The Neumann U87 is an exceptional and widely desired microphone. However, that pedigree does come at a rather premium price, making Neumann out of reach for many of us, as with most excellent things. There isn’t much more that needs to be said about the Neumann U87 microphone. It is present in every significant studio in the world and is frequently referred to as the holy grail of mics. And you’ve heard it on innumerable records; in fact, it’s said that a U87 has been used to record more number-one chart-topping voices than any other microphone in history. The good news is that some of the best U87 clones have been created by corporations, making their iconic sound much more accessible to a wider audience.
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Neumann TLM 103 Condenser Microphone
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Let’s begin with another Neumann microphone. The TLM 103 offers adequate performance quality to be viewed as a top U87 substitute. It also has a lot to offer for roughly half the cost. The Neumann TLM 103 large-diaphragm cardioid condenser mic features transformerless technology, a capsule derived from the U 87, as well as the signature Neumann sound. The TLM 103 is a fantastic mic for any professional or project studio use and has been utilised for sampling (particularly for extremely low amplitude sources), Foley work, recording vocals and classical recordings with a wide dynamic range. As demonstrated by Jack White’s use of the TLM 103 to mic amps live, this microphone is also durable enough for the live stage.
The cardioid TLM 103 makes use of a tried-and-true transformerless circuit build quality found in high-end Neumann microphones to achieve its improbable low self-noise and maximum sound pressure level transmission. The reduction of unwelcome back sound has been optimised by concentrating on this pattern, which is used in the majority of recording scenarios. Off-axis sounds are realistically portrayed while isolation is heightened. When the microphone is utilised live or in settings where loudspeaker playback is a consideration, this also results in a strong feedback suppression. Furthermore, there is no excuse not to get a pair at this diy kit pricing!
But some great low mids that offer a warm natural tone—a quality that is frequently seen in Neumann mics—help to attain the desired sound balance. It is the same situation here, which is one of the reasons this is a respectable substitute. It is relatively compact in form and has a sturdy structure in addition to a beautiful visual design. Although it is not the most affordable choice I will consider, it is an excellent choice if you only need a microphone that delivers good vocals. This is the Best U87 Clone 2023.
Warm Audio WA-87 Vintage-Style Condenser Microphone Nickel
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The exceptional Warm Audio WA-87 Condenser Mic is a superb U87 clone that offers an outstanding performance with extraordinarily rich sonics. Any musician or producer looking for an alternative to the venerable Neumann U87 should absolutely own this microphone.
Warm Audio doesn’t skimp on the components used or the construction quality. This recording studio microphone has a superb sound since it is constructed with high-quality components throughout and has a thorough design. One that also vastly outperforms its pricing range. When comparing the Neumann U87 with Warm Audio WA-87’s response, they really sound remarkably similar and cost much less. Compared to comparable microphones in this price range, the WA-87’s sound is softer, larger, and clearer.
It is a large diaphragm mic with three polar patterns, similar to the U87. Omnidirectional, Figure of 8, and Cardioid are all accessible. That makes it more adaptable. Additionally, a switch that allows bass roll-off is available. It performs admirably thanks to a good mid-range and a potent presence increase. Additionally, it performs admirably when compared to other mics in the same price range. But that market is not the topic at hand. Compared to more costly mics, it loses a little warmth. When you compare it to the U87, the connection becomes glaringly obvious.
The Warm Audio WA-87 is a fantastic microphone all around. It is indisputable due to the price point alone and belongs in every engineer’s collection of microphones. It offers a lovely tone that complements vocalists, toms, strings, guitars, recording situations and many other instruments beautifully. The WA-87 is packaged really beautifully, with a wooden storage case and extras. This is the Best U87 Alternative in 2023.
Mojave Audio MA-200 Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser Microphone
- Protective Case and professional grade shockmount &cables included
- Hand-selected 3-micron 1” capsule
- Jensen audio transformer and ultraclean signal path
Look into the Mojave MA-200 if you’re not searching for a clone. Since it is a tube condenser microphone, it differs slightly from the U87 while being extremely similar to the U67. Royer, a well-known manufacturer of microphones, owns Mojave Audio. It’s a reliable option for many different recording applications.
The current ribbon microphone designs by David Royer are well known across the world. However, David created and produced unique vacuum tube condenser microphones for Los Angeles engineers and recording facilities years before Royer Labs launched. His early microphones were utilised on numerous successful recordings, and engineers who are aware of them highly value their assets. Mojave Audio, which David founded as a custom microphone business, has just made available the MA-200 tube condenser mic.
Consider using the MA-200 for lead and background vocals, voice-overs, piano, acoustic instruments, drum overheads, orchestra, and spot miking. You’ll concur with the engineers that examined this microphone that it resembles some of the most cherished old European microphones. The MA-200 is a breath of fresh air in a world of generic imported microphones. Royer created the MA-200 with a focus on high performance using hand-selected 3-micron gold-sputtered capsules, Jensen audio transformers, and military-grade JAN 5840 vacuum tubes.
Townsend Labs Sphere L22 Microphone Modeling System
- Sphere L22 modeling microphone system
- Includes 10 Foot (3 Meter) Breakout Cable
- Includes Shock Mount, Swivel Mount,
The Townsend Labs Sphere L22 microphone modelling system includes a premium large-diaphragm condenser microphone that functions in tandem with software that painstakingly replicates the sound characteristics of some of the most sought-after microphones ever created. The Sphere DSP plug-in accurately models a range of microphone responses, including transient response, proximity effect, harmonics, and three-dimensional polar response. You may even alter your microphone choices and polar patterns after recording. A twin-capsule mic with dual outputs, the Sphere L22, allows for a more thorough recording of the sound field and also provides the option of coincident stereo recordings, even when utilising different mic types in the left and right channels, with the plug-in. The Townsend Labs Sphere L22 ushers in a new era in sound recording.
A particularly distinctive microphone is the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 Microphone Modelling System. This microphone works with software in your DAW that enables you to alter how the microphone sounds, including the ability to very accurately replicate vintage microphones. It’s a cutting-edge piece of recording gear. You may precisely reconstruct how various mics react to an auditory environment using the modelling method. The Sphere plugin and this microphone basically have no limitations in terms of what you can accomplish.
You may exactly replicate the polar patterns and off-axis sound features that make old microphones so desirable with the help of the programme. Therefore, the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 mic can be used to build the greatest Neumann 87 clone. Before or even after recording, you can alter the mic type, polar pattern, and many other aspects. Even without modelling, the stand-alone microphone has a fantastic industry standard sound on its own. It has a sturdy construction and, unlike expensive vintage microphones, can withstand high SPLs of up to 140 dB.
Lauten Audio Black LA-220 Large Diaphragm FET Condenser Microphone
- Audio Analog or digital: Analog Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz Max SPL: 130 dB Connectivity: XLR Pattern and type Capsule: Condenser Polar...
- The Series Black LA-220 large diaphragm FET studio condenser microphone by Lauten Audio is a professional and versatile microphone for studio vocal...
- At its core, the LA-220 features a U
Another top-notch Neumann U87 alternative that provides incredible all-around versatility and lovely tones at a reasonable cost is the Lauten Audio LA-220 microphone. This microphone provides balanced, warm, and focused tones, and it is truly outstanding.
The Series Black LA-220 from Lauten Audio features a transformer-balanced output, a 120Hz highpass and 12kHz lowpass filter, a 1″ pressure gradient capsule, an ultralow-noise JFET amplifier, and a large-diaphragm cardioid FET condenser mic. At Sweetwater, we are awed by the LA-220’s broad range of adaptability and, in particular, its exceptional vocal and acoustic instrument performance. Before they reach your preamp, the integrated filters help to make up for erratic sources and poor room acoustics. The Lauten Audio Series Black LA-220 is a fantastic addition to your mic locker at a great price point for audio gear.
Producers, musicians, and audiophiles all adore the LA-220. It is a cheap microphone that performs on par with microphones that cost much more money, such the U87. The majority of microphones in this price range feature sharp frequency response spikes and muddy sound quality. The LA-220 is the ideal workhorse for studio recordings because of its wide, smooth response, which also allows it to seamlessly cut through any mix.
The Lauten Audio LA-220 is an amazing microphone that produces great sounds when connected with a high-quality recording interface, whether you’re seeking for a U87 clone or you want to expand your recording toolkit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a U87 Clone?
A: A U87 clone is a microphone that seeks to imitate the design, functionality, and sound quality of the Neumann U87, one of the industry’s most revered studio microphones. These clones aim to deliver similar performance at a more affordable price.
Q: What makes U87 clones popular?
A: U87 clones are popular due to their goal of offering the stellar performance of the classic Neumann U87, renowned for its warm, full sound and versatility, at a more cost-effective price point.
Q: How well do U87 clones emulate the original Neumann U87?
A: The accuracy of emulation varies among different U87 clones. While some models are able to replicate the Neumann U87’s sound quite closely, others may offer characteristics subtly or significantly different from the original. It is important to read reviews and test the microphone before purchase.
Q: Can U87 clones replace the original Neumann U87?
A: While U87 clones can offer a much more affordable alternative to the Neumann U87, there are nuanced differences in sound that may not make them a perfect replacement. However, many clones deliver high-quality performance, making them suitable for various recording applications.
Q: What are the best U87 clones available on the market?
A: Some of the most recognized U87 clones include the Warm Audio WA-87, the Stam Audio SA-87, and the Rode NT1. However, ‘the best’ can be subjective and varies based on specific requirements, budget, and personal preference.
Q: Are U87 clones suitable for professional recording?
A: Yes, many U87 clones are suitable for professional recording. They are designed to offer high-quality sound reproduction, making them a good fit for studio recordings. However, always ensure to do thorough research or test the microphone to verify it meets your specific needs.
Q: How does the price of a U87 clone compare with the original Neumann U87?
A: U87 clones are typically much less expensive than the original Neumann U87. The exact price difference can vary significantly, but clones are generally attractive to audio enthusiasts who want similar performance without the higher expense of the original.