How to Make Your Own DIY U87 Vintage Condenser Mic
It's easier now, than ever befo
Comments from Richard Wielgosz:
"If you're buying good parts like a Peluso capsule and transformer, the
parts come out to about $575. It's not magic, the rest of the components
are just common electronics parts. Caps, resistors, etc.... Neumann
builds lovely mic bodies machined to serious standards, so using a less
expensive body saves money here. The commonly used body is about $150 of
the aforementioned price. Is it as nice as the Neumann? No. Does it need
to be? No. The 150 one I've seen is plenty substantial. The rest is just
how good the clone of the actual circuit is. And the circuit boards
being used here are EXACT clones of a particular vintage U87 circuit. I
think he cloned a circuit from a 1970s U87.
So German capsules are between $600 and $800. Is the Peluso as good as
the Neumann? Well, a friend of mine who is a well respected tech in the
audio industry (he is known by everyone) uses Peluso capsules to replace
capsules in any German mics he repairs unless otherwise instructed by
the client. The Peluso U87 capsule is about $266. It is as good as the
Neumann? My friend thinks so. But objectively is it? Maybe, maybe not,
but if it's 97% there NO ONE is going to notice the odd 3%.
So yes, if you use good components, these are faithful reproductions of
a U87. They sound amazing.
This IS NOT a clone of the modern U87ai, which has a different amplifier
circuit and puts out about 8 dB more gain. So it is a little quieter,
but the circuit is a clone of the real U87 I work with in one of the
studios where I work, and give me that circuit all day long.
Here's why it's possible to build a high quality clone for less than
$1000 and certainly WAY less than what Neumann charges.
You see, NEUMANN ALREADY DID THE ENGINEERING ON THE MIC 50 YEARS AGO.
They were developing a solid state version of their U67 tube mic. Since
phantom power was lower voltage and lower current than the PSU's
available for tube mics, they had to develop a new capsule with dual
isolated backplates, and a new amplifier circuit. THEY ALREADY DID THE
MATH. Now, copying what they did is easy, and dozens of suppliers have
very high quality replicas of their capsules, and this circuit is an
EXACT replica of the amplifier circuit.
The sound in mics like these mostly comes from 3 places. In order of
importance it is probably the capsule, the circuit, and the
grill/capsule basket. The capsules are high quality replicas, the
circuit is exact, and the grill/basket varies depending on whose mic
bodies you use.
As I said, there is no magic here. IT'S JUST COMPONENTS THAT CAN BE, AND
HAVE BEEN COPIED."
I'm thinking since we are still dealing with this damn
virus, and will be quarantined for the foreseeable future, I
might as well make my own U87!
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