R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: 1 [2]  All   Go Down

Author Topic: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?  (Read 6829 times)

klaus

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1336
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2013, 07:45:13 pm »

One of the bottlenecks to currently produce a PVC M7 that sounds like a real one (Neumann or Gefell): is the toxic chemical formula that was used until the early 2000s (at least in East-Germany, West-Germany had abolished the material already a decade earlier).

The new stuff has a different, environmentally sound, molecular structure, and somehow that has "colored" the sound differently than the old formula. How else to explain that both MG's and Thiersch's PVC M7 have that same mid-band harshness, no air but a hard ceiling around 7-8 Khz, and inarticulate lows?

I believe both companies do what they can with the PVC they have available. And it's good enough, unless you ever heard a real M7, even only ONCE. Then you can never go back and be satisfied with the current PVC product. And, a consequence of so many people having never heard a real M7 is that they think the current stuff is good and authentic. What a problem to overcome!
Logged
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

soapfoot

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 191
  • brad allen williams
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2013, 07:27:31 am »

Then what hope is there for a U47 owner who needs an M7 replacement?

I'll let Klaus weigh in on this, but the Thiersch PVC replacement ("blue line") is an excellent capsule. I used one in a microphone I built for myself and I absolutely love it, and it's captured much of the spirit (to my ear) of the original M7. Probably not identical, but an excellent-sounding capsule in its own right.
Logged

Jim Williams

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 523
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2013, 01:45:29 pm »

China may be an answer to reproducing PVC capsule diaphrams. They don't follow EPA or CE enviromental restrictions there. If Gefell set up a shop there, who knows what could be made? Seems about every other audio company has set up a shop there and if instructed and provided the correct formulas they could be successful.

Mogami is a perfect examle. Their soft, special rubber cable coatings are illegal to manufacture here but not in the far east where enviromental restrictions are not yet in place.
Logged

method1

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11
  • Real Full Name: Joel Assaizky
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2014, 06:04:06 am »

"Eine Schwalbe macht noch keinen Sommer", the saying goes (one swallow does not a summer make), but what I just experienced is quite astonishing, given the sorry state of Neumann K870/K87 capsules of late:

Tonight I installed a brand-new K870 (build date late 2012), and my jaw dropped:

Both sides of the capsule are lush, reedy, frequency-balanced, with a full-figured bass, and are extraordinarily musical. Only the very best K67 from the mid 1960s (the famous 'fibre board' model) could hold a candle to this one. This capsule was so exquisite and similar on both sides (very rare, for any LD dual-membrane capsule, from any period) that I still don't know which of the two sides to make the front side for cardioid operation.

I am hoping and praying that this is a trend, and will report what the next new K870 capsule portends.

Disclaimer: the electronics of the U87Ai which I installed the capsule in are heavily modified; so while this capsule could mitigate some of the stock U87Ai's electronic compromises (which I find especially unsatisfying since circuit diagram 05), it cannot overcome them all.

I know this thread is old, but I'm wondering if that was a one-off experience or have you experienced a general improvement in k870 capsule quality?
Logged

SergioA

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3
  • Real Full Name: Sergio Armes
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2014, 11:47:05 pm »

+1. I feel this deserves some follow up.
Logged
Sergio Armes

klaus

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1336
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2014, 03:51:34 am »

China may be an answer to reproducing PVC capsule diaphrams. They don't follow EPA or CE environmental restrictions there.
So their lives and health are worthy of less of our consideration, just because they live far away?
Logged
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

klaus

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1336
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2014, 03:54:09 am »

I know this thread is old, but I'm wondering if that was a one-off experience or have you experienced a general improvement in k870 capsule quality?
Give me a few more examples to test. I have used too few of these capsules in the last year to confidently make a broad statement of percentages yet, but the trend is positive.
Logged
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

mikezietsman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1
  • Real Full Name: Mike Zietsman
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2017, 09:01:54 am »

Just a bump for interest.

Klaus - has the post 2012 Era capsule ushered in a step up in consistency of the quality of the k870/k67?

Thanks,
Mike
Logged

klaus

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1336
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2017, 02:19:30 pm »

Thanks for the reminder to update my initial impressions.

As you may know, a constant trickle of factory-new U87Ai come through here- they serve as starting point for my modifications. They also allow me to take the pulse of this model through the years: there are many tiny changes that are continuously introduced in this mic, from the way the attenuation switches are labeled, to the quality of the capsules.

I wish I could report that all is well now, and that an overwhelming percentage of K87/870 capsules is now frequency-balanced and full-bodied in the lower register. They probably all pass Neumann's 2dB test, but there are still too many of these capsules which take the time-consuming effort to "enrich" their low end far enough, so that the overall sonic impression is no longer harsh, midrange pointy, and congested, i.e. lacking musicality, however you want to define this.

The reason why this is so frustrating for me: there are current-production K87/870 capsules which sound extraordinary in their musical enticement, right out of the box. These capsules are on par with the best that Neumann produced in the early decades of the model and even during the period of its predecessor, U67.

So it's obviously not a systemic issue pointing to a need for a change in design*, but more likely a quality-control or selection issue. I wish I knew how Sennheiser selects and rejects during production, but I don't. But the variable seems to be connected to diaphragm tension, otherwise I would not be able to often dial-in better performance on some of these harsh-sounding capsules by relaxing the diaphragms.

Bottom line: Neumann is still capable of making the absolutely best LD capsules in the world, but it's still too much hit and miss for my taste how individual capsules come out. I wish the company would return to the manufacturing methods employed before ca. 2000-whatever they were- when an overwhelming percentage of them was "in the ballpark".

*Stephen Paul once wrote a critique of the new lapping method Neumann started using in the early 1990s (?) which replaced the less-exact gapping between diaphragm and backplate through plastic spacers. I do not believe that that change has anything to do with the quality issues discussed in this thread: Neumann has successfully used backplate lapping for decades without any audible detriment, yet this alone has not reigned in the performance tolerances for those capsules leaving the factory.
Logged
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Recording Engineer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 20
  • Real Full Name: Weston Ray
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2017, 06:03:43 pm »

So there is a possibility that this may actually truly be a bean-counting, time is money, kind of issue; be it a sanctioned company policy or simply implemented by a manager?
Logged

klaus

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1336
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2017, 07:41:59 pm »

Yes, that is a possibility, but the general public, me, included, would never find out, so I see no purpose in speculating why there is still such range in response from capsule to capsule.

Neumann's Uwe Sattler may chime in here, and remind everyone that his former company still has the tightest tolerance of any capsule manufacturer. That is indeed true. But as I recently posted on another forum, "within spec" is still a 4dB tolerance range from capsule to capsule (2dB).

I would love more bass in K870, so that most capsules end up on the (+) rather than (-) end of allowable tolerance. Hell, I would even buy Neumann's rejects that fall outside the tolerance on the plus side. Makes my job that much easier.
Logged
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Recording Engineer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 20
  • Real Full Name: Weston Ray
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2017, 01:47:58 pm »

I only mention it because it seems everyone always wants to quickly blame everything that's "wrong" on the big-bad-wolf-bean-counter; but here's a real case where it seems to truly be a possibility this time.
Logged

klaus

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1336
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2017, 02:46:21 pm »

The larger picture to keep in mind:
Neumann is the only mic company supplying spare capsules for mics that were first sold in 1951!

So, even if the mercenary aspect may be blamed for the perceived deterioration of some of these capsules, I am grateful that this is not AKG or Schoeps which won't even work on mics that were discontinued only a few years ago. Or try Sony or Microtech Gefell which won't supply parts for ANY of its condenser mics-old or new- in the U.S. They don't even bother with U.S, customer support or brand representation (see related thread).


Logged
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Recording Engineer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 20
  • Real Full Name: Weston Ray
Re: New Neumann U87 Capsules: Finally A Turn-Around in Quality?
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2017, 05:34:33 am »

Unless it has changed in the last few years, I believe you can still purchase Sony capsules for C800, 800G, and C38B. I bought a pair of C38B capsules directly from them about 3-years ago. But yes US customer service is absolutely non-existent!
Logged
Pages: 1 [2]  All   Go Up