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Author Topic: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify  (Read 20052 times)

M Stage

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2014, 01:23:36 pm »

Thanks Klaus for the information. What would the value of a re-diaphragmed (or "reskinned" as it is also often called) k870 capsule be versus an original that has not been re-diaphargmed? I believe this is important to know and quantify as there are so many u87 microphones out there that have a "reskinned" (or rediaphragmed capsule) and the value of those, or how much it devalues the microphone as a whole, is not often written about anywhere I could find on the internet. And therefore new buyers are often ripped off by these "reskinned" capsules because sellers will often say they are just as good, when they often sound nothing like what they were before the re-diaphragming process.
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2014, 03:01:38 pm »

This is a highly subjective matter. I personally would discount the value of the mic to what it would cost me to restore it to the original capsule plus the sale of the fake one:

let's say, someone wants $3000 for a 'vintage' U87i whose capsule has been reskinned.
In this example, I would pay $2500 or thereabout, which would be the price for a new or used K87 ($650.- for a new one, anywhere from $400 to $800 for a used one- though I hate to quote prices that may be totally off base) I would also make a small allowance for selling the fake one on eBay (with full disclosure, of course), so I end up with the aforementioned $500 out of pocket which I need to recoup through the lowered purchase price of the mic. Granted, this is a lot of work to get  back to something that should have been there in the first place, but if the mic is really clean otherwise, it may be worth it.

And, before you ask the next inevitable question: how does a replacement Neumann K87 capsule affect the value of a 'vintage' U87? I have found, it does not affect it much, due to the fact that, with the exception of a short period of a few years in the early 2000s, the build and sound quality of K87s has stayed remarkably constant.
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Klaus Heyne
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anders

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2015, 09:42:05 am »

Hello.
I think this is the original capsule from my 1969 U87 (s.nr. 11962) originating from the Swedish National Radio. Does the look & numbers FG52/FG58 indicate a late 60`s K87 capsule?
The company supplying these mics routinely replaced the old capsules with a new/stock Neumann K87 capsule, albeit ones with a slightly wrinkled "backside" diaphragm. (I thinks they got a batch of cheap "second" capsules from Neumann?)
Thanks & Regards from Anders, Oslo-Norway
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2015, 12:51:48 pm »

Yes, the capsule shown is an original K87 from mid to late 1960s (K67 from that period looked the same).Similar capsule types with fiberboard surrounds were also issued for M49 and as replacement capsules forU47/48 during that period as K47/49.

This capsule type replaced the brass-ring type which was used in most U67 and M269 through 1965/66. No U87 exists, to my knowledge, with brass ring capsules. (U87 first appeared in 1967).
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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anders

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2015, 02:59:27 pm »

Thanks a lot, Klaus.
Some day I will put the original capsule back in to check if it still sounds and work decent :-)
Have you any idea which number is the "front" diaphragm, or are they the same?
Anders
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2015, 04:00:13 pm »

Neumann' capsule tolerances are tight enough that either side can be used as front.

However, within that tolerance, timbre differences can be large enough that I always find it worthwhile to do a "frontside selection" - placing the subjectively better sounding side to the front.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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AusTex64

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2015, 11:51:36 pm »

Klaus, how exactly do you do the test to select which side is the front? Do you use figure 8 and reverse phase on the mc pre for the back side, or do you disconnect each side and listen to only one half of the capsule at a time? Thank you.
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2015, 12:40:27 pm »

The latter. Testing capsule sides in figure-eight is only useful to detect gross performance errors. A proper front-side selection takes the extra work of disconnecting lead-out wires from the capsule, reversing its position on the capsule mount, reconnecting the wires, and listening again.

I then repeat the process on both sides again, to be sure of my judgement, because audible memory of timbral differences is very short.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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Piedpiper

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2015, 04:51:45 pm »

Am I missing something or couldn't you just record each side and compare after the fact?
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2015, 05:01:56 pm »

Of course, you could record. But all recording is lossy. If you want to detect the more subtle differences between sides, nothing beats live testing.

I also forgot to mention that cardioid sounds different than figure eight on the same side. Another reason to switch the capsule around for testing.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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AusTex64

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2015, 11:00:45 pm »

The latter. Testing capsule sides in figure-eight is only useful to detect gross performance errors. A proper front-side selection takes the extra work of disconnecting lead-out wires from the capsule, reversing its position on the capsule mount, reconnecting the wires, and listening again.

I then repeat the process on both sides again, to be sure of my judgement, because audible memory of timbral differences is very short.

Thank you for the reply and sharing your experience. You are a very thorough dude! Now I have to go back to my U47 and C12 mic builds and do this test!

Regarding the question about recording mic tests, I have a ProTools test file where I use the same mic pre, matched gain and record the same dialog on a bunch of mics I've built and modified. Though you're correct about recording being lossy, that's what I do with my mics (record, not used in live performance). It's really interesting and informative to me to hear the differences in many different mics in a relatively controlled test.
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2015, 02:22:21 am »

That will be the engraving on my grave stone:

"Here Rests A Thorough Dude"

Maybe you misunderstood my point. I am using live comparison tests, not because the mics are ever used for live  performance (which studio condensers are?), but I find an extra layer of revelation will be available when no AD/DA conversion and its associated signal path is employed. A good pair of headphones with minimal mic processing will do the trick. Try it some time!



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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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ryankalkman

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types over the years
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2016, 09:32:51 am »

I have what i thought was a K870/K67 capsule (the case is labeled that way), however since it has ivory rings, recessed mounting screw holes and the number 8 written on, I'm now lead to believe this is a 1978 capsule? in which case it must be a K87 since I assume the K870 only came into production in 1986 with the U87Ai?

Any help on this would be much appreciated ;)
   
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klaus

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2016, 01:00:37 pm »

Pictures of your capsule show a 1988 K870. It does have white, not ivory-colored diaphragm rings. U87Ai were introduced in 1986, so this capsule fits into the timeline of the model.

But even before the introduction of the U87Ai, K67 capsules (now called K870 when designated for use in U87Ai) were continuously manufactured and sold as spare parts for the SM69fet mic (one version is still made today), and historic U67, M269 and SM69 tube mic models.

Neumann is one of the few legacy manufacturers which still makes and stocks spare capsules for most of its discontinued models.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
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ryankalkman

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Re: Neumann K870/K87/K67 Capsule Types Through The Years: How To Identify
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2016, 05:47:45 am »

thankyou klaus!
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