When I was studying sound production I had the pleasure of working in the Metropolis 2 studio in South Melbourne. That was a great 24 track full analogue studio with a bunch of awesome bits of kit. Given the price of most high end studio gear, it was also the one and only time when I got to regularly work with classic Neumann mics. The KM184’s were outstanding as overheads, room mics and for any driven instruments (horns and even as a second mic on a fuzzy guitar cab). The U47 was a workhorse with a bunch of character. But for my money, the most impressive mic that we used was the U87 – on any instrument or vocal it just sounded incredible. There’s something about the circuitry and design that gives this mic a sense of presence and space that makes other mics sound flat. Unfortunately, in the world of MP3’s and “club bangers” the character of this classic mic is slowly becoming less and less relevant. It now finds a place in the niche world of soppy R&B, bittersweet acoustic nu-folk and overproduced commercial rock (Nickelback, I’m looking at you). There was a time, though, when the U87 was the undisputed king. Check out why.