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Neumann U87 AI or Soundelux U95
Old 18th August 2008
  #1
Neumann U87 AI or Soundelux U95

I'm stuck. I've been offered a U87 AI for about $1600 and a Soundelux U95 for $1200 and I don't know which to get. Both are in great condition and I think at reasonable prices. I don't have anything near as expensive/nice in my microphone collection. What would you suggest as a vocal/general purpose microphone.
Old 18th August 2008
  #2
Are you referring to a Soundelux U95s or Soundelux U95 (both being tube)? BIG difference in the vibe (and quality IMHO) between those mics. If it's a regular U95, I'd recommend the U87. Your CharterOaks were smoother and larger sounding than the U95. The standard U95 was replaced by the rev I U99, then 2-3 more revisions of the U99 followed after that. For $1200 I'm guessing it's not the U95s (see below).

If it's a U95s, then that's a different story. I'd go for that over the U87. The U95s is very "U47" ish, it's a big warm midrange rich sound that works on most vocalists, sometimes may need a little lift in the air range, or a cut in the low-low mids, but it takes EQ extremely well.
Old 18th August 2008 | Show parent
  #3
As a general purpose vocal microphone the U87 has been the industry standard for over 40 years.

I use it on more than just vocals and it always sounds great.
Old 18th August 2008
  #4
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nukmusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by upinflames View Post
I'm stuck. I've been offered a U87 AI for about $1600 and a Soundelux U95 for $1200 and I don't know which to get. Both are in great condition and I think at reasonable prices. I don't have anything near as expensive/nice in my microphone collection. What would you suggest as a vocal/general purpose microphone.
u87 all day on. that price is about right. When u get it have the diaphragm cleaned.
Old 18th August 2008 | Show parent
  #5
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Sigma's Avatar
u87 a classic
Old 18th August 2008 | Show parent
  #6
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matskull's Avatar
 

Get both, then give me the one you like the less
just kidding
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #7
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drmmrboy's Avatar
 

If you don't get the 87, can you pass along the sellers info? heh
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #8
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allencollins's Avatar
 

The AI is not worth $500
never used the tonelux though
I'm sure it's much better than the ai
it has to be.
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
The AI is not worth $500
You're right. It isn't worth $500. It's worth close to 2 grand, depending on the condition.
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #10
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Sounds Great's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
The standard U95 was replaced by the rev I U99, then 2-3 more revisions of the U99 followed after that. For $1200 I'm guessing it's not the U95s (see below).
The U95 was REPLACED by the U99? I didn't know that. I had the U99 and didn't like it at all.

Quote:
If it's a U95s, then that's a different story. I'd go for that over the U87. The U95s is very "U47" ish, it's a big warm midrange rich sound that works on most vocalists, sometimes may need a little lift in the air range, or a cut in the low-low mids, but it takes EQ extremely well.
Interesting. The U99 had very little in midrange if I recall. Lots of high end.
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #11
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nukmusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
The U95 was REPLACED by the U99? I didn't know that. I had the U99 and didn't like it at all.



Interesting. The U99 had very little in midrange if I recall. Lots of high end.

yep..I have the U99 original. added another tube and it tamed the top end very nicely. Works best through my api 3124 vs the 737 or GTQ2
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #12
This seems like a case where I need to try both and decide which I like more. Which could be a problem, if I liked them both.
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #13
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Sounds Great's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by upinflames View Post
This seems like a case where I need to try both and decide which I like more. Which could be a problem, if I liked them both.
I would also try an original U87, different beast altogether.
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #14
What's a good price for an original U87? With shock mount?
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #15
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Sounds Great's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by upinflames View Post
What's a good price for an original U87? With shock mount?

Around $1700 to $2000. Puluso sells a shock mount for about 100 bucks.
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
The U95 was REPLACED by the U99? I didn't know that. I had the U99 and didn't like it at all.

Interesting. The U99 had very little in midrange if I recall. Lots of high end.

U95 was replaced by the U99, I believe around 2000-2001.

U95s (note the "S") was replaced by the E47 around 2002-2003.

Again, very different microphones.

It's all very confusing when the only difference between model names is one letter added to one of them.

FWIW, the later U99 (U99b from around 2004) was very very good. It had a nice amount of high frequencies...but ZERO sibilance, in fact it deemphasized sibilance.

I wish Bock would bring back the U99s (the last version with the bright/normal switch), and the E47c. Both of those are classics IMO. I think the public greatly underestimated how great they were.
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #17
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dan p's Avatar
 

I have a u87ai.I almost bought a u 95 but went with a Pearlman TM1 with a german tube in it.Great mic for the price and i tend to use it more thru a greatriver mp2nv than my avalon737.I like both of these mics but if ya check out the threads here about the TM1 it is worth taking a look at.
That's a good price for the u87ai by the way.I paid a bit more for mine though it was new when i bought it and now i believe they have raised the price since then.WT......Good luck ay!



Dan P
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #18
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by radiospace View Post
You're right. It isn't worth $500. It's worth close to 2 grand, depending on the condition.
Let me rephrase then. They are not worth even AS MUCH as $500. AI's are crap. If it wasn't for the Neumnn badge they wouldn't be worth the wooden box they ship in. I had an AI. Every negative AI post I ever read here or elsewhere WAS TRUE.

The older 87's are great. The AI isn't even as good as a ksm44 or an AT4040 which I hate almost as much.

Buy a Gefell or a Schoeps or something worthy of capturing audio
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
Let me rephrase then. They are not worth even AS MUCH as $500. AI's are crap. If it wasn't for the Neumnn badge they wouldn't be worth the wooden box they ship in. I had an AI. Every negative AI post I ever read here or elsewhere WAS TRUE.

The older 87's are great. The AI isn't even as good as a ksm44 or an AT4040 which I hate almost as much.

Buy a Gefell or a Schoeps or something worthy of capturing audio
The daily work of thousands of award-winning engineers speaks against your position, Mr. Collins.
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #20
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
Let me rephrase then. They are not worth even AS MUCH as $500. AI's are crap. If it wasn't for the Neumnn badge they wouldn't be worth the wooden box they ship in. I had an AI. Every negative AI post I ever read here or elsewhere WAS TRUE.

The older 87's are great. The AI isn't even as good as a ksm44 or an AT4040 which I hate almost as much.

Buy a Gefell or a Schoeps or something worthy of capturing audio
Im sure the older version are better than the ai, but the ai is far from crap, they are worth between 1500-2k, Ive had the 4040 and 4030 the ai smokes them as well as any 414 to.
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #21
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The 87 capsule is superb, but the AI electronics work hard to make it sound harsh and ringy. The early 87 protos were amazing by all accounts and what the mic was supposed to be. The early production models were very good and are the 87s that the thousands of award winning engineers are so happy with. The AI...well I wouldnt buy one.

J
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #22
The thing about gear is no one is ever going to agree, but people who have tried an Ai and original tend to like the original much more. But the U95, opinions seem to very. I have a couple of friend who have original U87 along with other classic Neumann's and still love the U95...I wish I had more money, it's hard to spend when you rarely have any (sounds like it could be in a country song)
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #23
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Greg Curtis's Avatar
 

I'd go for any Bock mic over a 87AI, any day. Never been totally satisfied with them.

Not true for a real U87, tho.

My $.02

Greg

.
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #24
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alyricalmind's Avatar
 

The u87 ai in my experience has never sounded the best but it will always gets the job done. It's a great versatile mic but I don't know much about the u95. I think I'd take the u87 ai simply due to its reputation on vocals and versatility for the "general purposes".
Old 19th August 2008 | Show parent
  #25
I'm going to try to get a hold of someone selling an original U87 locally, he's had it at $2000 for two months so I'm thinking he might come off the price a little.
Old 20th August 2008 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Confusionator View Post
The daily work of thousands of award-winning engineers speaks against your position, Mr. Collins.
How do you know who uses the ai? seriously what reputable producer uses one? seriously first hand knowledge? tell me? who? thousands of award-winning engineers with bad ears I guess.

Do the jingle jangle key test on the ai and get back to me. The midrange is horrible. They are not tight and focused at all. Before I sold mine I did an acoustic gtr shootout with the ai , a 70's u87, a ksm44, 32, 414uls, 414 eb, at4040. ai was dead last. Slightly better top end than some of the other mics but the mids were unusable. They are very harsh mics. Save your money
Old 20th August 2008 | Show parent
  #27
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I had a pair of '70s U87s that I had owned since.... the '70s when they were new AND I had a U95 that was given to the studio by the guy that owned the company that made them.
He also owned a production music library that I wrote a lot for and he gave us a U95 and the FET mic to try out.

I LOVED THE U95 and I used it for solo instruments and vocals almost exclusively.
I had silver 414s, a N.O.S. KM84, the '75 U87s, a '70s U47 FET.... on and on...
I used the U95 more!
Woodwinds, solo brass, ACSTSC, electric GTR, dobro, fiddle, mandolin... you name it.
It was the best mic I have used on my wife's vocals and I have recorded her since 1982 on many, many mics.
I have years of mics to compare with.
I will admit that the mic's electronics would fold over a bit if she worked the mic too close, but it wasn't really unlike any other tube mic.
She is VERY dynamic and the mic handled the stuff really well and even the tube running out of juice sounded OK.

I used the U95 with my Sphere mostly and a black face 1176 or a DBX 165 for compression.

I miss the U95, but I also miss those U87s!!!!
Someone offered me too much money for the U87s and I bit...
The studio I worked at had so many mics and I didn't figure I needed the U87s.
Things change...

The question of which to buy is interesting because they are two different mics entirely.
Old 20th August 2008 | Show parent
  #28
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Another strong vote for older 87's (in good shape, of course)... i, too, think the new ones are really unpleasantly bright... i also think older 87's are fuller and better overall than soundelux 95's and 99's (i've tried both)...

you'll just need to try both and decide for yourself...
Old 20th August 2008 | Show parent
  #29
Interesting. That's a strong endorsement for the U95 bubba!
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