5 Best U87 Clones That Are Affordable

Best U87 Clones That Are Affordable

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One of the most iconic condenser microphones in history, the U87’s legacy is unquestionable. Its success has led to many manufacturers attempting to replicate its design, creating U87 clones. 

These clones closely resemble the physical and sonic attributes of the original Neumann U87, but they’re likely also to have some slight differences. It could be claimed that some of them have even surpassed the high standard that was set by the original model. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best U87 clones out there. These great sounding mics are guaranteed to improve your drum recordings and can be used for various other instruments and recording vocals.

What are the Best U87 Clones?

Image Recommended ProductsProduct Features Price
Best All-Rounder
Warm Audio WA-87 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
  • Crisp and detailed sound
  • Affordable U87 clone
  • Highly versatile microphone
Best U87 Style Sound
TZ Audio Stellar X2
  • Very impressive U87 clone
  • Affordable condenser microphone
  • Well-balanced and versatile
Best Frequency Balance
Townsend Labs Sphere L22 Microphone Modelling System
  • Dual-Capsule mic with dual outputs
  • Cutting-edge microphone modelling technology
  • Can emulate the sound of any vintage microphone
Best Affordable Option
Lauten Audio LA-220 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
  • Superb value condenser microphone
  • Balanced, warm and smooth sounds
  • Affordable U87 clone
Best Entry-Level U87 Clone
Warm Audio WA-47 Jr Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
  • Detailed sounds with great fidelity
  • Balanced, warm and smooth sounds
  • Affordable U87 clone

In-Depth U87 Clone Reviews

Best All-Rounder

Warm Audio WA-87 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

A highly reliable U87-style microphone that is constructed using high-end components and delivers a clear, articulate sound.
Clarity
4.7
Warmth
4.6
Durability
4.5
Versatility
4.7
Value
4.6

    Warm Audio WA-87 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review

    The impressive Warm Audio WA-87 Condenser Mic is an outstanding U87 clone that delivers a stellar performance with incredibly rich sonics. This versatile mic is a must-have for any musician or producer looking for an alternative to the legendary Neumann U87.

    Warm Audio doesn’t cut any corners on build quality or components. This microphone is built with premium parts throughout, coupled with a meticulous design, that allows for a superior-sounding microphone. One that also far exceeds its price point.

    Comparing the response between the Neumann U87 and the Warm Audio WA-87, they do sound very close, and at a fraction of the price. The sound of the WA-87 is smoother, bigger, and clearer than other microphones within this price range.

    Overall the sound quality of the Warm Audio WA-87 is exceptional. It has a beautiful tone that works perfectly for vocals, toms, strings, acoustic guitar, and many more instruments.

    The WA-87 also comes very well-packaged, with a wooden storage box and accessories.

    Features:

    • Crisp and detailed sound
    • Affordable U87 clone
    • Highly versatile microphone

    Pros

    • Amazing warmth, clarity and presence
    • Quality far exceeds its price point
    • Responds very well to EQ and compression

    Cons

    • Signal level is quite low
    Best U87 Style Sound

    TZ Audio Stellar X2 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

    Due to its outstanding clarity, TZ Audio’s Stellar X2 has quickly become a popular choice for drummers and musicians. With an affordable price tag, this mic is a great option if you’re looking for high quality on a budget.
    Clarity
    4.8
    Warmth
    4.8
    Durability
    4.5
    Versatility
    4.5
    Value
    4.5

      TZ Audio Stellar X2 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review

      Up next we have the TZ Audio Stellar X2 Condenser Microphone, and this has kicked up a storm in a very short space of time.

      To be perfectly honest, it’s clear to see why everyone is raving about the Stellar X2 microphone as the best U87 clone. This thing sounds phenomenal considering its price tag.

      The TZ Audio Stellar X2 has already won over legions of professional musicians, record producers, voice-over actors, and announcers. The build quality and performance of this mic are outstanding.

      It possesses a clear, warm, and natural tone and it is also super quiet while recording.

      Unlike most low-cost condenser mics that have a noticeable harsh and bright tone, which makes them inferior to legendary mics such as the Neumann U87, the Stellar X2 is carefully tuned to deliver a smooth sound that easily sits in any mix.

      If you are looking for the best U87 clone then this is without a doubt the best microphone out there. It’s received so much hype and it sounds remarkable on a wide range of instruments as well as vocals. It also includes a carry case and a set of accessories.

      Features:

      • Very impressive U87 clone
      • Affordable condenser microphone
      • Well-balanced and versatile

      Pros

      • Incredible U87 clone
      • Carefully tuned sound with a high quality capsule
      • Perfect for a variety of sound sources

      Cons

      • None!
      Best Frequency Balance

      Townsend Labs Sphere L22 Microphone Modelling System

      This Townsend Labs microphone has an unconventional design, making it one of the more interesting U87 clones. By connecting it to a plugin in your chosen DAW, you can access a range of adjustable features which alter the way the mic sounds.
      Clarity
      4.7
      Warmth
      4.8
      Durability
      4.5
      Versatility
      4.6
      Value
      4.6

        Townsend Labs Sphere L22 Microphone Modelling System Review

        The Townsend Labs Sphere L22 Microphone Modelling System is a very unique microphone. This microphone works in conjunction with software in your DAW that allows you to change how the microphone sounds, including being able to model vintage microphones with incredible accuracy.

        It’s a revolutionary piece of recording equipment. The modelling system enables you to accurately reconstruct how different mics respond to an acoustic environment. There really is no limit on what you can do with this microphone and the Sphere plugin.

        The software allows you to precisely emulate the polar patterns and off-axis sonic characteristics that makes vintage microphones so sought after. So if you want the best Neumann 87 clone then you can recreate it with the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 mic.

        You can change the mic type, polar pattern and many other characteristics before or even after recording. The standalone microphone sounds amazing on its own even without modelling. It boasts a robust build quality, even handle high SPLs of up to 140dB unlike prized vintage mics.

        Features:

        • Dual-Capsule mic with dual outputs
        • Cutting-edge microphone modelling technology
        • Can emulate the sound of any vintage microphone

        Pros

        • An extremely versatile mic
        • Sounds fantastic even before digital modelling
        • Can handle high SPLs in excess of 140dB

        Cons

        • Expensive U87 alternative
        • Relies on Sphere software for emulating vintage microphones
        Best Affordable Option

        Lauten Audio LA-220 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

        This U87-style microphone is affordable, but it performs to the standard you’d expect from a much pricier option. With a warm, detailed sound, it’s ideal for capturing drums and other sound sources.
        Clarity
        4.4
        Warmth
        4.7
        Durability
        4.4
        Versatility
        4.5
        Value
        4.5

          Lauten Audio LA-220 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review

          The Lauten Audio LA-220 microphone is another excellent Neumann U87 clone that offers amazing all-round versatility and beautiful sounds at an affordable price. This is a really impressive microphone that offers balanced, warm and focused sounds.

          The LA-220 is a great mic that is a hit amongst producers, musicians and audiophiles alike. It’s an inexpensive mic that is on par with microphones considerably more expensive, including the U87.

          Most microphones in this price range sound muddy and have shrill-spikes in the frequency response. The LA-220 offers a smooth and wide response that makes it the perfect workhorse for studio recordings and it cuts through any mix wonderfully.

          Whether you are looking for a U87 clone or you want to add to your recording arsenal, the Lauten Audio LA-220 is an impressive microphone that delivers great sounds when paired with a quality recording interface.

          Features:

          • Superb value condenser microphone
          • Balanced, warm and smooth sounds
          • Affordable U87 clone

          Pros

          • Expensive sounding microphone
          • Amazing value for money
          • Smooth and balanced response

          Cons

          • No case included
          Best Entry-Level U87 Clone

          Warm Audio WA-47 Jr Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

          The smaller-sized sibling of the WA-47, this is an affordable U87 clone that relies on solid-state technology rather than being tube driven. Despite this, it delivers an authentic, smooth sound across the frequency spectrum.
          Clarity
          4.5
          Warmth
          4.6
          Durability
          4.3
          Versatility
          4.4
          Value
          4.8

            Warm Audio WA-47 Jr Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review

            Last for review we have the Warm Audio WA-47 Jr Microphone and this is another exciting option for those looking at a U87 alternative. It’s a transformer-less microphone with 3 polar patterns, that offers amazing bang for your buck.

            Warm Audio produce fantastic quality audio gear and this mic is designed to be the little brother of the popular WA-47. This microphone is around half the price, and the trade-off is that it’s not a tube microphone. It’s solid-state but it still offers a wide, warm and smooth response.

            The WA-47 Jr ticks all of the boxes. It has a smooth sound, a wide frequency range, low noise and it records brilliantly. It has a universal and natural sound that works great for a range of instruments and vocals, and recording drums in particular!

            It’s a great, low-cost alternative to expensive condenser microphones out there and it’s perfect for home studios. Musicians, podcasters, engineers and producers would all benefit from adding this microphone to their arsenal.

            Features:

            • Detailed sounds with great fidelity
            • Balanced, warm and smooth sounds
            • Affordable U87 clone

            Pros

            • Detailed sounds with great fidelity
            • Shines on percussion and drums
            • WA-47 performance at an affordable price

            Cons

            • Doesn’t compare to premium vintage microphones
            • Not a tube-based microphone

            U87 Clones Buying Guide

            With a lineage going back to the iconic Neumann U47, one of the most popular microphones of the 1950s and ‘60s, the U87 is an excellent large diaphragm condenser. 

            Renowned for its warm, detailed sound synonymous with Neumann mics, the U87 has inspired many manufacturers to create microphones that are very similar to the original design. 

            You can use these microphones as drum overheads, room mics, or to capture acoustic and electric instruments. They’re also great for recording vocals, too. 

            Here are the most important things you need to be aware of when choosing a U87 clone.

            Things to Consider When Buying Sabian Cymbals

            Polar patterns

            Most U87 clones have a cardioid polar pattern like the original. However, some manufacturers install switchable polar patterns on their mics to expand their directional capabilities and increase their versatility. 

            Color

            Every microphone has its own unique frequency response and adds some coloration to recordings. Some U87 clones are designed to be transparent, while others attempt to replicate the warm, vintage sound of the original. 

            Consider the compatibility with your other gear

            When choosing a U87 clone, it’s important to think about how it will interact with your other equipment. The mic preamps you use will need to be compatible with any other outboard gear you use for recording. 

            What Features to Look for in U87 Clones

            Adjustable Directionality

            It’s becoming more common for microphone manufacturers to install a switch that can be used to toggle between several pickup pattern settings. 

            Having multiple pickup patterns to choose from is useful if you intend to record various instruments and vocal styles with a U87 clone. You can tailor the focus of the mic’s capsule to make it pick up more or less sound from different angles. 

            For example, switching from the standard cardioid polar pattern to omnidirectional is ideal when recording a duet with two vocalists or singing accompanied by another musician. 

            Furthermore, it can also enhance drum recordings by capturing more of the room sounds or focusing specifically on a certain part of the kit. 

            SPL Handling 

            Using a U87 clone to record drums is likely to yield excellent results, but some variables need to be considered.

            If you’re recording a drummer who doesn’t hold back when they’re behind the kit, you’ll need to to ensure that the mic can handle high SPLs. 

            Clipping and distortion are generally not desirable when recording drums, and being a large diaphragm condenser, a U87 clone could encounter this problem. 

            Thankfully, there are U87 clones available that can handle in excess of 140dB, which is adequate for even the hardest-hitting metal and rock drummers.

            U87 Clones FAQs

            Is the U87 Better Than TLM103?

            The Neumann U87 and the TLM103 are both excellent condenser microphones. The former has a superior capsule, but the TLM103 is generally more affordable and is, therefore, more accessible to those on a budget. 

            It would be unfair to say that the TLM103 is better than the original U87, as it is actually based on its design to an extent. Both mics are great in their own right. 

            Why Is the U87 So Popular? 

            Besides being made by the iconic brand Neumann, the U87 is a popular microphone for several reasons. Firstly, it’s incredibly reliable and is unlikely to malfunction or break due to its build quality. 

            The U87 is also renowned for being multi-faceted. You can use it to record everything from vocals to drums, and it has a certain vintage tonal quality that many people find appealing.

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