Neumann U87 Ai Review | 2024’s Top Studio Condenser Mic

Mixing Monster - Let Your Music Shine

Written By Mixing Monster

Home > BlogRecording > Recording Insights

Neumann U87 Ai Review | Top Studio Condenser Mic

DisclosureSome of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, we will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

When we first laid hands on the Neumann U 87 Ai, the legacy of excellence was palpable. As audiophiles and sound engineers know, finding the right microphone can make all the difference. And the U 87 Ai, with its nickel finish, doesn’t just look professional—it truly sets the standard for studio microphones.

The Neumann U 87 Ai has been a mainstay in the recording industry since its inception in 1967, embodying a rich history of audio excellence. With its unmistakable warm sound and versatile three-pattern selection—omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8—it precisely captures the nuances of vocal and instrumental performances. Handling high sound pressure levels is effortless thanks to its 10dB attenuation switch, while the selectable low-frequency roll-off counteracts the proximity effect. The microphone has essential accessories like the EA87 Shockmount and a sleek wooden box for safe storage.

In this Neumann U87 Ai review, you will discover that it is not just about its iconic status; it’s about the subtleties it brings to recordings. Each note is rendered with clarity, from the silky smooth highs to the robust lows. Its adaptability across various recording situations—from podcasts to full-scale music production—makes it an invaluable tool in any studio setting.

    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • The Neumann U 87 Ai is a testament to the brand’s unwavering commitment to quality.
    • It’s a significant investment, but for those serious about their sound, it’s an investment that pays off with each use.
    • Ready to capture audio with the clarity and professionalism it deserves?
      Check out the Neumann U 87 Ai and experience the difference yourself!

    Neumann 
    U87 Ai

    Neumann U87 Ai

    Get It Here

    Table Of Contents

    1. Neumann U87 Ai Review – Microphone Overview

    2. Neumann U 87 Ai Sound Quality

    3. Versatile Recording Patterns of the U 87 Ai

    4. Durability And Design Of The Neumann U 87 Ai

    5. Accessories Included When Buying The Neumann U 87 Ai

    6. Pros And Cons Of The Neumann U 87 Ai

    7. Neumann U 87 Ai Consumer Feedback

    8. The Neumann U 87 Ai: An Audio Legend Redefined

    9. FAQ

    1. Neumann U87 Ai Review - Microphone Overview

    We often see the Neumann U 87 Ai topping lists for its impeccable performance and versatility in recording. After recently testing the microphone in various studio settings, it’s clear why it holds its esteemed reputation. This legendary mic boasts a warmth and balance in sound that only comes from decades of refinement.

    The U 87 Ai truly shines with its multipattern selection—offering omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8 patterns that cater to any recording scenario we throw at it. Whether recording vocals or instruments or as a room mic, the adaptability of this microphone was outstanding. The built-in 10dB attenuation switch is a practical feature, allowing the mic to handle louder sound sources without hinting distortion.

    Its well-engineered design includes a shock mount, which effectively reduces handling noise, and we found the included accessories, such as the windscreen and cable, quite beneficial. There’s a sense of luxury to it, presented in a wooden jeweler’s box, which also ensures that it remains safe and secure, showcasing its quality and legacy.

    Neumann U87 Ai Unboxed

    Below is a table of key features we found integral to the U 87 Ai’s performance:

     

    Feature Description
    Acoustic Operating Principle Pressure-gradient transducer with double membrane capsule
    Directional Patterns Omnidirectional, cardioid, figure-8 (switchable)
    Low Frequency Roll-Off Switchable to accommodate proximity effect
    Handling of Sound Pressure Levels 10dB attenuation switch for up to 127dB without distortion
    Frequency Range and Impedance 20Hz to 20kHz, 200 ohms
    Included Components Shockmount with windscreen, cable, and wooden box
    Connectivity XLR connector for professional quality sound
    Power Requirement Requires phantom power

     

    Although reviews across the board praise its astounding clarity and build quality, some note the U 87 Ai‘s premium price as a consideration for potential buyers. However, the investment often proves itself in the recordings for those serious about their sound.

    2. Neumann U 87 Ai Sound Quality

    Exploring the sound quality of the U 87 Ai, we quickly appreciate why it’s a staple in studios worldwide. When we tested its performance, the warmth, and clarity stood out, reflecting its reputation for well-balanced characteristics.

    Vocals captured with this mic felt alive, carrying a level of depth that’s challenging to replicate with lesser mics. Instrument recordings demonstrated versatility, with the switchable patterns providing adaptability to various recording situations.

    Neumann U87 Ai Closeup

    While this microphone shines in its delivery of clean and natural sound, its fidelity can be unforgiving to imperfect environments or less-than-ideal sound sources. It captures the subtle nuances where the U 87 Ai excels but can also highlight flaws in acoustics or technique.

    Its sensitivity may require careful handling in noisy environments, but the 6dB noise improvement is evident with proper setup. With the ability to handle high sound pressure levels without distortion, it remains an exceptional tool for professional applications, although the price point remains a consideration for the budget-conscious.

    3. Versatile Recording Patterns of the U 87 Ai

    During our time with the U 87 Ai, its multipattern capability proved a standout feature. This classic microphone easily adapts to various recording scenarios thanks to its three selectable polar patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8.

    We found that switching between these patterns opened up a range of possibilities, whether we were capturing the nuances of a solo vocal performance, micing guitar amps, or embracing the ambient sounds of a room.

    Omni mode allowed us to gather sound from all directions, perfect for group vocals or a more immersive sound. Cardioid became our go-to for solo work, offering a focused capture that rejects sound from behind the mic—ideal for podcasting or voice-overs. The figure-8 was particularly useful for duets or interviews, picking up sound from the front and the back while minimizing the side noise.

    Neumann U87 Ai Recording

    Although this adaptability is a strong plus, users should be aware of their environment when choosing the pattern, as the sensitive omnidirectional setting might unintentionally pick up unwanted noise in a less controlled space.

    With our hands-on experience, the U 87 Ai‘s versatile response patterns made it a reliable companion in the studio, accommodating a wide range of recording situations with professionalism.

    4. Durability And Design Of The Neumann U 87 Ai

    In assessing the U 87 Ai, we focused on its aural prowess, structural integrity, and aesthetics. Neumann’s build quality lives up to its reputation. With a sturdy metal body and nickel finish, this microphone feels engineered to withstand the rigors of a professional studio environment. The included shock mount and windscreen are similarly robust, adding to their durability during regular use.

    From our experience, the U 87 Ai’s design has proven timeless and practical. The weight and build exude a sense of reliability. On the other hand, the famed wooden jeweler’s box this mic comes in, while exquisitely crafted, may offer a different level of protection than one might expect for transportation or rough handling.

    Neumann U87 Ai Interior

    Sound engineers and musicians will appreciate the undeniably classic aesthetic that blends seamlessly with modern recording equipment. This microphone looks like a piece of recording history and performs like one––nothing about its design feels outdated or excessive. The polished exterior can be prone to fingerprints and may need regular cleaning to maintain its sparkle.

    The U 87 Ai‘s durability justifies its price tag, potentially serving many years of use without compromising its sound or build quality.

    Save On Musical Instruments & Studio Gear | Amazon Deals Of The Day

    5. Accessories Included When Buying The Neumann U 87 Ai

    Opening the box of the U 87 Ai, we were pleased to find a handful of accessories accompanying this studio classic. In addition to the microphone itself, a classy wooden box cradles the mic securely, ensuring it stays protected when not in use. It’s a nice touch that adds an extra feeling of quality to the whole package.

    The manufacturer also includes a shock mount, which is crucial for reducing handling noise—a godsend when recording in less than perfectly stable environments. A reliable shock mount straight out of the box means we can jump into recording without worrying about extra gear.

    Lastly, a cable is conspicuously absent, which isn’t a dealbreaker but something to be aware of. Supplying your XLR cable to connect the mic to your preamp or interface would be best. The included accessories underscore the premium experience with the U 87 Ai despite the small extra step of procuring a cable.

    6. Pros And Cons Of The Neumann U 87 Ai

    Pros Of The Neumann U 87 Ai

    It’s clear why the Neumann U 87 Ai  is often found in professional studios. Its well-regarded pressure-gradient transducer and double membrane capsule give various recording possibilities for multiple vocal and instrumental arrangements. Its three selectable polar patterns allow great flexibility in capturing sound, making it versatile across different recording scenarios.

    With the switchable low-frequency roll-off, our control over undesired low-end noise, such as rumbles or proximity effects, is notably enhanced. The U 87 Ai’s reputation as a studio classic is not without merit; it’s a reliable piece of equipment that captures sound with precision and warmth. We’ve found it exceptionally great for vocals, delivering an iconic sound that could be part of its timeless allure.

    Cons Of The Neumann U 87 Ai

    On the downside, the Neumann U 87 Ai cost can be a significant barrier for emerging studios or individual sound engineers. While it is a high-end microphone, the price point is notably steep, which we must consider when making a purchase decision.

    Also, we’ve come across a need to be vigilant about authenticity due to counterfeits in the market, as reflected by some disappointing experiences shared by buyers. It’s crucial to ensure purchase from a reputable seller to avoid such mishaps. Additionally, while the U 87 Ai is outstanding, newer entrants or less expensive alternatives may offer comparable quality, challenging its value proposition for some users.

    Lastly, the impeccable sound quality will unforgivingly capture every flaw in the environment or performance, demanding a high standard of recording space and technique.

    7. Neumann U 87 Ai Consumer Feedback

    After spending considerable time with the U 87 Ai, we’ve observed that its reputation in the industry stands on solid ground. Having had the chance to use it in various recording scenarios, it’s clear why it’s a staple in professional studios. There’s an authenticity about it that aspiring sound engineers hold in high regard, often viewing it as a long-term investment for their collection of audio equipment.

    Neumann U87 Ai Colors

    However, it’s essential to approach this microphone cautiously when purchasing online, as there have been counterfeit products, which is understandably frustrating for those affected. That said, for amateurs and professionals alike who’ve received the legitimate product, the U 87 Ai is heralded for the ‘sparkle’ and ‘mojo’ that it brings to recordings—qualities that are hard to replicate with alternatives.

    The consensus among users is that despite the high cost, the incremental quality improvement can be worth the investment, particularly for those aiming for top-notch vocal recordings. Many find it to be the microphone that leaves no desire for more tonal quality. It’s an iconic piece that continues to receive praise for its pure sound. With a strong user rating, the U 87 Ai maintains its industry-standard status for a good reason.

    8. The Neumann U 87 Ai: An Audio Legend Redefined

    Having wrapped our hands around the Neumann U 87 Ai, we’ve experienced firsthand the lush, warm sound that has made this studio microphone the gold standard since 1967. It boasts an iconic presence in recording studios worldwide, with a reputation for well-balanced characteristics. We found this current iteration lives up to the legend, offering a clear improvement in signal-to-noise ratio.

    In our testing, the versatility of the U 87 Ai shone through its three selectable directional patterns—omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8. Thanks to a 10dB attenuation switch, it adeptly handled intense sound levels without any trace of distortion. Moving closer to the source, the adjustable low-frequency response effectively countered any proximity effect.

    We appreciated that it came with practical accessories, including a Shockmount for reducing handling noise and a wooden box that serves as storage and a touch of class.

    Neumann U87 Ai

    Neumann U87 Ai

    Key features we noted:

    • Versatile directional patterns
    • Improved signal-to-noise ratio
    • Effective handling of high sound levels
    • Iconic design and build quality

    Despite its storied past, some may find the U 87 Ai‘s price point a barrier. But in utilizing it for a range of recording tasks, from capturing vocal nuances to miking instruments, it’s clear that this mic is not just about legacy—it’s about performance that continues to set benchmarks!

    Mixing
    Service

    Book Audio Mixing Service Online | Mixing Monster

    Mastering
    Service

    Book Audio Mastering Service Online | Mixing Monster

    9. FAQ

    1) What are the differences between the Neumann U87 and U 87ai microphones?

    Having used both microphones in various sessions, we’ve noticed that the U 87 and U 87ai have subtle yet crucial differences. The U 87ai brings a 6dB improvement in signal-to-noise ratio compared to the older U87, offering more precise recordings. The U 87ai’s updated design also provides a more consistent cardioid pattern and improved self-noise levels, making it a solid choice for professional applications.

    2) How does the Neumann U87's frequency response contribute to its sound quality?

    The U87‘s frequency response plays a significant role in its quintessential sound. It offers a balanced response with a slight presence boost, contributing to its clarity and ability to capture nuances. This makes our vocal recordings sound warm and detailed, enabling the mic to pick up the subtle qualities of instruments and voice, which often translates to a polished final product.

    3) What makes the Neumann U87 a widely used microphone across various industries?

    From our experience, the U87’s versatility and consistent performance make it a go-to microphone in studios worldwide. Its three polar patterns—omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8—provide flexibility for various recording scenarios. Moreover, it’s robust enough to handle different environments, from studio vocal booths to live audio recordings for instruments, which endorses broad use across industries.

    4) Is the self-noise level of the Neumann U87 Ai low enough for sensitive recordings?

    In our time recording with the U87 Ai, we’ve found its self-noise level impressively low for a microphone of its class. It maintains a quiet operation, making it suitable for capturing soft vocal performances and instruments, where any background hiss could be detrimental. This allows us to record with the confidence that the mic won’t introduce distracting noise into delicate recordings.

    5) How does the Neumann TLM 103 compare to the U87 performance?

    When pitting the TLM 103 against the revered U87, we recognize that both microphones have their strengths. The TLM 103 is often considered a smaller sibling to the U87 with a similar sound character but at a lower price point. However, the U87 offers more versatility with its multiple patterns and attenuation options. For those looking to achieve professional results on a budget, the TLM 103 can be an outstanding performer, while the U87 remains the industry standard for more complex recording requirements.

    6) In terms of audio quality and durability, is the Neumann U87 considered a good investment?

    Our consistent use of the Neumann U87 has demonstrated that it’s not only a microphone with exceptional audio quality but also one with commendable durability. Its well-balanced characteristics, warm sound, and ability to withstand the rigors of frequent use make it an investment that stands the test of time. While the initial cost may be high, its longevity and the timeless recordings it produces can justify the expense for serious audio professionals.

    Next Steps

    Best Studio Microphones | Top Picks For Recording
    Best Studio Gear Recommendations

    You Might Also Be Interested In

    45+ Best Practices For A Perfect Home Studio Setup In 2024

    45+ Best Practices For A Perfect Home Studio Setup In 2024

    Music Production Guide 2024 | Full Instructions For Beginners

    Music Production Guide 2024 | Full Instructions For Beginners

    How To Mix Music In 2024 | An Easy Guide For Beginners

    How To Mix Music In 2024 | An Easy Guide For Beginners

    How To Master Music In 2024 | Mastering Guide For Beginners

    How To Master Music In 2024 | Mastering Guide For Beginners

    How To Record Music In 2024 | A Practical Beginner’s Guide

    How To Record Music In 2024 | A Practical Beginner’s Guide

    How To Edit Audio In 2024 | Essential Guide For Beginners

    How To Edit Audio In 2024 | Essential Guide For Beginners

    Best Studio Gear 2024 | Top Equipment For Every Budget

    Best Studio Gear 2024 | Top Equipment For Every Budget

    #1 Best Mixing Service 2024 Online | Studio Mixing Monster

    #1 Best Mixing Service 2024 Online | Studio Mixing Monster

    #1 Best Mastering Service 2024 Online | Studio Mixing Monster

    #1 Best Mastering Service 2024 Online | Studio Mixing Monster

    Mixing And Mastering Samples 2024 | Mixing Monster Results

    Mixing And Mastering Samples 2024 | Mixing Monster Results

    SHARE THIS ARTICLE

    Thank You For Reading!

    “Thank you for taking the time to read our post. We hope you found the insights informative and valuable. Don’t hesitate to contact us anytime with your thoughts and concerns about the topic—we’d love to hear from you!

    Mixing Monster - Let Your Music Shine

    Mixing Monster is a professional music studio with over 25 years of experience in music production and audio engineering, helping people like you and customers worldwide get the perfect tone for their music.

    Table of Contents
    2
    3
    Save On Musical Instruments & Studio Gear | Amazon Deals Of The Day
    Best Studio Gear Recommendations
    Book Audio Mixing Service Online | Mixing Monster
    Book Audio Mastering Service Online | Mixing Monster
    Optimized by Optimole Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner