Neumann U87 Ai Black is the ultimate and probably the best known studio microphone. Neumann U87 Ai Black comes equipped with a large dual-diaphragm capsule. U87Ai also features three variable directional patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid and figure-8. These are selectable with a switch below the headgrille. A 10 dB attenuation switch is located on the rear, which enables the microphone to handle sound pressure levels up to 127 dB without distortion. Even the low frequency response can be reduced to compensate for proximity effect.
Neumann U87 Ai is addressed from the front, marked with the classic 'Neumann' logo. The frequency response of the cardioid and figure-8 directional characteristics are very flat for frontal sound incidence, even in the upper frequency range. The microphone can be used very close to a sound source without the sound becoming unnaturally harsh. By means of a high-pass filter interferences through subsonic and low frequencies are reduced remarkably.
The dual-diaphragm capsule on the U87ai is elastically mounted and protected by a large headgrille. A switch below the headgrille selects the three directional patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid and figure-8. A window above this switch shows the symbol of the selected characteristic.
The letter 'A' in the U87 Ai's name indicates a more recent generation, as compared to the original series of U 87 i microphones, which were built from 1967 to 1986. Modifications apply to the electronic components of the microphone only; the capsule remained unchanged. The present-day circuitry increases the operational headroom of the U 87 Ai by supplying the bias voltages for the capsule through a reduced resistance. The result is a higher sensitivity of 10 dB for identical sound pressure levels, and an improved S/N ratio of 3 dB.