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U87 Contenders? Condenser Microphones
Old 8th September 2011
  #1
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U87 Contenders?

Not necessarily by price, but simply anything that is in or near its league, don't care if it costs a fraction or a multiple as much - would just like to know what's out there through the combined GS knowledge and experience. Thanks for the recommendations and info!

Old 8th September 2011
  #2
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

You can hear an original U87 as well as the U87ai, and over 100 other mics all on the same sources in our Clipalator.

War
Old 8th September 2011
  #3
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popmann's Avatar
Why wouldn't you just buy a used u87i? Not like they're rare. Where is the inquiry coming from?
Old 8th September 2011
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
Why wouldn't you just buy a used u87i? Not like they're rare. Where is the inquiry coming from?
Well, I'm in U.S., but I'd really like to know what other options there are in regards to mics of near or par 'quality' of a U87. Ideally something less expensive, though, to see mics of higher cost and same quality would help in 'judging the market', if you will.
Old 8th September 2011
  #5
iFet7
414ULS
Kiwi
Old 8th September 2011
  #6
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Richardwynne's Avatar
 

You can just poor a little lump horn until weasel fairy brings you his buttered corn!!!
LaSSSSgusafes, no?

Lol bumpkah
Old 8th September 2011
  #7
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If YOU like the 87 then get that.

And since it's a matter of PERSONAL taste, to me, there are MANY mics out there, and even for a fraction of the price, that sound much better than it.
Even some of the new boutique tube mics are cheaper than an 87.
Old 8th September 2011
  #8
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thepilgrimsdream's Avatar
 

Michael Joly mods anyone?
Old 8th September 2011
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aremos View Post
if you like the 87 then get that.

And since it's a matter of personal taste, to me, there are many mics out there, and even for a fraction of the price, that sound much better than it.
Even some of the new boutique tube mics are cheaper than an 87.

exactly!!
Old 8th September 2011
  #10
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JoeyM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
You can hear an original U87 as well as the U87ai, and over 100 other mics all on the same sources in our Clipalator.

War
I'm amazed with that system you have in place Warren, wow! Clip-A-Lator: Audio and Video | Studio Gear Shootouts @ ZenProAudio.com

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you have 24-bit down-loadable in addition? Or was that a different part of the site? I've privately asked a couple buddies but they're happy with MP3s, and most of the time I'm fine with it too, but sometimes spitting hairs is the only way to really find the right conditioner heh
Old 8th September 2011
  #11
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aremos View Post
If YOU like the 87 then get that.

And since it's a matter of PERSONAL taste, to me, there are MANY mics out there, and even for a fraction of the price, that sound much better than it.
Even some of the new boutique tube mics are cheaper than an 87.
+1!
It's also a matter of source, for some voices the U87 might be better for some others not at all.. it really all depends..
That said the closest thing that reminded me a U87 (due to that "german" sound and versatility) was The Violet Amethyst Vintage..

It's a great workhorse mic, costs less than a used U87 and sounds great.

Just my 0.02$,

Bests,

Cheu
Old 8th September 2011
  #12
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popmann's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdfdsa View Post
Well, I'm in U.S., but I'd really like to know what other options there are in regards to mics of near or par 'quality' of a U87. Ideally something less expensive, though, to see mics of higher cost and same quality would help in 'judging the market', if you will.
Keep in mind there is quality and qualities. Two different thing. There are cheaper mics that have the same subjective quality. But, very few (next to none) that have the qualities of an old 87-including a NEW 87.

If you've never used one and have just heard they're "the stuff"-stop right there and just look for a good mic for whatever you need.

If you've used them and they worked well, as I had for years in studios, there is NOTHING that sounds like that. There are things that are intended to be in the ballpark-at 4060, Gefell UMT70, blue KIWI are ones I used that had a lot of the qualities. None combined with the qualitY.

I will just answer this by saying what I found that worked as well or better on my voice...sm7b, maudio sputnik, VINTAGE UM70, and Manley Black. After that, there were $4k+ that worked BETTER than an OLD 87.

A U 87 is a utility mic. It's never been the gold standard for fidelity. It just does a bunch of things well.
Old 8th September 2011
  #13
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popmann's Avatar
I've reread...you just want a nice mic. It's not hard to get a mic the "quality" of an 87. If you've not read, I question the overuse of LDCs in home studios. IME, if you don't have a few grand per, I thing combinations of dynamic, SDC, and ribbons will likely do better on most everything on a budget.
Old 8th September 2011
  #14
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyM View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you have 24-bit down-loadable in addition?
If I loaded 24 bit files into that system it would bring a whole new meaning to the phrase "world wide wait". We went to great lengths experimenting with mp3 batch processing etc, and finally arrived at the conclusion that directly exporting from Nuendo in "high quality" mp3 mode at 320k, it's very hard to hear the difference between it and 44.1/16 bit...and the important part being that the differences between gear are heard easily. It won't completely null against a wav file...but it's darn close.

We do have 44.1 mixes of each in here, it requires me to go sorting through a stack of hard drives...so luckily nobody ever asks.

I think the confusion is with the old preamp test I did on the Neve clones about 2-3 years ago, we had mp3 and 44.1/24 on the same page, but not in a media player. I was not a huge fan of that comparison because it involved re-amping a speaker to re-record, but it pushed us in the direction that the Clipalator lives in today: fair and repeatable.

War
Old 8th September 2011
  #15
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 

IMHO getting a Beyer M88 (under $400) is an excellent start for your first high quality vocal microphone. Out of the box, better than a U87ai (without EQing it) on some vocalists-including meheh! Plus it can be also used for live performance/live studio recording.

Chris

P.S. Am quite impressed with the JJ Audio and Michael Joly mods,
based on various clips. C1 (JJ) and MK219/319 (Joly), for example.
Old 8th September 2011
  #16
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Man, I'd take an Austrian built AKG C214 on the low budget end of things way before a chopped up and spray painted mic. Those 214 are very useful and sound quite close to the XLS version of the 414 in cardioid. None of the spitty top end stuff, smooth tone, and it says AKG on it.

War
Old 8th September 2011
  #17
I heard a shoot out with the Brauner Phantom and the U87ai...the Phantom won. The clarity especially in the mid's was more pleasing than the U87ai to me.
Old 9th September 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
You can hear an original U87 as well as the U87ai, and over 100 other mics all on the same sources in our Clipalator.

War
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyM View Post
I'm amazed with that system you have in place Warren, wow! Clip-A-Lator: Audio and Video | Studio Gear Shootouts @ ZenProAudio.com

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you have 24-bit down-loadable in addition? Or was that a different part of the site? I've privately asked a couple buddies but they're happy with MP3s, and most of the time I'm fine with it too, but sometimes spitting hairs is the only way to really find the right conditioner heh
Awesome! I've never seen this before, am checking it out as we speak - thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
Keep in mind there is quality and qualities. Two different thing. There are cheaper mics that have the same subjective quality. But, very few (next to none) that have the qualities of an old 87-including a NEW 87.

If you've never used one and have just heard they're "the stuff"-stop right there and just look for a good mic for whatever you need.

If you've used them and they worked well, as I had for years in studios, there is NOTHING that sounds like that. There are things that are intended to be in the ballpark-at 4060, Gefell UMT70, blue KIWI are ones I used that had a lot of the qualities. None combined with the qualitY.

I will just answer this by saying what I found that worked as well or better on my voice...sm7b, maudio sputnik, VINTAGE UM70, and Manley Black. After that, there were $4k+ that worked BETTER than an OLD 87.

A U 87 is a utility mic. It's never been the gold standard for fidelity. It just does a bunch of things well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
I've reread...you just want a nice mic. It's not hard to get a mic the "quality" of an 87. If you've not read, I question the overuse of LDCs in home studios. IME, if you don't have a few grand per, I thing combinations of dynamic, SDC, and ribbons will likely do better on most everything on a budget.
Hmm, I get what you're saying, and you have several good points. I'm really in need of a 'main' mic if you will, something the U87 seems to be great at for those around the $10k studio range, but I have no experience with it and definitely want to explore other options.

I'm pretty much set as far as dynamics go (enough for drums, gtr, bass, etc), a single pair of SDC (oktava mk012) and am looking into good room mics (probably ribbon pr) and a versatile main vocal mic - hence this thread.

Any thoughts? And what about your recommendation of non-LDCs?

-----------------------------------------------

Many thanks to everyone so far, I'm looking into all your recommendations and comments, appreciate it!

Old 9th September 2011
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
samth3mancgp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
Keep in mind there is quality and qualities. Two different thing. There are cheaper mics that have the same subjective quality. But, very few (next to none) that have the qualities of an old 87-including a NEW 87.

If you've never used one and have just heard they're "the stuff"-stop right there and just look for a good mic for whatever you need.

If you've used them and they worked well, as I had for years in studios, there is NOTHING that sounds like that. There are things that are intended to be in the ballpark-at 4060, Gefell UMT70, blue KIWI are ones I used that had a lot of the qualities. None combined with the qualitY.

I will just answer this by saying what I found that worked as well or better on my voice...sm7b, maudio sputnik, VINTAGE UM70, and Manley Black. After that, there were $4k+ that worked BETTER than an OLD 87.

A U 87 is a utility mic. It's never been the gold standard for fidelity. It just does a bunch of things well.
+1 to this. I agree that the U87 is definitely not renowned for it's audio quality/fidelity, I feel like the C414 I have is more "Hi-Fi" sounding than my U87.

However, I have never heard any LDC that has the same character as the U87, and it does work in a pinch on just about anything. If I'm ever unsure of what mic to use on an instrument, the U87 is my fail-safe and always gets me something usable. That doesn't mean that it is the best mic choice for the source though, it just gets the job done.
Old 9th September 2011
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samth3mancgp View Post
/// I feel like the C414 I have is more "Hi-Fi" sounding than my U87.
////
Quite interesting...
Old 9th September 2011
  #21
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popmann's Avatar
The 414 is definitely more "high fi". Which is often word for scooped in the middle - this more smiley faced and pleasant. A u87 is the opposite-it's honky and can be very strident (particularly the new ones) in the upper mids.

As to what to use as a "main vocal mic"...if you want to get an OLD 87, they work on about anyone...but, if you mean new.:.EH...is this a commercial facility, or one for mainly a specific voice? On the low end (which a 10k studio would be) the combo of a 414 and an sm7b will handle about anything that comes in well. You need a mid forward and mid recessed mic-those are the two.

As someone who needs a mid forward mic for his voice, I told you what I found suitable. I'd honestly rather use the sm7 into a tube preamp than a new 87. Manley and Korby make fab mics...vintage rules...I just found nothing I liked in that "in between" price point. I use an old Gefell UM70 now-or the sm7. I really can't complain. As much as I'd love a custom Korby or an old m268c, I really just can't justify the cash for my voice.

The ribbon, btw, was for amps...not a room mic. Fig8 would make for a pretty odd room mic, though I've never tried. Not to mention how well the Royers do pianos and Leslies.

I don't know, man. There's nothing that sounds like a u87. But it's also really not like it's magic. It lacks the velvet of the 67/m269...the openness up top of a 251 clone...it's just a good mic-nothing magic. If you want to improve it, you get the Innertube mod kit for it...that will grin an old one into a super sweet vocal mic-arguably my gave on me. But, again-buying new, the new caps are not what they used to be-this the consistency issue. I've had good sounding AIs and crappy ones...yet I've had 4 old ones at a time from blackbird, years apart-sounded almost exactly the same.

I think if you're putting that kind of dough into a single LDC for vocals, you're better off with Korby. He'll tweak it to your liking...at least he used to.

The key to a vocal mic, IMO, is how it takes EQ/compression and how it sits in the mix. That where a honky 87 does well. As does the sm7. Never pick it based on the solo'd sound. I mean, example-I have an old 414eb...if you told me to just do a solo vocal, I think it sounds really nice. But, go to sit it into a busy mix full of guitars and it doesn't work for crap unless you have a much more nasal voice than mine.

Also...throw out that I really liked the m149, too...but, I got a good one...and a mediocre one--here's the kicker--they were a "matched set"!! So YMMV.
Old 9th September 2011
  #22
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TobyToby's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aremos View Post
If YOU like the 87 then get that.

And since it's a matter of PERSONAL taste, to me, there are MANY mics out there, and even for a fraction of the price, that sound much better than it.
Even some of the new boutique tube mics are cheaper than an 87.
OK, just name me one mic that sound much better than the U87 for a fraction of the price . . . in your opinion of course
Old 9th September 2011
  #23
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TobyToby's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lavielive.com View Post
exactly!!
So which of the mics that you try to sell are on the same quality level in your opinion?
Old 9th September 2011
  #24
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illacov's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Man, I'd take an Austrian built AKG C214 on the low budget end of things way before a chopped up and spray painted mic. Those 214 are very useful and sound quite close to the XLS version of the 414 in cardioid. None of the spitty top end stuff, smooth tone, and it says AKG on it.

War
Warren, with all respect it would be rather unfair to make this distinction about the JJ Audio Greyhound.

I know the rules round these here parts favor the sales guys, but since I work for a manufacturer and you sell stuff I think we can both agree that unless you have actually tried the unit out for yourself, calling a hand built authentic U87A circuit with a custom Jensen output transformer (soon to be a Tab Funkenwerk U87 transformer) with a customer requested paintjob (WE DO ALL THIS IN MARYLAND) a "chopped up and spray painted mic," is at best uninformed and showcases the need for you to actually spend some time with the unit. Not because I expect you to love it (even though I do, because they are up there on overheads IMHO) but because I'd like you to make informed statements about JJ Audio Mics, USA.

Front End Audio carries both the Dutch 12 and Dutch 251 and the Greyhound (U87 mod); Shane and the gang consider our mics to be excellent products.

I've always followed your posts with a great degree of fervor and I have alot of respect for you.

You and I both know as salesmen that if you don't know something about a product you ask or reserve comment until you find out what you need to know. Preferably from the source.

Perhaps the last part thats a bit glaring to me is that you didn't mention the sound of the mic you are trouncing. I believe the OP wants to hear the microphones in his studio not just look at them all day. Plenty of ugly mics out there like all the beat up U87s (bootmarks, gouges, scrapes, dents, holes) in circulation that are terrible for pictures but last I checked, its the sound people are drawn to.

Again I come in
If you'd ever like to try one our U87s feel free to contact me.

Langston Masingale
Sales and Customer Support
JJ Audio Mics, USA
315 454 2255
[email protected]

Peace
Illumination
Old 9th September 2011
  #25
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Richardwynne's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobyToby View Post
OK, just name me one mic that sound much better than the U87 for a fraction of the price . . . in your opinion of course
Awesome.

NOBODY CAN SAY SM7.
Old 9th September 2011
  #26
Gear Addict
 
Bob Amirian's Avatar
 

BMW contenders?
Mercedes contenders?


But the funny thing is that I've just found sorta replacement/companion to my U87Ai and a vintage U87 (made in Western Germany circa '70.

It's a Peluso P67. Good mic for decent money, very good bargain and sound recreated after the great original Neumann U67.

Tried it on the acoustic bass, drums, bright vocals, dark vocals and acoustic guitars, plus even harp and cello.

Nice go, although I did't like the previous Pelusos.
Old 9th September 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
The ribbon, btw, was for amps...not a room mic. Fig8 would make for a pretty odd room mic, though I've never tried.
Figure 8s make great room mics, in my opinion. If you've got two of them, then you can do blumlein, or mid side. But Blumlein is better.

If you've just got the one then you can just do the "side" part of mid side (duplicating the track, and flipping the phase). obviously that's not the same as an omni mic, it's just picking up left-right, but I actually prefer the sound of my Coles 4038s as room mics to SDCs. They sound more robust, less tinny further back: I'd rather mix in their dark reflections than an SDCs. (Well, my SDCs, in my room; doubtless if I had a pair of DPAs or Schopes I'd feel differently)

plus, while they reject sound from the side, they pick up sound surprisingly well from above and below, despite what someone told me on here once. so, while they may not be omni, you're still getting quite a bit of 'room'

I keep meaning to try mid-side on my AKG C414Bs in figure 8.
Old 10th September 2011
  #28
Gear Addict
 

Miketek CV4. It is now my go to mic replacing the U87
Old 10th September 2011
  #29
Gear Head
I'm surprised nobody mentioned the KSM32.
It's the best all around mic I've ever used.
It's not the best at anything, but good all around.
I've tried them on piano, cello, choir, drum over heads, violin and hundreds of vocals.
No complaints. Nothing special, but pleasing.
Kind of like U87s.
But you all know the price difference.
Old 13th September 2011
  #30
Lives for gear
hmmmmmmmm

at4060 any good?
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