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Thread: Blue Kiwi vrs. Neumann U87ai

  1. #1
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    Blue Kiwi vrs. Neumann U87ai

    I am not asking which sounds better, but what is the difference in sound between the two? Can't get a music store that carries both and that I can try out. I know they are both awesome mic's.

  2. #2
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    If you care for a magazine review, Brian Knave's review of the Kiwi in Electronic Musician two or three years ago contained a brief but direct comparison of the Kiwi to a 70's U87.

    That review can be found at electronic musician's website.

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    Thanks the review was insightful. I actually at my lunch break today when to the Guitar Center in NYC and compared the two. They are very similar in sound. The Neumann was a little richer in the low mid's (as the review said) though the Kiwi did have a good low mid range response. The Kiwi had a little more top end. I know the spec's on the Kiwi is better, but that does not say much. Since the Kiwi with shockmount is $800 cheaper, I would probably go with the Kiwi when ever I would have the money.

    Cheers

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    Originally posted by Revelation:
    <STRONG>Thanks the review was insightful. I actually at my lunch break today when to the Guitar Center in NYC and compared the two. They are very similar in sound. The Neumann was a little richer in the low mid's (as the review said) though the Kiwi did have a good low mid range response. The Kiwi had a little more top end. I know the spec's on the Kiwi is better, but that does not say much. Since the Kiwi with shockmount is $800 cheaper, I would probably go with the Kiwi when ever I would have the money.

    Cheers</STRONG>
    The Kiwi can't hold a candle to a 70's U87 IME, even the newer ai is still better.
    Nathan Eldred

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  5. #5
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    Originally posted by atlas:
    <STRONG>The Kiwi can't hold a candle to a 70's U87 IME, even the newer ai is still better.</STRONG>
    How can you say that? You do a vocal track, and by the time you add eq (Waves Ren, Cambridge or Oxford) and compression (LA2-A, their own color would make it almost impossible to tell which mic you used. They really are both very big and full. I just found the U87ai just a little more rich in the lower mid's while the Kiwi had a little more sparkle.

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    Originally posted by Revelation:
    <STRONG>

    How can you say that? You do a vocal track, and by the time you add eq (Waves Ren, Cambridge or Oxford) and compression (LA2-A, their own color would make it almost impossible to tell which mic you used. They really are both very big and full. I just found the U87ai just a little more rich in the lower mid's while the Kiwi had a little more sparkle.</STRONG>

    I can say that because that's what I hear in application...the BLUE is edgier, thinner, and does not have the depth of a good vintage 87.

    You did your initial comparison test two days ago during your lunch break. You honestly had enough time to sit down with both mics and run them through a full band tracking session and do a mix? Just like with anything, when you gain experience and critically listen, what seem like small differences early in your career sometimes becomes glaringly large defects later on (IME anyway).
    Nathan Eldred

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    Nathan Eldred

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    One thing that a lot of people tend to say about the BLUE mics is that they are on the thin side. They do have a reduced proximity effect and, if one positions them the same distance from the source as they would use for most other condensers, they will sound thinner. The manuals are pretty explicit about that and also about positioning the mics closer to the source.

    I wonder how many of the people describing them as thin have, in fact, taken this into consideration and positioned the source closer to the capsule to compensate for this? It would seem that that would be a more direct comparison.

    I own 5 BLUEs and notice the reduced proximity effect to varying degrees on all of them. Having said that, yes, even up close, I would not describe any of them as really beefy sounding. The Kiwi and Cactus can be made a little more beefy by turning the pattern selector knob toward the figure of 8 setting.

    The three BLUEs on the 3D Mic CD also sound a little thin compared to many of the others. I wonder if Lynn remembers how they were positioned during the session.


    -----

    I've owned my Kiwi for about 8 months now and I am very happy with it. However, one always wonders what else is out there.

    Nathan (or anyone else),

    Can you offer any thoughts on how the Kiwi compares to the ifet7? And how the ifet7 compares to the U87ai for that matter?

    TIA.

  9. #9
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    I have 2 x excellent condition SM-69 FETs in my collection, basically that is a stereo U87 (I've compared them to other vintage 87's and I can't tell the difference even if there is one on paper). The iFET7 sounds easily just as good as my Neumanns, in some cases it's even more appropriate. The noise is definitely lower on the iFET7 also. On the BLUE, it's not just about proximity effect. It's about the way the capsule is tuned in general...on axis, at a reasonable distance. And the electronics also. I'll take a transformer on the output of a microphone any day of the week for anything other than classical (even then it can be very nice). The BLUE is transformerless, the Soundelux and my older Neumanns have transformers.
    Nathan Eldred

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  10. #10
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    I would not want to buy an old U87 as you don't know who dropped or spit into the mic through out the years. The U87Ai seems to have a little more of that popular high end which I prefer.

    True I tested it on my lunch break, but again like they said above, you need to get closer with Blue mic's to get that proximity effect. I guess by you saying thin it means it does not have the rich mid range sound of the U87. In that case you are right. There is something though about Blue mic's that I just love. Not sure if it is about the tight quality control, that I was able to talk to them directly with questions I had, or just the sound of the mic's. I think it is a combination of all of them.

    For me they are both great mic's. I just can't see paying $2,800 for one and $1,999 for the other. Since they are so close (as in sounding great), I would go with the Kiwi.

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