Favorite Things: Jon Herrmann and his Neumann U-87 microphone

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Jon Herrmann is an audio engineer who has recorded projects across all genres. He also performs across town with the popular cover band Starfarm, which recently won several awards in City Pulse/Fox News 47 Top of the Town contest.

My favorite thing is a Neumann U-87 microphone. I suppose you would expect a bassist to have their favorite object be something musical. That’s something else that I do besides play bass, I record and work in studios. The Neumann is a universally applicable item across different genres, it’s my Holy Grail of microphones. 

This microphone is great with vocals and acoustic guitars; it’s great with pianos and lots of different stringed instruments. That’s mostly what I’ve used it for, vocals and stringed instruments. 

I got my hands on the microphone back in 2010. I used to run a recording studio in Dimondale, and the first project I used this microphone on was for a Michigan State University jazz trumpet player named Anthony Stanco; we recorded a jazz album of his. I used the Neumann as a drum-room microphone in this instance, as we didn’t have vocals for that project. 

As a bass player, I’ve played a lot of different genres. But I’ve had the fortune of being on the other side of the glass, and I’ve used this microphone with bands ranging from Irish folk to classical and I’ve used with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and the MSU Professors of Jazz. It’s gotten a lot of well-rounded use. 

The engineers that design these epic microphones have a certain sound that they’re going for in their mind. They’re able to, with circuitry and electronics, sort of enhance the source of whatever sound you want to record. Without sounding too nerdy, every source of audio has certain frequency responses. To make that audio sound its best, you must depend on whatever tool you’re using to capture the source of it, whether it’s a voice or an instrument.

My Neumann U-87 has allowed me to be more well-rounded as a musician. As just a performer, you can be somewhat limited to specific ways of making income. But if you want to do music for a living, I’ve found that being diverse is the key. Having tools that help you do that is essential. 

Interview edited and condensed by Skyler Ashley. If you have a suggestion for Favorite Things, please email Skyler@Lansingcitypulse.com

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