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U87 'Honk' Eq Tips
Old 20th December 2012
  #31
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hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by j2dafo View Post
1. Gefell UM70
2. Gefell M71
3. MTG UM70
4. MTG M71
I love the UM70! A great mic on practically any source.
Old 21st December 2012
  #32
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andrew montreal's Avatar
Microphone test

So as promised, here's a little test I did. NOT SCIENTIFIC IN THE SLIGHTEST... it will simply give you a general sense of the tone of these two mics in relation to each other. The output of the U87 is much higher than the C414. This was compensated by bringing down the gain on the preamp. (To be noted... this is a C414EB with the ck12 capsule mastefully cleaned-up by Klaus Heyne.)

First pair of recordings: mic in the middle of a dry medium-sized room (13' x 15' x 10'). My mouth is directly infront of the capsule at a distance of around 8". No EQ, no compression.

Second pair of recordings: in the same room, same position, though this time I created a small booth-like space with three panels (about 3' x 3') around the mic. There's a gentle hi-pass on both of these... starting at 100Hz, dipping down 10dB at 50Hz, 20dB at 25Hz.

The first test is a fairer one when discussing the tone of the microphones considering that there is no phase issues being created by reflections.

You'll notice a little more energy in the 300-500Hz range for the U87. And a definite peak in energy at 1900Hz, which expands outward from around 1000Hz to 3000Hz. The C414EB demonstrates a push in the sibilance range and upward... 5000Hz to 10000Hz.

With the CK12 capsule, there is a naturalness in the mids and a sparkle in the highs that I love and prefer for vocals as long as the singer's voice isn't sibilant. If it is sibilant, I stick with the U87 and EQ out what I feel gives honkiness to the voice. On the other hand, the mid-forwardness of the U87 is perfect for voice overs... not to mention it is a crazy quiet microphone.

Enjoy.
Attached Files

C414EB large space.mp3 (682.4 KB, 1833 views)

U87 large space.mp3 (960.3 KB, 1796 views)

C414EB small space.mp3 (292.0 KB, 1762 views)

U87 small space.mp3 (252.1 KB, 1865 views)

Old 21st December 2012
  #33
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TinderArts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
....You may end up with 10 of these automated frequencies or more and in the beginning it may take you well over 2hrs to do a single vocal. Make that 4hrs with an 87 and 6 if the singer was really close. Eventually you'll be doing this in less than an hour.
If I need 2 hours to automate EQ for a single vocal then I'll use a different mic and possibly a different room.
Old 21st December 2012
  #34
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post
So as promised....
Thanks for doing this. Tho somewhat experienced with a U87, I have not had the opportunity to do a side by side comparison with any other mic - so of course this includes the 414. And with the U87 experience I have (by no means as much as many other people), I have never come across a "honkiness". And with this comparison, I still stand by that. I hear no "honkiness" in the U87 whatsoever. Maybe certain instruments give some people that element; maybe some rooms do. Mic tech, too, perhaps?

As for the test:

The small space U87 blows the doors off of the 414. Not that the 414 sounds bad; it doesn't. But the U87 has alot more body and character. Yes, the 414 does have something going for it up there in the his.

However, the big space 414 is considerably better than the U87. This just goes to show you how much the room factors in.

So, taking into consideration your a little more energy in the 300-500Hz range for the U87 comment, I inserted an eq on the large U87, and cut 420 by 2db with a wide Q. Much better. Didn't bother with the other freq. With that freq cut, it sounds closer to the 414. Not exact, of course, but closer, and sounds alot better overall. Then I applied the same eq to the small U87 - don't think that would be the way to go; it sounds better without that cut. Again, shows how much the room is a factor.

Thanks again for posting this!
Old 21st December 2012
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
I've been through mulitple 87s through out the years from every decade. Currently I have 3. One from 60s, 90s and 2000s. Your statement doesn't seem to make sense to me unless you're using them for distant recording.
I'm happy to explain. Which statement are you talking about?
Old 21st December 2012
  #36
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syra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinderArts View Post
If I need 2 hours to automate EQ for a single vocal then I'll use a different mic and possibly a different room.
Room will not be a big part of a pop vocal but yeah thats the idea. Minimize the amount of EQ auto you need to do - unless you're working on an indie record in which case there is no such thing as EQ auto heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
The small space U87 blows the doors off of the 414. Not that the 414 sounds bad; it doesn't. But the U87 has alot more body and character. Yes, the 414 does have something going for it up there in the his.
Not to discredit the test which was well done, but singing and speaking are apples and oranges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TRJanuary View Post
I'm happy to explain. Which statement are you talking about?
The part that "If it was honky enough that it needed EQ to be usable, we would never use them here". Care to share a track with a vocal 6" away on a U87 without any EQ?

Hang tight y'all... I'll upload a small test a little later...
Old 22nd December 2012
  #37
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syra's Avatar
Ok so I have uploaded 3 files. Each file contains 1 section which is looped 4 times. The first 2 loops are a modified U87 (specifically modified to tackle the boxy/honky/dark 87 signature sound) and the last 2 loops are a stock U87.

To make this more clear: Modified U87-Modified U87-Stock U87-Stock U87.

All files are the exact same take at 96/24.

Vox: Source a bit distant from mics.

AcGtr: Source closer to mics to amplify resonances.

Drums: Nothing can test mics like the room position in front of drums. This is just to show what's really under the hood of the modified mic. My favorite would be something in between - the mod for this mic was done with close-miking in mind.
Old 22nd December 2012
  #38
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andrew montreal's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
Ok so I have uploaded 3 files. Each file contains 1 section which is looped 4 times. The first 2 loops are a modified U87 (specifically modified to tackle the boxy/honky/dark 87 signature sound) and the last 2 loops are a stock U87.

To make this more clear: Modified U87-Modified U87-Stock U87-Stock U87.

All files are the exact same take at 96/24.

Vox: Source a bit distant from mics.

AcGtr: Source closer to mics to amplify resonances.

Drums: Nothing can test mics like the room position in front of drums. This is just to show what's really under the hood of the modified mic. My favorite would be something in between - the mod for this mic was done with close-miking in mind.
Thanks for the upload. I'm not sure I understand the process... all the files are the exact same take? I assume you mean that the four takes in each file are the same. If so does that mean you had the signals playing out of a monitor in front of the microphone? So when you are talking about sources, you're not talking about the instruments... or are you and I'm way off here.

Big difference on the drums... great openness and less boxy build-up in the mids.
Old 23rd December 2012
  #39
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syra's Avatar
No speaker involved - the mics are next to each other on the source. First 2 identical loops are the modified 87 and last 2 identical loops stock 87.
Old 23rd December 2012
  #40
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andrew montreal's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
No speaker involved - the mics are next to each other on the source. First 2 identical loops are the modified 87 and last 2 identical loops stock 87.
Nice. Is there any processing following the preamp? Which preamp by the way? There is a nice thickness to the vocal track.
Old 26th December 2012
  #41
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syra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post
Nice. Is there any processing following the preamp? Which preamp by the way? There is a nice thickness to the vocal track.
No processing. Preamps/conversion is DAD. Great piece
Old 27th December 2012
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
Ok so I have uploaded 3 files. Each file contains 1 section which is looped 4 times. The first 2 loops are a modified U87 (specifically modified to tackle the boxy/honky/dark 87 signature sound) and the last 2 loops are a stock U87.

To make this more clear: Modified U87-Modified U87-Stock U87-Stock U87. 96/24.
SAMPLES: Voice, AcGtr, DRums
Well now, to me at least, if there was ever an advert for NOT modifying a U87, this would be it! Do you not hear the sound degradation from a normal U87 tone? Do you not hear the increased muddiness in the low mids and what almost sounds like dither scattering across the high mids? Sure the modded U87 is way boxier and honkier than any U87 I've heard.

And with respect to you for uploading those samples, I reluctantly continue... I think all your sound samples exemplify the exact type of honkiness in the U87 sound that the OP and others referred to, and the solutions proposed gently take that away, opening up the sound and making the U87 sound much more natural, without taking its character of color completely away.

Obviously, your mileage WILL vary. But these are just my tuppence. (2P, 2 Pence, 2 cents worth)
Old 27th December 2012
  #43
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Have you ever checked your room modes. Tried different positions in the room ?

A lot of comb filtering I have heard has that honkiness to it.
Old 28th December 2012
  #44
Gear Head
 
Music Guru's Avatar
 

On vocals I've been cutting 3db @ 1khz and 2.5db @ 600hz.

On everything else I always end up cutting some 1khz out plus the usual shaping needs.

The good thing is that, once these cuts are made, the tracks sound beautiful.

Considering there are a lot of posters who don't need to do this to their U87s maybe I just prefer a cleaner sound in the high-mids than most.
Old 28th December 2012
  #45
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jmikeperkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
I have an older 70's 87 which I would not call honky,..... you can check the filter capacitor values of the models over the years. Try switching them to the values in the older darker models.

The u87 is a great mic, however if you want to turn it into a mic that is as good as any in the world, do yourself a favor and and check out the Innertube Audio tube 87 insert. It is amazing, the only vocal I have ever tracked that I could not add anything to. It was just perfect right out of the preamp.
I have an Innertube Audio tube 87 conversion kit and it is amazing. It it will remove some of the honk and really adds depth to the sound of the U87. The nice thing is it is non destructive and you can swap the original solid state amp back in less than a minute.
Old 6th January 2013
  #46
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syra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Pike View Post
Obviously, your mileage WILL vary. But these are just my tuppence. (2P, 2 Pence, 2 cents worth)
Well YMMV certainly in this case... Of course there is an extreme boost in the high end and a dip in the low mids which doesn't sound that pleasant on distant sources as I already mentioned on the drum example. However in the other 2 close-miked cases the stock 87 sounds broken in comparison.
Old 6th January 2013
  #47
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oceantracks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by syra View Post
Well YMMV certainly in this case... Of course there is an extreme boost in the high end and a dip in the low mids which doesn't sound that pleasant on distant sources as I already mentioned on the drum example. However in the other 2 close-miked cases the stock 87 sounds broken in comparison.
Horses for courses. I love the sound of 87s, and they sure never sounded boxy on Karen Carpenter.
Old 16th February 2014
  #48
My personal taste of EQing my own voice on my U87AI is through a Neve 1073N Mic Preamp/EQ is as such -
12KHz - 10 o'clock 7.2KHz - 7 o'clock 110 Hz - 7 o'clock

Im getting absolutely stunning results with this setting and a great sizzle that is not harsh for rap/ pop vocals, mic preamp is set at 40 gain running through a tube tech cl1b at a fixed attack release with 10 gain 6 ratio and -12 threshold
Old 16th February 2014
  #49
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Cathedral Guitar's Avatar
I'm of the opinion that U87s with too much honk simply need a good capsule cleaning. The new ones don't seem to honk. The vintage 1960s / 1970s ones don't honk. The ones I have owned that were honking were both 1980s, an early Ai and a late model 87i -- so both with 30 years of use, and probably could benefit from a cleaning. For me, a new 87Ai sounds perfect through a Trident A Range with no EQ needed.
Old 4th November 2015
  #50
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IkennaFuNkEn's Avatar
 

I have never heard a u87 vintage or AI that doesn't sound honkey... Just saying. When you eq it out it sounds VERY good. sometimes you don't based on the singer. I have a vintage one, and it can be honkey, maybe I need phram cleaned, but you have a new capsule.. Soo....... you do the math. You don't want honk, get a 251, or a u47.
Old 4th November 2015
  #51
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IkennaFuNkEn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post
So as promised, here's a little test I did. NOT SCIENTIFIC IN THE SLIGHTEST... it will simply give you a general sense of the tone of these two mics in relation to each other. The output of the U87 is much higher than the C414. This was compensated by bringing down the gain on the preamp. (To be noted... this is a C414EB with the ck12 capsule mastefully cleaned-up by Klaus Heyne.)

First pair of recordings: mic in the middle of a dry medium-sized room (13' x 15' x 10'). My mouth is directly infront of the capsule at a distance of around 8". No EQ, no compression.

Second pair of recordings: in the same room, same position, though this time I created a small booth-like space with three panels (about 3' x 3') around the mic. There's a gentle hi-pass on both of these... starting at 100Hz, dipping down 10dB at 50Hz, 20dB at 25Hz.

The first test is a fairer one when discussing the tone of the microphones considering that there is no phase issues being created by reflections.

You'll notice a little more energy in the 300-500Hz range for the U87. And a definite peak in energy at 1900Hz, which expands outward from around 1000Hz to 3000Hz. The C414EB demonstrates a push in the sibilance range and upward... 5000Hz to 10000Hz.

With the CK12 capsule, there is a naturalness in the mids and a sparkle in the highs that I love and prefer for vocals as long as the singer's voice isn't sibilant. If it is sibilant, I stick with the U87 and EQ out what I feel gives honkiness to the voice. On the other hand, the mid-forwardness of the U87 is perfect for voice overs... not to mention it is a crazy quiet microphone.

Enjoy.
What type of u87 is this? and have you had your capsule changed? I hear honk here as well, but its less because its spoken word and no sustained notes.
Old 4th November 2015
  #52
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WunderBro Flo's Avatar
The honk is the trademark sound, useful in some situations, slightly annoying in others. But it´s easy to "work" a U87 if you know it´s characterful frequencies. There are three common "offenders" on u87 vocals that I like to dip down a little:
200Hz if it´s too boomy,
500Hz if it´s too boxy and
2.5kHz if it´s too shhhhh-ish.
Especially that 2.5kHz dip can make the sound much more natural, while less cutting through at the same time.
Combine a dip with boosts for sparkle above 10kHz and eventually bass lower than 100Hz. Working those frequencies can turn any u87(ai) vocal in something beautiful imho, sometimes just one dip and one boost are enough.

The beauty of the u87 is that it gives you great ingredients, but you have to do the cooking. It won´t be great without touching it. But isn´t that what we are in for? How boring would life be if we would get a "ready" sound right from the start? We could not choose if we prefer the maag air boost or the pultec boost or the 1073 highboost to get the exact sparkle we want for this particular voice and this particular mix.
Old 5th November 2015
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks View Post
I love the sound of 87s, and they sure never sounded boxy on Karen Carpenter.
So, you knew Karen Carpenter well enough in real life to make that call?
Old 5th November 2015
  #54
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oceantracks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyper.real View Post
So, you knew Karen Carpenter well enough in real life to make that call?
No I knew Richard.


TH
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