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Neumann U87ai (if you already own a Shure KSM44) ?
Old 20th June 2013
  #1
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Dizzy's Avatar
 

Neumann U87ai (if you already own a Shure KSM44) ?

Hello,

Currently I'm running my Shure KSM44 through an Avalon 737sp, and I'm on the fence about purchasing the U87 to match with the Avalon as it seems to be a cery common and nice match up. Reason I ask is because it seems that the KSM44 gets compared to the U87 in discussions, and beats out the TLM103 in other discussions. In some audio shootouts that I have heard between the two, the KSM44 sounded boomier almost - whereas the U87 had a noticeably smoother and richer lower end to my ear.

This will be primarily for vocals, hip hop based vocals - but I do sing as well, a lot actually. I'll attach an audio piece of a vocal layed down on the KSM44 through the Avalon with zero EQ, just compression.

After listening to my vocal, feel free to suggest any other microphones that you guys would see fitting my particular voice matched through the Avalon. Thanks in advance.

Old 20th June 2013
  #2
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I used to own a KSM44 and also used a U87 for most of our vox on our last album so I got to compare the two. I really liked the KSM44 but the U87 was definitely better, more detailed with fuller lower mids. if I had the choice of keeping only one it would have been the 87 but it was a loaner.
Old 20th June 2013
  #3
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Awesome that you got to directly compare the two. That's exactly what I heard with my ear in the shoot outs I did hear, the U87 seemed to have a warmer/fuller but smoother sound in the lower end in comparison with the KSM44. Thanks for your response. Just wondering if it is a couple grand worth the 'upgrade' or not, you know.

I should mention that I will have the U87 modded had I do decide to purchase it, so it won't be a completely stock U87ai.
Old 20th June 2013
  #4
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hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
Awesome that you got to directly compare the two. That's exactly what I heard with my ear in the shoot outs I did hear, the U87 seemed to have a warmer/fuller but smoother sound in the lower end in comparison with the KSM44. Thanks for your response. Just wondering if it is a couple grand worth the 'upgrade' or not, you know.

I should mention that I will have the U87 modded had I do decide to purchase it, so it won't be a completely stock U87ai.
I don't have an AI but do have a vintage U87. I also have the KSM44. I love the U87 but the Shure is a wonderful mic too. And different from the Neumann. It sounds natural and clear, detailed highs and plenty of bass.

The U87 sounds like, well, a U87. I love the sound and that is why it is so popular. I like having both. Would you not like both? The 44 can come in handy on a bunch of stuff.
Old 20th June 2013
  #5
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Originally was planning to completely replace the KSM with the U87, yes - but have been giving it thought on keeping it around, at least for a while and if I don't find any other uses for it then offing it rather than off it immediately.
Old 21st June 2013
  #6
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i use a u87ai all the time for tracking rappers at my studio and it sounds great. I've heard great things about the ksm44, and a lot of people like to compare it to the 87 for some reason, almost like its an affordable version.

to be honest, after using the 87 almost every day for over a year now, i don't think its really the greatest vocal mic. its just so popular so people keep buying it, so it stays popular and people keep buying it again, etc. its kind of like pro tools haha. don't get me wrong its a workhorse and i like having one, but ever since i got my manley the 87 doesn't get as much use anymore. the manley already has that open top end so you don't have to eq it as much and doesn't have some of the honkiness that i experience with the 87. if it were me, id sell the ksm44, sell the avalon, and get a manley mic and a tube tech cl1b (used if its too expensive). that setup is KILLER. tossing a NOS 12ax7 Tele tube in the manley makes it even better and very suitable for rappers. its a really modern sound. through the cl1b it sounds absolutely glorious. and using a preamp like a neve or great river just rounds it out perfectly!
Old 22nd June 2013
  #7
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Go find somewhere you can hear a U87ai next to your KSM, Then Ask your self. Is this the sound I want?
I don't know how many guys I have seen buy an 87 and realize great mic, but not what I'm looking for.
Old 22nd June 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
Go find somewhere you can hear a U87ai next to your KSM, Then Ask your self. Is this the sound I want?
I don't know how many guys I have seen buy an 87 and realize great mic, but not what I'm looking for.
Here´s one! took mine back to the store a couple of weeks ago, still deciding for a tube mic to replace it, almost decided for the Brauner VM-1 which I loove on my voice!
Old 23rd June 2013
  #9
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madehumble's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thetalkinghead View Post
i use a u87ai all the time for tracking rappers at my studio and it sounds great. I've heard great things about the ksm44, and a lot of people like to compare it to the 87 for some reason, almost like its an affordable version.

to be honest, after using the 87 almost every day for over a year now, i don't think its really the greatest vocal mic. its just so popular so people keep buying it, so it stays popular and people keep buying it again, etc. its kind of like pro tools haha. don't get me wrong its a workhorse and i like having one, but ever since i got my manley the 87 doesn't get as much use anymore. the manley already has that open top end so you don't have to eq it as much and doesn't have some of the honkiness that i experience with the 87. if it were me, id sell the ksm44, sell the avalon, and get a manley mic and a tube tech cl1b (used if its too expensive). that setup is KILLER. tossing a NOS 12ax7 Tele tube in the manley makes it even better and very suitable for rappers. its a really modern sound. through the cl1b it sounds absolutely glorious. and using a preamp like a neve or great river just rounds it out perfectly!
+1 Putting a Telefunken 12ax7 in a Manley Ref C takes it to another plateau.
Old 23rd June 2013
  #10
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the ref c is an amazing mic for the money..
Old 23rd June 2013
  #11
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Second the Ref C. Much warmer and smoother than the U87ai. Never sounds honky unlike a U87ai which can sound honky with some vocalists.
Old 23rd June 2013
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derneustart View Post
Here´s one! took mine back to the store a couple of weeks ago, still deciding for a tube mic to replace it, almost decided for the Brauner VM-1 which I loove on my voice!
Hardest thing to teach; it's not about the best mic you can afford, it's the right mic!
The hard thing when your a gear pimp is when after trying a bunch of $3k mics, the fing SM58 is the right mic!
Old 24th June 2013
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waldie wave View Post
Second the Ref C. Much warmer and smoother than the U87ai. Never sounds honky unlike a U87ai which can sound honky with some vocalists.
thats exactly what i posted on the previous page. the u87 gets honky pretty consistently in my experience. not so with the manley. i gotta say im really blown away by the ref c. its really my favorite mic ive ever used, let alone owned. im still keeping my 87 because its nice to have one around, but it seems like the ref c will be my main vocal mic for the forseeable future.
Old 24th June 2013
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
Hardest thing to teach; it's not about the best mic you can afford, it's the right mic!
The hard thing when your a gear pimp is when after trying a bunch of $3k mics, the fing SM58 is the right mic!
also very true.. ive had my re20 sound much better than my 87 on some voices
Old 24th June 2013
  #15
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From what I hear, the Ref C would be really hissy on my particular voice.
Old 24th June 2013
  #16
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What do you mean by hissy?
Old 24th June 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
Hello,

Currently I'm running my Shure KSM44 through an Avalon 737sp, and I'm on the fence about purchasing the U87 to match with the Avalon as it seems to be a cery common and nice match up. Reason I ask is because it seems that the KSM44 gets compared to the U87 in discussions, and beats out the TLM103 in other discussions. In some audio shootouts that I have heard between the two, the KSM44 sounded boomier almost - whereas the U87 had a noticeably smoother and richer lower end to my ear.

This will be primarily for vocals, hip hop based vocals - but I do sing as well, a lot actually. I'll attach an audio piece of a vocal layed down on the KSM44 through the Avalon with zero EQ, just compression.

After listening to my vocal, feel free to suggest any other microphones that you guys would see fitting my particular voice matched through the Avalon. Thanks in advance.

I have and use a U87 and 737 on vox.
I do own preamps that cost 1000 more than the 737 but it is still my favourite even over the STT1 or Portico2 pre,s on vocals.

The first time I plugged a U87 into a Avalon 737 it was magic, and still is.
737 isn't the best eq or comp by comparison but the pre itself with a U87 is marvellous.
If you have the means to do so I highly recommend the U87 with 737. But mines not for sale, sorry
Old 24th June 2013
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
From what I hear, the Ref C would be really hissy on my particular voice.
This sounds to me like " I either
1 Don't have a ref C in stock.
2 We are not Manley Dealers.
3 I m talking out my but , yet still trying to sound cool.
Old 24th June 2013
  #19
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ddageek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
From what I hear, the Ref C would be really hissy on my particular voice.
This sounds to me like " I either
1 Don't have a ref C in stock.
2 We are not Manley Dealers.
3 I m talking out my but , yet still trying to sound cool.
Old 24th June 2013
  #20
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Dizzy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by waldie wave View Post
What do you mean by hissy?
Sibilant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phatbeatstudio View Post
I have and use a U87 and 737 on vox.
I do own preamps that cost 1000 more than the 737 but it is still my favourite even over the STT1 or Portico2 pre,s on vocals.

The first time I plugged a U87 into a Avalon 737 it was magic, and still is.
737 isn't the best eq or comp by comparison but the pre itself with a U87 is marvellous.
If you have the means to do so I highly recommend the U87 with 737. But mines not for sale, sorry
An success story's like yours is why I began looking into the U87, not just because if the name it carries. However, the U87 I would be getting is the AI version - which I'm hoping is still good. Also, it has a mod done to it by Jim Williams, which from what I hear just doesn't completely change the characteristics of the mic, but carves out the infamous 'honk' sound a bit, and 'opens' it up a bit - a little clearer persae. Or I can go bone stock U87AI. Each of which has the option of getting the quick swappable InnerTube mod if necessary down the road.
Old 25th June 2013
  #21
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Ryan Gregory's Avatar
 

I have a Manley Reference C, and extensive experience with U87ai. I've found the Ref C to be a smoother, more natural, and warmer sounding mic. However, this doesn't necessarily translate to a better sound for rap vocals. I've never had them both at the same time but in my recollection, either one sounds great but I might like the 87 a little bit more. For a singer I would pick the Ref C all day.
Old 25th June 2013
  #22
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Might have to invest in both down the road, as I do sing as well - I'm notorious for singing just about all of my hooks. I'll have to stop by Guitar Center and see if I can try one out, I know it'll be really essy for me on my aggressive verses, as well as some other particular artists I track. The U87ai purchase is pretty much set in stone, sending off payment for that this week, modded by Jim, looking forward to trying it out.
Old 25th June 2013
  #23
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You should find the Manley Ref C will have less siblance issues than the U87ai. That has been my experience with both mics. However, mic placement can reduce siblance issues with the U87ai (and Manley if that became an issue with you).
Old 26th June 2013
  #24
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the Manley is better for rapping once you swap the tube with a NOS Tele or Mullard. Both me and an engineer buddy of mine found this to be the case when we both upgraded our tubes.
Old 21st July 2015
  #25
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JblKid95's Avatar
 

Manley reference is not my favorite because you cannot eq he mic out. I hate that. It's like you're driving your car with sponsors right on the hood. Id go With and 87 and learn how to eq and Compress. When I started out I used to use a compressor to track. Now I prefer adding after, way better for me, and if I do, I'm barely hitting it. Way more dynamic. A lot of people don't realize. Compressor imparts more of a sound than a pre a lot of the times, when pushed. Forget the compressor for now add it later when you think you really need it and can afford it. Long story short. Between the two u87
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