Warm Audio WA-47 Review (Best Neumann U47 Clone)

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Warm Audio WA-47 Review

When it comes to studio condenser microphones, there is no shortage of choices. One popular category of studio microphones is tube microphones, like the Warm Audio WA-47. The WA-47 is inspired by the popular Neumann U-47 microphone, and at about 10% of the price, it’s one of the best sounding mics under $1,000.

The Neumann U-47 has become the stuff of legend, with studios clamoring to buy them. The original U-47 was discontinued in 1965, and they can fetch upwards of $25,000 on the used market. Warm Audio has taken on the challenge of creating a similar microphone at a price point that regular people can afford, and they’ve done a great job at that!

Warm Audio is one of my favorite brands for pro audio, and I often find myself recommending their stuff to my friends who want high quality gear at reasonable price. I’ve owned a handful of their products at different times, and I’ve always been impressed with the sound and build quality. I’m a big fan of their outboard gear, like their compressors, EQs, and even their preamps, so it should come as no surprise that I am a fan of this microphone!

What is a tube microphone?

Tube microphones are different from standard condenser microphones because they pass their signal through a vacuum tube, just like a tube guitar amp! Because of the extra power required to power the tube, these mics come with an external power supply.

Warm Audio WA-47 power supply

You’ll need to plug this power supply box into the wall, and then you’ll use a special 7-pin cable (as opposed to a 3-pin XLR) to connect the mic to the power supply.

Sonically, tube microphones have a unique vibe. The process of running the mic via the tube introduces a unique harmonic character, as well as a natural compression. This makes tube mics especially well suited for lead vocals that you want to have lots of color and character, but you can use them for just about any source.

How does the Warm Audio WA-47 sound?

The WA-47 is a great sounding mic. I’ve used a few different U-47s and clones in different studios, and the WA-47 is my favorite one that I’ve used. The lows and mids are extremely detailed, meaning vocals and acoustic guitars recorded with this mic have a strong sound, with lots of rich character. There’s nothing about this mic that sounds tinny or small.

When compared with similarly priced, non-tube microphones, this one tends to stand out as the most interesting sounding. It has a warm, round sound that I love. It’s the best sounding tube microphone I’ve used in a while, edging out the Avantone CV-12 as my favorite tube microphone in the sub $1,500 category.

Is the Warm Audio WA-47 a $15,000 vintage tube mic? No. However, in this price range, I’d say it’s one of the best sounding mics in its class.

When should I use the WA-47?

To me, the WA-47 is first and foremost a vocal mic. The tone that it captures is better than what you hear in the room (check out a song I recorded using the WA-47 on vocals). That doesn’t mean it’s only a vocal mic. It’s also a great choice for acoustic instruments like cellos, acoustic guitars, and pianos. You can’t go wrong with a pair of WA-47s as a pair of drum overheads either.

This demo showcases the guitar sounds you can capture with at WA-47

The Warm Audio WA-47 is a solid choice for any application where you’d normally use a large diaphragm condenser mic.

The WA-47 has 9 polar patterns (cardioid, figure 8, and omni, plus combinations of the three). The cardioid polar pattern is the one you’ll use most of the time. It focuses on picking up sound in one direction, so you’ll get clean recordings of your vocal or instrument without added background noise. The figure 8 and omni patterns pick up more of the room around the mic, making them useful for some applications where you’d want to hear more background noise. However, for regular recording purposes, you’ll typically want to keep it set to cardioid.

How is the build quality?

The WA-47 is a well-constructed piece of equipment. The soldering looks nice and clean on the inside of the mic, and the fit and finish of the power supply is solid. The included cable is built by Gotham Audio, a boutique cable maker. The wooden box that comes with the mic is a nice touch, too! Overall, I’d rate the build quality of the WA-47 as an A+.

Warm Audio WA-47 Review
WA-47, power supply, and its wooden box

If you take care of this mic, as you should with any condenser mic, it should last you many years to come. The mic has a one year manufacturers warranty that covers any manufacturing errors.

Is the Warm Audio WA-47 worth it?

Depending on your needs, the WA-47 might be the mic for you. At around $1k, it’s not really a budget microphone. If you’re someone who records bands or singers professionally, or aspires to do so, I think this is a great option to bring your recordings up to the next level without totally breaking the bank. A stereo pair of these will cost you less than a single U-47, with lots of room in the budget to spare.

If you need help picking a mic that fits your budget, check out our condenser mic buyer’s guide here!

If you’re a singer-songwriter that self-records, this is a great option for your guitars and vocals. If you’re someone who mostly records drums, you can probably get away with a cheaper pair of condensers, but this would be an awesome pair of room mics or overheads.

Just like with any audio purchase, the WA-47 is a tool in the toolbox, and a tube mic with great color and warmth is a great tool to have around. Overall, the Warm Audio WA-47 is a fantastic pick for someone who is looking for a great condenser mic.

  • Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser Microphone with 9 Polar Patterns
  • Warm tone with lots of character
  • Includes shock mount and external power supply

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About the Author: Adam Sliger

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I'm the founder of makethatlouder.com, and a producer, musician, and songwriter based out of Orlando, FL. I have 10 years experience producing and owning a commercial recording studio. I write and produce music for artists, TV, and for my solo project, Night Winds. When I'm not writing and recording, I'm into food, coffee, and riding rollercoasters!

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