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Neumann U87 Mania?
Old 1st March 2014
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Neumann U87 Mania?

Is it just me or does it look like there is some kind of "have to buy a U87, any U87" mania going on on ebay right now?

It seems like there are a lot of (low feedback) sellers cleaning out their closets with any old Neumann. And people are paying top dollar for beat and dented mics with no history. Does the market go through cycles like this?
Old 1st March 2014
  #2
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madgansound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Ahhhh it's been going on for over a decade now? Since the 'home studio' boom really went nuts. After someone dumps $2500-$3000 on a new one and soon realizes their bad performance in a bad room sounds no better than it did with the cheap mic it replaced.... the U87 usually makes it to Ebay.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #3
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mattcollen's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by CANTE ➑️
Is it just me or does it look like there is some kind of "have to buy a U87, any U87" mania going on on ebay right now?

It seems like there are a lot of (low feedback) sellers cleaning out their closets with any old Neumann. And people are paying top dollar for beat and dented mics with no history. Does the market go through cycles like this?
Yes, I think cycles occur. I picked up a minty 1986 U87 for 1,700 in 2009. The current used prices are kind of ridiculous. Paying anything over 2,500 is insane. A person can pick up a new U87ai for around 3,000, if he/she negotiates and works out a package deal with a good dealer.

I think the sonic variances between the U87i vs U87ai are so small that I would buy a new one before paying 2,500+ for a used one that was cosmetically hellish. I've used both, the i and ai, and they are both great versions of a stellar classic .

To me, the U87s are WYHIWYG. They are articulate and really true to source material. The U87 will not polish a turd.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #4
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Cathedral Guitar's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
As a Neumann dealer, I can tell you that the USA distributor is sold out of 87s for the next 4 months or so, and this directly followed another 4 month wait period -- so people are buying up new 87s MUCH faster than Neumann can make them.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #5
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've been watching 87s for the past month on eBay and it seems to me that most aren't selling. Especially the stack of vintage ones going in the $3200 range. There's one guy who has 3, he sold one and then it looks like another one is put in its place. A couple of his look a little rough. There's also the Amrens one. That's been there for a while. I ended up grabbing one from a gs member and am very happy I did. Mic and transaction were smooth.
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #6
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago ➑️
I like the u87 but it still couldn't replace the c800g that I use day in day out, now THATs a mic! It's got the sonic characterics that I look for as a producer.
I don't really think that's the point of this thread
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lugo ➑️
I don't really think that's the point of this thread
No no I know, sorry for derailing. But yes, the prices are getting ridiculous for u87s, I had a thread in the Moan Zone about it.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #8
Gear Addict
 
AwTAC's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
with a mic like a u87, which can be a workhorse for a studio, and usually as a vocal mic getting spit all over, IMO, you have to have rocks in your head paying top dollar for a u87 without hearing it first. Surely some are great and surely some need all kinds of work done to them yet it seems both can bring the same money on ebay. so bizarre. If you can work on the mic yourself, not a big deal, but if you pay top of the market and then need to hire a tech to rebuild the mic you are so underwater on that mic. I would also add that no u87 from the 70's or early 80's exists with caps that couldnt be improved. I know people like to keep their "vintage" stuff old, but caps have a life, period... Short reply, try to listen to a u87 first. Many of these are for sale because they dont sound all that great simply because they were used to death. A u87 can have a huge, warm, enveloping bass response and this is the fist thing that disappears when you have old caps and a capsule covered in spit and debris.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #9
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I know of no mania and I know of no cult for the U87.

If you like it, buy a new one and don't worry. It is still a hammer and can be used like any hammer.
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➑️
I know of no mania and I know of no cult for the U87.
Mania might be overstating it, but there is a bit of a bubble happening right now. Good time to be selling.
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #11
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Swurveman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattcollen ➑️
A person can pick up a new U87ai for around 3,000, if he/she negotiates and works out a package deal with a good dealer.
You can buy a new U87ai for a lot less than $3,000 as part of a package deal.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #12
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Ward Pike's Avatar
 
15 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I'm having a devil of a time finding used ones at decent prices... hey, wait a minute.

Old U87i's are horrible. You should all really sell them off, for whatever you can get, in the classifieds section! You might be able to get $1000 for each, if we're lucky.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Avast!'s Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I wanted to 'cycle' one or two of my older U87s and get a cosmetic upgrade by buying better ones. So I did. I bought a pair that the seller brought up from Portland (I arrived at his ebay sale just as it was ending and ended up buying in person).

I sold my most shopworn one, though it sounded fine.

The two I bought 'used', were nearly unused. They'd recorded twin pianos at a house in suburban Portland in the 70's and sat in their boxes since.

The day they arrived, we put one up against a U67 and another mic in a shoot-out and the producer & artist picked the U87 for it's more solid focus and geat presence. =)

They're too good though. So minty perfect that they lie fallow on the shelf. Now I need some beater U87s to use again. lol.




Oh, I noticed when I was buying the pair of U87s recently, that they cost a couple hundred more than I spent on a pair of U67s in the early 1990's. That could have bummed me out, but I still felt like I was getting a good deal on reaaally nice 87s. =)
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by madgansound ➑️
Ahhhh it's been going on for over a decade now? Since the 'home studio' boom really went nuts. After someone dumps $2500-$3000 on a new one and soon realizes their bad performance in a bad room sounds no better than it did with the cheap mic it replaced.... the U87 usually makes it to Ebay.
Yup. I actually A/B'd the 87 with my MXL 4000 and I'm telling you, other than about 2dB gain difference, they sounded identical. I'm not saying the U87 isn't a great mic. I'm saying that it's not the answer to all the problems haha
Old 3rd March 2014
  #15
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erwinor's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
U 87 are way too overpriced due to the reputation they got over the years.

Its like ns 10 and beyer Dt 100.Every studio had these and so should everyone.......

I would not pay more than 1000€ for a mic like this.

I had a singer with a brand new U87.He wanted to record with his mic.I set up at the same time a AT 4050.Finally he chose the 4050 against his 3000€..gold mic.

I got some tracks from another studio to mix and the vocals was all done using U87.

Beleive me there are 4 different voices and all sound like ****...too much mids,sibilant harsh...........bad bad......

So always try before you buy.........It must be a good mic but it has to fit the source,its not a go to mic......
Old 3rd March 2014
  #16
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
My owners just went through the "mania". This happened a few weeks ago... boss got a complaint from a client that they didn't have a Neumann (a Gefell wasn't good enough...), so the owner picked up the phone and bought an 87ai that he'd used at a friend's studio in the past (I encouraged him to look elsewhere if he was dead set on dropping $2.5k on a mic).

It works. IMO my ADK TC absolutely lays aural waste to it on any source when I put them head to head. I paid $400 for it used. YMMV as they say...

Last edited by Denus; 4th March 2014 at 06:19 AM.. Reason: noting the 87ai
Old 3rd March 2014
  #17
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Grace Notes:

Jeff Buckley plays a Gibson L1, a borrowed Fender Telecaster and a Rickenbacker 12-string. He's using a Fender vibro-verb amp and, today, D'Addario strings. He just bought an old steel dobro and a Bina harmonium from Pakistan. Buckley uses Jim Dunlop slides. After experimenting with several microphones for Jeff's vocals, producer Andy Wallace settled on a Neumann U-87. Mick Grondahl plays a Fender Jazz bass through an Ampeg bass amp. Matt Johnson plays Slingerland drums and Zildjian cymbals.
Β©1994 by Musician Magazine. All rights reserved


Yeah 87's suck.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #18
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Oldone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I start to question the ears of people who say a $400 mic sounds as good as a Neumann U87. Alternatively I question the quality of the preamps people are using to do a comparison. Through an inexpensive preamp, yeah, you might get such results but through a quality preamp, you would hear a dramatic difference. This does indicate however, that if you are using inexpensive preamps, then buying an inexpensive mic makes sense.

I just did a shootout with a U47, M49 a couple of Pelusos, a Pearlman TM-1 and the venerable U87 and I walked away thinking that for the money the U87 was a very high value mic. This running through a GR1NV preamp. The number of number one albums that employ a U87 as the primary mic cannot be overlooked as well.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #19
Gear Addict
 
AwTAC's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I am a firm believer that the bad rep 87's get is primarily derived from mics that are way out of spec. Sure, you can find people to dislike anything, but I feel like the odds are way higher finding an old 87 with a filthy capsule than with a good one. The high end gets really edgy and shrill when the diaphragm is covered in tar and spit, and every single last cap in that mic will have a global effect on the sound the mic makes. I bought an 87 that was just the sound of misery, it was beyond old sounding, it sounded really bad, just constricted and nasal with a shrill top end and a weird low end. After rebuilding the mic and cleaning the capsule it sounds unreal. I think there is a lot of folly thinking that some old u87 is just gonna sound good. In 2014, a 1970's u87 should be looked at as a good platform to rebuild and not just some mic to buy and plug in. It's certainly a challenge trying to convey that, and for sure I can set up an awesome sounding 87 and find someone to loathe it, but for the most part I cant help but wonder...
Old 3rd March 2014
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
I must be living on another planet..!!
I ve been wanting to add an LDC to my lovely 70,s U87
So I've tried a few well regarded u47, c12 clones .
Obviously these are very different sounding types of mics but literally the tests last a few minutes ..No comparison at all.

It is that the U87 has an integrity about it that the other mics i have tried do not come close to .
I have also tried original u67's which had the same thing going on.
Maybe it,s just that these original capsules haven,t really been bettered
but there is an honesty and a downright feeling of realness to the sound.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #21
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Some of these type of comments baffle me too. I have tried and/or used most of the cheaper GC Chinese mics and while some sound ok they across the board have a cheapness in sound. I hate to say this because I don't like insulting people's gear if I can help it but the '76 U87 I have would lay waste to any cheaper GC mic I've ever heard. No contest. Maybe some of these guys used ai versions and didn't care for the extended top and overall pop of the mic. Who knows. I listened to Grace this morning, apart from the brilliance of Buckley's voice that vocal track sounds t*ts imo. As does a lot of great rock records with an 87 at the helm. I went to Joram's studio last summer in Amsterdam to track a female fronted rock band and went through every mic; U47, M49, 67, 251, C12 etc.. I picked his 87 over all of them. It had not only the most direct sound but it sounded like a record, the records I love.
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #22
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Ephi82's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone ➑️
I start to question the ears of people who say a $400 mic sounds as good as a Neumann U87. Alternatively I question the quality of the preamps people are using to do a comparison. Through an inexpensive preamp, yeah, you might get such results but through a quality preamp, you would hear a dramatic difference. This does indicate however, that if you are using inexpensive preamps, then buying an inexpensive mic makes sense.

I just did a shootout with a U47, M49 a couple of Pelusos, a Pearlman TM-1 and the venerable U87 and I walked away thinking that for the money the U87 was a very high value mic. This running through a GR1NV preamp. The number of number one albums that employ a U87 as the primary mic cannot be overlooked as well.
As I look at it, Neumann, Telefunken, Gefell and other high end mic makers are considered "high performance" because they are. A great mic should be as true to its source as possible, if not flattering, depending on what you are looking for.

It's hardly surprising that a cheap pre amp or poor "room" can make a fine mic sound average and "equivilant" to a $400 condenser. By the way, my "room" needs sonic improving, so I'm holding off on the big $ mic, but I will tell you that my Great River pre is my best buy for the $ , right up there with my a RADAR 24. Talk about FAT tracks!
Old 3rd March 2014
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I bought a u87ai off ebay back in January.... Got the mic, windscreen, shockmount and case for 2 grand. Apparently the seller bought new in 1995 and ran a studio for a couple of months then closed up shop and the mic was in it's case for the next 19 years. I figured if it was as terrible as some people on GS say, I could probably resell it and make a profit (doesn't seem like this mic is getting any cheaper)....

I'm extremely happy with the purchase. I've recorded several artists with it and I feel it handles sibilance very well. Only artists that sound slightly silibant on it sounded more silibant on some of my other mics (and they aren't cheap chinese mics either) and Fabfilter Pro DS cleans that issue up if needed. The 87 handles processing very very well.

The artists I record aren't very "gear savvy" as in they'd walk in and say "whoa a u87!".... Or have some preconceived idea that it's going to sound great because it's a u87... They've all been happy, some extremely happy with the sound. For what it's worth, the chain is u87->aurora audio gtq-> mc77 and/or la2a.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #24
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Knobz's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I liked the U87. I had to part with mine in '09 but I still have a TLM 103 and going through our Vintech X73 I'm just as satisfied with it on most artists.
Old 4th March 2014
  #25
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gainreduction's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If I could have just one mic it would be a 87. Love em, they're classy great workhorses.
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #26
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mattcollen's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone ➑️
I start to question the ears of people who say a $400 mic sounds as good as a Neumann U87. Alternatively I question the quality of the preamps people are using to do a comparison. Through an inexpensive preamp, yeah, you might get such results but through a quality preamp, you would hear a dramatic difference. This does indicate however, that if you are using inexpensive preamps, then buying an inexpensive mic makes sense.

I just did a shootout with a U47, M49 a couple of Pelusos, a Pearlman TM-1 and the venerable U87 and I walked away thinking that for the money the U87 was a very high value mic. This running through a GR1NV preamp. The number of number one albums that employ a U87 as the primary mic cannot be overlooked as well.
I agree. The U87 is a fine mic. I, too, question the ears of anyone who claims a 400 dollar mic is in the same league.
Old 4th March 2014
  #27
Gear Guru
 
Sqye's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
.

Was never a big 87 fan.

It was good for OH's on piano and drums, and percussion, etc.

But in blind shootouts on lead vocals for many, many singers over the years, it almost never worked for me.

Not one of my favorite mics, by any stretch.


Who cares what I think, though.

.
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #28
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
well.........buying a used one isnt that bad. and about 2000 dollars cheaper
Old 4th March 2014
  #29
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Just to clarify before we continue the rampant burning of my not-blown-away-by-the-87 corpse 1) our 87 is most definitely an AI, and 2) ADK is a small shop here in the US. I don't know where their parts come from, nor do I care. Blackbird here in Nash has over 20 of them in their locker, including the TC that I mentioned, if that means anything to anyone... Maybe it doesn't, but I don't see MXLs or CADs on their gear list. The room I use is beautifully designed, 5200sq ft built from the ground up to be a great sounding room. New Avid I/O converters, pre's I've used to compare the 2 are the Martech and APIs. Our 87ai sounds alright on some things. It sounds like butt on others. If it was all I had I could make it work. The ADK is straight badass... no 2 ways around it.

Sadly, my ears can't be attached to anyone else's body, but know that I'm not basing my opinion off using it in a garage with some eggcrate foam and a firestudio.
Old 4th March 2014
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
You don't have to explain your ears to anyone, let alone defend your reasonable description.

For a lot of vocals the 87, I feel has a "NASAL", "boxy" tone that has to eventually be EQ'd. There are instruments that it excels in.

The 89 (or 170) has a more natural approach & I've never understood why the 87 outsells these by a lot.
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