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Buying a used U87 -- What should I know?

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Anonymous
June 22, 2005 11:30:39 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I'm scouring eBay and there is no shortage of used U87s, including
new ones under $2,000. What should I know when looking at such a
mic? Should I not bother with used? What about some of the ones I'm
seeing that have various "modifications" applied? If I get one that
needs help, how much does Neumann charge to service one (say, a new
capsule, etc)?

Also, what about the Neumann M147 and M149 tube mics? Are they
"superior" in any way? Better for voice-over stuff?

More pesky questions from the Group Idiot ;-)



Brendan

More about : buying u87

Anonymous
June 22, 2005 11:30:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

If I was going to make an investment in a mic that nice, I would NOT buy off
ebay, and I would definitely test at your local rental shop to what mics you
like best.


"The Horta" <horta@janus6.org> wrote in message
news:Xns967D9DC78D402hortajanus6org@208.49.80.60...
> I'm scouring eBay and there is no shortage of used U87s, including
> new ones under $2,000. What should I know when looking at such a
> mic? Should I not bother with used? What about some of the ones I'm
> seeing that have various "modifications" applied? If I get one that
> needs help, how much does Neumann charge to service one (say, a new
> capsule, etc)?
>
> Also, what about the Neumann M147 and M149 tube mics? Are they
> "superior" in any way? Better for voice-over stuff?
>
> More pesky questions from the Group Idiot ;-)
>
>
>
> Brendan
>
Anonymous
June 22, 2005 11:30:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Brendan, I've bought three U 87s on eBay without any horror stories to
tell, but it's important to be choosy as to who you are buying from. A
seller with a very high feedback percentage (and 100% is thoroughly
possible) will be keenly interested in avoiding any negative feedback,
especially on a major sale. I wouldn't even give a second glance at an
auction if the seller's feedback isn't 100% or very close to it. You
can (and in my opinion should) also view a seller's complete feedback
record. If the seller has a few "neutrals" or "negatives" you can
decide whether you think they were fair or not.

As far as the merchandise is concerned, one thing to be aware of is
that there have been two basic models of the U 87. One (the "U 87") was
made from 1967 through 1986, when the newer model ("U 87A") was
introduced. The newer model has 6 dB lower equivalent noise, plus
almost 11 dB higher output levels (sensitivity). The only disadvantage
of the newer model is that its sound pressure level limit is 5 dB lower
(ca. 117 dB SPL rather than 122).

Not every eBay ad is clear or even correct in stating which of these
two models is for sale. (Additional letters such as "i" "p" or "mt"
refer to other details, and don't affect which model is which.) Very
often, sellers refer to the U 87A simply as a U 87 and I have also seen
the reverse! Also, sellers often seem to copy the specs from Neumann's
Web site--which naturally only lists the specs for the current model.
Be aware also that the original type of U 87 was sometimes sold with a
large Tuchel connector rather than the now-standard XLR-3M. If you're
buying a "non-A" U 87, make sure which connector type it has, since
some sellers actually conceal this in their photos (!).

In terms of microphone condition: The most crucial, most vulnerable,
and hardest-to-evaluate-over-the-Internet part of the microphone is its
capsule. U 87 capsules cost nearly $800 to replace. As I said, my U 87s
were OK but earlier in my eBay "career" I bought two U 89s, both of
which turned out to need capsule replacements, and I was the one who
had to pay. Fortunately those capsules aren't quite as expensive but as
I said, you need to be careful whom you buy from and on what terms.

One thing to consider is that Neumann USA (assuming you're in the USA)
will inspect a Neumann microphone for (I believe) $70. It's not a bad
idea to send them any used U 87 that you buy anyway--maybe you can get
the seller to agree that if Neumann says that repairs are needed, the
seller will either pay for them or cancel the sale and refund your
money.

This is all I can currently think of--feel free to post any specific
questions that you may have.

--best regards
Related resources
Anonymous
June 23, 2005 10:45:07 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <Xns967D9DC78D402hortajanus6org@208.49.80.60> horta@janus6.org writes:

> I'm scouring eBay and there is no shortage of used U87s, including
> new ones under $2,000. What should I know when looking at such a
> mic?

First thing is the real name and phone number of the seller. Call him
and ask him to tell you about the mic's history. If he's had it for a
while and used it, that's probably good. If he's a regular pro audio
dealer who's too lazy to sell it over-the-counter, that's probably OK
too. If he bought out a studio and is liquidating it, that's probably
risky. If he bought it off eBay, tried it, and didn't like it,
probably you won't either. But don't just bid on it unless you can get
it for under $1,000. You stand to lose too much.

> Should I not bother with used?

Nothing wrong with a used mic as long as it's in good condition, you
get it cheaply enough to cover a complete overhaul. Call Neumann and
just ask them what's the most you can spend for a U87 repair, barring
cosmetics - you don't need a new body if there are few dents in it,
and you probably don't need a new grill unless it's caved in (in
which case I'd be suspicious of the mic no matter what the seller
says). Ask for the serial number. I don't know if Neumann keeps a list
of reported stolen mics any more, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

> What about some of the ones I'm
> seeing that have various "modifications" applied?

Those aren't real U87s. Unless you really know what you want, I'd stay
away from them, at least for your first U87.

> If I get one that
> needs help, how much does Neumann charge to service one (say, a new
> capsule, etc)?

The answer is just a phone call away. Spend the dime. (860)434-5220
You can try leaving them a message at
http://www.neumann.com/distributor.php but a phone call will be sure
to get you the answer you want.

> Also, what about the Neumann M147 and M149 tube mics? Are they
> "superior" in any way? Better for voice-over stuff?

They're different.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
June 23, 2005 3:31:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"David Satz" <DSatz@msn.com> wrote in
news:1119476978.801350.53430@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

> This is all I can currently think of--feel free to post any
> specific questions that you may have.

Thanks Dave! I've only had one problem ever dealing on eBay (since
1998), so I'm fairly comfortable for most purchases, but with these
mics it seems that there is so much I just don't know that it
concerns me.

They seem pretty strong (as far as resale) on eBay, so I'm also
going to go to NYC and check out some stores there. I'm hoping to
get to try some different mics out as well.

Thanks for the input!



Brendan
Anonymous
June 23, 2005 3:32:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in
news:znr1119489116k@trad:

> Those aren't real U87s. Unless you really know what you want,
> I'd stay away from them, at least for your first U87.

Yeah, I think I'll stay with new for my first "real" mic. The
variables are just too great to be worth saving a few hundred
bucks.

Thanks Mike.



Brendan
Anonymous
June 23, 2005 8:17:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <Xns967E4CC188EAChortajanus6org@208.49.80.60> horta@janus6.org writes:

> Yeah, I think I'll stay with new for my first "real" mic. The
> variables are just too great to be worth saving a few hundred
> bucks.

Don't let me discourage you from buying a used U87 if you can find a
reliable seller - not just someone who has good feedback on eBay, but
someone who has sold a lot of microphones, perhaps repairs them, and
maybe even sells new mics as well as used. Before the big microphone
craze, there used to be a few names that would pop up that were always
good sources - Bill Bradley (The Mic Shop), Skipper Wise (BLUE Mics),
Joe Lueng (Gotham Service, now retired). But now those guys aren't
getting many used mics to sell because everyone wants to be a dealer
and eBay lets them.

What I was suggesting that you stay away from, at least for your first
mics, are those that have been customized with new diaphragms, which
give them a different sound from the classic U87. Obviously some
people like that sound because there are a few well known microphone
tweakers, but if you want a U87 for its characteristic sound, that's
not it.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
June 24, 2005 3:20:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Wed, 22 Jun 2005 15:30:39 -0400, The Horta wrote
(in article <Xns967D9DC78D402hortajanus6org@208.49.80.60>):

> I'm scouring eBay and there is no shortage of used U87s, including
> new ones under $2,000. What should I know when looking at such a
> mic? Should I not bother with used? What about some of the ones I'm
> seeing that have various "modifications" applied? If I get one that
> needs help, how much does Neumann charge to service one (say, a new
> capsule, etc)?
>
> Also, what about the Neumann M147 and M149 tube mics? Are they
> "superior" in any way? Better for voice-over stuff?
>
> More pesky questions from the Group Idiot ;-)
>
>
>
> Brendan
>

They are very different from each other and very different from the U 87.

Unless you are comfortable with the seller, buy new.

If you are comfortable, it's still a good idea to send the mic to be checked
by Neumann in CT.

Ty Ford



-- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
stuff are at www.tyford.com
Anonymous
June 24, 2005 8:26:37 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Ty Ford <tyreeford@comcast.net> wrote in
news:7PednQH-ss1t5ibfRVn-pQ@comcast.com:

> If you are comfortable, it's still a good idea to send the mic
> to be checked by Neumann in CT.

The cool thing is, I LIVE in Connecticut (a state the size of your
average postage stamp). I wonder if it is possible to stop by their
facility and check them out.



Brendan
!