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Neumann U87 types? Condenser Microphones
Old 28th August 2008
Gear Addict
kirkbross's Avatar
Neumann U87 types?

I'm trying to get a handle on the various models of Neumann's U87 -- Ai, Ai Set Z, etc. What are the differences? Isn't there just a plain ol' U87?
Old 28th August 2008
Gear Head

Originally Posted by kirkbross View Post
I'm trying to get a handle on the various models of Neumann's U87 -- Ai, Ai Set Z, etc. What are the differences? Isn't there just a plain ol' U87?
I was wondering the same thing...
Old 28th August 2008
Gear Guru
John Willett's Avatar

The current version is the U 87 Ai which is available in satin nickel or black; in singles or as stereo sets.

There is also the special edition anniversary set which has a polished finish and is supplied in a case with shockmount, suspension, dust cover, and pop filter.

All these microphones are exactly the same except for the finish.

I have never, ever, heard of a "set Z"

The original U 87 was introduced in 1967 - Amazingly, there has been just ONE update to the original 1967 design! The letter "A" in the name indicates a more recent generation, as compared to the U 87 i microphones that were built from 1967 to 1986. Modifications were made only to the electronic components of the microphone; the capsule remained unchanged. Today's circuitry increases the operational headroom by supplying the capsule biasing voltages through reduced resistance. The result is 10 dB greater sensitivity for identical sound pressure levels and 3 dB better S/N ratio. The "i" suffix simply refers to the international version with 3-pin XLR connector, as opposed to microphones with Tuchel or other historical connectors.
Old 28th August 2008
Gear Guru
John Willett's Avatar

Sorry, I took so long updating my last post that this thread dropped very far down the list.

This is just a "bump" for those who missed the last paragraph in my edited post above.
Old 28th August 2008
Lives for gear
HudHudson's Avatar

IMO the U87Ai is a step backwards. It will distort at lower levels than the original U87, nothwithstanding any of the manufacturer's claims of more headroom, due to the higher voltage of the amplifier. And it uses the K870/67 capule (not the K87 used in the original issue), which as implemented on the Ai has less bass response than a K87. I find the Ai version hyped (even strident) strident in the high end compared to the original. We have both versions at our studio and I can't recall the last time someone picked the Ai over the original version.

Check out this thread from Klaus Heyne's forum on PSW for more on this:

PSW Recording Forums: Klaus Heyne's Mic Lab => Neumann U87Ai - What's not to love?
Old 28th August 2008
Gear Head

I believe that the "set Z" is the U87ai packaged with the foam windscreen and shockmount.
Old 28th August 2008
Lives for gear

I never really paid that much attention to the different models, I though they all sounded pretty good on toms. heh
Old 28th August 2008
Lives for gear
whitepapagold's Avatar

Ive got an old u87i that Klaus modified and what he does to that mic is amazing to say the least... thumbsup

Theres no doubt the man knows his stuff... and has ears to match!
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