The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Tested various microphones against the U87!
Old 16th December 2009
Gear Addict
jujufactory's Avatar

U87 is overrated.

As we are doing a Musical Feature, I had stars comming in to sing. Needless to say, I rushed out to rent a U87. The first person came in. She's a woman with a deep voice. The U87 sounded incredible. I was sold.

Then came in the second singer. This was a woman with a more high pitched voice. The U87 sounded terrible. When I say terrible, I mean terrible. It gave me a shrieking sound. We tested a few microphones for this singer and settled foir the KSM-32 (which is a great microphone).

Then came a male singer. Again, the U87 gave me ear pain and was too harch. We wound up using the Neuman TLM 103 (which am I not a fan of).

Finally, another male singer came in. Same tests, same results. We finally used the KSM-32 on him as well.

Final score:
U87: 1
103: 1
KSM-32: 2

The U87 could not have gotten the job done. Only the KSM-32 would have been versatile enough to do everything. This said, the 103 sounded better on singer 3. The U87 sounded marvelous on only 1 singer out of 4.

I think the U87 is definitely overrated. It will only sound great on certain voices.
Old 16th December 2009
Personally not a huge fan of the 87, but as you discovered.. no single mic is the perfect mic for every singer.. sometimes it's a 67, other times a 49 or a 251.. or just an SM7 or 57.

Old 16th December 2009
Lives for gear
H-Rezz's Avatar

I do not think the U87 is overrated, it's rated exactly where it should be a workhorse mic that stood the test of time ....
Old 16th December 2009
Gear Nut
+++'s Avatar

Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post
The U87 sounded incredible.
Old 16th December 2009
Gear Addict

Although the 87 doesn't sound incredible on everything, I do find that it works for almost anything. Also, it's not a mic that instantly amazes, it just seems to work well in almost any mix.

Just my thoughts though
Old 16th December 2009
Gear Head

Personally i think it doesn't mainly depend on the mic.
There is a difference
which preamp or channel-strip is used, the distance between singer/instrument and mic.....
There is also a difference between vintage and newer U87...

A good sounding EQ (e.g.) during recording can be helpful, to get the sound you are looking for.

U87 quality level is high enough to get nearly everything to sound right.

Old 16th December 2009
Gear Maniac

Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post
I think the U87 is definitely overrated.
I don't think so... a great workhorse... not more not less.

Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post
It will only sound great on certain voices.

Well, that's the case for every mic. So why should that be a flaw for the U87?!
Old 16th December 2009
Lives for gear
doorknocker's Avatar
My limited personal experience with U87s was similar to the OP, I found them too harsh, too neutral and too s*****.

On the other hand I own tons of great records that were done with U87s (Anyone here ever heard an obscure English psychedelic record called 'Dark Side of the moon'?) especially in the 70ies.

I think changing recording formats have a lot to do with the lesser poularity of U87s these days. Digital formats generally enhance transients and the upper range of the frequency spectrum, so it's certainly no wonder that ribbon mics especially have become so popular again. FWIW, my pair of Coles 4038s has really changed my approach to guitar recording and using smaller amps especially .

So there's no doubt that a U87 is still a workhorse and generally useful but for me it's just too expensive for that. 57s or 421s are workhorses to me, so rather than spend 2 or 3k on a U87 I rather wait till I can afford something in the U47/67/251 league or a spinoff.

In a way, U87s are much like late 60ies/early 70ies Fender guitars. In general, these instrument are inferior to the earlier models but since they get older and older they are now labeled as 'vintage', deservingly or not. The outrageous prices asked for older Strats, Teles, etc (or U47s, U67s in our case here) also play a big role. I might not be able to afford a U67 but a U87 instead and it also says 'Neumann' on it.....
Old 16th December 2009
Deleted User
Let me guess... You're posting from Paris, so the recordings were in French, right?

Yeah, an 87 absolutely sucks for French... Its sound is too up-front, and it won't "back down from fighting" it's way through a mix. 87's work much better for an aggressive language such as German or the New Jersey dialects.

You should be looking more towards a smooth "blend in as to not get noticed" mic, such as a U47 or a ribbon mic.

I would suggest to stay away from all Chinese microphones, as they aren't allowed to be used with speech at all.
Old 16th December 2009
Gear Addict

Overarated..?? how is that possible ?

Where is the 87 overrated ?? It simply is a serious mic that has been around for 3+ decades... Its versatile,reliable and capable of different results depending on other tools,positioning and room!!!
Of course in the last few years many new mic designs have surfaced at lower prices that are great but they owe much to the 87 and other older+more recent designs..
Old 16th December 2009
Gear Addict
David Watts's Avatar

right, Mr Jujufactory, you've outstayed your welcome, it's time to pack your things and sack off home.

Old 16th December 2009
Lives for gear
Dog_Chao_Chao's Avatar

Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post

Again, the U87 gave me ear pain and was too harch. .
I would check that U87. Wich model did you get ? Not sounding good on everysinger is normal, thats why you have more than 1...But, in my experience, my U87 is one of the most verstaile mics. Sometimes is not fantastic, but its never unusable.

And when it fails to deliver its usually related to a rather dull or too closed sound, or too thick, never, ever from harshness. ear pain ?

The only mics I have that are even less harsh sensitive are all ribbons...
Old 16th December 2009
Gear Addict

a working 87 or 414 for that matter is more than capable of 'perfect' results..
I am getting tired of all this bashing.... a point of view is fine but sweeping statements like the 87 sounded harsh is silly!! I think it was 'harsh' before it hit the 87's capsule and perhaps the other mics had a dip which softened the sound...

may the 87 live on and on and on along with all the other versatile great mics!!
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 3605 views: 384215
Avatar for Chet_Rockstone
Chet_Rockstone 19th June 2020
replies: 68 views: 18326
Avatar for Glenn Bucci
Glenn Bucci 4th August 2019
replies: 6099 views: 732810
Avatar for chessparov2.0
chessparov2.0 23 hours ago
replies: 62 views: 4354
Avatar for DaVogi
DaVogi 30th November 2019
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump