I bought a Neumann UM57, mainly because I can’t afford to splash 10k on a U47. An engineer friend suggested I find a UM57 since they have the same M7 capsule as in the U47. But since they were made in Neumann’s East German Gefell plant, some of the internal components weren’t up to the standards of the Berlin Neuman plant. Purchased from Larking.com it’s in beautiful condition for a mic of its age - around sixty years old.
I’ve recorded two different vocalists and a bunch of percussion so far. The vocals sound great. Really great top end. Sometimes the upper mids can be a bit harsh. Probably not as much bottom end as the U87 but the tube character is boldy there. On the first outing Steve Hanshaw’s powerful voice caused that classic tube overload sound. You need to be a bit careful with the proximity. There is no pad on the mic so distance from the mic when singing loud is essential.
Female vocals sounded really great. Needed hardly any eq on it in the mix. Thick and upfront sounding. It’s a useful addition to the mic cabinet for sure, the U87 is much smoother but has less character. The other valve ‘character’ condenser we have, the Rode Classic (the model used by Adele apparently) is a bit too bright for me (I love it on acoustic instruments though).
So, if you are here to record vocals and want some tubey syrup on your voice ask for the UM57!