Buying Used Mics

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by divingduck, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. divingduck

    divingduck Guest

    Hi all.
    I am close to buying 2x U87 (old ones) and 2x Senn 421. They are used, from a former pro-studio sale, reputable dealer. (£700 and £160 each respectively).

    I've never bought second-hand mics before; is there anything I should specifically look out for and to avoid?

    I want the U87s for piano and orchestral/string pair - if they aren't a matched pair, should I forget it?

    Thanks for any help; I'm pretty inexperienced on the recording side of things, but learning fast (lots of help from this forum!).

    Current mics:
    Gefell UM900
    2x AEA R84
    2x Gefell M300 (matched)
    Blue Baby Bottle


  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    I personally don't think that the Sennheisers are worth that price. I am in the States, and a NEW 421II goes for $349.00....about 180pounds (?). I was in London a long time ago and remember seeing those mics new selling for substantially less than in the States. You have to be careful about buying used 421's....they can look OK, but not sound right. They can easily be smacked by an errant drumstick one too many times and sound "nasally", like out of phase. As far as the U87s go, that looks like a great deal, but I would defer to someone here who is more knowledgeable about the vintage Neumanns (like Davedog)...
  3. divingduck

    divingduck Guest

    Thanks for the reply.
    Looking around, the 421s are about £280-400(!) new over here, so I thought the price was ok if they are functioning right. I'll make sure I keep an option on returning them if they've taken a beating!

    Anyone here from UK buy in the US? It might be an option to take a holiday and stockup on preamps too... not sure of the import duty implications or apes in baggage-handling.

  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Dear drowning ducky,

    U87s are wonderful microphones but are frequently more used in cardioid pattern than any other. The front diaphragms, after considerable time in the studio, can get rather corroded from people using it more than the back capsule. Plus because it is an electrostatic device, it works as an air cleaner trapping many airborne particles on the diaphragms that are active most of the time.

    If you have the ability to check and/or listen to the microphones, put them in Omni mode and with a pair of headphones on start talking into the front capsule and then rotate the microphones so that you are speaking into the back capsule. There should be little change in the sound. If you hear a substantial change in sound, offer them less! Then went you purchase them, carefully remove the microphones Grill and then carefully remove and rotate the capsules 180°. Do not attempt to clean the diaphragms with anything other than a very soft camel hair small paint brush and distilled water. Nothing else.

    Used U87s, U67s, KM86s, KM56s owner
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. divingduck

    divingduck Guest

    Thanks Remy, a very helpful post! I shall try that test.

    Can you (or anyone) recommend a good reference book on maintenance/care of microphones? Or a general book with a good technical section on care/maintenance.

    Trying not to drown...


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