Review of the Warm Audio WA-67 Microphone
Making a Scene Presents a Review of the Warm Audio WA-67 Microphone
The Warm Audio WA-67 is a microphone that has been making waves in the audio industry as a faithful recreation of the famous Neumann U67. The Neumann U67 was a popular microphone in the 1960s and is still considered one of the best microphones ever made. However, its price tag can be prohibitive for many musicians and recording studios. This is where the Warm Audio WA-67 comes in as an affordable alternative that promises exceptional performance.
History of the Neumann U-67
The Neumann U 67 is a multipattern large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a tube-and-transformer topology. It was introduced by Neumann in 1960 with the intention of replacing the U 47 in Neumann’s product line. The new microphone, originally christened the U 60 for the year of its development, brought numerous innovations to market.
The K67 capsule was designed to avoid the challenges and costs of tuning the K47 so that both diaphragms produce identical frequency responses. Unlike the K47, the K67 utilizes a two-piece backplate, allowing the diaphragms to be tuned individually and then matched for equivalent response. A -10dB pad was incorporated, in response to the trend of placing microphones closer to sources.
For the same reason, the mic had a switchable high-pass filter to roll off low frequencies. The Neumann manual gives a 100Hz corner frequency, but the published graphs show attenuation as high as 300Hz. In addition, a fixed 30Hz rolloff was incorporated into the amplifier circuit to reduce pickup of mechanically transmitted noise (rumble).
According to Roessler, the tapered body shape was purely a cosmetic change, intended to satisfy an increasingly style-conscious market. This body design is also used for the U87 and U87A microphones. The tube was a Telefunken EF86, a pentode wired into this circuit as a triode. It used a 6.3V filament voltage, and was wired to the PCB via a Teflon socket.
The mic’s output transformer is somewhat unique. According to David Bock, “it uses a tertiary winding for negative feedback through the capsule to the tube.”
An initial production run of approximately 20 microphones was labeled and sold as the “U 60.” All of these reportedly used the K67 capsule, but according to Klaus Heyne, a variety of prototype mounting methods were employed, such as the wire wrap pictured at right.
The original ’67 became one of the most sought-after and widely-used studio microphones of its time, recording a massive collection of some of the most memorable songs of the last 50 years – we’re talking about classic tracks from artists as varied as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Temptations and Nirvana! The original mics are still sought after, but they can command upwards of $8000 for a pristine unit, putting them far out of reach for most recordists.
The WA-67 Design and Build Quality
The Warm Audio WA-67 has a sleek and stylish design that closely resembles the original Neumann U67. It comes in a sturdy metal body that feels durable and well-built. The microphone has a large diaphragm and a transformer-balanced output. The WA-67 also comes with a shock mount that is easy to use and provides excellent isolation. This ensures that the microphone is stable and secure during recording sessions, minimizing the risk of unwanted noise or vibrations.
Warm Audio went to great lengths to recreate the discrete circuit of the original microphone, using boutique components throughout to ensure that nothing got in the way of pure tube magic. The sound and vibe of the original ’67 is recreated in the WA-67, and they have been able to make a high-quality microphone available to everyone at an Low price point.
The WA-67 Sound Quality
The most important aspect of any microphone is its sound quality, and the Warm Audio WA-67 does not disappoint. The microphone has a warm and smooth sound that is perfect for recording vocals and acoustic instruments. The WA-67 has a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz and a sensitivity of -34dB. The microphone also has a high SPL handling capability, which makes it suitable for recording loud sources such as drums and electric guitars.
The WA-67’s sound is characterized by its smooth and rich mid-range, which is particularly pleasing to the ear. It also has a natural-sounding low-end that adds depth and warmth to recordings. The microphone’s high-end is clear and detailed without being harsh or sibilant. These qualities make the WA-67 an excellent choice for a wide range of recording applications, from vocals to acoustic instruments to drums and guitar amps.
The WA-67 Ease of Use
The Warm Audio WA-67 is easy to set up and use. It requires phantom power to operate, which can be provided by most audio interfaces or preamps. The microphone also has a switchable polar pattern, which allows you to choose between cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8. This feature makes the WA-67 versatile and suitable for various recording situations.
The switchable polar pattern is particularly useful for recording multiple sources in the same room. For example, if you’re recording a band in a live room, you can use the omnidirectional pattern to capture the room’s natural reverb while still isolating individual instruments with the cardioid pattern. The figure-8 pattern is also useful for recording duets or interviews, where you want to capture two sources at once.
If you are building or you have a recording studio, your microphone choices are some of the most important investments you can make. As Technology moves forward, DAWs change, Plugins Change, Soft Synths change, but your microphone choices remain a constant and is the #1 factor that determines how well your recordings sound. Your Microphone collection is like a photographers lens collection, it allows you to find the right color and sound to sculpt your sound.
Overall, the Warm Audio WA-67 is an excellent microphone that offers exceptional value for its price. It is a faithful recreation of the Neumann U67 and provides a warm and smooth sound that is perfect for recording vocals and acoustic instruments. The WA-67 also has a sturdy and well-built design, making it a reliable choice for any recording studio.
While the WA-67 may not be as well-known as some other microphones on the market, it is quickly gaining popularity among musicians, producers, and engineers. Its affordable price tag, combined with its excellent sound and build quality, make it an attractive option for anyone looking for a high-quality microphone without breaking the bank.
If you are looking for an affordable alternative to the Neumann U67, the Warm Audio WA-67 is definitely worth considering. It is a versatile and reliable microphone that is sure to become a staple in any recording studio.