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Thread: Neumann U87ai or Avalon VT737SP

  1. #11
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    Do you live in an area with some decent studios? If so, then go to their sites and look at their gear lists. MOST will have a U87 of some sort and SOME will have an Avalon. Call and tell em what you need to do. They'll take your money for an hour usually an off hours slot they need to fill. That way you'll get the hear these pieces in a real life situation in a decent recording environment. Easier to make a decision.

    Now here's my take on these pieces. I currently own a U87. Its an 82 so it is a first generation. NOT to be confused with a U87ai .....similar but definitely different in so many ways. I did own a U87ai for a while but it wasn't getting the use I envisioned it for so I turned it into a Manley pre and another mic. The U87ai is a mic that sounds really good on most sources but is particular when it comes to voices. When it's right it's really stunning and when it's not it's kinda disappointing. As a comparison to your Rode on some things it might even be a push but the Neumann has a cachet that most other mics simply do not have. It's hard to describe unless you actually have one and have spent a lot of hours listening to it work. I've owned my 1982 U87 since 1990 and know it quite well. It's an outstanding example of what a Neumann mic brings to the table.

    The Avalon was a preamp I became enamored with several years ago. They were cool looking and everyone was using them plus they were expensive and looked it. So I demo'd one. It is a very 'bright' sounding preamp. Not much body and the even though I love opto comps and tend to choose them first for a lot of things I really never did get the Avalon to sit right in tracks. The EQ was really good and for a channel strip that is fairly high fidelity it's really pretty good. But for the money there are much better strips available. I never did pull the trigger on the demo unit. The used market on them is pretty stable these days and you can find them fairly reasonable if thats what you want.
    Chord with this, Teddy......

  2. #12
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    I'd always wanted to own an 87. In 1997 I got the loan of one for six weeks to complete a funded project. The only big mic I had back then was an original NT1 rode. I had wanted an 87 for twenty years, and my expectations were really high. It was just 'different'. Nicer on some things, a bit dull on others. I was frankly expecting something sort of magical, and it just wasn't. It was a nice mic to hold, it was built very well, it looked nice in photos, but when it went back to the BBC who loaned it to me, I really didn't miss it. The project released some funds and I bought an AKG 414, which was a much more useful purchase. Totally different in sound - and far more useful. I'd still like an 87 for some reason, but I always wanted a Gibson Les Paul, and when I bought that I was equally under-impressed, but it's nice to say I have one. That's pretty stupid use of money really, as, I suspect, buying one 87 would be, as to do what I now do, I'd want 2 of the damn things!

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    RA thats an interesting post. first hand use .....the "magical" expectations.

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

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    I can hardly tell any difference !!!! .......

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    I didn't watch all of it but on the vocals there were differences in the bass - the Rode had more than the U87 while the top end of the Rode was a little more zingy with possibly a little distortion. If this video used uncompressed audio and you listened through a decent monitoring system the difference would be obvious.
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    Iím thinking you have top shelf monitors, and listening environment, since youíre looking at this gear. I like both U87, and Avalon, like stated above theyíre not magical, or even good on certain sources.

    You might look at the Rode NTV, I was unaware of this mic, was in a pro studio, watched them swap a U47, for the NTV. For that singer it was a better match. NTV is $499.00 used. If you donít mind used there are some good deals on Neumann U87s. If you do not have a great room, and detailed monitors, imho thatís where you should put all your money. Build up your mic locker after the room/s and monitor systems are set......if you do any mixing .

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  8. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toastedgoat View Post
    I’m thinking you have top shelf monitors, and listening environment, since you’re looking at this gear. I like both U87, and Avalon, like stated above they’re not magical, or even good on certain sources.

    You might look at the Rode NTV, I was unaware of this mic, was in a pro studio, watched them swap a U47, for the NTV. For that singer it was a better match. NTV is $499.00 used. If you don’t mind used there are some good deals on Neumann U87s. If you do not have a great room, and detailed monitors, imho that’s where you should put all your money. Build up your mic locker after the room/s and monitor systems are set......if you do any mixing .
    WORD... If you haven't placed your first invested money in room treatment, don't bother wasting more on mics or preamps. It will just haunt you forever if you can't monitor accurately what you are recording.

    BTW, I never had a OMG moment with any Avalon preamp, even in high end studios. They seemed always more gritty than smooth. I have never had a bad opinion of analog Distressor. Not a fan of the software version, but the analog units have been good for me. I wish I could afford 4 of them.
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 9 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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    Maybe so but would that difference justify £2000.00 worth of difference? You would have to have some special voice.

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    I have both and I love them. The addition of the U87ai and the 737 several years ago put a nice professional polish on my home studio recordings. But if you can only afford one or the other, get the mic. The microphone is the point of capture in your signal chain. This needs to be the absolute best it can be. The quality of the sound captured by a cheap mic won't be improved by a great preamp. It will still be a cheap mic: just louder.

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