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Neumann U87 vs United Studio Technologies UT Twin 87 Shootout

Updated: Jan 20

Here is a video of the shootout on male vocals: https://youtu.be/2bY9HnrGg3o

Here is a video of the shootout on acoustic guitar: https://youtu.be/P7msWujJ9mQ?feature=shared


Here is a link to the mix down: https://soundcloud.com/audiotonic/silent-night


Review of the shootout

We have spent a week recording, testing and comparing both microphones. In our opinion these two microphones each have distinct qualities. The Neumann U87 ai still remains as the quintessential microphone for all application of recording. Despite the premium price point, we feel that this microphone is a class of it's own, worthy for serious consideration. The U87 have long history of successful recording so it is definitely not going out of style anytime soon.


On the other hand, we were quite impressed by the performance of the United Studio Technologies UT Twin87. This is not just another clone. For a starter, this microphone performs above it's price point. We did many blind fold test sessions with musicians, engineers and producer. The UT Twin 87 was consistently selected as the microphone for vocals, drum rooms, acoustic/electric guitars, bass and strings over the U87 ai. However, we did notice that the UT Twin 87 require slightly more gain to meet the output level of the U87ai. In addition there are two selectable modes. Both modes are just different enough to make everyone think that it might be two different microphones in a blindfold test.


Here are some measurements we did during our test:


All the screenshot below shows the result of a single pink noise clip captured at 50cm distance from a single Quested S7r studio monitor. The measurements are collected using the Tokyo Dawn Lab Prism real-time analyser (RTA) plugin. We understand that Quested S7r is not a full range studio monitor, we were curious about the difference in the general behaviour between both the microphones.


The first screenshot below is done with both microphone switched to the cardioid polar pattern and using the same cable and input channel from a Prism Sound Lyra 2. The white line in the RTA is the U87, the red line is the UT Twin 87 in modern mode and the orange line is the UT Twin 87 in vintage mode.


Based on the screenshot above, we can see that the main difference are below 100Hz and around 5kHz onwards. In the modern mode, the UT Twin 87 seems a little brighter and have slightly less low end response. Otherwise in general the behaviour of the mid range between the two microphones are very similar.


The next screenshot below is done with both microphone switched to the figure 8 polar pattern and using the same cable and input channel from a Prism Sound Lyra 2. The white line is the U87, the red line is the UT Twin 87 in modern mode and the orange line is the UT Twin 87 in vintage mode.


Based on the screenshot above, we can see that the main difference are below 200Hz and around 5kHz onwards. In both the modern and vintage mode, the UT Twin 87 seems a little brighter and have slightly more low end. Otherwise in general the behaviour of the mid range between the two microphones are again very similar.


The final screenshot below is done with both microphone switched to the omni polar pattern and using the same cable and input channel from a Prism Sound Lyra 2. The white line is the U87, the red line is the UT Twin 87 in modern mode and the orange line is the UT Twin 87 in vintage mode.


Based on the screenshot above, we can see that the main difference are below 150Hz and around 5kHz onwards. In both the modern mode, the UT Twin 87 seems a little brighter and have slightly less low end. Otherwise in general the behaviour of the mid range between the two microphones are again very similar.


In conclusion


We want both microphones! If you can afford both microphone, they are good microphones to have in your collection. But if you are on a tight budget, the United Studio Technologies UT Twin87 is definitely a worthy consideration. With that being said, in our opinion the United Studio Technologies UT Twin87 is not really a replacement for the Neumann U87. From our perspective as a end-user, the differences in the sound captured between the microphones still set them apart.


We encourage you to check out our simple comparison video on youtube. Link is above in this article.


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