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Old 21st August 2016
Lives for gear
Santiago's Avatar

Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
I hope you'd take a moment to think about whether you really believe the "You get what you pay for" is a rational adage. I, for one, think it's a lazy rule of thumb.

Is it possible that the Neumann microphones are just good quality microphones, just like many others from Rode, Oktava, AKG etc, and the only real difference is that they have a big name and reputation and so they charge a lot more for their products, hoping (correctly) that the buyers will be impressed by the high price and think they are getting a superior value for their investment?

Having a basic understanding of human nature and knowing how business and marketing usually work, I expect this to be the case. If this perspective is skewed, then I'd really want to know why so I can learn something new.
Basically, Neumann (like many other high-end makers) have a excellent R&D and engineering departments, so their mics have gone through many tests and tuning before being commercially released. Things like grille and head basket resonances, damping have been very carefully set. The same goes for capsule manufacturing and design, etc... So, from an objective point of view, their microphones are as close as possible to what was intended by the designers. Unintended resonances are minimised, etc.. I have not used the U87, but I have a couple of KM84 microphones and some of their features would be difficult to achieve without very clever design and precise engineering - for instance, off-axis sound sources are lower in volume but are hardly coloured, which is great in some circumstances..

However (and this is where you are right), that does not mean that their microphones are the best (or better than a Rode NT1, as you said) for every single application. Although according to some design criteria they are objectively superior, that does not mean that they are always subjectively superior (and music is subjective). As you say, the presence peak of a RODE NT1 might be ideal for some sources. And the (hypothetical but very likely) superior acoustic performance of the U87 may not add much in some cases.

So I sort of agree with both. Neumann mics are really great, but in some cases a RODE NT1 will outperform them. And you can make great recordings with either if you understand their specific virtues and shortcomings....

Last edited by Santiago; 21st August 2016 at 10:33 PM..