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Does any one have a good word for the U87? Condenser Microphones
Old 30th September 2005
  #1
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Does any one have a good word for the U87?

Hi all you wonderful gearslutz!

I am soon investing in a mic and I am planning to spend quite a lot of money, with a budget of £1400.

I am looking for a good all around condenser, which at the same time can bring a bit of charchter and warmth to my otherwise digital audio chain.

I have recently been thinking of getting a U87, as it generally seems to have a great reputation and also is a bit of history...plus it is a Neumann!

However, going through the threads posted here at gearslutz, it seems as if most people think it is overated and that there are other and better mics in the same price range.

So my question is if there is anyone who has something good to say about the U87? Is it that well regarded for nothing? Is it worth its price if you are looking for a good all around condenser?

All the best!

/Rob
Old 30th September 2005
  #2
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Hello Rob,

we use our 4 U87s almost every day (on timpany, cello, drum room, sometimes oh, trumpet, trombone, vocals...) so I would say it is very versatile. And as you say it is a neumann (might be important for your customers).
On the other hand it might not be the number one if it comes to "bang for the buck" considerations. Perhaps you want to try some alternatives (brauner, soundelux may be even audio technica)

Good luck
Stefan
Old 30th September 2005
  #3
There may be better microphones for specific situations, but the U87 is the best allrounder IMO. I've never regretted using a U87 on anything (except in figure8 mode), it will allways at least give you a decent sound, and mostly great.
Old 30th September 2005
  #4
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MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
if there is one work for the U87 is "KACHING"....while we all pose the question and pose by our wannbe's...the U87 is generating dollars for professionals...you can either join em or argue about it
Old 30th September 2005
  #5
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It's funny how opinions fly on forums such as these...

The 87 is an all around great mic. While it might not excel at every application, I've never found it to be unusable on any source. Which I can't say about some of the 'trendier' mics on the forums.

It also has a lot of client recognition, which may or may not be important to you.
Old 30th September 2005
  #6
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There is some leeway in this discussion because while some folks think of a U87 as the version with "Made in West Germany" stamped on it, others may be referring to the newer U87ai which is the modern incarnation made since Sennheiser took over Neumann. There is a difference.
Old 30th September 2005
  #7
Gear addict
 

i think the U87 gets a hard time because it became the standard must have mic, industry standard shall we say. In any case of this happening, there will always be people trying to buck the trend, or go against the general opinion for this reason alone, and not because of pesonal findings etc.

Try one out and see what you think of it yourself. Everyone has different ears, and when you get to this level, you could say they are al great mic's, it just depends upon the indiviodual, the intenended application etc.

On a personal note, im not keen on the U87's for vocals, i prefer the 251. But like has been mentioned in this topic already, it is a good, well recognised (which is omprtant in some cases) mic tohave in any collection.
Old 30th September 2005
  #8
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One of the most widely used microphones in history, and don't let the "not good for vocals" (which it has been used for more than anything else) scare you. It is not the flavor of the month, that's all.

The U87 takes EQ VERY well. So sometimes if it isn't great on something flat, you'll be really surprised at how good it sounds when you get to mix stage and alter it a bit.

And when you get some extra cash, you can always send it to Klaus Heyne and he'll turn it into something on a whole different level.

TH (JMHO)
Old 30th September 2005
  #9
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u b k's Avatar
 

a good word for the u87? versatile. the old ones are fantastic.

the new ones, well... i will say this: for the money, there are many mics nowadays which sound better, imo, on the big sources --- vocals, acoustics, electrics, drums.

so if you're determined to have the neumann bling factor, then by all means do it. but if you are truly interested in finding the best mic for your needs at your pricepoint, you'll do a little shopping and at the very least add gefell & soundelux to your hitlist.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 30th September 2005
  #10
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Alexi's Avatar
 

Gefell thumbsup
Old 30th September 2005
  #11
I have a pair of U87ai and think they're great on just about every source. I would also look at the Microtech Gefell equivalent (M70 or 71, whatever, the multi-pattern one that sells for about $1500 new). I don't have experience with that one (so I'm breaking the rules here) but some trusted folks do compare it to the U87.
Old 30th September 2005
  #12
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echorec's Avatar
 

The U87 is a great all-rounder as previously stated. However, for £1400 you are very close to a U67 or a M269c. These will get you more "charchter and warmth" if you ask me. A pair of M269 mics just sold for 50000 kr (I saw that you are in Sweden too) here in Stockholm.
Old 1st October 2005
  #13
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Thread merge needed - this was double-posted in the "So Much Gear" Forum too.
Old 1st October 2005
  #14
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

"The U87 is the mic least likely to sound like **** on anything"...

That phrase has been copyrighted by me, so if any of you repeat it make sure to give me credit.
Old 1st November 2005
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont
"The U87 is the mic least likely to sound like **** on anything"...

That phrase has been copyrighted by me, so if any of you repeat it make sure to give me credit.


I'd have to disagree.... I think the Neumann M269 holds that characteristic.


Rob
Old 1st November 2005
  #16
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DaveH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann
There is some leeway in this discussion because while some folks think of a U87 as the version with "Made in West Germany" stamped on it, others may be referring to the newer U87ai which is the modern incarnation made since Sennheiser took over Neumann. There is a difference.
Please, what kind of difference?

I've "almost" bought a new U87ai several times but always ended up
buying something else "first". Soundelux, etc.
Old 1st November 2005
  #17
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minister's Avatar
i did a side by side comparison with a U87, an AT and B.L.U.E. KIWI.

me and my four musician friends picked the KIWI.

has switchable polar patterns. and i think it is a few pounds less.

i use it on TONS of stuff. best cello sound i ever got.

"least likely to sound like dookie" ™
Old 1st November 2005
  #18
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drundall's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann
There is some leeway in this discussion because while some folks think of a U87 as the version with "Made in West Germany" stamped on it, others may be referring to the newer U87ai which is the modern incarnation made since Sennheiser took over Neumann. There is a difference.
Not only that, the West Germany models all sound different. Some sound dull while others sound almost spitty in the top end. They usually share a similar mid. Used to work at a studio with 4 of them, the one I use now sounds completely different than any of those 4.

None of those mics was really a total bumout and they've tracked a few hits.
Old 1st November 2005
  #19
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robobo1
I'd have to disagree.... I think the Neumann M269 holds that characteristic.


Rob
We all know that it's the 57!

Seriously, the 87 is a wonderful all round mic, but I think you pay a premium for the "Neumann" badge. It might not be the best bang for the buck.
Old 1st November 2005
  #20
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rickrock305's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks
And when you get some extra cash, you can always send it to Klaus Heyne and he'll turn it into something on a whole different level.

TH (JMHO)


yes, we have a Klaus modded original 87, and it is choice! Its a toss up between the 87 and the 67 we have, it really depends on the person which one shines for vocals.
Old 2nd November 2005
  #21
I've got two words:

Too bright

I'm being a bit facetious, because it TOTALLY depends on what you're using it for.

Sometimes nice as stereo ohs for drums (if you don't have sd condensers like 84s around) or on larger acoustic pianos, acoustic guitars and acoustic bass.

Not my favorite mic for female vocals or hornz - hence the bright comment.

Also, if you've got a ton of outboard gear and editing options, then whatever.

Obviously, all JMHO
Old 2nd November 2005
  #22
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popmann's Avatar
Quote:
So my question is if there is anyone who has something good to say about the U87?
Yes. Male vocalist in front of it, siting in a pop mix=good.

I'm not sure that a mic, particularly an 87 would fall into the "how do I warm up a digital recording?", though. It's a pretty forward sounding mic...

I still maintain that a studio with a good 87, 58, and 414 has vocals covered. The rest is a game of inches. We may like to argue over how important those inches are, but it doesn't change the distance--just perspective.

I also think a lot of the non-fans are listening too much to the track solo'd. The beauty of the 87 is how it just sits right in a dense mix. There are a lot of other mics that will sound more flattering solo'd.

Of course, YMMV.
Old 2nd November 2005
  #23
The 87 is a great mic to have a few of hangin' around. Sure, it's not as exciting as a 47, 67, or 49, but it's not supposed to be; nor does it cost nearly as much. I've used 87s occasionally on pop vocals, acoustic guitar, as room mics, on other acoustic instruments, and for the past year have been loving them as drum overheads for some sessions. It won't inspire the gear lust of some of the more esoteric pieces, but it's certainly a useful, good quality mic. There are plenty of reasonably priced used ones out there.
Old 2nd November 2005
  #24
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Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

I've got a good word for the U87. Innertube.
Old 2nd November 2005
  #25
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One of the best mics out there, especially for vox. A little expensive, but VERY well built.
-brian
Old 2nd November 2005
  #26
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BrianK's Avatar
I have been told that the U87 is one of the few mics that has an intentional "bandwidth limitation"; that is, it rolls off some high end and low end on purpose. I hear this for certain. Especially on the high end. A GOOD thing sometimes...

Professional mixers know that FULL frequency response on everything is a bad idea - the sounds will fight too much in the mix. This is one reason why the U87 has been so popular on vocals in the 70's and 80's: it allows a micrange (where the voice excels) clarity and punch.

On sibilant singers, it nicely takes care of that nastiness, and on female vocals, it thickens up those thin vocal tones. Three famous users of the U87 I know: Chrissie Hynde, Ronnie James Dio, Dianne Schur. All known for great, distinctive vocals as well.

I have also found it to be my favorite floor tom mic! (And I don't own one yet, I think they have gotten too expensive.)
Old 2nd November 2005
  #27
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paterno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveH
Please, what kind of difference?

I've "almost" bought a new U87ai several times but always ended up
buying something else "first". Soundelux, etc.
I had been having a conversation with a friend recently about how we never use 87's for anything except room mics and maybe congas. They just never did it for me on anything else. As has been reported here, the new ai's are a bit brighter among other differences with an old one [which was one of my issues with the 87], so I decided i'd give one a try if I came across one at at studio.

Well, I just worked at a studio that had several u87ai's, and I tried them on a bunch of things -- piano, acoustic guitar, electric gtr, female vocals, male vocal, and percussion. I guess it became 'mic of the day'. I decided that if it wasn't working I'd try something else.

I stuck with it for just about everything. It worked on acoustic guitar, and electric guitar. It worked well on vocals - especially the female who was a bit sibilant. It was good on the male vocal, although not as present as i would normally use. It was good on piano as well.

my two cents...

john
Old 2nd November 2005
  #28
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Geert van den Berg's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye
I've got two words:

Too bright

I'm being a bit facetious, because it TOTALLY depends on what you're using it for.

Sometimes nice as stereo ohs for drums (if you don't have sd condensers like 84s around) or on larger acoustic pianos, acoustic guitars and acoustic bass.

Not my favorite mic for female vocals or hornz - hence the bright comment.

Also, if you've got a ton of outboard gear and editing options, then whatever.

Obviously, all JMHO
I don't know what U87 you used, but the ones I have used were certainly not bright...

And yes they differ... bright to me is like a TLM103....
Old 2nd November 2005
  #29
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Geert van den Berg's Avatar
 

Oh and I 2nd the comments that they work on almost everything!
Old 3rd November 2005
  #30
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Microtech Gefell UMT 70S...


Mickey
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