I've blasphemed; I bought a U87ai

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by John Stafford, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Hi folks
    I took delivery of a U87ai today, and I must say I absolutely love it. I got it very cheaply, and I decided to take a shot. This mic has had so much bad stuff written about it, and I was really surprised by how good it is. My impression is that, while it doesn't paint the most accurate picture, it paints a very convincing one. I REALLY like this mic. It has much less noise than I expected, although there is a little bit of hum, I think I can fix that.

    Having said all that, my beloved AT4060 need not feel jealous, although I do have to send it back to AT as it has developed a noise problem.

    Anyone here have a favourite use for an 87, apart from as a doorstop? I haven't used one of these for years, and I thought I might be disappointed, given the number of nice mics I've heard since then.

  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Congratulations John...It is without a doubt the BEST percussion and drum overhead mic I've ever used.And on some voices it will work when nothing else will.
  3. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    yep, congratulations are in order- despite the badmouthers the U87 just has a sheen and a silkiness that is special and unique. pair it with the right voice and you have sheer magic, despite what the doubters say.
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey John -

    Nice work. I don't know that I've ever trashed the 87 (There are somethings that I don't like about it, but very few and it's certainly a great and very usable mic). There are a lot of Neumann mics that I'm not a fan of (TLM 103, 184 and a few others) but the 87 is a very good mic for many applications.

    Try it on brass - you'll love it.

  5. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Thank you gentlemen!
    There's something wonderful about it that I can't describe. With other mics that I own and love I can describe what I love about them, but this one isn't really like that. It's absolutely amazing on speech, and has a wonderful sense of clarity.

    Looking forward to lots of fun in the future!

    Now it's preamp time. I'm thinking of a Great River NV, and a DAV BG1 for classical stuff.

    Now it's time to check out those Microtech Gefells!

  6. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Congrats on your acquisition! When you have a bit of cash consider sending your 87 to Klaus Heyne at German Masterworks-- it will return sounding so much like a tube 67 you almost won't believe it.

  7. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    yes, there is definitely something magical an unique about the U87-
    It just does something for vox that is truly special. The fact that it is an universally recognized landmark for recording (especially vocals) attest to that. Every studio worth its salt has an u87 (as well as a sm57, of course) there aren't too many more mics like that, if at all. 8) Of course the u87 has other uses too, like Oh, brass, guitar, piano, etc- but the fact that it makes the Voice sound so special its what has given it its well deserved reputation
  8. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I used 87's with good luck on brass and piano... For a long time, Dorian was using 87's almost exclusively for their piano recordings. Different strokes, obviously, but you can make just about any mic work well as long as you keep in mind what its strengths and weaknesses are.

  9. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Thanks again guys! I must confess to being a big ABBA fan, and if the U87 is good enough for them...!

    Seriously though, I'm still enjoying my new toy and look forward to using it in many different situations.

    I'm having a slight problem with background noise (hum), although this is not very high. I must say I'm very impressed with the way Neumann are assisting me with this. They've given me several options to try, one of which has lessened the problem considerably. Strangely enough, the background hiss is much lower than the published specs. would indicate.

  10. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you gotta a deal- and you'll probably wont ever part with it- but we don't part with our mics too often anyway...
  11. nehpyh

    nehpyh Active Member


    Have you got the chance to compare the U87 with a Soundelux U195?

    btw, where did you get it and how cheap?

  12. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Yes, I think this is a keeper!

    I got it for the equivalent of $1100 from a guy in England. It's a pity he doesn't have anything else to sell -I'd like to have bought a pair. There's a small problem with the XLR on the mic being loose, so I need to replace a screw -fortunately there's a Sennheiser factory about a mile from where I live.

    I've never tried the Soundelux. As far as I'm aware they are not on sale in this country, but I'd really like to try their whole range. The elux 251 would be high on my wish-list. I'd like to try the E-49 as well.

  13. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Are these mods very expensive? I'm very curious about this sort of thing. I wonder if he could turn my Behringer into a C12 :wink:

  14. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Regarding Klaus Heyne, go here for info:


  15. alexaudio

    alexaudio Active Member

    Klaus can do some amazing things with the 87. In my mind, Klaus's mods basically take the 87 and turn it into a totally different microphone. If this is something you don't desire, but desire a similar sound with a bit more openness, I have had one of my 87s modded (for much less) by Bill Bradley at the Mic Shop (http://www.micshop.com).

  16. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Without being crass, what sort of budget is required for Klaus's mods? I have an older U87, with the 7pin tuchel, but its in excellent condition. I have always found the sound to be slightly constricted and an opening up or rebore would do the trick.

    I was thinking of selling it and buying a Coles 4040, but if Klaus can do some magic, it maybe worth hanging on to it.

    Comments or similar experiences very welcome. :cool:
  17. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    I cannot quote Klaus' prices, but I can vouch for his work.

    I have had him mod a pair of U67s, a pair of KM86's and a pair of M269. I have heard and used several of his modded 87s. His work has never been cheap, but he is a real perfectionist who will not send your mic back to you until HE is pleased.

    The sound of his mods on my tube mics are a major centerpiece of the work I do. If you have him mod your 87, you will have a world-class mic.

    does this help?

  18. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Indeed, many thanks Exsultavit. I think a U87 is probably worth modifying, but if its going to cost as much as the Coles, I will probably forego it.
  19. GuitarTim

    GuitarTim Guest

    Dunno about Neumann, but I had my inner definition of "high-end" redefined for me last evening...

    Found a link to the BraunerUSA site, and saw a mic there called the "Brauner VM-1 Klaus Heine Edition"... it'll set you back a cool $10,000. EACH!

    Considering that, spending $4000 on a Neumann doesn't seem so outlandish... :wink:
  20. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Klaus Heine quoted me $1,600 to work on a U87. I've always been interested in his mods on the 414EB and these cost $2500, although I'm assuming that this is only for a 414 that is in exceptionally good condition, and probably with the brass capsule(?). I suppose with the sort of 414 EB that one is likely to come across in the real world, the price would rise significantly.

    I have to admit that I'm surprised by some of these prices. I certainly expected the 414 mods to cost an awful lot more.

    There's something fascinating about the extravagance of the the VM-1 KHE. Given that this comes with a new power supply, and some very extensive work, it's hardly surprising that the package costs $10,000. Fletcher can supply one for a mere $9000 :wink:

    To put all of this into perspective, when a battered old Telefunken can go for $20,000 as well as restoration costs, the VM1 KHE doesn't seem to be that expensive.

    It's time to come back down to the real world for me I'm afraid, as I still don't have a decent main pair :cry:


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