Used Ripoffs and Rules? U87.....and a RODE NT2 U87-headbasket


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So today theres a lot of clones, copys, fakes, rip off capsule swaps counterfeits.......
Add in new Prices that keep going up making Used attractive even more... until the thought of scams, weasley counterfeits come into play and many have no returns.

Anyone want to offer tips, stories, rules they go by on purchasing a U87, SM57-58, SM7b, etc...etc.. ?

just in the rabbit hole with a Rode NT2 i got in a deal, and measured its dimensions because of curiosity to know if this is a "u87 size mic",
as its the Rode lawsuit NT2 with 87 headbasket ....(and 8inch, 2inch is same size. weird U87 always looked bigger in the pictures).

but then looking into U87ai new prices made me choke, and used are $1500 an up with a shocked reality theres sooooo many blantant ripoffs and clones and used real ones with capsules swapped..... then I thought what about Returns if it is a RipOff? I was always curious if my SM7b was counterfit but went through the videos to check it and it is legitimate (but did sound a little different than my other one...maybe not broken in)

Shure and Neumann seem to be under attack the most. imo... buyer beware.


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What makes you think this a clone of the NT2? Who would do such a thing with a Rode mic - there's no profit in it - the U87 I can tell a fake from real - just have to hear it - either way I don't think I've ever been taken.
i apologize wording above is horrific....i didnt articulate that well. I merged two topics into one.

My RODE NT2 is fine, I like it, the one I have is a great sound... I agree, no one is making fake NT2 (that I know of)...however they do make fake $99SM57-58?

but as I was rabbit holing on the dimensions of the NT2 (u87 lawsuit version) it measured and looks similar, coming in at 8inx2in they did match it well, to compare to a real U87 Ive never owned or even used. And they copied it well in looks.

the second part is the U87 and the topic of Rip Offs and buying USED.
of course , I got GAS looking up U87 in all forms....and noticed so many blatant ripoffs, even with fake logos and the name Neumann on the fake mic, like a fake Rolex I saw in the streets of Taiwans black market. I saw a beaten U87 at $1500 for sale and thought about buying it but the risk is a concern. Some sites have no refunds etc. Its a bigger risk at $2000 than $99 obviously.

Being the real U87' in all versions are so expensive to my wallet, the thought of being ripped off made me curious, "how does a person know if its real or altered?" And the risk factor to be ripped off is high these days. I was asking if maybe others can recommend Reliable sites? or obvious details to look for on U87? Stories of being ripped off to share.


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There is a simple rule - I buy loads of mics, especially the fakes to see whet they're like - and the rules work like this. Buy from a legitimate dealer who offers returns. Online orders certainly in the UK and most places are protected - I must give every person who buys products from me a return within 14 days simply because they change their mind. In most cases, I lose postage out, and they lose it coming back. I am NOT s Shure dealer, or a dealer for any expensive brands, so when I buy Shure SM58/57 or AKG or Neumann I buy from an authorised dealer or reseller. My couple of year old U87 came from Thomann in Germany - and was a B stock. The box had clearly been through the postal system, but the mic is as new. My AKG 414s and Shures come from the same source. All Shure mics are the same price from all authorised dealers, with a maximum of maybe 5% difference in price and maybe free postage thrown in. That's it - if you see a 58 (in pounds) you will spend at least £95. If you see anyone selling a new 58 for £60, it's a fake.

Some of the fakes are extremely good - some of the 57 and 58s on the market are indistinguishable from a real one in a side by side test. Others are dreadful - but look the same. The current iffy one are SM7Bs which again sound to my ears exactly the same, but others are poor. I cannot tell the difference between a genuine one I have and a fake I bought. There is no difference to my ears and I had to stick red tape on the fake, because if I mix it up, I am stuck. I have some Neumann handheld fakes. None sound like the real thing, but one is close and better made. The others have poorer construction so handling noise is bad, but so is electronic noise. I bought three 'U87' mics - two were the same body with different electronics and one was totally different. Quality went from awful, to usable.

What I do know is that there are two things for you to consider when buying mics like this, where there are fakes on the market.

Morals and Ethics - if you buy one, knowing it's a fake, and can live with it - then some for little money are very good. Not as good as a real one of course, but perfectly usable. Buying one to sell is totally different - that for me is totally out!
The other is price. My U87 was with a proper VAT receipt, so to me the cost to my business was £1500. That is still a huge amount of money, but livable with. If I saw it on ebay, or Amazon for a grand, I would NOT buy it - too risky. Current model, high price products are not that sort of price. Vintage of course are totally unavailable for cheap prices.

What is absolutely certain from the dozens of mics I've bought, is that a few are dreadful, most are usable, and some are actually quite nice. As an example - there are quite a few TLM103 mics on sale. All produced in China - and some have a 34mm capsule, some have a 24mm one and oddly, they're not too bad at all. My ones came with little Neumann badges you could stick on - but a cheap plastic iso mount. My real one is much heavier and sounds better to my ears - but a pair of the 34mm ones would be great for piano, or as a stereo pair if you were short of money.

I've just bought a fake Audix D6 - it's not arrived yet, but I bet it will be a plastic case, not metal, and not remotely the sound of a D6 - which to me sounds a bit like a 112 - my favourite. I'm planning to try a session with a double bass with it. I know a kick would be better, but transient sounds seem to rarely allow good comparisons - because it always sounds either click or mellow, so an instrument should make a better comparison and others have done kick drums with different mics and I struggle a bit.

I do NOT always damn these Chinese fakes - they're producing what people want. Cheap mics, and while measuring mic grills sort of works, it means very little. Nobody buys a fake when they can afford a real one. Lots of people simply can't. Worse - some mics just sound good. I remember buying two Roses when they first came out and I really liked them. My favourite AKG414s get used for everything because they work on almost everything. My U87 rarely gets used, because it is not as magic as I believed. It is really nice on my tenor sax, and I don't use it on the alto - it's too thin and shrill. It is nice, but not wonderful. I thought for the money, I'd be really enthusiastic but it's just, well, nice? I've used it as the side mic with my TLM103 which match really well, but frankly the issue with it for a mic bought with personal money is I need to keep it pristine and kicking the stand over, or tripping over cables is scary. The 414s have proven to be really tough and both are marked and the grills nearly un-dented.

Some fakes are truly awful, some really, really nice - some people are offended by the idea of fakery. Others will happily buy a fake Gibson or Fender guitar. I know all the legal arguments and the hatred of counterfeits I do get - but I can live with it, hence my search for decent ones. I've linked in one of my videos but you will find loads comparing all sorts.
so thats a lot of info.
if I pull from that upfront is # 1 get a dealer with return policy. that rules out a lot of sites right away. thanks! common sense.

interesting on the Shure comment, as I am a Shure "fan" as they seem well built, cover a lot of types of mics (no tubes?) and are decent priced (except for their ribbons). thanks for that bit of intelligence as the SM57.58.7b seem to be under attack/copied easily.

Neumann is really the "ROLEX" of mic's imo, in a wrist watch analogy. I do not recall such blatant copys being online before at least not where they have the Neumann badges and even say Neumann on the mic? of course theres many clone types at the $500-$1000 range.
....but that wasnt my self interest goal to learn about all fakes as much as my own purchase.

if I finally buy a U87-industry standard, seems easy to be ripped off these days..
To buy a U87 with a capsule swapped out, or the electronics boards are gone with cheap-china board installed...yikes!
It seems they are really perfecting this "chineese copy" business to a point the mics will be very decent.
Reminds me of fake Rolex watches, the fakes used to be easy to spot with a typical click-movement second hand, while the real Rolex is a smooth, continuous motion...but over the years the fakes learned how to do the smooth, second hand motion too. In short they get better and better at copying. I wonder are there 1000 of these copy factorys or only 10 factorys making these "black market" mics?

Interesting you seek the fakes out and test them, great video, the one with an empty electronics section! too funny.

Your comment on the U87 isnt the first time Ive heard someone finally buying this "industry workhorse" and expectations are very normal and there is a less elated vibe than hoped for. But still it is the classic so for microphone enthusiasts eventually getting one to compare all others too? makes sense. (sounding a bit like Lord of the Rings here? one ring to rule them all stuff..) I know a MIXONLINE had all the Shure KSM mics and they were each compared to the U87. Paolo compares mics , I like his videos, but again the U87 is the main standard it seems.
Same would go for quality parts too, U87 would be the standard to compare too.

I agree with the personal higher dollar investments creating some un-ease and worry about damaging this pristine piece.
I was that way with real US Fenders, and found I had more relaxed vibe with less expensive Squiers or others and my shiny pristine US sat in the case , to preserve it? very strange.

That's pretty much how it is - the only other thing to watch out for is that genuine country of origin is geting blurred - because China often make stuff for other manufacturers. Moving production to China saves a lot of money. Even Behringher products are now coming out unbranded by the factories that clearly make them, before Behringher brand them, and we have the weird example of audio interfaces that cost more than the behringher sold by the German companies? Audio Technica also have Chinese made models on sale at more than a purchase from Audio Technica.

If people are cash stuck, then there are some very usable Chinese mics out there. If you want an AKG or Neumann, buy them from Germany, via genuine approved dealers. The danger ground is the expensive brands at 500-1000 price tags. Dangerous.
Found even a Shure KSM 44A all the other sites are $999....this one has $299! and available stock is 10,000 !! lol

The problem with my mind is due to all the fakes when I buy USED it might be someone selling their Fake one at a "real" price.
Like if I bought the below fake for $299 and assuming they even send me the mic ......if a person doesnt know they bought a fake, they post it on REVERB or HERE HR for $599!! which is possible....the fakes somehow drift into the sea of microphones.

So to really trust any purchase, being able to disassemble and verify the capsules and inner parts are even real, becomes a buyer beware.

So in an odd way.....buying RODE or MXL mics, at least someone will get the REAL thing? lol because no one is making "black market" low end priced mics (yet)...well except for Shure SM57-58 that I know of.

So the REVERB USED one is Real? or a Fake $299 KSM44A?


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I would rather buy an AKG Perception grade mic than a fake "u87". It's still made in China, but at least AKG will have an interest in making sure it is properly assembled and meets spec. From what I've heard, the P420 is decent enough mic, and you can get them on sale from reliable dealers for $150-200 a pop.

I don't really worry about how the mic "looks". Looking like a Ferrari doesn't make it drive like a Ferrari.
I don't know much about current U87 lookalikes but the older lookalikes from the 1990s like the Rode NT2 and the VTL CR3-A have a certain sound which can be superficially seductive (and will work well on certain voices) but is nothing like the sound of a U87. In my experience the U87 gives you the sound you expect from a traditional studio mic and you can put one in front of a singer safe in the knowledge that you will get a usable recording. However, with the proliferation of expensive mics with Chinese capsules, a sound with more high frequencies seems to have become more fashionable so one of the Chinese mics may be more appropriate if that is the sound you are looking for.
At the moment, popular Chinese cheaper mics in the dynamics and condensers are the hand heads. Sennheiser has had, like the sm57/58 loads of copies of the 835, 845 and 865, which usually came with a dynamic capsule! Shure also have their condenser handhelds copied. The sm86 and 87 were very common, but had dynamic capsules, but now they have electrets fitted. All the 86/87#s were not made of the same material though, they were very light, and instant giveaway. They sounded like a cheap electret, so we’re sort of usable, apart from handling noise, which was high. My own rules are simple, the danger area starts at about 80 quid up to around ten percent of the normal retail. A 900 pound mic for 500 I would not touch. I sell two way radios on ebay and via my website and the profit margin is very small per item. A radio that sells for 200 quid makes me around 20-25 pounds after all the costs and tax. No way can a genuine retailer sell a product at 50% of its usual retail. Nobody makes that kind of margins any more. I’m a registered reseller for a number of brands I cannot become a dealer for. It means I can sell them for the price the big dealers sell at, but if I drop my price just a little to get sales through me, rather than them, my margin is Big Mac meal level. Anyone selling a microphone new and cheap is one to be wary of, and a brand new current model sold as second hand could be a return, but when I sell returns to clear them, I probably make ten pounds on it, often I lose money.

if a mic has a well known brand, a genuine retailer cannot sell it chea. My favourite value supplier is Thomann, and they buy massive quantities from China as well as the big names. Compare ANY deal with their price and use common sense. My Chinese radio favourite supplier has to shift 10,000 USD Worth of product each month for her to get her full salary, and it means she will offer me specials at the end of the month, which I buy if they are potentially useful, but that is the only time prices really drop, and of course, these I sell for the normal price, not cheap.
I was thinking places like Guitar Center, and all the other stores brick n mortar probably have no real "QC police" ability to detect Used Fakes
sold as Real ones...unintentionally.

Thats my concern. I dont want to pay for "real" brand and get "fake" copy.
So??? a person needs to become their own QC Police??
....going back to # 1 get a dealer with return policy
#2 know how to perform QC police and return if the capsule is swapped ???

(or theres no electronics in the body at all, as shown in the video..that was great. )

These new forgerys are far worse for consumers than RODE using a headbasket style, imo, because theres large RODE NT2 name brand on the mic.
Getting more bold and making a true "counterfeit" is more concerning for my wallet.

Neumann would be the most under attack I would imagine, right? I mean no offense to Shure and Im a Shure Fan....but those mics are more accessible and lower priced anyway, like Used KSM are usually near 50% off- KSM 32 no candy $220? KSM44 $400 with no candy no holders.... SM57-58 are $99 new, so not the same as a $3500 Neumann U87....or a fake used U87 for $2200 being sold at a store (unintentionally).
The "counterfeitters" haven't gone "relic " have they? entering into the Used market?

off topic...We got ripped off on Willie Nelson tickets by a Ticketmaster scam- for $123 this weekend. Electronic tickets never came, we said no tickets they said , they were sent and no refunds.Turns out it was scam-site based in Connecticut, who somehow mirrored Ticketmaster or copied...but once they were traced online and foundout where they were located and called on phone they were sleaze ball scammers....but we are out $123, no one will take on a $100 legal case. Some bad reviews is all one gets and the scammers could care less. One other bad review by ours said they got took for $6000 for McCartney tickets that never arrived "electronically".
Not a mic, and not used.. I was shopping for a set of open-back headphones. I decided on AKG K701. The AKG site had them marked down to $399 from $545, more than I wanted to spend. Amazon had what appeared to be the exact same item for (IIRC) $249.99 - tying in with your story, my first thoughts were these had to be counterfeit at that price. After mushing it around in my head for several days, I rationalized the purchase and placed the order with Amazon.

First thing I did after receiving them was to contact AKG in an attempt to verify their authenticity. I sent them copies of all paperwork and close-up pics as requested. The rep verified they were their authentic AKG product and asked me where I purchased them and for what price. His reply was that of surprise, as if he was totally unaware Amazon could possibly sell them for $150 lower than their discounted sale price. He congratulated me on my purchase.

AKG has had these phones on their site for $399 for several years now, and Amazon continues to offer them.. currently at an even lower price than I paid.. roughly 20% less than I paid. If they keep going in that direction, I might have to buy a second pair just for GAS.
makes a good chess move...1. returnable and 2. you "policed" it out with the OEM how do they sell them <$150 below discounted? Is there that much mark up?
Without any facts, I guess the actual cost of hardware components for a set of K701 phones to be almost nothing, and with overseas labor also at a minimum (my set was made in China), the MSRP, retail and sale prices would be incredibly inflated.

Here are some very interesting measurement comparisons between the Austrian and Chinese made AKG K701 phones :

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thats some serious data drill down. it shows the China factorys "can be" good, theres no doubt about that.

the black market and counterfeiters probably dont even stamp made in china, lol..probably stamped made in Austria..or Germany..
a weird shell game of name brands for sure. buyer beware. I doubt AMAZON spends any time on their 3rd party crook sales sites.
or REVERB or GUITAR CENTER..... maybe the U87 has a MXL capsule in it and some dude put the Neumann capsule in his RODE NT?
and no one GC sells the U87 for $2700 and no one knows , as long as they dont look.
I would think that most people looking for that high quality product these days aren't building big commercial studios - those have already been built and, sadly, are also being torn down. So there is a minority with high standards looking to spend $3K+ for a quality mic, and will probably buy direct from the manufacturer who sells direct. The rest of us, in the shallow end of the pool, takes our chances with used gear.

When considering used gear, I reason that the more expensive it was when new, the more I should beware it being offered at, say, 50-60% of MSRP. And these days it's worse with a lot of used gear being compromised with swapped parts and such.

When I decided to pull the trigger on a new bass last year, I had saved all year and when I went to order it direct from Fender I found it was no longer in production (limited edition). They gave me a list of stores to call and with the help of one of our members here (mjbphotos) I bought it from a store in his area. But before I decided to go that route, I spent a couple weeks scouring the used models on several sites. There were lots of used available and that was a red flag for me for a couple of reasons. Anyway, the main reason I didn't buy used was, even though they all appeared to be in immaculate condition, I would never know how any of them might have been modified - not drastically, just stuff like having the original strings replaced, or the pups and electronics swapped out. The used models were several hundred dollars less expensive, but that wasn't low enough to warrant taking a chance.

I think it's really cool some of you here can cycle through a lot of new and used gear and tell us all about your experiences. Please keep it up :guitar:;)
I use a second hand site in the UK from time to time and it's clear they have no idea about the products they sell - flavour of the month are 2nd hand SM7B - bit I suspect they're all actually brand new copies, not cheaper second hand real ones.

I too did get a bargain last year - EV RE20 - but the colour was odd - not the usual greyish beige, but it had a khaki tinge. I thought I had a dodgy one, but EV in the US asked me for some pictures and closeups of the grill and the XLR socket end and confirmed the serial was valid, and not only that, the colour was correct - they have a number of different beiges. I didn't know that.
. . .

I too did get a bargain last year - EV RE20 - but the colour was odd - not the usual greyish beige, but it had a khaki tinge. I thought I had a dodgy one, but EV in the US asked me for some pictures and closeups of the grill and the XLR socket end and confirmed the serial was valid, and not only that, the colour was correct - they have a number of different beiges. I didn't know that.

Is this the khaki tinge you mentioned?

I would think that places like Sweetwater, Thomann, B&H and Guitar Center are buying from Neuman, or AKG, or Rode directly or through their country's distributor. They aren't buying from some factory of dodgy repute.

On the other hand, places that sell deals on Amazon could well be ordering things from places like ALIExpress and then trying to sell them as "genuine". That is the reason that Rode doesn't offer a warranty unless it comes from a verified dealer.
but thats for new stuff, when you dip into USED its a free-for all....or is it Free for