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  #1  
Old 12-26-2016, 08:27 AM
KevWind KevWind is online now
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Default Speaking of clone type offerings of a U87 -ish mic with impressive spec's

I thought I would post this. Apparently this mic is a new offering.
The company is based in Chile and is little known. It is a direct to consumer business and makes modern gear based on some venerable and highly prized vintage type gear. If this new mic is of like performance quality/value/price ratio, to the companies other offerings of some comps, and preamps , it could be a very reasonable alternative based on the basic design criteria of the Neumann U87, with top quality modern component specifications at a sub $1k price range . I have no first hand knowledge about this mic, so I am simply offering this post as a "Humm ?":,,,, wonder what it sounds like and heads up post. It will be interesting to see how this mic fairs in the big picture.
http://www.stamaudio.com/sa87.html
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Last edited by KevWind; 12-26-2016 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:07 AM
gfsark gfsark is offline
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Yes, I saw this ad too, and am interested in some reviews.
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:27 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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I'm seeing mixed reviews over at GS. An 87 is way down on my list of wants. For what I'm doing, the 47 would be most useful and if I can add a 67ish and 49ish along the way, that would be good too. 87... not so much. I just don't have any immediate need nor application for it.

Always interesting to see how these clones are received though. I remember some years back people were raving about the Wunder CM7. The samples I heard never really blew me out of the water. Now I see used ones come up for sale fairly often.
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:01 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
I'm seeing mixed reviews over at GS. An 87 is way down on my list of wants.

For what I'm doing, the 47 would be most useful and if I can add a 67ish and 49ish along the way, that would be good too. 87... not so much.

I just don't have any immediate need nor application for it.

Always interesting to see how these clones are received though. I remember some years back people were raving about the Wunder CM7. The samples I heard never really blew me out of the water. Now I see used ones come up for sale fairly often.
If you're looking for something 47ish you might consider the Roswell Mini K47. I have one and I'm surprised there isn't more buzz about it's cost vs. versatility factor.

For a "bargain-priced" mic it's fairly unique in the LCD category and the first thing you (pleasantly) notice is it's lack of that typical upper-mid peak.

http://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/roswell-mini-k47
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:35 PM
KevWind KevWind is online now
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Since I personally already have a nice FET condenser I am not in the market for an 87-ish mic either. As I mentioned in the other thread If I were to to looking for another mic (which I actually am not) it would most likely be a tube mic. Something in the 47 or 67 vain

I just thought it was and interesting mic , as far a mixed reviews over at GS I only found a couple of threads about this mic.
One was apparently started in Oct by the builder with a vote for either mic A or B..... As it turned out so far there have 35 votes for A which is the Stam SA 87 and 19 votes B which is the Neumann 87Ai. Which I thought was interesting.
I think there is a couple other threads but haven't read them yet.
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  #6  
Old 12-26-2016, 01:59 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default No "Clones" Sound "Just Like the Original" - NONE!

Aloha Friends,

Howzit Kevwind! Thanks for sharing the mic. I know you're just reporting on what's just come out in affordable recording mic's. But....a Chilean U-87 clone? Really? How close can that really be in terms of sound & behavior to an original U87. Doesn't the under $1k price (as in cheap parts) just scream, "B-S?" Without even hearing it?

Note: BTW, which U87 does this clone claim to sound like? The U87 originals from the 60's & 70's - like its 1979 claim? The 87i's from the 80's & 90's? Or the current U87ai's which sound nothing like the vintage 87's. Which capsule does it use/copy? See the problem w/ clones? Modern manufacturer's even use the original's product numbers for their clones, like the Neumann U87 versus this Chilean clone's SA87. It's kinda like Takamine using an exact copy of the Martin headstock logo when they first started up. Building Value, Creating Need - dishonestly.

As someone who once had a major high-end mic addiction for many decades (cured now - sold everything off), I've auditioned thousands of mic's. This includes even owning some of the real standard bearers among the acknowledged "best" vintage mic's of all time. I can honestly say that not one of the clones or copies EVER sounded or behaved "just like the original mic" they tried to copy. Ever!

As you move up the trough, you go through phases of trying out different clones of the classics: KM84's, 87's, 67's, 89's, 47's, 48's, 251's, C10's, R44's etc. etc. Once you listen repeatedly to several of the great classic original mic's, the subtleties are finally revealed. In most cases, the clones are not even close, but are quite different.

Many of the clone manufacturers do make fantastic sounding microphone's - but they have their own sound. And they use different materials than the vintage mic's did. For example, everyone's trying to nail the U47, at least in their advertising literature. Why? To sell very expensive, high quality mic clones. More profit.

Wagner, Telefunken, Soundeluxe, Flea, Bees Nees, Bock, Manley, Peluso, Korby, Horch, Lawson, Pearlman, Wunder - even Neumann all try to make high-end & expensive clone mic's that sound "just like the original Neumann U47." They make Great Sounding Mic's - some are close - but they don't sound exactly like an original U47. The original U47 cannot be cloned. They still can't quite get that U47 "compression" down.

Heck, most modern singers & engineers want a more open sounding mic - like Kevwind's Brauner Phantom V, Doug's Brauner VM1 or my Microtech-Gefell UM-900. Note: Only the Wagner clones come close to a U47 to my ears. And that's because they actually use parts from old cockroached U47's. But as Kev mentioned, The Wunder Audio CM-7 is also a breathtaking LDC. So is the Lawson L-47. And all the mic's of the above custom mic makers.

BTW, Does anyone honestly think that any Chilean mic manufacturer could make anything remotely close to those classic mic's made by those perfectionists in Germany or today's USA modern custom shops ?!?

So friends, don't be fooled by that old, tired, advertising chestnut, "sounds just like....." because it doesn't. Don't get your hopes up because of advertising claims. Put your ears on it first & read between the lines for a given mic's "value." Handle it with your hands. Make tracks/mixes with it in your studio. Note how much easier it is to control & mix using a classic rather than much cheaper clone. The truth be known.

I say to clone manufacturers, let your mic's merits stand on their own. To heck w/ copies & clones - and selling myths & dreams dishonestly while we're at it. It's amazing how many players continue to fall for that tired promotional strategy.

Do your own auditions, friends - yes of this new Chilean U87 clone mic too. Draw your own conclusions & appreciate each mic on it's own merits or limitations.

If you want to see how ridiculous mic clone madness can get, go over to gearlutz "high end" forum & check out the crazy claims of people who think a particular mic "sounds just like..." Ha! Gets pretty emotional.

In terms of just recording a few vocal & acoustic guitar tracks as most players do here, just audition condenser mic's you can afford. When the urge hits ya, try out & buy better mic's. Do your own shoot-out's at home to compare gear. Let your voice make the choice of which LDC it likes. Mic's certainly are a BIG candy store!

alohachris

PS: I don't think you'll be swapping out your nice Brauner Phantom V LDC for this Chilean U87 clone anytime soon, right Kev? -alohachris-

PPS: Joliet Jake: "What happened to the Blues Mobile?" Elwood Blues: "I sold it for a microphone." Joliet Jake: "Oh, I can see that."

Last edited by alohachris; 12-27-2016 at 12:13 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-26-2016, 03:10 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
...19 votes B which is the Neumann 87Ai. Which I thought was interesting.
From what I've read over the years, the 87Ai is one of those love it or hate it mics. A friend of mine has one and he rarely ever uses it because he has less expensive 87 clones that he feels do a better job. He told me recently he's saving up some ducats to purchase a mod kit for the 87Ai to turn it into some kind of 67ish mic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alohachris View Post
Thanks for sharing the mic. But....a Chilean U-87 clone? Really? How close can that really be to an original U87. Doesn't the under $1k price just scream, "B-S?" Without even hearing it?
We talked about this in a different thread. No one should be under the illusion that any clone will really sound just like the original. They're all mics with their own sound and in the end we're all going to assess value differently: cheaper mics that make it harder to dial in a good sound vs. expensive mics that get you much closer to where you want to be without a lot of work.
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  #8  
Old 12-26-2016, 03:40 PM
KevWind KevWind is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alohachris View Post
Aloha Friends,

Howzit Kevwind! Thanks for sharing the mic. But....a Chilean U-87 clone? Really? How close can that really be to an original U87. Doesn't the under $1k price just scream, "B-S?" Without even hearing it?


PS: I don't think you'll be swapping out your nice Brauner VMA LDC for this Chilean U87 clone anytime soon, right Kev? -alohachris-
I don't think anybody is going to think it will sound just like the original/s . What the company does is look at original design specks and tries to stay as close to original design theory but use modern components that are the closest match. The components he is listing are said to be pretty decent components, so I am guessing ( purely guessing) most of the price brake is in the labor. The link has some interesting reading .
You make a good point about which U87 ? because there is indeed some difference between the vintage and modern U87Ai's Another notion that I think came up in one of threads over on GS was the two transformer options with perhaps addressing that to some extent. The Cinemag, being a bit brighter and perhaps closer the kind of sound from a 87 Ai and Sowter, being a bit darker and perhaps more like the vintage 87's, but as you say one must get it their studio to hear what is going on .

And that is correct since I have my Brauner Phantom V, (not VMA) I am covered on a good FET so no I would not be swapping for this mic or a U87 for that matter . But if I were in market I could be tempted to give this mic a try.
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Last edited by KevWind; 12-26-2016 at 03:57 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-26-2016, 04:20 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Aloha Kev

Aloha Kev,

Great points. I couldn't remember which Brauner you had so I guessed, heh. Can't go wrong with any Brauner, right?

Perhaps I over-emphasize not taking mic clone manufacturer claims seriously. However, with so many player-recordists looking for "affordable" mic's here, I just wanted to reiterate that point & to suggest that they always try gear out at home first, before you buy. Online opinions & product hype can't help them put an ear on it, whatever "it " is in terms of recording signal chain gear.

Hope it's not too cold up there in Colorado. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you my friend.

Going for a Pacific Ocean swim right now.

A Hui Hou!

alohachris
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Old 12-26-2016, 04:30 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Aloha Jim1960

Aloha jim1960,

Howzit?

I couldn't stand the U87ai when I first tried it. Hard edge in the upper mid's that made it difficult to mix without ear fatigue setting in - even on great monitors.

It took awhile, but I managed to track down an almost mint pair of 1972 U87's. I just loved those, for vocals or instruments, anything really. They sounded so natural & so balanced w/o ear fatigue. It almost broke my heart to part with them when I did the big purge about four years ago - had 'em about 15 years. There is a huge difference between the original U87 & the ai series. Just as I'm sure that this new SA87 is not even close to either of the original 87's.

If the marketing strategy doesn't work, then why do manufacturers who model their clones after classics still use the original product numbers in their descriptions? Answer: To sell more product, even though it's borderline copy infringement. So it's a good reminder to NEVER take any new clone manufacturer's claims as fact. And to always audition mic's at home.

A Hui Hou!

alohachris

Last edited by alohachris; 12-26-2016 at 04:44 PM.
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  #11  
Old 12-26-2016, 04:32 PM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
If you're looking for something 47ish you might consider the Roswell Mini K47. For a "bargain-priced" mic it's fairly unique in the LCD category and the first thing you (pleasantly) notice is it's lack of that typical upper-mid peak.
Ummmm... Uhhhhh... The upper-mid peak was deliberately baked into the U47 to make it possible to mic an orchestra and vocal soloist with one mic and get excellent articulation on the voice. How do you reproduce the U47 without one of its most sought-after characteristics?

Bob
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Old 12-26-2016, 06:01 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Originally Posted by alohachris View Post
If the marketing strategy doesn't work, then why do manufacturers who model their clones after classics still use the original product numbers in their descriptions? Answer: To sell more product, even though it's borderline copy infringement. So it's a good reminder to NEVER take any new clone manufacturer's claims as fact. And to always audition mic's at home.
I think the names are somewhat helpful in giving a person a general idea of what the maker was trying to achieve with that mic. But within the large group of any bunch of particular clones, there are going to some examples that are better sounding than others.
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Old 12-26-2016, 07:26 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Ummmm... Uhhhhh... The upper-mid peak was deliberately baked into the U47 to make it possible to mic an orchestra and vocal soloist with one mic and get excellent articulation on the voice. How do you reproduce the U47 without one of its most sought-after characteristics?

Bob
Hi Bob,
I'm ignorant of the finer points of exactly what is built in to any particular brand or model of mic, and I'm certainly guilty of taking stock in reviews that I consider to be more or less reputable.
As others have stated, nobody is going to re-create any vintage mic for a few hundred dollars, and these mics really need to be evaluated on a case by case basis by whomever is using them.
All I'm really saying about the Roswell Mini K47 is that it has a pleasing personality that is somewhat different in character than the normal import LDC with the exaggerated upper mid. I personally think the large majority of these bargain mics have purposefully boosted upper-mids that become a bit yawn-inducing when they are actually worked with. It's refreshing to see SOMETHING that breaks that pattern.
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Old 01-01-2017, 06:51 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alohachris View Post
Aloha Friends,

Howzit Kevwind! Thanks for sharing the mic. I know you're just reporting on what's just come out in affordable recording mic's. But....a Chilean U-87 clone? Really? How close can that really be in terms of sound & behavior to an original U87. Doesn't the under $1k price (as in cheap parts) just scream, "B-S?" Without even hearing it?

Note: BTW, which U87 does this clone claim to sound like? The U87 originals from the 60's & 70's - like its 1979 claim? The 87i's from the 80's & 90's? Or the current U87ai's which sound nothing like the vintage 87's. Which capsule does it use/copy? See the problem w/ clones? Modern manufacturer's even use the original's product numbers for their clones, like the Neumann U87 versus this Chilean clone's SA87. It's kinda like Takamine using an exact copy of the Martin headstock logo when they first started up. Building Value, Creating Need - dishonestly.

As someone who once had a major high-end mic addiction for many decades (cured now - sold everything off), I've auditioned thousands of mic's. This includes even owning some of the real standard bearers among the acknowledged "best" vintage mic's of all time. I can honestly say that not one of the clones or copies EVER sounded or behaved "just like the original mic" they tried to copy. Ever!

As you move up the trough, you go through phases of trying out different clones of the classics: KM84's, 87's, 67's, 89's, 47's, 48's, 251's, C10's, R44's etc. etc. Once you listen repeatedly to several of the great classic original mic's, the subtleties are finally revealed. In most cases, the clones are not even close, but are quite different.

Many of the clone manufacturers do make fantastic sounding microphone's - but they have their own sound. And they use different materials than the vintage mic's did. For example, everyone's trying to nail the U47, at least in their advertising literature. Why? To sell very expensive, high quality mic clones. More profit.

Wagner, Telefunken, Soundeluxe, Flea, Bees Nees, Bock, Manley, Peluso, Korby, Horch, Lawson, Pearlman, Wunder - even Neumann all try to make high-end & expensive clone mic's that sound "just like the original Neumann U47." They make Great Sounding Mic's - some are close - but they don't sound exactly like an original U47. The original U47 cannot be cloned. They still can't quite get that U47 "compression" down.

Heck, most modern singers & engineers want a more open sounding mic - like Kevwind's Brauner Phantom V, Doug's Brauner VM1 or my Microtech-Gefell UM-900. Note: Only the Wagner clones come close to a U47 to my ears. And that's because they actually use parts from old cockroached U47's. But as Kev mentioned, The Wunder Audio CM-7 is also a breathtaking LDC. So is the Lawson L-47. And all the mic's of the above custom mic makers.

BTW, Does anyone honestly think that any Chilean mic manufacturer could make anything remotely close to those classic mic's made by those perfectionists in Germany or today's USA modern custom shops ?!?

So friends, don't be fooled by that old, tired, advertising chestnut, "sounds just like....." because it doesn't. Don't get your hopes up because of advertising claims. Put your ears on it first & read between the lines for a given mic's "value." Handle it with your hands. Make tracks/mixes with it in your studio. Note how much easier it is to control & mix using a classic rather than much cheaper clone. The truth be known.

I say to clone manufacturers, let your mic's merits stand on their own. To heck w/ copies & clones - and selling myths & dreams dishonestly while we're at it. It's amazing how many players continue to fall for that tired promotional strategy.

Do your own auditions, friends - yes of this new Chilean U87 clone mic too. Draw your own conclusions & appreciate each mic on it's own merits or limitations.

If you want to see how ridiculous mic clone madness can get, go over to gearlutz "high end" forum & check out the crazy claims of people who think a particular mic "sounds just like..." Ha! Gets pretty emotional.

In terms of just recording a few vocal & acoustic guitar tracks as most players do here, just audition condenser mic's you can afford. When the urge hits ya, try out & buy better mic's. Do your own shoot-out's at home to compare gear. Let your voice make the choice of which LDC it likes. Mic's certainly are a BIG candy store!

alohachris

PS: I don't think you'll be swapping out your nice Brauner Phantom V LDC for this Chilean U87 clone anytime soon, right Kev? -alohachris-

PPS: Joliet Jake: "What happened to the Blues Mobile?" Elwood Blues: "I sold it for a microphone." Joliet Jake: "Oh, I can see that."
Two things, the "Chilean" Mic guy is a very well respected mic builder as he's an active member of the Mic DIY community, and the guy has been building some very well received gear ie SSL and Neve preamps/compressor clones. The capsule is hand made by Eric Heiserman (one of the better capsule makers). As for the price point on the mic he builds in big enough batches to get bulk part discounts, and has a very low margin.


Let me preface this next statement first with, I have used pretty much every vintage mic you mentioned too, so as for the difference between original U87s and U87ai, your experience doesn't mirror mine, you could have just have had an extremely good sounding set of U87s but I've demoed them back to back through some VERY good preamps (I own a Manley Voxbox) and after gain matching, there is very little difference. I almost bought into that hype until I watched this video made by some very well respected engineers.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tKG49pY9c4 and right after that, not being convinced by anyone one else's agenda or crappy youtube video. I rented a well maintained original and bought a U87ai to shoot them out. I ran them both through a few very good preamps and came to the conclusion I could punch the Ai into any track that I recorded with the original and it would ridiculously hard to tell them apart! As a matter of fact I brought up many older recordings that I did at my brothers studio with original 87s and replaced many of the vocal parts with my newer Ai! There have been a few different versions of the Ai which could possibly explain some of the bad rap (one used a bit of surface mount components, and Neumann quickly changed that).

I have bigger issues with the U47 cloners building with anything other than a VF14 tube and claiming the same sound.

Now your statement of buying the mics and testing the mics in your own space on your own voice that is GOSPEL, and anyone spending big money on the word of many of the ridiculous gearslutz statements, or by listening to heavy compressed youtube clips, well that's just more ridiculous. How many people that post there are just defending their purchases, or have some other agenda you don't know about.

I can't count the amount of times I read statements on gearslutz that I have personally found to go 180 with what I found in real testing in my environment! The universally GS Panned Neumann M147 sounds killer on certain sources (female voices, bass guitars, bass drums and toms), the Rode NTK which is bashed repeatedly sounds GREAT through a Drawmer 1960 preamp which is is even panned more. I know a few people that like to keep that combo a secret! The fact is too many people are not using gear experimentally to the point of finding out what it does well and what it doesn't, but instead, rely on opinions of those who have no idea of what they are talking about, or use the equipment in totally different situations!

So I say for the price this mic might be well worth looking into!
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