's just too commercial sounding right off the bat. I think it's a mic for already established artists in my opinion.
Thanks for the insightful explanation, HH.
Old 4th June 2020
  #6
Lives for gear
 
PdotDdot's Avatar
U87ai has been used on many pro re recordings. it is a great mic - very versatile. The 6176 is also a great channel strip. Pay no attention to the bashing on GS. I do not think you will find many top of the line pro's bashing either. This is Gearslutz and haters gonna hate! Trust your ears and enjoy making music.
Old 4th June 2020
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by PdotDdot View Post
U87ai has been used on many pro re recordings. it is a great mic - very versatile. The 6176 is also a great channel strip. Pay no attention to the bashing on GS. I do not think you will find many top of the line pro's bashing either. This is Gearslutz and haters gonna hate! Trust your ears and enjoy making music.
Pretty sure everything that Migos records (other than the song they did with mustard which does sound like a c800g) is a u87ai, same with Nicki Minaj, and I'm also pretty sure Bruno Mars uses the u87ai. Lil Uzi Vert uses a u87ai too. that's 3 top rap artist right there that uses the u87ai, I mean it's really legit for right now. I've also seen juiceworld use a u87ai once at a studio, when he was alive.
Old 4th June 2020
  #8
Lives for gear
 

U87ai will always VERK!

HH, I respectfully differ on the Sony C800G. IMHO it still depends on the singer... Well known or not.

Too bad the GAP clone is priced too high IMHO, otherwise you might really dig it. Sounded very smooth to me/darker than C800G recordings I've heard.
Without Processing, it sounded closer to "finished" on me, versus the U87ai alone (paging an 6176). But with just a little more effort, I'm confident the U87ai would sound first rate too!
Chris
P.S. Congrats also on the 6176!
Old 4th June 2020
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Jantex's Avatar
 

U87Ai + 6176 is one of the best lead vocal pairings there are (just not on Gearslutz, where both get bashed individually). Imho they are much better combo than U87Ai + 1073 and also better than U87 + 1073. Slightly brighter U87Ai works like magic with slightly darker 610 and responds very well to its EQ settings, really a perfect match that works nearly everytime.
Old 4th June 2020
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Almost as well as the ART Tube MP!
Chris
Old 4th June 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
 
PdotDdot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellohead View Post
Pretty sure everything that Migos records (other than the song they did with mustard which does sound like a c800g) is a u87ai, same with Nicki Minaj, and I'm also pretty sure Bruno Mars uses the u87ai. Lil Uzi Vert uses a u87ai too. that's 3 top rap artist right there that uses the u87ai, I mean it's really legit for right now. I've also seen juiceworld use a u87ai once at a studio, when he was alive.
Eggs Zachery! :-)

Yeah, it would be one thing if guys like Al Schmitt were slamming it but you just don't hear the big boys and girls dissing it. It's somewhat like a Swiss Army Knife in the tool kit. There may be better mics but it will definitely do the job nicely on so many sources and in so many situations.
Old 4th June 2020
  #12
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by PdotDdot View Post
Eggs Zachery! :-)

Yeah, it would be one thing if guys like Al Schmitt were slamming it but you just don't hear the big boys and girls dissing it. It's somewhat like a Swiss Army Knife in the tool kit. There may be better mics but it will definitely do the job nicely on so many sources and in so many situations.
In that price range I feel like it's such a no brainer, you can get it at a good price used. The only mic I'd reach before the u87ai is the u67, but it's also way more expensive. I am starting to get curious about the u47 fet now, I think it might be an upgrade from the u87ai. On my voice, I think a non tube mic might be better.
Old 5th June 2020
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Thank you, Everyone, for your thoughtful input and perspectives.
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