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U87ai mic preamp recomendation needed please
Old 19th November 2013
  #1
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U87ai mic preamp recomendation needed please

So I've been looking for a decent preamp for my u87ai and so far I found the following two interesting :
API A2D
Avalon VT-747SP

Because of people's reviews not because I have any experience using them.
Could you recommend me anything ? I currently have a cheap usb preamp called Scarlett 2i2 which makes my u87 sound like a 150$ mic lol.

also I am wondering since we are evolving and everything is becoming more compatible with computers am I better off using a firewire preamp ?

my budget is $2500.
Old 19th November 2013
  #2
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I highly recommend the BAE 1073MPF!

I have the same microphone and I think it a great combination.

The UA 610 is also a great choice depending on your voice though it might be a bit to honky, sibilant, and harsh/zingy.

Both units are within your price range.

BAE 1073MPF $1500
UA 610 $1000

Both are 1 channel only.
Old 19th November 2013
  #3
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Yes dump that scarlet preamp. I have a scarlet 8i6 but I bypass everything on it and use my apogee rosetta or lynx aurora. The preamps in the scarlets are not going to make your u87 shine. You will always want better conversion to bypass everything inside the scarlet itself. I use a u87 ai almost exclusively and I first paired it with a 610 and no matter who was in front of the mic it was harsh and just spitty. Increasing the harmonics made it sound worse. Now when I had a u47 it sounded good with the 610. My A-designs P1 pairs very nicely with my u87ai. Almost always I just record and no eq needed. I usually use pad out and subtle gain and it is just crystal clear, so clear that I can hear almost everything in the room and outside when I am recording at home. Now, I am recording in a booth at home, so the mic paired with the P1 just shines and sounds good. When you increase the gain and it becomes fat, round and ballsy. P1 you can't go wrong, and I would bypass the 610 in my opinion however, its subjective as you may like it. With the u87 and 610 you will need a desser with that pair.
Old 19th November 2013
  #4
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Thanks for recommendations. I will be using the mic with the preamp on pop / hiphop records so the sound needs to have lots of clarity and needs to be bright but not too muddy and dull sounding.

From current recommendations from this thread it looks like its a battle between
BAE 1073MPF
and
A Designs P-1 (sounds very nice the way you said almost no EQ required)
If you have any more recommendations would be nice , Thanks a lot .
Old 19th November 2013
  #5
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cowboycoalminer's Avatar
The BAE has been mentioned so this is along the same lines. I personally prefer the Heritage "Neves" but any quality Neve clone is a great match for an 87. The AI tends to be a smudge brighter than its elder but still a great mic. Can't do much better than a 1073 IMO.
Old 19th November 2013
  #6
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warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboycoalminer View Post
The BAE has been mentioned so this is along the same lines. I personally prefer the Heritage "Neves" but any quality Neve clone is a great match for an 87. The AI tends to be a smudge brighter than its elder but still a great mic. Can't do much better than a 1073 IMO.
It is definitely hard to argue with just grabbing a 1073 style preamp for vocal use, seeing as it is likely the most reached for in music production today. They certainly have a nice size / presence / edge to them that delivers in this regard.

War
Old 6th December 2013
  #7
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lpmusic's Avatar
On the 2500 range I'd grab an Apogee Duet 2. Great converters and usable preamps if needed. With the rest I'd buy an Avalon 737. I know there are haters on this forum but it's a nice combo. You get a transparent preamp, compressor and EQ on the Avalon. Don't get me wrong, I own a Neve DPA 1073 and it's my favorite for vocals. The neve will win every time in my opinion. But it would be useless to have a neve preamp with a poor quality audio interface. I think the apogee, Neumann, Avalon combo will get you amazing results. When buying an used 737, make sure the serial number is over 55000. That's when they started to ship the units with the Babyface mod as standard. The mod changes the attack time of the compressor to a much faster algorithm. Good luck!
Old 7th December 2013
  #8
The (AMS) Neve 1073 PDA is pretty choice with a U87ai. But also consider the Avalon 737sp if you're going Rap and Hip-Hop because it is the usual combination for the genre(s) and what will be expected from your clients.

There is a "Babyface" edition of the 737sp available that is well spoken of.

BTW, the 747 is not a preamp, but some people use it as one to some degree as it has a lot of gain on the line inputs. But I wouldn't recommend it. It is a tube/transistor Optical Compressor and EQ. You'll need phantom power for your U87ai.
Old 7th December 2013
  #9
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dont know why everybody tries to shove a neve in your face when you ask for bright and no mud. weired suggestion. id try a gml instead.
Old 7th December 2013
  #10
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by good4me View Post
So I've been looking for a decent preamp for my u87ai and so far I found the following two interesting :
API A2D
Avalon VT-747SP

Because of people's reviews not because I have any experience using them.
Could you recommend me anything ? I currently have a cheap usb preamp called Scarlett 2i2 which makes my u87 sound like a 150$ mic lol.

also I am wondering since we are evolving and everything is becoming more compatible with computers am I better off using a firewire preamp ?

my budget is $2500.
A "firewire" preamp? Do you mean a preamp with a digital ouput? The API AD2 does have its own AD Conversion and digital output (I believe it's spdif not firewire). If your question is whether it is worth buying a preamp that comes equipped with its own AD Conversion - well it depends. If you owned an interface with so-so converters and you knew that the AD on the preamp you were buying was going to be a step up, it might make some sense. This makes sense if you were only going to be tracking one or two tracks at a time btw. You wouldn't be able to do more than two simultaneous inputs with that A2D of course, but if your scope is just doing vocals, you'd be fine.

Just curious, what kind of interface/converters do you currently have?
Old 7th December 2013
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
dont know why everybody tries to shove a neve in your face when you ask for bright and no mud. weired suggestion. id try a gml instead.
Mud? Neve's are NOT muddy. There is a difference between warmth and mud. Want "mud" go get a ART TPS II.
Old 7th December 2013
  #12
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cowboycoalminer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
Mud? Neve's are NOT muddy. There is a difference between warmth and mud. Want "mud" go get a ART TPS II.
True this. Never thought I'd see mud used as an adjective to describe a Neve. Warm neither for that matter. I associate warm with my Avalons not my Neves.

Smooth to gritty and in your face. Hows that for a Neve description??
Old 7th December 2013
  #13
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A Great River pre is excellent with a U87. Separate gain & output controls allow you to go from clean to some warmer/driven color. I like the U87 with an API 312 as well, but I and a boatload of other folks wish the API had the output control like the GR does.
Old 7th December 2013
  #14
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I like it tubish with an u87. But good tubesound is expensive. Manley voxbox was the best i used with an u87. Last chain i used for a kind of lowbudget project: u87(an old one) rane ms1b preamp, than a distressor with almost no gain reduction for the trannys. This 150 dollar unit does a really good job. Roger nichols used it on steely dan live recordings if i remember correct. There was a thread about it years ago. But it,s a colorless preamp. The character of the mic comes out. On roommics it is killer. So for the bucks give it a try. Best regards, oliver
Old 7th December 2013
  #15
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lpmusic's Avatar
I'm sorry but there's no way that an Avalon 737 will sound warmer than a Neve 1073. The Avalon M5 might come closer but not the 737. The unit itself might get pretty "hot" but not the sound coming out of it. It's not a bad thing, I like the 737 when stacking up tracks. It sounds great. But for lead vocals, the Neve will win most of the time. Now, I still think that you need a better interface before choosing your preamp. Also, which monitoring system are you using? I like to think of my setup as a whole system and not just individual pieces. A treated Room, Interface, Mic, Preamp/Channel Strip, Monitors, Cables... Not necessarily in that order, but you get the point.
Old 7th December 2013
  #16
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboycoalminer View Post
True this. Never thought I'd see mud used as an adjective to describe a Neve. Warm neither for that matter. I associate warm with my Avalons not my Neves.

Smooth to gritty and in your face. Hows that for a Neve description??

When I think of my buddy's BAE 1073, I think warm. Granted, when I used them I had them gain staged so as to be "clean" (recording acoustic piano and guitar), so we didn't push them to hard as it wasn't appropriate. But it's that cleaner gain staging I'm thinking about. The Neve 511's aren't as "warm" as the BAE 1073, they just struck me as really nice.
Old 7th December 2013
  #17
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lpmusic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
When I think of my buddy's BAE 1073, I think warm. Granted, when I used them I had them gain staged so as to be "clean" (recording acoustic piano and guitar), so we didn't push them to hard as it wasn't appropriate. But it's that cleaner gain staging I'm thinking about. The Neve 511's aren't as "warm" as the BAE 1073, they just struck me as really nice.
The 511s sound more like the Amek 9098. I was one of the first to use it right after the NAMN show and was able to compare it side by side with the BAE and DPA. They're Rupert Neve Design and don't have nearly the same character and mojo as the 1073s. They're great little preamps and for $545 I can't think of any other better deal on the 500 series.
Old 7th December 2013
  #18
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U87ai Pre

I have a U87ai and my Great River is always a good match for it.
Old 7th December 2013
  #19
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chrisdee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adonis Martine View Post
I highly recommend the BAE 1073MPF
+1.

For the U87ai it's the best combo I have tried so far.

I have tried it through the SSL Alpha Channel, Focusrite 428, Focusrite ISA One, Aurora GTQC, UA LA610, Avid Omni, Avid Mbox Pro.

I wasn't blown away when trying it with my M149 but it sounds to me it soften the signal in a good way without loosing brightness.

The stereo channel BAE 1073MPF is on my list.
Old 15th December 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
+1.

For the U87ai it's the best combo I have tried so far.

I have tried it through the SSL Alpha Channel, Focusrite 428, Focusrite ISA One, Aurora GTQC, UA LA610, Avid Omni, Avid Mbox Pro.

I wasn't blown away when trying it with my M149 but it sounds to me it soften the signal in a good way without loosing brightness.

The stereo channel BAE 1073MPF is on my list.
You've mention the stereo channel one , Does the mono one have any notable difference ?

I am thinking of getting this one:
BAE 1073MPF Mono Mic Pre

or this one

BAE 1073MPF Dual Mic Pre with filters, PS and Bootsy Mod - Calistro Music


But because I have only 1 mic which is U87-AI I am not sure why I should get the stereo one
Old 15th December 2013
  #21
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Helge's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by good4me View Post
But because I have only 1 mic which is U87-AI I am not sure why I should get the stereo one
Maybe you want to do some stereo recordings in a not so distant future....

But in your specific case I´d recommend to get one nice (mono-)micpre and to upgrade your interface. Apogee Duett, RME Babyface/UC come to mind and have at least decent builtin stereo micpres as well.

Preamp ? In 90% the API 512c gets the call - sitting next to an Avedis MA5, BAE 1084, 737, LA610, SSL VHD...

The API A2D you mentioned would only help half the way, cause you couldn´t benefit off its conversion since your Scarlett doesn´t even have an digital input afaik.

and cheers
Old 30th January 2014
  #22
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by digibird View Post
A Great River pre is excellent with a U87. Separate gain & output controls allow you to go from clean to some warmer/driven color. I like the U87 with an API 312 as well, but I and a boatload of other folks wish the API had the output control like the GR does.
I've used the 87ai with a John Hardy M-1, Avalon 737, UA LA 610, UA 710 TwinFinity, Safesound Tracking Toolbox and Great River ME 1NV.

To my ear (and I do voiceover) it sounded good with all of them. My least favorites were the LA 610 and TwinFinity. Favorite pre for the 87 though, is the Great River, hands down with the Hardy a very close second.
Old 30th January 2014
  #23
Clean, versatile mic like the U87 always gets paired with a colored sounding pre here. That's why you don't dig the Focusrite. If you're looking for larger than life sound something Neve-like is going to be your best option.

Basically, there are two ways to get larger than life - mic, or pre. You can also combine the two. The U87 does not tend to sound big or exciting because it's not designed to. It's a workhorse, for sure, but not overly flattering. Big pre is needed.
Old 30th January 2014
  #24
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monkeyxx's Avatar
The Neve type is also my first choice for any vocal, regardless of microphone. Muddy, it ain't. More like natural.
Old 30th January 2014
  #25
Dor
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Dor's Avatar
 

Not the most original response, but I haven't had anyone complain after tracking vocals with my u87ai and 1073 pre/eq.

D
Old 30th January 2014
  #26
I've used the u87ai/1073 a lot, sounds great.
Old 30th January 2014
  #27
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ddageek's Avatar
 

Just about any pre will do it depends on what exactly it is you want sonic wise.
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