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Need advice on a U87 & mic pre for an R&B vocalist..

I'm an R&B vocalist described as having a clear 1st Tenor crooner type voice (good low range too). I'm looking to upgrade my current Studio Projects C1 mic to a U87. For mic pres I currently have an Avalon M5, RME Fireface 800 (mic pres on it), and an ART Tube MP.

The problem with my current setup is my vocal tracks always sounds too clean & thin (C1 with M5 & RME). I've experimented with mic placement, eq, and compression, but something is still missing. I previously had an AT 4033 (with the ART Tube no doubt) that had more of the ummpppp I was looking for, but was too muddy for my taste. I WANT a colored tube sound for my voice. I also like the Neumann sound.

This led to my decision to the U87 because everything I see refers back to either a U87 or U47 (can't afford that) :(.

Anyone else have a similar setup or run into this with a vocalist? What would you suggest? I'm thinking of using the U87 with a UA 610 pre. I know the optimum thing would be to try different mics and pres out with my system, but that's not an option cause the rental money for these could be applied to the purchase.


Pro Audio Guest Tue, 03/21/2006 - 23:52
U87's are fantastic mics but priced accordingly. If you can't afford one you might look into these two tube mics, either one will definitely lay to rest the C1!! :

Rode K2 (about $700)
Soundelux U195 (about $1k)

And for a real tube preamp, Sebatron VMP 1000e or 2000e (1 or 2 channels). At around $1,200 for the 2-ch its a great deal. One of the most versatile tube pres around.

It'd be a shame to get a U87 and then run it through an ART preamp! (shudder), which unless you're loaded with cash you'll have to do. A K2, VMP1000e combo would shine.

I've got the RME Fireface800 also. Nice interface. Its preamps are much better than MOTU's (like on the 896HD) but for lead vocals/instr still a but thin.

The Sebatron preamps have excellent routing possibilities as well... each channel has: TS/TRS jack IN, XLR IN, TS/TRS OUT, XLR OUT. So I run the mic into a Seb ch then go TRS jack out to the RME's TRS IN. Nice results.

kedavis Fri, 03/24/2006 - 03:20
Hey Julian, I'm looking forward to hearing those clips. Thanks again.

Arrowfan... LOL I can't wait to get a new vox mic. I'm getting the U87 as I planned many moons ago. If I were loaded... I'd get a U47 and a sweet old tube mic pre. Don't get me wrong, I know the perfect application for the C1 once I get the new mic and that'll be backing voxs. My layered tracks have always been good from that mic w/o the mud.

I'll check out the Sebatron too. Thanks again for the suggestions. Anyone else?