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Can I get the U47 sound for under a grand? Condenser Microphones
Old 9th August 2017
  #1
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Can I get the U47 sound for under a grand?

I'm a huge microphone skeptic. To me, the difference between a U87 and a Rode NT1-A is negligible and I'd probably be able to make an NT1-A sound the same as a U87 with a quick eq move. (No need to debated this. I've been convinced by several blind tests.)

Having said that, in all the mic shootouts and blind tests I've heard, there has been only one mic that has consistently challenged the skeptic in me. It's the discontinued Neumann U47. It's got a character I don't hear in other microphones I've had experience with and I can't recreate that with eq and effects. Sadly, I don't have the money for such an expensive microphone.

So my question here:

Is there any microphone under $1000 that would give me anything close to the great U47 sound?
Old 9th August 2017
  #2
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I ordered one of these probably wont sound like a U47 but on the back of previous gear purchased from these guys it looks very promising...
Stam Audio
Old 9th August 2017
  #3
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Have you tried a slate digital VMS yet? At least for cardiod mode it should be close? I have a u47, one thing people don't talk about is it needs to be in a great room to shine - it sounds kind of worse then a modern mic in a crappy room.
Old 9th August 2017
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
I'm a huge microphone skeptic. To me, the difference between a U87 and a Rode NT1-A is negligible and I'd probably be able to make an NT1-A sound the same as a U87 with a quick eq move. (No need to debated this. I've been convinced by several blind tests.)

Having said that, in all the mic shootouts and blind tests I've heard, there has been only one mic that has consistently challenged the skeptic in me. It's the discontinued Neumann U47. It's got a character I don't hear in other microphones I've had experience with and I can't recreate that with eq and effects. Sadly, I don't have the money for such an expensive microphone.

So my question here:

Is there any microphone under $1000 that would give me anything close to the great U47 sound?
Yeah well it's comfortably in the GOATest of all time discussion, so makes sense.

In my opinion, your best bet if you truly want a tube 47 style mic under $1k is to contact Barbaric Amplification. He will make you a 47-inspired mic, with as good a name-brand capsule as you can afford, a name brand transformer, and a real tube circuit, for less than a $1000. My next serious mic will be a U67 inspired tube mic from him. If it were me, I'd get the most expensive capsule I could afford (ask him for help here), even if it meant going FET and skipping the tubes.

What do you like about it? In my experience, they're a tad mid-forward, in a good way. Lots of smooth detail. Were the ones you liked tube or the FET versions? Are you primarily interested in it as an option for vocals? They're really flexible and can be used for nearly anything really.

The answer to your question is likely no, not really. But also yeah, sort of. There are plenty of inexpensive 47-inspired mics under $1000, ones that use a K47- or M7-style capsule and shooting for 47-style flavor. Nearly all are FET, not tube. Who makes the best, or gets close is a huge discussion. Do your due diligence, buy something, and see if it works for you and you like it. It's the only way with mics, you can't rely on samples and shootouts and such beyond a certain point. With mics, you're paying for the subtlety and nuances.

Also the Slate VMS is exactly $1000, sometimes $900, and models the U47 and other classic mics. You can even push the character "past" 100% to really exaggerate the modeling and exaggerate the various sounds they're going for, could be very helpful in your situation if you tend to not perceive much difference between the various mics. And what's very interesting is you can record a vocal once, and then spend as much time as you want trying the various mics and preamp models and changing settings after-the-fact, to really dial it in if you want, which is pretty wild. Not for everyone but a very powerful option to be considered seriously.

Of the 3U Audio Warbler series, the MK2 version is the "47-esque" style (very loosely...). I wouldn't say it "does what a 47 does" for vocals, but for non-vocal 47 duties, it's got a k47-inpsired capsule, a transformer (no tube), and is big value at only $270 for cardioid / $350 for card/fig8/omni. $30 more than Rode NT1A and it smokes that mic. The Warbler MK2 (or any of the Warbler series really) make for excellent front-of-kick mics, like 47's (especially FET 47's) are used for often. They are excellent general purpose mics, great value, and cheap enough to not care about using it on things like FOK! The MK1's are the (very loosely) U87-inspired version.

Still... the Barbaric Amplification route is the one I'd go personally with your budget and if you want tube.
Old 9th August 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
I'm a huge microphone skeptic. To me, the difference between a U87 and a Rode NT1-A is negligible and I'd probably be able to make an NT1-A sound the same as a U87 with a quick eq move. (No need to debated this. I've been convinced by several blind tests.)

Having said that, in all the mic shootouts and blind tests I've heard, there has been only one mic that has consistently challenged the skeptic in me. It's the discontinued Neumann U47. It's got a character I don't hear in other microphones I've had experience with and I can't recreate that with eq and effects. Sadly, I don't have the money for such an expensive microphone.

So my question here:

Is there any microphone under $1000 that would give me anything close to the great U47 sound?
If you have high end monitoring you should hear a HUGE difference between an NT1-A and a U87. You're probably listening for the wrong thing. An Epiphone has the exact same tone as a Gibson but there is a totally different dynamic response. The NT1-A has much more HF distortion and is much less sensitive than a U87. Also has noticeably greater self-noise. They do have nearly identical tone but the U87 far outperforms the NT1-A.
Old 10th August 2017
  #6
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escape set's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
I'm a huge microphone skeptic. To me, the difference between a U87 and a Rode NT1-A is negligible and I'd probably be able to make an NT1-A sound the same as a U87 with a quick eq move. (No need to debated this. I've been convinced by several blind tests.)

Having said that, in all the mic shootouts and blind tests I've heard, there has been only one mic that has consistently challenged the skeptic in me. It's the discontinued Neumann U47. It's got a character I don't hear in other microphones I've had experience with and I can't recreate that with eq and effects. Sadly, I don't have the money for such an expensive microphone.

So my question here:

Is there any microphone under $1000 that would give me anything close to the great U47 sound?
I have a stellar cm6 that leaves nothing to be desired in my world.
Old 11th August 2017
  #7
RODE NT1A. that's all you need man.
Old 11th August 2017
  #8
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Originally Posted by bowzin View Post

What do you like about it? In my experience, they're a tad mid-forward, in a good way. Lots of smooth detail. Were the ones you liked tube or the FET versions? Are you primarily interested in it as an option for vocals? They're really flexible and can be used for nearly anything really.
Thanks for the very useful suggestions.

I don't understand what it is I like about the U47 sound. The thing is I always go by blind tests, in order to get all biases and external influences out of the way. And I usually take the time to evaluate gear this way whenever I can. And every time I do, most of what I'm looking at turns out to be snake oil. Especially expensive microphones. The u47, however, has always been my prefered mic in each of these tests, whether it was an old tube version or FET... They do sound like they all, to whatever extent, have this sweet response in the lower treble/upper mids; with vocals especially.

I'm going to go with one of the options you suggested after a bit more research. I want a vocal mic I'll never want to replace.
Old 11th August 2017
  #9
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Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
If you have high end monitoring you should hear a HUGE difference between an NT1-A and a U87. You're probably listening for the wrong thing. An Epiphone has the exact same tone as a Gibson but there is a totally different dynamic response. The NT1-A has much more HF distortion and is much less sensitive than a U87. Also has noticeably greater self-noise. They do have nearly identical tone but the U87 far outperforms the NT1-A.

I certainly don't want to use the high end monitoring you used to hear the self-noise on NT1-A to be noticeably greater than on the U87.
Old 11th August 2017
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
I certainly don't want to use the high end monitoring you used to hear the self-noise on NT1-A to be noticeably greater than on the U87.
Well, just because you can't hear something doesn't mean it's not there. Just remember that there are other people who will hear the difference between these mics, whether you just can't hear it or choose to ignore it.

The u47 is a great mic, one of the holy grails. If I had unlimited money I'd get a u48, the first time I heard these mics in person on a singer I was familiar with I instantly realized how special they are.

You're probably not going to get that sound for anywhere near $1k. I was looking for a similar thing and settled on the Pearlman TM-1. It's not a u47, but it has a vibe and tone reminiscent of what I was looking for, and it was the most I could stretch to spend, though a bit more than $1k. I've never heard the Pearlman TM-2, but Dave who makes the mics told me they were pretty similar sounding, so you may want to check into that as they're around your budget.
Old 11th August 2017
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
I'm a huge microphone skeptic. To me, the difference between a U87 and a Rode NT1-A is negligible and I'd probably be able to make an NT1-A sound the same as a U87 with a quick eq move. (No need to debated this. I've been convinced by several blind tests.)

Having said that, in all the mic shootouts and blind tests I've heard, there has been only one mic that has consistently challenged the skeptic in me. It's the discontinued Neumann U47. It's got a character I don't hear in other microphones I've had experience with and I can't recreate that with eq and effects. Sadly, I don't have the money for such an expensive microphone.

So my question here:

Is there any microphone under $1000 that would give me anything close to the great U47 sound?
Yes. The Beesneez Oliver has a similar frequency response and overall tone to the U47.
Old 11th August 2017
  #12
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Originally Posted by unitymusic View Post
Well, just because you can't hear something doesn't mean it's not there.
What's there? Noticeably more self-noise on NT1-A?
Old 11th August 2017
  #13
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47's indeed do have "their special thing" in the midrange.

The Slate VMS is a bargain but that type of solution isn't for everyone. But keep in mind that one microphone is not going to be best for every voice.

I kind of think of 3 or 4 main mic sounds that cover some broad strokes that are useful to have.

47-ish (solid all around, outstanding mids)
251-ish (more scooped, more top)
C800g-ish (modern, lots of top)

This is exactly what Slate was shooting for, which is smart IMHO. The VMS presets cover a lot of ground vs what you'd spend for a collection of high end mics. Not my cup of tea but it might be yours.
Old 11th August 2017
  #14
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3u Audio GZ47fet
Old 12th August 2017
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickFaith View Post
Have you tried a slate digital VMS yet? At least for cardiod mode it should be close? I have a u47, one thing people don't talk about is it needs to be in a great room to shine - it sounds kind of worse then a modern mic in a crappy room.
I got to say it..UGHHH! Come on, anyone remember Antares Mic Modeler? Totally sucked.
Old 12th August 2017
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
I'm a huge microphone skeptic. To me, the difference between a U87 and a Rode NT1-A is negligible and I'd probably be able to make an NT1-A sound the same as a U87 with a quick eq move. (No need to debated this. I've been convinced by several blind tests.)

Having said that, in all the mic shootouts and blind tests I've heard, there has been only one mic that has consistently challenged the skeptic in me. It's the discontinued Neumann U47. It's got a character I don't hear in other microphones I've had experience with and I can't recreate that with eq and effects. Sadly, I don't have the money for such an expensive microphone.

So my question here:

Is there any microphone under $1000 that would give me anything close to the great U47 sound?
Build it. Easy. https://microphone-parts.com/
Old 12th August 2017
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
What's there? Noticeably more self-noise on NT1-A?
I've never used the Rode so I honestly don't know what's there or how it differs from a u87. If there is more self-noise or more THD or whatever, then lacking the monitoring environment to hear it won't make it go away was my point. It's always best to strive for the best monitoring you can, even if you're using cheap gear and all of the flaws are exposed. At least then you know what you're dealing with, and when you're in a situation to upgrade you can accurately identify what parts of your chain to focus on first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mics View Post
Yes. The Beesneez Oliver has a similar frequency response and overall tone to the U47.
I've never actually used a Beesneez mic before, but I've heard lots of good things, and when I was shopping around this market your mics were on my short list. I just decided to try the Pearlman first, and was happy enough to not want to return it. For anyone shopping around now for a mic in this style and in this price range, I'm sure this is another good option to explore.
Old 12th August 2017
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
I'm a huge microphone skeptic. To me, the difference between a U87 and a Rode NT1-A is negligible and I'd probably be able to make an NT1-A sound the same as a U87 with a quick eq move. (No need to debated this. I've been convinced by several blind tests.)

Having said that, in all the mic shootouts and blind tests I've heard, there has been only one mic that has consistently challenged the skeptic in me. It's the discontinued Neumann U47. It's got a character I don't hear in other microphones I've had experience with and I can't recreate that with eq and effects. Sadly, I don't have the money for such an expensive microphone.

So my question here:

Is there any microphone under $1000 that would give me anything close to the great U47 sound?
But, when you say that you can make a rode nt1a indistinguishable from a u87 you realize that you're just asking for lots of hot fire, right?

If you really believe that then I would recommend an sm7b to replicate the 47
Old 12th August 2017
  #19
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Originally Posted by unitymusic View Post
I've never used the Rode so I honestly don't know what's there or how it differs from a u87. If there is more self-noise or more THD or whatever, then lacking the monitoring environment to hear it won't make it go away was my point. It's always best to strive for the best monitoring you can, even if you're using cheap gear and all of the flaws are exposed. At least then you know what you're dealing with, and when you're in a situation to upgrade you can accurately identify what parts of your chain to focus on first.

Yeah, but you're agreeing with someone who's making an outrageous claim, not having a clue that there isn't a Neumann mic in the world with self-noise as low as what you have on the low-key NT1-A.

I don't see your point regarding monitoring either. You know, I'm on GearSlutz... I certainly am not using the free earbuds I got from the last airlines I flew with. I got all sorts of studio monitors and a pair or well-amped HD 600 headphones. But even if I were using a Black Friday special $50 Sony V6 headphones, that should be more than enough to tell a great mic from a bad one.
Old 12th August 2017
  #20
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Originally Posted by bgood View Post
But, when you say that you can make a rode nt1a indistinguishable from a u87 you realize that you're just asking for lots of hot fire, right?
I don't believe normally developed adults should become emotional discussing electronic equipment. The only standard I go by when evaluating microphone quality is a blind test. I don't consider brands, price tag and prestige. Provided the build quality isn't seriously lacking, I make all decisions solely based on a blind test, my gold standard.
Old 12th August 2017
  #21
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Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
I don't believe normally developed adults should become emotional discussing electronic equipment. The only standard I go by when evaluating microphone quality is a blind test. I don't consider brands, price tag and prestige. Provided the build quality isn't seriously lacking, I make all decisions solely based on a blind test, my gold standard.

Well... That's a bunch of stuff to unpack.

I have an original nt2 pre-lawsuit... Through a high end preamp and with a bit of eq it can get in the same ballpark as an 87...

Anyhoo... It's your thread... Your post was of the type typical here where somebody makes a claim like yours (behringer sounds just like a neve) and people tend to pile on.

Try the 3u mics. Plenty of threads herein
Old 12th August 2017
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
You know, I'm on GearSlutz...
Point taken...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
...I make all decisions solely based on a blind test, my gold standard.
Far better than blind testing is actually using said gear for a while in the context you would actually be using it. With blind testing there is no context, and after you've used a piece of gear for a while you start to become accustomed to the nuances - or lack of - that it has to offer.
Old 12th August 2017
  #23
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Originally Posted by unitymusic View Post
Point taken...

Far better than blind testing is actually using said gear for a while in the context you would actually be using it. With blind testing there is no context, and after you've used a piece of gear for a while you start to become accustomed to the nuances - or lack of - that it has to offer.
That would be ideal, of course. Still, if you're hard pressed to tell two mics apart in a blind test, you're gonna be fine with either one of them in whatever application you consider them for. Other features like sensitivity, proximity effect, polar pattern might be varying, but no need to split hairs. There are much more important things to save money for. I just need a U47-like sounding LDC for a vocalist to stand in front of and sing through a pop filter. It's not complicated.

Lots of great suggestions so far. I'll need to explore these options.
Old 12th August 2017
  #24
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Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
Yeah, but you're agreeing with someone who's making an outrageous claim, not having a clue that there isn't a Neumann mic in the world with self-noise as low as what you have on the low-key NT1-A.

I don't see your point regarding monitoring either. You know, I'm on GearSlutz... I certainly am not using the free earbuds I got from the last airlines I flew with. I got all sorts of studio monitors and a pair or well-amped HD 600 headphones. But even if I were using a Black Friday special $50 Sony V6 headphones, that should be more than enough to tell a great mic from a bad one.
A relatively new $350 LDC capacitor mic that has similar tone to, but noticeably doesn't perform as well as $4000 flagship design that's been specifically improved over the last 40 years to reduce noise and distortion significantly; what an outrageous claim! Raving lunatic is what he is! He should be lobotomized that's what! hahaha
Old 12th August 2017
  #25
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Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
...$4000 flagship design that's been specifically improved over the last 40 years to reduce noise and distortion significantly...
So, then, has it achieved lower self-noise than NT1-A?

Is this some kind of religion or what? Do facts even matter?
Old 12th August 2017
  #26
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Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
So, then, has it achieved lower self-noise than NT1-A?

Is this some kind of religion or what? Do facts even matter?
Facts and specs only matter if you know the difference between A-weighted and unweighted and also have a monitoring system with electronics that have 0.005% or less THD at nominal output and speakers at least 90dB sensitive and the ears to tell the difference.
Old 12th August 2017
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
So, then, has it achieved lower self-noise than NT1-A?

Is this some kind of religion or what? Do facts even matter?
What facts? Using great microphones is more like a lifestyle than a religion. Most who are serious about this stuff eventually come to the same conclusion - while there are bang for your buck items out there that excel at what they do, sometimes you get what you pay for. Microphones are one of those things you generally don't want to skimp on if you can afford not to. The reward is higher with mics than most pieces of gear IMO, and it only becomes more apparent the longer you use something that is very high quality.

In your original post you said this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
To me, the difference between a U87 and a Rode NT1-A is negligible ...
Do you have a u87? If not, have you recorded with one more than a few times? Lots of mics claim to be almost everything a u87 is for a much cheaper cost, but there's a reason why the u87 is a standard for certain things. Even if it's not the ideal vocal mic, it will still do the job and sound at least good on most sources.

But a u87 sounds nothing like a u47, which I think is actually the topic of this thread? Furthermore, you mentioned the FET 47 somewhere, and that is a completely different sound and mic than the tube 47, which is almost always what people are talking about when they hold the "u47" in the highest regards as a vocal mic.

If you take anything away from my post[s] here, it should be that talking about this stuff can get confusing, but hearing stuff for yourself - especially on recordings you've worked on - will teach you a lot about these things rather quickly. So stop comparing to and chasing a sound you've never heard, and don't believe that any internet shootout or blind test will give you anything more than a slight hint of what a mic can actually sound like when used appropriately in the context of an actual recording. Also, good luck on your search for a u47-like mic, even if you only get 70% of the way there you're still doing pretty good. You won't get that from an FET mic though.
Old 12th August 2017
  #28
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Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
Facts and specs only matter if you know the difference between A-weighted and unweighted and also have a monitoring system with electronics that have 0.005% or less THD at nominal output and speakers at least 90dB sensitive and the ears to tell the difference.
Well, let's say I have the best monitoring system in the world and ears as good as yours, would I then find the U87 to have lower self-noise than the NT1-A?
Old 12th August 2017
  #29
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Can't believe no one has mentioned Advanced Audio yet. A few choices from him right under $1000, plus a newer offering that apparently sounds the same but is in his smaller body for about half the price.
Old 12th August 2017
  #30
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Originally Posted by unitymusic View Post
Furthermore, you mentioned the FET 47 somewhere, and that is a completely different sound and mic than the tube 47, which is almost always what people are talking about when they hold the "u47" in the highest regards as a vocal mic.
Thanks. I might have to then look into some tube mics. If the FET U47 doesn't produce that characteristic vocal sound I like, then it's got to be something in the tube design.

I've had no experience with tube mics other than some really old and funny looking Oktava tube mic that I tried some time ago. I remember it being warm but nothing like the sweet upper mids I hear on U47 recordings.
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