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Author Topic: U87 - should I get it fixed/cleaned?  (Read 5620 times)

jamie1234

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U87 - should I get it fixed/cleaned?
« on: September 07, 2016, 06:36:17 am »

Hi,

I've got a battered old U87 (late 70s i think) which still works and I love the sound of it. I tried the 'breath test' on it however and it fails. This is not really causing me any problems at the moment as it only drops out if I sing right into it close without a pop shield (which I don't) but I'm wondering if I am making the problem worse by using it in it's current condition?

I was hoping someone who knows better than me could tell me if I should:

A - Continue to use it until it becomes a problem

B - Send it for cleaning

C - Accept that it's old and replace the capsule :o/

D - Flip the capsule (rear side seems fine for now).

Also I opened it up and looked at the capsule and it looks like at some point in it's life someone (not me) has tried and failed to clean it. The front side of the capsule is missing a little gold. It still sounds really good though so I'm not too worried about that. The rear side looks much better and also a bit cleaner.

Also If I'm going to flip the capsule, how hard is this and is there any info on the web of how to do it? Or is the only option to send it away? I'm reasonably capable with a soldering iron and have built most of the gear in my studio, but so far I have known better than to mess with mics!

Many thanks

Jamie  :)

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Kai

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Re: U87 - should I get it fixed/cleaned?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2016, 12:26:40 pm »

Don't fix it if it's not broken.
How long does it take for the sound to come back after breathing into it?
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klaus

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Re: U87 - should I get it fixed/cleaned?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2016, 01:03:47 pm »

In principal and in theory I agree with Kai.

However, accumulation of debris on the diaphragm can have a secondary, less dramatic yet detrimental effect on performance: It can affect high frequency response, due to the mass of the contamination.

Generally speaking, capsules from the era of your U87 are very good, and replacing them with currently-made versions is not only costly but may not duplicate the sound or timbre of your original capsule/mic.

My suggestion: work with the mic until its performance no longer pleases you. Then have it sent out for professional capsule restoration.

P.S: Capsule reversal on a U87 is not an easy task. You would need to remove three lead outs in close proximity to the diaphragm with a calm hand, then remove and reinstall the capsule, then reassign the lead-outs. Dislodging the front side backplate lead out screw (attached into the rear diaphragm ring) can be especially tricky, and its re-insertion on the opposite side must me properly torqued.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

jamie1234

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Re: U87 - should I get it fixed/cleaned?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2016, 03:57:27 am »

Thanks for your responses. The sound comes back within about 1-2 seconds after dropping out, but as it's not causing me any problems at the moment I will keep using it as it is for now.

It sounds like I shouldn't have a go at flipping the capsule myself! I'll take your advice Klaus and send it to someone for restoration once it becomes a problem. Can you recommend anyone in the uk?

Thanks again.

Jamie
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Kai

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Re: U87 - should I get it fixed/cleaned?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2016, 06:14:22 am »

The sound comes back within about 1-2 seconds after dropping out
A new capsule would not react different.
Remember, the breath test puts condensing water on the surface of the daphragma, which, after  drying, can leave residues by itself, or collect existing spread contamination into traces.
I would not advise anybody to repeat that too often, specially not too intense, as breath does not consist of pure water.
Leave the microphone as it is and use it, enjoying it's sound.
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Peller

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Re: U87 - should I get it fixed/cleaned?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2016, 01:36:35 pm »

I'll take your advice Klaus and send it to someone for restoration once it becomes a problem. Can you recommend anyone in the uk?


I am not Klaus, but if you are looking for a microphone technician in the UK I recommend Stewart Tavener at Xaudia. He has repaired and restored many mics for me over the years including a U87 and a U77, and his work has always been excellent.
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klaus

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Re: U87 - should I get it fixed/cleaned?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2016, 06:59:57 pm »

Hello Jamie,
Please report back to us once the work has been completed by whomever you choose to do the work.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

jamie1234

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Re: U87 - should I get it fixed/cleaned?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 06:35:14 am »

Thanks, I'll wait until it becomes a problem and when I do get it serviced I will report back. Cheers! :)
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