Review: Warm Audio WA-87 R2 Studio Microphone

Posted on by Larry

One of the compliments I’ve always been pleased to receive is on the quality of my voice. This often takes the form of: “Why aren’t you narrating movies?” Well, um, the short answer is that no one has ever asked.

Until recently.

Last month, the folks at Pearson publishing asked me to narrate an audio book. (An audio book isn’t a movie, but it’s close enough.) While I can’t talk about the specific book until the audio is released, I CAN talk about the gear I’m using.

Anytime I get a new project is a chance to buy new gear. So, I started looking for a high-quality studio mic with a warm sound to use specifically for narration. After a lot of discussions with audio engineers, I chose the Warm Audio WA-87 R2.

NOTE: An audio sample is included lower in this review.

Image courtesy of Warm Audio Inc.


The Warm Audio WA-87 R2 studio microphone “is an authentic reproduction of a truly iconic mic from the late-60s that is widely considered to be one of the greatest studio microphones ever designed.” (Warm Audio website) The mic it emulates is the stunning Neumann U-87, which is still available today; but at a much higher price.

The WA-87 has a flat frequency response with a slight boost between 7 – 10K to add clarity. Designed for vocals, it has a smooth, warm sound for narration. It supports three polar patterns: Omni, Cardioid and Figure-Eight. Cardioid is the preferred pattern for narration to reduce room tone and echoes.

It requires 48v phantom power and includes a low-cut filter on the mic to reduce rumble below 80 Hz, along with a 10 dB pad to reduce sound levels when a musician is, ah, really getting into it. It uses an XLR connection and requires an analog-to-digital interface to connect to a computer. (I use a FocusRite Scarlett 2i2.)

The package includes the mic, a shock mount to reduce mechanical noise, a standard mic mount when shocks are not likely, and a wooden case to keep the mic safe when you don’t need it in the studio. The mic comes in two finishes: black and nickel.

Like all high-quality studio mics, you should consider this fragile and treat it gently. This is not to say you can’t use it on the road, but there are far more rugged mics available if abuse is likely.

I really like the sound of this mic. It reduces mouth noises, which are common when using a headset, yet doesn’t loose warmth when my mouth is moved a few inches away from the mic. Basically, it sounds better than any other narration mic I’ve ever used; and how it sounds is the entire reason to buy it.

Manufacturer: Warm Audio
Product: Warm Audio WA-87 Rw microphone
Price: $699 (US), discounts available from a variety of websites


Based in Texas, Warm Audio was founded in 2011 by Bryce Young. It manufactures analog gear, including microphones, preamps, compressors and equalizers, that emulate classic gear at more affordable prices, without sacrificing audio quality.

Warm Audio has received multiple nominations and awards by renowned industry professionals (TEC Awards, Sound On Sound Awards, Resolutions Awards, MusicTech Awards and Music Inc. Editors Choice Awards).

NOTE: This link has more about Warm Audio.


This is the WA-87 R2 in action. I mounted it using the shock mount (the web at the bottom) and enclosed it in an Auray Desktop Isolation Filter ($29.99) to significantly reduce room tone and echoes.

This is the whole affair, with an Auray PFMU-12 Universal Wire Mesh Pop Filter ($29.99) added in front of the mic. This virtually eliminates plosives, clicks and other weird noises. In the audio sample, below, you will hear the WA-87 recorded using this setup.


Image courtesy of Warm Audio Inc.

This audio file contains the three mics I use on a regular basis:

The first three samples were recorded directly through a FocusRite Scarlett 2i2 into Adobe Audition. The only audio processing I applied was a Limiter effect to adjust levels to roughly the same amount. I did not edit any clip. (Peaks -3 dB, -18 LKFS)

The last two audio samples use the standard audio processing I apply to each mic when I use them “in real-life.”


Image courtesy of Warm Audio Inc.

[ These are from the Warm Audio WA-87 website.]


I really like the sound of this mic. It is open, clear, warm and tight. (Yeah, I know, what do those terms actually mean? You just gotta listen to it.)

Like all studio mics, it needs to be treated gently and stored in its well-built – and supplied with the mic – wooden box when not in use.

After hearing this mic, I’m now spoiled. I want this same sound for my webinars, but a studio mic doesn’t support movement as a headset or lavaliere mic does. Still, if you can get your talent to hold still, this mic will help them sound GREAT!

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