Neumann U 87 Ai Set Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone- Nickel

Large-diaphragm Studio Condenser Microphone with 3 Polar Patterns, Shockmount, Windscreen, Mic Cable, and Wooden Storage Box - Nickel
Neumann U 87 Ai Set Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone- Nickel image 1
Neumann U 87 Ai Set Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone- Nickel image 1

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Neumann U 87 Ai Set Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone- Nickel
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The Industry-standard Large-diaphragm Condenser

The Neumann U 87 Ai is the modern incarnation of a classic microphone. Introduced in 1967, the U 87 gained instant favor with engineers, producers, and their clients; by the mid '70s it was a staple in every world-class recording studio. And it still is. Walk into a session, and you'll see 87s everywhere. On pianos, vocals, toms, overheads, guitar cabs, brass, strings, congas — you name it. The mic's popularity is easy to understand: it ushered in a new era of audio fidelity and reliability, and with three selectable polar patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8), plus a switchable highpass filter and 10dB pre-attenuation pad, the mic is incredibly versatile, and an ideal choice for a broad range of recording techniques. The Neumann U 87 Ai is the industry-standard large-diaphragm condenser mic. Read on to find out what it can do for you.

A great choice for most any source

When you're striving for fidelity, clarity, and authoritative presence, the U 87 Ai — with its ruler-flat midrange and gentle presence boost — is your go-to mic. We all need vocals to shine in the mix, and the 87 was born for this. It's not right for every vocalist, but you will find it the vocal microphone of choice on innumerable iconic recordings. Piano? Grand or upright, when you need an acoustic piano to sit pretty in a thick track, a couple of 87s will get the job done.

Switchable polar patterns

Offering a choice of three switchable polar patterns (omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8), the U 87 Ai gives you impressive flexibility when it comes to exploring different recording techniques. With two 87s, you can implement stereo techniques such as spaced pair (A/B), X-Y (including Blumlein), ORTF array, and mid-side (M-S). For full orchestra, add a third 87 for the minimalist — and highly effective — Mercury Living Presence technique: three spaced omni 87s across the orchestral soundstage, centered above the conductor's podium.

Updated with modern circuitry

Neumann produced the original U 87 from 1967 to 1986, when it was replaced by the current version, the U 87 Ai. The U 87 Ai features upgraded electronic components; however, the capsule design remains unchanged. The modern circuitry increases the mic's operational headroom by reducing the resistance through which the capsule bias voltage is supplied. This gives you 10dB higher sensitivity for identical sound pressure levels and improves the signal-to-noise ratio by 3dB.

Filter and attenuation

If you're using the U 87 Ai to capture a loud source, the microphone's switchable 10dB pre-attenuation pad comes in handy. With the pad activated, the mic accepts sound pressure levels up to 127dB — perfect for miking tom toms or a dimed guitar amp stack.

An additional switch engages the mic's low-frequency cutoff, which reduces undesirable mud and rumble at the input of the microphone amplifier. This setting also compensates for proximity effect, the bass boost that all pressure gradient transducers exhibit when placed very close to a source.

Neumann mics are not assembly-line products

In 1928, Georg Neumann founded the company that bears his name and introduced the first mass-produced condenser microphone, the CMV 3, a.k.a. the Neumann Bottle. Ever since, the Neumann badge has stood for unwavering quality. Neumann's instantly recognizable diamond is more than a corporate logo — it is a quality seal. Every microphone that bears it is testimony to this proud tradition. This level of excellence requires rigorous quality control to maintain Neumann's status as a leading manufacturer of studio microphones. Neumanns are not assembly-line products; they're handcrafted in Germany by highly skilled technicians.

Precision crafted for world-class performance

The distance between membrane and electrode of a mic capsule is 35 microns — less than the width of a human hair. The layer of gold applied to a U 87 Ai capsule diaphragm is just 0.03 microns thick, equivalent to 208 atoms of gold. Even minute levels of contamination can adversely affect sonic characteristics, which is why Neumann mics are assembled in a state-of-the-art clean room with monitored dust levels under 100 particles per cubic foot — suitable conditions for the production of semiconductor chips and heart catheters.

At Sweetwater, we know what it takes to become a world-class manufacturer. It's not enough to build one great mic; the real trick is to be able to supply the pro audio industry — year after year — with units that all sound identical. To this end, Neumann sets the tolerances of each microphone to the minimum possible variance as compared with an equivalent Neumann product. This is what some mic manufacturers do with matched pairs — but Neumann does it for all their microphones. So when you use two 87s to capture an accurate stereo image, you can do so with confidence.

Essential accessories included

The U 87 Ai Studio Set comes with genuine Neumann accessories. Your U 87 Ai is a high-end microphone that will capture every nuance of a performance. It will also pick up unwanted environmental sound such as rumble, that can mar an otherwise perfect take. Since the U 87's introduction, Neumann's spider-style elastic shockmount has been used in top studios worldwide to isolate the mic against mechanical stand-borne vibrations. The Studio Set also includes Neumann's highly effective pop filter, quality mic cable, and protective wooden jeweler's box for your U 87 Ai.

Neumann U 87 Ai Studio Set Features:

  • Large-diaphragm FET condenser microphone
  • Pressure-gradient transducer with double-membrane capsule
  • The studio microphone classic
  • Three directional characteristics: omni, cardioid, figure-8
  • Switchable low-frequency roll-off
  • Switchable 10dB pre-attenuation
  • Ideal as main and support microphone in practically all recording situations
  • Requires +48-volt phantom power
  • Includes shockmount, pop filter, mic cable, and wooden storage box

Additional Media

Studio Microphone Buying Guide
To the Moon and Back with Alan Parsons
6 Ways to Improve Your Vocal Recordings
The Legendary Neumann U 87
Free Mics!

Tech Specs

Microphone Type Condenser
Polar Pattern Cardioid, Omni, Figure-8
Diaphragm Size 1" (25.4mm)
Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz
Max SPL 117dB (Cardioid) (127dB w/10dB Preattenuation)
Output Impedance 200 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio 82dB (Cardioid), 79dB (Omni), 80dB (Figure-8)
Self Noise 12dB (Cardioid), 15dB (Omni), 14dB (Figure-8)
Low Cut Filter Yes
Pads -10dB
Color Nickel
Connector XLR
Weight 1.1 lbs.
Included Accessories Shock Mount, Wood Box
Manufacturer Part Number USU87AI/SET Z

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
Write your review

Now that's a mic!

As a voiceover artist for film trailers and car ads, warm and soft to concert loud and big this mic has changed my client base. Before the U87Ai I had some pretty nice gigs but since picking it up almost everything I have voiced is national or international. It is so awesome! Paired with the Manley Core channel strip and Baby Face Pro interface clients are happier than ever and I do little if no post to my voice. Love it! Thanks to Brad at Sweetwater guiding me.

U87 Not just studio bling!!!!!

I must admit I at first mainly bought this mic for the studio bling effect. After Not landing a couple customers due to my mic locker, even though my mics were great, I needed to upgrade. The fact that it was to lower costing Neumanns made me realize in a world of everyone has a computer and everyone thinks they own a studio, I needed the real McCoy the big gun. Boy was I surprised at the quality this mic actually brings. All these haters of the supposed old school greatest are mainly just jealous.. There is a reason this mic is held in such high thoughts for so long, it is excellent, it is smooth, it brings out the details other mics barely touch, & it is studio bling. LOL. I love it, my Rode K2s while still awesome have takin a backseat finally, where I still say they are better than most of the other more expensive mics, the U87 does blow them away in many many ways. I mainly stick with Neumann and seinheiser now..
Music background: Pro studio owner and performer over 20 yrs

U87 Neumann

Yes, it is everything they say it is.

U87 is a great mic

This is a very accurate mic, has nice character and mixes with little effort. It has no magical power that will make you sing better, but will make good singing sound great

My best purchase so far

I am a singer/guitarist primarily, and a producer secondly... I have recorded my own vocals in my ever growing home studio for 10 years... Before using this mic I was using a $600 tube microphone (K2) which sounded really really good to my ears (at least for the price) but I always felt like it lacked something, some gloss and CLARITY... Finally I decided to buy this microphone and the Focusrite ISA 430 as a preamp. I was afraid before, as it has bad reviews in some sites BUT DONT LISTEN TO THEM! , this microphone was the best investment ever made so far. CLEAR, SMOOTH ON THE HIGHS, and with CHARACTER... I also like the fact that it sounds so modern and stacks incredible with multiple tracks. Even my girlfriend said WOW the first time she listened to it. I learned that microphones are this expensive for something. Do yourself a favor and buy it, really!
Music background: Pro Musician, Recording Engineer

Sweetwater Advice

Joseph Secu

No studio is complete until they have a few Neumanns in their mic locker. This mic specifically is the standard. I've been to many studios and consistantly I can count on seeing several U87s in the mic locker. If you're looking for a great sounding versatile microphone and want to maintain credibility in your studio, then look no further. You have to get this mic!

Kenny Bergle

Really one of the few solid industry standards. If you need a world-class quality mic, the U87 is always on the list!
See also: Condenser Mics, Neumann, Neumann Condenser Microphones, Neumann Condenser Microphones