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Neumann U87 Anniversary edition worth the extra $$? Condenser Microphones
Old 20th January 2015
Lives for gear

I've read my share of nonesense on GS but this is by far the biggest load of crap I've ever had the misfortune of reading. I also highly doubt Gunter Wagner thinks much of a gold tone U87ai.

maybe if I paint my car red it will go faster

Originally Posted by SharpKillerCable View Post
The gold plating on the grille could influence the sound as a top mic Tech Gunter Wagner once told me how the grille's mesh material can influence the sound. He said how he makes special trips to Germany looking for the old u47 mesh material that is no longer made and is quite scare. The material according to him is quite important and he does hear a difference on the u47 mics he works on depending on the mesh material.

Many people don't realize this, they think the mesh/grille material and what coats it doesn't matter, or couldn't possibly change the sound but it actually does. Gold plating of it most likely does change the sound, and the shiny gold has different sonic properties than the a matte nickel finish . But recordings I've heard using the Gold u87 from a studio in Canada are some of the best vocals I've ever heard. I think you should try the Gold u87 before criticizing it, that is of course if you can find one. It might be one of the rarest mics ever made by Neumann.
Old 20th January 2015
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by Palermo View Post
I've read my share of nonesense on GS but this is by far the biggest load of crap I've ever had the misfortune of reading. I also highly doubt Gunter Wagner thinks much of a gold tone U87ai.

maybe if I paint my car red it will go faster
If your ears can hear a difference between a metal pop screen filter and a nylon one, (I can hear the difference in the top end between my Shure Popper Stopper (Nylon) and my Stedman Proscreen pop filter which is made of metal), it's not such a wild idea to think the grille on a u87 will influence the sound especially since it is set up like a pop filter. It is designed to be a level of protection just like a pop filter. If you change the design or the materials, it could affect the sound.
When I spoke to Gunter Wagner, (and as far as I'm concerned his u47 mics are the best u47 copy mics ever made) he spoke at length about how critical having the correct mesh material was to the u47 and how the mesh material influenced the sound. He said that other u47 mics out on the market do not use the original mesh material, and the sound is not the same as an original u47 grille. Call him up and ask him, he's in Australia, his wife might answer the phone and he's very friendly. You might even learn quite a bit about u47 mics.

From what I know the mesh material and the finish, especially if it is a tight mesh grille like a u87 has, could influence the sound. I can hear the difference between pop filters. I'm betting that putting all that shiny gold instead of a matte finish will change the reflective and absorptive properties of the grille to some degree.
Also, the Antares Mic Modeler plugin attempts to model many mics, one of these is the U87 Gold mic. Antares used real mics to create their modeling plugins, and their "Gold u87" to me sounds like it has a different top end to it than their stock u87 modeling plugin. And while a "modeled" mic is never as good as the real thing, it does seem to be an interesting tool to gauge differences as to what the general ballpark sound of a mic would be.

Also to me that means there was a measurable difference in terms of sound, enough for the Antares people to justify giving a different color and finish (Gold) u87 mic, it's own plugin model.

Last edited by SharpKillerCable; 20th January 2015 at 06:42 AM..
Old 20th January 2015
Lives for gear

Mesh material as in perforation and overall shape is different from the metal compound or finish coating itself. This is why nylon vs metal sounds different (plus nylon pop filters are designed differently)-- not something about finishes. Surely that is what Gunter is referring to -- old 47 mesh material/perforation and shape. Gold or nickel or silver plating of the mesh itself will have no bearing on the sound. At the sound levels and frequencies of recording with mics, any sufficiently strong metal will react the same on the acoustics -- as in not at all. This is basic material science. Audio is not light; polished gold and matte gold finishes don't give a different sound. The design of the pop filter or mic head is all that matters which includes perforation level and shape. Antares may have modeled two mics (one gold, one not) but their differences are about the fact that tolerances on mics have not always been great. The colour is just a descriptor that they chose to use as a way to differentiate.
Old 21st January 2015
Lives for gear
mbvoxx's Avatar
Neumann PS 87 $250
If it were $100 bucks I'd buy one in a jiffy but the Blue Pop works just fine and looks good too.
And the Stedman is $50 bucks and works even better.
Old 21st January 2015
Lives for gear
Matt Nolan's Avatar

On balance I would say that mesh finish could make a small difference in sound.

The difference between gold plating and nickel or chrome - NONE.
The difference between smooth / polished plating and a matt / sintered finish - SOME.

I would suggest 3 mechanisms that might cause a difference:
(1) Reflective area. The surface area of a matt finish mesh of otherwise identical dimensions and spacing is higher. There is a different amount of it parallel with the diaphragm (not sure if it is more or less, kinda hard to figure out with a thought experiment) and a similarly different amount of it forming self-parallel sides across the grille. So, the amount of headbasket resonance could be different.
(2) Stiffness of the mesh. The stiffness of a matt finish mesh of otherwise identical material, dimensions and spacing may be higher or lower depending on how the matt finish was acheived. Hot processing could have softened the mesh for example if it is brass. Shot-blasting could have softened or hardened the material. Chemical etching could have softened the material (made it less stiff by reducing the surface integrity). A different mesh stiffness will have a different strength of acoustic resonance inside the headgrille and also a different self-resonant (finger flick ping) frequency.
(3) Turbulent flow. A bit of a stretch with this one, but worth considering. You will get more break-up / diffraction / diffusion of the wavefronts through a mesh with a matt surface than a mesh with a smooth surface. This will mean ever so slightly more effective in "pop stopper" performance and also small changes in the polar patterns.

Most probably all teeny tiny effects. But I don't think you can discount them as non-existant in a world where the last 0.01% of what makes the sound is important to some folks. Sure, the physical material, dimensions, mesh spacing, stiffness and other physical/mechanical properties, etc. will have a larger effect (as will electronic component tolerances, for example), but still the mesh finish can play a part.
Old 8th April 2016
Here for the gear
There would be nothing easier to do a blind test. Two U87, one normal, one gold, juxtaposed, one take on grand piano…

I am betting that nobody will hear the difference. Or, if there is difference, it will be purely random.
Old 11th April 2016
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by Marrone View Post
Dear slutz,

Is the Neumann U87 Anniversary Edition worth it compared to a regular U87?

Appreciate your opinion!


I would never pay more than $2500 for any U87 for any reason.
I would also not buy an AI version. For me, a U87 from the 70's for about $2500 is the one to buy.
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