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Vintage U87 or New Mic Pre..TO TUBE OR NOT TO TUBE?!?!
Old 3rd December 2006
  #1
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Vintage U87 or New Mic Pre..TO TUBE OR NOT TO TUBE?!?!

Hey everybody, i'm trying to make some improvements in my lab in the next week, so i'd like your help....my focus is on producing tracks, and at this stage in my career i'm not trying to build a mic collection or have multiple mic pre's, but i would like to have a high quality mic setup for my artists and clients....that being said,
I am currently using a tlm103 running into a focusrite isa220. i have been looking to upgrade my microphone with a tlm49 or a restored original u87 and continue to run thru my focusrite. Recently, i was told that pairing my 103 with a tube preamp like a universal audio la610 would bring some new life to my 103 and even yield a better sound than running the u87 thru my existing solid state pre! i found this hard to believe, but i do think that adding a tube into my mix (either at the mic or pre stage) will improve my vocal sound. The salesperson also added that the vintage u87 paired with a tube pre like the la610 or an avalon would be a very nice combo...
So here are my options....
a.) keep my tlm103 and replace my focusrite with a la610
b.) replace my 103 with a 49 and keep my focusrite
b.) replace my 103 with a u87 and keep my focusrite
c.) purchase the u87 and the la610
d.) purchase the tlm49 and the la610
e.) forget about the la610 and get this__________________tube pre
f.) keep the focusrite and get this____________________tube mic

i am willing to shop around, and i'm sure i can get a dope a$$ api pre and peluso tube mic from tony for under 5 , so my max budget for two units in this upgrade is 5 stacks, my 1 unit max budget is 3 stacks....thanks in advanceheh
Old 3rd December 2006
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
AdamLazlo's Avatar
 

Considering that I'm not a fan of Focusrite, TLM103, or UA610...

I push toward a 60's - 70's U87. Most of the mic pre's I've run my 70's U87 thru sounds great... or I should say it's been the #1 mic that gets used for vocals 80% of the time; male or female in all different genre's.

A couple months ago I did run my U87 thru a newer Focusrite pre and it sounded pretty good (much to my surprise considering my previous disappointments).

A vintage U87 really won't benefit from a darker mic pre considering that the early U87's are already darker and rounder than the newer U87ai's. If you got a U87ai, I'd suggest a different, vintage, and darker pre.

If you can get your hands on a U87 (proper, sans "i" or "ai") for around $1000 to $1500 of which might need some work, that would be a great purchase. If the mic needs work, ie - re-skin, expect to dump another $200 to $350 to get it back to original factory specs.

To reiterate, my 70's U87 sounds just fine, if not better, thru any pre than most of my other mics that can be particular/dependent regarding a mic and mic pre combo.

-- Adam Lazlo
Old 3rd December 2006
  #3
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamLazlo View Post
Considering that I'm not a fan of Focusrite, TLM103, or UA610...

I push toward a 60's - 70's U87. Most of the mic pre's I've run my 70's U87 thru sounds great... or I should say it's been the #1 mic that gets used for vocals 80% of the time; male or female in all different genre's.

A couple months ago I did run my U87 thru a newer Focusrite pre and it sounded pretty good (much to my surprise considering my previous disappointments).

A vintage U87 really won't benefit from a darker mic pre considering that the early U87's are already darker and rounder than the newer U87ai's. If you got a U87ai, I'd suggest a different, vintage, and darker pre.

If you can get your hands on a U87 (proper, sans "i" or "ai") for around $1000 to $1500 of which might need some work, that would be a great purchase. If the mic needs work, ie - re-skin, expect to dump another $200 to $350 to get it back to original factory specs.

To reiterate, my 70's U87 sounds just fine, if not better, thru any pre than most of my other mics that can be particular/dependent regarding a mic and mic pre combo.

-- Adam Lazlo
Im with you, a u87 i / ai is a workhorse and always blends with most everything, my second favorite mic is a GT66 tube, real mice warm sound.
Old 3rd December 2006
  #4
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Id change the mic bro. the ISA220 is fine. Start with the mics.
If you want to hear the TLM103 through a UA610 pre, here ya go

http://nergretty.com/

I have a TLM103 through an Avalon 737sp and it aint that great IMO.
the mic is the weak part(FOR ME!!!!).

I just got a Pearlman TM1 and it sounds sweet.
Get a better mic and then maybe pickup a UA http://www.uaudio.com/products/analo...610/index.html

If you want a darker tone for the mic. U87 is cool but there are PLENTY of options that wont kill your wallet. If you want a U87 then get one. Mics make more of a diff to the sound captured then the PRE IMO.
Old 3rd December 2006
  #5
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themaestro's Avatar
 

[QUOTE my 70's U87 sounds just fine, if not better, thru any pre than most of my other mics that can be particular/dependent regarding a mic and mic pre combo.

-- Adam Lazlo[/QUOTE]

sounds good to me adam! the place that has the mics sells the vintage 87 fully refurbished and recalibrated for around 2200, a little higher than your estimate, but it sounds like a very feasible option to me
Old 3rd December 2006
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
AdamLazlo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by themaestro View Post
my 70's U87 sounds just fine, if not better, thru any pre than most of my other mics that can be particular/dependent regarding a mic and mic pre combo.

-- Adam Lazlo

sounds good to me adam! the place that has the mics sells the vintage 87 fully refurbished and re-calibrated for around 2200, a little higher than your estimate, but it sounds like a very feasible option to me
What I'm saying is if you can win-bid for one around that $1000 to $1500 area, of which is realistic, if you have to reskin/service it'll be around $200 to $350, so it'll be just under $2000 in an ideal-search/self-ground-work situation. $2200 for a ready to go 70's U87 is an okay, yet over-priced, deal but only if there's a sweet long-term warranty/guarantee; then it's worth it.

It's totally up to you tho, if you can a/b whatever... ultimately it's up to you. I mostly don't want you to get screwed on "vintage/classic" in-house cost. You could preview the $2200 U87 and like it but you could spend hundreds less, with diligent and patient searches/bidding, yet get the same results.

Example -- mic service shops that sell re-firb/original/unfettered this and that but try to screw me out of another $500 or more beyond what "said item" actually, reasonably, is going for on the used market; best condition.

-- Adam Lazlo
Old 3rd December 2006
  #7
Lives for gear
 
themaestro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamLazlo View Post
What I'm saying is if you can win-bid for one around that $1000 to $1500 area, of which is realistic, if you have to reskin/service it'll be around $200 to $350, so it'll be just under $2000 in an ideal-search/self-ground-work situation. $2200 for a ready to go 70's U87 is an okay, yet over-priced, deal but only if there's a sweet long-term warranty/guarantee; then it's worth it.

It's totally up to you tho, if you can a/b whatever... ultimately it's up to you. I mostly don't want you to get screwed on "vintage/classic" in-house cost. You could preview the $2200 U87 and like it but you could spend hundreds less, with diligent and patient searches/bidding, yet get the same results.

Example -- mic service shops that sell re-firb/original/unfettered this and that but try to screw me out of another $500 or more beyond what "said item" actually, reasonably, is going for on the used market; best condition.

-- Adam Lazlo
ill check on the warranty/guarantee, but i honestly dont have much faith or trust in online auctions, and as i said, i want to make this upgrade in the very very near future...i am keeping my eyes open for reputable sellers and people trying to unload equipment, but this particular company appears to be the only sure shot
Old 3rd December 2006
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
AdamLazlo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by themaestro View Post
ill check on the warranty/guarantee, but i honestly dont have much faith or trust in online auctions, and as i said, i want to make this upgrade in the very very near future...i am keeping my eyes open for reputable sellers and people trying to unload equipment, but this particular company appears to be the only sure shot
And that's completely justified. I feel the same way regarding my purchases.

-- Adam Lazlo
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