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Neumann U87 alternatives

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by anabolique, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. anabolique

    anabolique Active Member

    Hi,

    I am planning to set up a small studio. It will be used for working on my own music but also commercially, for recording vocals including voice overs and occasionally instruments. I would probably add some extra mics later, but for start, I want to buy one "credible" mic.

    U87 is well-regarded as good all-rounder but some say that although it has its reputation and history, there are new microphones that are strong competitors even for less money. On the other hand, even brand Neumann is respected among the clients, not to mention U87. That could be important too, for getting the clients in the first place.

    I would be much more comfortable with 1500 euros price range, do You think there is a comparable quality in this price range or to stick with U87 and pay more but thatit could be "cost-effective" in the long run?


    Thanx in advance
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

  3. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    I personally love the BLUE BLUEBERRY. I do have much more costly mics but that thing gets a lot of use.
     
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I really like the Miktek line. Made in Nashvillage
     
  5. timshel

    timshel Active Member

    A stereo pair of AKG 414's will get you a long way brother.
     
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    There are lots of mics out there that compete with the U87 on a sound per dollar basis. But the U87 is a well-known badge of quality. The big thing you have to ask yourself is about your expected clientele. How much will having a U87 put in front of them mean to them? Will they notice? If you put a great mic that's not a U87 in front of them will they be able to tell it's a great mic? I don't have a U87, but I think if I were going for the market you are I'd buy one. It's a great mic. It will hold its resale value well. it will impress most clients, some of them a lot. It's not clear that the "advertising value" is worth the price premium, but all other things considered I might make that bet.
     
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    There's a certain wisdom in this. But as Bob said, is this purchase going to net a difference in clientele, both satisfaction and with new sign-ups? As far as being an "all-arounder", Yes, the U87 does most sources really well, some, brilliantly. This can be said about a lot of the new-old-school designs that are prevalent these days. Yes, there's a lot of competitive quality being built that certainly do rival a Neumann badge as far as the technical aspects and the production of the sources they are being pointed at. Are they "better"? A subjective conjecture at best.

    As with all things recording, every choice is subject to the environment its being used in and for what purpose. The toys are tools and vise-versa. Its always going to be best for any studio to have a number of choices (especially in mics) to point at sources. And, for any studio with business in mind, its always going to be a struggle to balance these choices as to the best bang for the buck. Here's where these questions and research originate, and making a wise choice for your particular needs is the goal. At least your budget allows for several very very good choices.

    So in researching a centerpiece for your room, I would look first at companies like Lauten, Miktek, Peluso, Blue, JJ Audio, ADK Custom Shop, and follow these with select pieces from Microtech Gefell, Bock/Soundelux, Brauner, BeesNees, and of course, Neumann. All of these builders have mics in your price point and all build very high quality mics. At this point its all about what you LIKE to hear. There will be very subtle differences and most, unlike the much cheaper mics, will not have any bad manners like a particular frequency you simply cant tame or some sort of lack of clarity in their performances. Dont overlook buying used. At this pricepoint not many abusers of gear get involved so you can be assured of something that isnt shredded or broken permanently.

    All that being said, theres a 'sheen'....a certain something that Neumanns have that none of the others do. Its not better or worse but it is something audible.

    I love mine for sure. Perhaps another example of this is electric guitars. Since 1952, every guitar has been an offshoot of a Fender Telecaster or a Les Paul. Always something added or subtracted but ALWAYS trying to be like the originals. Even Neumann tries , with every new mic, to be like the originals from the 50's.
     
  8. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    I own a U87 but find it a bit crisp on some sources. My most used mics are my pair of Royer R-121 ribbons and my pair of Charter Oak M900T small diaphragm tube condensers.
    But since the OP is inquiring about vocal recording, a good mic to consider is the Mojave MA-200 large diaphragm tube condenser. I use it frequently on vocals, both male and female, with great rersults. It is warm, clear and balanced, and designed/built by David Royer.

    Jeff
     
    audiokid likes this.
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I agree with Jeff!

    I have a U87 ai and a Mojave MA 200, and MA 300. These are a great suggestion indeed. MA-300 is more versatile. I have done mild comparisons and personally I wouldn't miss the U87 much. In fact, I have been considering selling it for a year already. I like it though because it is an impressive brand and it also sounds great too! The Neumann name ya know, which is worth something too.
    I also have G.A.S.

    The Rode K2 is another contender.

    Ribbons rocks.
     
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I'll chime in with Jeff and audiokid - I have a Mojave MA200 and it is my best LDC. Though it was a good mic, I ended up selling my Rode K2 when I bought the Mojave since I ended up preferring the Mojave in every situation. (Never really used the multiple patterns on the K2...maybe if I had bought a pair.) if there are no business considerations, there are a lot of great mics out there at about 60% of the price of the 87. But then you have to consider the clientele and the competition.

    On the ribbon front, I just recorded a soprano pop singer and the AEA R84 was a perfect match for her voice. The MA200 sounded fine, but the R84 was just the right tool for the job.

    And for VO work, I'd be sure to get some good dynamics: EV RE20, Shure SM7B, etc.
     
  11. pan60

    pan60 Active Member

    Another one I would consider is from my bud Dave Pearlman.
    I don't need any mics but I will be adding one of his to my locker in the hopeful near future.
    CharterOak has also peaked my interest as well: )
     

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