The world of audio and musical equipment can be a tricky one to navigate at the best of times. With so many different products, conflicting opinions and confusing reviews, it’s hard to know what’s actually the best product for your needs. Luckily, the team at Mixdown have put in the legwork for you, sifting through the spec-sheets and putting the products through their paces to bring you Mixdown’s Picks - a new series of expansive, category defining product guides across our digital channels. Anything that has made the cut has rated highly across the board with the Mixdown staff, garnering a unanimous tick of approval from our staunch critics.
For this installment, we're diving deep into the world of studio microphones, exploring the massive range of ribbon, condenser and dynamic options on the market for savvy producers, engineers and project studio enthusiasts.
BeesNeez BU87i C
Category: Condenser | Pattern: Cardioid
Key Features: Australian world beaters BeesNeez have long been plying thier trade as purveyors some of the finest in boutique transducer technology going, with their uber-faithful recreations of studio classics being some of the most sought after and respected microphones around. With the BU87i C, released just a month ago, BeesNeez take on one of the biggest challenges in all of microphonics. Creating a credible and faithful replication of the best iteration of a very famous German microphone, the Neumann U87i, and giving it the artisanal BeesNeez treatment.
BeesNeez, a family-owned company from Ballina,New South Wales run by Ben and Veronica Sneesby, have been making waves in the pro audio world with their affordable and fantastic sounding microphones for over a decade. BeesNeez don’t just assemble the microphones; they painstakingly craft their microphones from scratch - the whole kit and caboodle. It’s worth checking out their YouTube channel to see parts of the process (and to further appreciate their dedication to creating truly bespoke audio equipment).
Their latest project to hit the market, the BU87i C, is an exact emulation of the Neumann U87i, omitting just the switchable multiple polar pattern design of the original in favour of the U87i’s cardioid polar pattern. Their reasons for this are entirely consumer focused - by omitting this feature, they are able to release the BU87i C for the breathtakingly low price of $860. In the words of Ben “we feel it is important to have an amazing sounding but affordable U87 clone out there”. BeesNeez also offer a choice of chassis for the microphone, a clone of the original U87 chassis shape in a matte black, or their own original chassis design in a nostalgic '60s Holden-esque pastel mint colour, though BeesNeez do advise that their own chassis design may sound slightly different when used for very close recordings due to small differences in chassis shapes.
Mixdown Says: Just like the real thing, the BU87i C is a super versatile microphone, capable of pulling a useable sound on a vairiety of different sources, but perhaps it shines brightest on lead vocals where its expensive sheen and chrystalline, germanic clarity are on full display. It’s a sound which is instantly professional in it’s appeal, never brittle, never hyped, just instantly familiar and endlessly useable, it’s the sound of countless hit records and the sound that has made the U87 such a highly coveted mic in studio circles since the mid-60’s.
BeesNeez are the only company making a U87 emulation who manufacture the entire capsule, body and transformer in-house. The fact that their emulation is also one of, if not the most affordable emulation on the market, is honestly astounding.
Overall: To put it simply, the BU87i C is an Australian made, world class microphone at a price so good, you’ll think it’s a typo. No doubt, you’ll find us lining up to get our greasy mitts on one of these!