Any more affordable versions of the U87 out there?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by meterman, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. meterman

    meterman Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,601
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Location:
    ATL
    I've been reading alot about the Neumann U87, it seems to come up alot as one of the holy grail mics particularly for vocals. I'll never be able to afford a real one, so is there anything out there that captures some (or alot) of that goodness for say, under a grand?

    thanks,
     
  2. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,757
    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    mpls
    Oktavamod modded MK219. There's quite a few others, too... lots of great condensers in the $1000, even if they don't have the mystique.
     
  3. blueguitar322

    blueguitar322 Member

    Messages:
    36
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Don't look for a "cheaper U87". There's actually nothing that special about a U87, at least nothing any MORE special about it than any other mic in the $2k+ price range. Anyone who says so either (1) is trying to sell your something, or (2) is repeating what (1) said.

    Instead, look for a mic that works well for you within your price range. There's plenty of options to look at.

    Here's some:
    Pearlman TM2
    Brauner Phantom (used)
    Soundelux U195 (used)
    BeezNeez mics
    Shure KSM44
    Audio Technica AT 40-series (4047, 4050, 4060)
    Shure SM7B
    Beyerdynamic M88
     
  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

    Messages:
    13,441
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    PAR's Russ Long, who is actually a real-deal engineer, not just some magazine hack, just reviewed the Royer-designed Mojave solid state mic, and referred to it as today's 87.

    I'd certainly try one out at under $700!
     
  5. altruistic8

    altruistic8 Member

    Messages:
    239
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    the mxl stuff is apparently modeled after some of the neumann mics, as far as quality goes i doubt they really compare but its an affordable alternative...
     
  6. rockstarzusa

    rockstarzusa Member

    Messages:
    622
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    Interesting.... I was reading an article on mercenary Audio's site today, and fletcher alluded to the fact that the modern offerings of the Neumann range is so bad that they refuse to sell them for this main reason. I'm sure there is more to it, but for such a prominent high end audio dealer to not carry THE mic that everyone wants really does state something. Yeah, I know Fletcher has an incredible grating personality, but I can't think of many folks who know their gear better than he does. In fairness he does rate some 'cheap' gear very very highly, so I don't think he is a gear snob just for high $$.

    This article lead me to think there must be some great, cheaper alternatives that are the real deal. I don't know of any copies/clones of the U47, U87 deal, but I can think of plenty of killer mics in the $1,000 range.... (blue and royer springs to mind immediately)
     
  7. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,981
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    I would recommend ADK and Peluso...both are Neumann killers.
     
  8. elambo

    elambo Member

    Messages:
    2,360
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    +1 for Peluso. Incredible mics for the money.

    I pop around a few studios and talk to a lot of engineers - I wouldn't ever call a U87 a holy grail for vocals, and I doubt any of them would either. It might be a standard for voice over work, but even that is a stretch from what I see. I'd CERTAINLY not buy a new Neumann in that dollar range (maybe an M150). I think you're making a mistake by looking for a U87 clone.

    True holy grail mics for vocals -- U47, C12, 251. These are the top three, getting $10k for well-kept originals. Even the top "new" mics (Wunder, Wagner, Tele-USA, Brauner) are in the $5k and above range. Not that a high price tag legitimizes a microphone, but a U87 isn't even in the running at any cost.

    Peluso makes a very good version of the U47, C12 and 251 for less than $1,500, even less on the used market. (I used to own the very U47 that Peluso used as a model for his 22-47, which is his clone. For about a year I had both of them together in the studio. Peluso's copy was remarkably similar to the vintage 47. Not the same, but considering the cost it was remarkable.)
     
  9. elambo

    elambo Member

    Messages:
    2,360
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    I agree, with the exception of their top-end mics, and the KM184, which is perfect for that crispy, edgy mid-range acoustic guitar tone. Not the most natural sound, but it "works" really well in the midst of a track.
     
  10. shawntp

    shawntp Member

    Messages:
    1,790
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    +1 on Peluso - all of their mics that I have tried have been just phenomenal. They are putting out really-high-end stuff thats priced just a little above your average prosumer gear (but still less than stuff like Neumann).
     
  11. blueguitar322

    blueguitar322 Member

    Messages:
    36
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Never used a Peluso but heard lots of good things about them. They're definitely not "clones" of the holy grail mics, though...different capsules, tubes, transformers, the whole nine yards. Doesn't mean they're bad...just that they're subject to a lot of marketing hype.

    As someone who used to intern at Mercenary for Fletcher, I'll say two things: first, he absolutely knows his gear. It's unreal. My biggest takeaway from my time there was how much more my ears have to develop. Second, he IS a businessman....and what I mean by that, there's plenty of good stuff out there that he doesn't sell, not because it sounds bad, but because of business reasons (and I think Neumann was a little of both). That said...if they sell it there, it's a good piece of equipment. I can verify both (1) they won't sell something if they really believe it sounds like crap, and (2) they really do bend over backwards for their customers.
     
  12. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

    Messages:
    2,178
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    One of the magazine reviews of the MXL V69 Mogami not only compared it to the U87, but preferred it over the U87 in certain instances. For $300 the V69 is worth the investment.
     
  13. teleharmonium

    teleharmonium Member

    Messages:
    2,558
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    Well, the currently offered Neumann mics are absolutely not the mic that everyone wants. Right name brand, wrong era and wrong mics. There are some new Neumanns that I wouldn't mind having, but at this point they're just another company and their stuff is relatively expensive and in some cases not that great.

    I agree that clients tend to want to see something Neumann, but client expectations are not always very informed. They are what they are and it's often an issue when clients make their studio decision based on litmus tests that they think are important but don't really understand or have much perspective on. That's a built in communication challenge between studio people and their clients. No Pro Tools ? Oh, I've heard of Pro Tools, and it has "Pro" in the name, so your studio must not be professional. Sorry ! (Yeah, we don't have "Doubley" either, byoznitch.)

    Also, part of the "more to it" is that Fletcher very consistently disses the stuff that he doesn't sell, often in incredibly scathing terms for reasons that sometimes do not even pretend to have anything to do with the gear. Peluso, has gotten the same treatment from him for example. And it's worth noting that he used to sell Neumann, and he of course didn't start slamming them until they changed their business terms in a way that didn't work for him, and all of a sudden the mics were bad.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  14. elambo

    elambo Member

    Messages:
    2,360
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Thanks for the Mercenary plug. It sounds like you're still an intern there.

    No, Peluso isn't making "clones" - the only company I know that's doing that it Wagner and, supposedly, Tele - but semantics aside, I think we all understand that these mics are meant to sound as close to the vintage originals as their price tag and component list allows. I have no idea what "the whole nine yards" means in that context, but if the goal is to "sound" like these classic mics, Peluso is doing it. No, I never interned for Peluso. He does use that crazy old tactic called "marketing" (horrifically, by the way. He's certainly NOT a salesman) but there's very little hype. As a person who's admittedly never used a Peluso, it's an odd statement for you to make. John doesn't use the word "clone" and he's very open about his list of components. Questions? Call him. He'll tell you all about it.
     
  15. loudboy

    loudboy Member

    Messages:
    27,371
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Sedona, AZ
    There's a ton of rumors/innuendos/etc. out there about Peluso...

    From MANY threads on Gearslutz, I've gleaned:

    They're a little unclear as to the origin of their mics - it appears that they're partially Chinese, but they use some misleading language as to what exactly IS Chinese. It's definitely the shell, power supply and "metalwork," but does that include the capsule? No one really knows...

    This isn't helped by an overzealous young dealer who posts that they're 100% Made in USA, and then is forced to backtrack, in the face of hard evidence.

    They are definitely QC'ed in the USA and have to meet certain standards.

    Fletcher has a beef with Mr. Peluso from years back over a studio design that Fletcher thought was crap, and thus is of the opinion that anything he touches, must also be.

    I've never used a Peluso, but if they are as good as most people seem to say, they sound like a great deal.

    Fletcher also dumped Neumann over a business deal. And Neumann's volume has inceased fivefold in recent years, so someone's buyin' e'm. <g>
     
  16. blueguitar322

    blueguitar322 Member

    Messages:
    36
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Haven't worked there for 4 years...only mentioned my experiences because of the earlier comment:
    My "plug" for Mercenary was actually intended to counter-balance the notion that Mercenary stopped selling Neumann for purely sonic reasons.

    Now as far as Peluso...

    YOU were the one who said they make "a version of the U47, C12, 251" and then used the word "clone" yourself. I just think that's deceiving...they don't make versions anywhere close to the originals purely from a circuit perspective. I think it's much better to say "influenced by..." or "intended for the same us as..."

    That's my ONLY beef with Peluso..and it's really not a beef with the mics at all as tools for a particular application. Like I said, I've never heard a Peluso. I have heard Pearlmans (I own one) and they mostly use Peluso capsules, or did for a while. No complaint there. I don't really doubt they sound great, especially for the cash.
     
  17. blueguitar322

    blueguitar322 Member

    Messages:
    36
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Yeah, I don't get the whole fear of Chinese manufacturing. Every single car and airplane we ride in has SOMETHING of Chinese manufactured origin in them...and any business person can tell you it doesn't matter where something is built nearly as much as who's in charge of QC.

    Yeah...I wouldn't necessarily trust his opinion on Peluso. I don't even know if he's heard the mics himself. And definitely don't ask him about Steely Dan :mob
     
  18. elambo

    elambo Member

    Messages:
    2,360
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Believe me, my use of the word "clone" was pretty casual. It would have taken much more thought than I was patient enough to muster if I wanted a more accurate term. Since my Peluso and (former) 47 sounded so close, I have no qualms about the usage of the word "clone." No, it's not a part-for-part replica, nor is anyone under the impression that it is. There are several paths to "that" sound and I don't personally care how I'm brought there. Our Wunder CM7, for instance, sounded even BETTER than the 47 we had (nearly the exact same character, with a slight bit more top end, which I prefer), and this is why the 47s are gone now. Wunder isn't a clone either. OK, the point is pretty clear by now. Horse is dead.
     
  19. elambo

    elambo Member

    Messages:
    2,360
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    About Fletcher's opinion of Peluso, the MAN, not the products: there are two sides to every story. Fletcher's is the only one floating around in public. Quite a bit of animosity involved. Even if Fletcher's bitterness is justified, he's not referring to microphone design.
     
  20. rockstarzusa

    rockstarzusa Member

    Messages:
    622
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    Here's the scoop on the Peluso construction....

    [FONT=Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, san-serif]I (the reviewer) gave John Peluso a call. It turns out he's been doing repair and restoration on those classic Neumann, Telefunkens, etc mics for years. As far as how this might be distinguished from other chinese mics making the rounds, he explained to me that the work done in China is limited to the brass metal work for the body and the precision machine work for the capsule. The diaphragm and gold sputtering is done in the US or Germany. The transformer is done to spec and made by Tom Reichenbach of CineMag in the US. Everything is put together and fine tuned by John Peluso himself, guaranteeing quality control for each component of each microphone that leaves his labratory. Let's see, a 9 polar pattern tube mic that's based on the 251?[/FONT]
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice