Customer Reviews

8
Neumann U 87 Ai Switchable Studio Microphone
Price:$3,199.95+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2012
First I want to start by saying that I am an apprenticing sound engineer who aspires to have his own studio one day, and am slowly amassing a collection of audio equipment. I now own 5 microphones, the Blue Baby Bottle, the Blue Woodpecker, an AKG C414 XLS, an AKG C414 XLII, and now, the crown jewel of my collection: the Neumann U87.

It comes boxed in a beautiful rosewood box. It rests perfectly in the foam shaped to fit the microphone inside the box. This and the AKGC414, in my opinion, is the most well packaged microphone on the market, and I would have no reservations about having it shipped. Rest assured it will arrive safe and sound.

Now, on to the microphone. This microphone is simply the best microphone available. It is a classic microphone and has been used for decades in countless hit records. It is one of my most valued tools in my studio, and any studio I visit, I expect them to have it. The signal is perhaps one of the cleanest signals I've ever heard. Its amazing, and produces the highest quality audio I have ever seen. The U87 and the AKGC414 are my two favorite microphones. It doesn't necessarily "blow the competition out of the water", but it is a noticeable upgrade from the C414. I think this is the best investment I have made in my studio besides my Avalon vt 737sp. I have never had such ease at mastering projects before the U87. It brings out the full character of the voice you are looking to record. It is ideal for nearly any recording situation, close miking a vocalist, or even recording an entire orchestra ensemble: this microphone truly delivers. Even though it only has 3 cardioid patterns, they are the three most useful, and I doubt the others will be mixed. If I truly need a different pattern, I just switch to the C414. I breeze through projects now that I have this microphone, sometimes I have to do hardly any EQing to achieve the sound that satisfies me.

You will not be disappointed in this microphone. Please be sure you know what you're doing before making an investment in a microphone like this. You can't just plug this into your computer and get professional results. You will need a high quality preamp (i use the Avalon vt 737sp) and a high quality ADC (analog to digital converter). If you don't have these things, don't come crying to Amazon saying that it can be compared to much cheaper microphones (like a certain Amazon reviewer who will go unnamed). If you are a professional audio engineer, or just someone with a project studio that truly wants the best sound available, this is the microphone with you.

Just get it, you'll never look back.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2015
I own a few high end microphones for different purposes. This is my new vocal mic. It sounds really amazingly good on vocals of all types. From a higher pitched soul vocalist to deep R&B to fast paced rap to lead pop vocals, this piece shines and sounds incredible in the mix. I lowered my expectations before I heard it because I wasn't planning on being blown away by the sound of this mic. But I was! It sounds like it has a built in de-esser and captures so much DETAIL. On one vocalist my favorite part of using this mic was the way it captured the littlest details of how he was singing and gave them the spotlight too. It's hard to put into words what this mic does but it is exquisite.

BUT. I purchased this mic with shock mount for a pretty much unheard of deal of $1399 used in good condition. I would hesitate to buy this for full price. Honestly, I probably wouldn't spend more than about $2000-$2100 on this mic. Not that I think it isn't worth the price, I just know that prices go up exponentially when you reach the upper echelons of quality. Does the mic live up to its reputation? In my opinion yes. It really is good, don't kid yourself. My advice would be to buy a used one and save a good chunk of change.

Also, you better have a good preamp and a decent room to record it in, otherwise it will show and won't sound as good as it ought to. This is not a beginner's mic. Get good analog preamps first and a good room/booth to match. I'm using a 4-710d with a host of UAD plug-ins like the 1176 and Pultec EQ and it sounds amazing. I would like to pick up a vintage Neve 1081 but that'll run into the 5 figures for a pair. As long as your preamp is professional quality it should do the trick.

TL;DR it's amazing but there's no good reason to pay for a new one when a decent or better condition used unit sounds the same.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2014
I've had my new U87ai for over a year now. I use it for vocal tracking. For vocals I always set it the recommended way with the bass cut switched on, and the cardioid pattern switch selected. After many years of using a popular U87 knock-off, it took me by surprise that the Neumann U87ai is a tonally neutral and un-hyped sounding microphone ---the opposite of a lot of modern mics. The U87ai displays the source accurately, with an honest and true sound. If the source you're recording isn't very good, it will display what it gets. The U87ai isn't overly sensitive when recording the source, and a reasonably quiet recording environment is all that's required for tracking. It's lack of over-sensitivity makes for cleaner performances with less hot spots, and considerably less artifact-laden track noise like sibilant/ mouth noises, etc... When soloing and editing multiple vocal tracks, the U87ai's lack of junk makes for less cleaning time for me. I've also noticed that the really good singers I work with, female and male, are hearing themselves more clearly, so tracking is easier for them, and their performances are reflecting this. A big surprise was how good the U87 ai is as a mic for recording a bass amp. With the amp not too loud, place the U87 ai 4 inches from the speaker, with the mic element reading the spot between the cone and speaker edge, Omni setting, no bass cut/no pad on the mic. I plugged this setup into an LA610 with it's 15db pad turned on/2k input/flat eq and lowest comp setting. What a --great-- bass sound! Cardioid is good for bass, too, but Omni is very good. Figure 8 setting not as good in this setting. Great vocals, great bass, too. I am very happy with my purchase of the U87ai.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2013
Don't buy into negative reviews. This mic is amazing. I once made the same budget microphone arguments that many others make. Part of the argumentation is microphone envy; the other part is dogmatic posturing in order to be dismissive of a classic piece of gear. If you spend time with the U87 and budget mics on a variety of sources, there is no comparison. The U87 always sounds amazing and the budget mics sometimes sound decent and at other times sound horrible. Many budget mics copy the frequency response of the U87, but the off axis performances, build quality issues, and etc. produce sterile, cold, and unflattering results on many sources.

The U87 is one of a handful of vocal microphones that are responsible for capturing the amazing vocal sounds from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and today. Groups and artists ranging from Guns n' Roses to Justin Timberlake have employed this stellar mic on top selling albums.

The generally flat frequency response with a touch of mid-range sweetness, the build quality, the German engineering, and swiss army knife nature of this mic are mindblowing. Save your dollars and pennies and buy a U87. This mic will take your acoustic instruments and vocals to professional levels. Also, this will be a microphone that you can pass down to your children. If maintained, it will be around in 100 years.
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on January 13, 2015
Are you kidding? This is te industry standard and you'd be hard pressed to find a professional studio without one, or another to be modded to this.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I bought a Neumann and recieved chinese mic just like it but without the logo.A phony one! I was robbed!!!
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2014
First of all, I wanna say that I am not a professional, but I really don't think that says anything at all. Anybody who is an audio enthusiast should be able to notice bad audio in anything (not saying this is a bad mic, however). When it comes to audio quality and how something sounds, I have learned to trust no one, but myself, and professionals who give negative reviews. I only trust professionals giving negative reviews because no professional will give a negative review for no good reason. Anybody giving a positive review, I will just write off as biased because that's just the way that I am. I trust myself because of how annoyingly picky I am with audio quality. TBH, never in my life have I listened to a pair of speakers and was completely satisfied with the sound. I'm VERY picky.

Okay, onto the mic. I watched a few reviews of the mic on YouTube and I was actually captivated by the quality. But a video I watched compared the $3000 U87 the $1000 Sennheiser MKH-416 and a $200 mic from Blue Microphones and listening without bias or prejudice, I was blown away that both mics blew the U87 out of the water. Especially the Sennheiser. The Neumann U87 sounds great, but for $3200 this mic is better off not even on the market. And I realize that a studio isn't gonna care about the price of something as long as it sounds good, but if there is an alternative (The Sennheiser of even the Blue) I would assume and expect they should go for that.

The thing is, the U87 has a very dull high end that I expect to her from, say, a Turtle Beach gaming headset mic. And it's not something that can just be EQ'd to greatness (which I hate doing) because then you're still gonna have badly recorded treble, just a bit louder. Now don't get me wrong, the U87 has an incredible low end, and astounding mids that I wish I could get from other mics. But the Sennheiser MKH-416 has better mids, and much, much better highs that I absolutely lust over. Sometimes I wish that were the only mic on the planet.

So to recap, the U87 sounds great, but it doesn't sound like a $3000 mic, there are better mics for a fraction of the cost, just because something is expensive, doesn't mean it's good (I've seen digital video cables go for $1000), don't always go by a product's positive reviews because EVERY product has good reviews, instead pay heed to negative reviews because they always have something to say.

Other thing I'd like to add is that it seems like this product has been on the market for a few years and is now legendary. I'd have to agree with another reviewer and say that most people are probably nostalgia blind.
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15 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2012
I've been playing music and recording for over 30 years......I ran a test between the high dollar U87 and some very inexpensive mics from CAD / MXL and Audio Technica and there was next to no difference. There is a huge markup on this Mic and it is mainly from past nostalgia. Since then many of the same parts are used in a variety of Mics. I used a very inexpensive Audio Techica through an Alesis Firewire Mixer as a preamp and had excellent results. The Mic cost about 65.00 with a frequency response of 20 to 20khz which is completely in the human hearing range......

I guess we can thank Mass production and the fact that many of these mics are made in China. Quality control is good, but to spend 3,000 and above for a condensor microphone these days is a waste of money period.
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