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Neumann U87 Ai

Test & Review

Are you planning to buy a microphone? To guide your choice, discover our complete test of the Neumann U87 Ai microphone. This condenser microphone remains one of the best-known models, the most used and recommended by professionals since its conception.

Neumann U87 Ai Test

🎤 by Kevin Jung

Summary of the Test 👇

Everything about the Neumann U87 Ai

Neumann, founded in 1928, is a company specializing in the manufacture of professional recording microphones. The original Neumann U87 Ai model, released in 1967, was replaced by the Neumann U87 Ai in 1986.

If it is among the company's flagship products, it is not just thanks to its sleek design. In fact, we have a product that is truly usable and adaptable to any type of situation. But the main difference between the two models lies in the electronic components of the microphone.

So, whether in the studio or on stage, the Neumann microphone offers an exceptional experience and sound quality.

Woman singing into a microphone
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The Neumann U87 Ai microphone is ubiquitous in the majority of recording studios around the world. And this, during its last 50 years. Besides, no professional recording studio is complete without a Neumann U87 Ai.

Neumann U87 Purchase


It is a condenser microphone featuring a large diameter double diaphragm capsule. In addition, it also has three directivities, switchable via a selector placed under the grille. The three directivities are:

  • Omnidirectional: it picks up all the sounds around it.
  • Cardioid: the recommended directivity when recording in the studio. It only picks up sounds coming from the front. The rear does not pick up any sound.
  • Bidirectional or figure-8 directivity: the capsule is sensitive to sound sources located in front and behind the membrane.
Neumann U87 Packaging
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Furthermore, its specificity lies in the audio quality. It indeed offers a unique recording experience. Also, this type of microphone perfectly reproduces what we hear.

Likewise, it is valued for its warmth and good balance in all types of music and oral expression. In fact, a selector located on the back of the microphone can reduce the sensitivity by 10 dB.

Neumann U87 Purchase


Once activated, the microphone can withstand extreme sound pressure levels. These can go up to 127 dB SPL without distortion. Another selector also ensures the reduction of bass frequencies, with a high pass filter.

This compensates for the proximity effect. In cardioid polar pattern, the frequency response remains flat up to a distance of 30 to 40 cm. For bidirectional directivity, it is 15 to 20 cm. The microphone is very easily recognizable thanks to its shape and finesse. Like the Neumann U47.

Neumann U47 in studio
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Like the Neumann U67 microphone, the Neumann U87 Ai is a versatile microphone. So, whether you are an amateur or a professional, it will not fail you.

It is a static microphone, equipped with a large diameter membrane. And it is equipped with three different directivities. It also has characteristics allowing it to respond specifically to different types of frequencies and transients. Which gives it its well-known versatility.

For example, it can be used as the main microphone during orchestral recordings or as a backup on isolated instruments. Mainly used for vocals, drum ambiance, bass drum, acoustic guitar, it is the best-seller, a classic.

U87 sound quality
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That said, it is also a preferred choice for most common applications in studio, broadcast, cinema, or television.

Its advantage lies mainly in the quality of the sound it reproduces. For optimal results, you will need to meet two conditions: have a very good pre-amp (preferably tube with 48V phantom power) and a well-insulated room.

Ideal for studio recording
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Note : You can also consult our guide and complete test of the Beyerdynamic M160 microphone if you want to buy a ribbon microphone .

Acoustic characteristics of the U87

It is a side incidence model. FYI, the logo is placed in front of the sound source. The frequency response is very flat for front-impact sounds (even with treble). This, once the cardioid or bidirectional polar patterns are activated.

Another strong point of the microphone, it is not aggressive at all. For my taste, much less than the Neumann TLM 103 (it's not the same price). This is the case even if it is placed near a sound source. In fact, it has a very effective high-pass filter for frequencies below 1kHz.

Neumann U87 Purchase


The microphone is sensitive to interference in the bass (wind, plosion noises, etc.). Its frequency response extends to below 20 Hz. Depending on the situation, it is therefore recommended to use an elastic suspension, a windscreen and/or anti-pop screen.

Microphone Neumann U87 directivity
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Cardioid polar pattern for Vocals

It has three types of directivity allowing it to be very adaptable to different sound recording situations: omnidirectional, cardioid and bidirectional. While its double membrane capsule is mounted on a rather flexible support.

And a grille protects it, with a rotary selector placed under it. To choose one of the three directivities, turn the polarity selector. From then on, the chosen directivity icon appears in the window above the selector.

After changing the directivity, it is possible to discern an increase in the background noise for approximately thirty seconds. This is not a feature in itself. But the manifestation of an electrical recharge of the Neumann U87 Ai capsule at the appropriate bias voltage.

Neumann U87 Features
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In addition, you can also visit our complete test of the Blue Yeti Pro studio USB microphone.

Neumann U87 Ai Specifications

The Neumann U87 Ai is essential equipment for obtaining remarkable sound recording. Moreover, it has the following characteristics:

  • Acoustic operating principle: Pressure gradient transducer
  • Polar pattern: Omnidirectional, cardioid, bidirectional (figure 8)
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity at 1 kHz, 1 kOhm load: 20/28/22 mV/Pa*
  • Nominal output impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Recommended load impedance: 1 kOhm
  • Noise level reduced to the entrance, according to CCIR 468-3: 26/23/25 dB*
  • Noise level reduced at the input, according to DIN/IEC 651: 15/12/14 dB-A*
  • Signal/Noise ratio , according to CCIR 468-3: 68/71/69 dB*
  • Signal/Noise ratio, according to DIN/IEC 651: 79/82/80 dB*
  • Maximum SPL level, for THD = 0.5%: 117 dB (cardioid)
  • Maximum SPL level, for THD = 0.5%, pre-attenuator activated: 127 dB
  • Maximum output voltage: 390 mV
  • Dynamic range of the integrated microphone preamp (cardioid position), according to DIN/IEC 651: 105 dB
  • Phantom power voltage: 48V ± 4V
  • Current consumed: 0.8 mA
  • Output connector: 3M XLR
  • Weight: 500g
  • Diameter: 56mm
  • Length: 200mm
Neumann U87 Purchase


Neumann in practice

Does your activity focus on sound recording, mainly voice capture? In this case, I strongly advise you to invest in a high-end professional microphone like the U87.

With any mic (used or low-end), you'll get a nasty surprise sooner or later. You will then reap more losses than gains in the end.

We must not forget that the sound, once sent to the studio, will still undergo a whole bunch of transformations in post-production. However, the Neumann U87 Ai has proven itself in terms of sound recording or voice-over capture. It really captures every vibration and nuance of the voice.

Neumann U87 Studio Recording Microphone
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The sound is natural. Thanks to this, it provides an inimitable proximity effect with each recording. Because of this, you don't need to be a highly qualified audio engineer to get great results. Also, this microphone has exceptional transparency and the track fits naturally into the mix.

Do you have a home studio? The Neumann U87 Ai will be of great help to your projects. He is very sensitive and precise. It ensures very good recording quality. Precisely, they are designed to capture voices, record sounds of acoustic guitars, pianos… Either way, Neumann is a very well-known brand that will not disappoint you.

The U87 is even considered to be the king of all microphones. In fact, you'll impress even amateur musicians if they discover this mic in your personal collection. This will add a note of notoriety to your Home studio if you have it in your microphone fleet.

Neumann U87 Purchase


By the way, I invite you to visit this link for more information on studio microphones. You will discover all the details and information on all professional studio microphones before purchasing one.

Why choose the Neumann U87 Ai 

This microphone is a product suitable for all needs and situations. So, whether you are an amateur or a professional, it will seduce you. Don't know anything about microphones? I can guarantee that even when using it for the first time, you will immediately see the difference between a professional microphone and a simple microphone.

In addition, its characteristics, its performance and its three directivities give it the title of versatile microphone . It is among the best on the market. And it is considered to be a reference for other products of the same type. In fact, it remains the essential tool to complete your mixing equipment.

Indeed, it shows great efficiency as recording equipment (singing, musical instruments, on-site recording, podcast, voice-over, broadcast, etc.).

By using this microphone, the quality will be there. 

Neumann U87 Highlights
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My verdict

Music professionals have known and used the Neumann U87 Ai microphone for 50 years now. It still remains among the best products. This is mainly related to its performance. Its characteristics give it a certain notoriety. While its great versatility places it among the high-end products.

It is entirely possible to use it for your recording projects in a professional studio or at home in a home studio. Whether for recording voices or musical instruments, the microphone offers a sound faithful to the original, without being aggressive in the treble.

Neumann U87 Purchase


It can also be used as an instrument amplifier (that of the acoustic guitar for example). It offers crisp, noise-free sound. Very effective, it easily picks up ambient noise. I therefore advise you to use it in a completely insulated or acoustically treated room.

In every respect, it has everything to please professionals and amateurs. If you are a musician, you will immediately recognize the value of the product.

It can highlight your talent without distorting it.

In the end, the only obstacle may be the price. Despite this, you have here quality equipment that has proven itself over the years. Very popular recording equipment in the professional world, it constitutes a safe and long-term investment.

Sound engineer in recording studio
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Neumann U87 Purchase
Our Overall Opinion

Overall Sound Quality

4.7 /5

Value for money

4,6 /5

Global mark

4,8 /5

Our opinion on the Neumann U87 Ai

A best-seller since the dawn of time, there is no photo, this high-end microphone has proven itself for over 50 years. Almost all professionals appreciate it in its new Ai version. This is one of the reasons why it is called the king of studio microphones.

U87 demo

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