The Neumann U 47 is not only one of the most iconic microphones in the world, it is possibly the most sought-after mic for that “big and warm” vintage sound. For everything from country and rock to pop and hip-hop vocals, the U 47 is a sound nearly everyone can agree on.
However, because the U 47 has been out of production for decades, the price of original 47s is absolutely through the roof. In addition, considering not only the age of the limited number of mics available, but the fact that in the ’50s and ’60s the tolerances for manufacturing weren’t those we see today, we end up with mics that sound radically different from serial number to serial number.
This is what makes the world of cloning U 47s so hard. They all sound a little bit (to a lot!) different. Because of this, John Peluso’s and David Pearlman’s U 47s do not sound the same. Not only did Dave and John clone different U 47s, they also attacked this problem from different angles. John, for example, wanted his mic to be faithful to how a new U 47 sounded out of the box. Other clones may try and sound like a 40-year-old microphone with an original capsule. Is there a “right” approach?
To be honest, they all sound pretty damn good, it just comes down to budget and what style you are chasing for your studio (more modern and detailed vs. more vintage and warm). Here are some of our favorite 47s from different builders.