This is a modification/upgrade for the original WA-87/WA-Classic/WA-87 Black Edition, and not for the WA-87 mk2. The mk2 does not need any mods. To be clear, this is a service where you mail in your existing microphone and we upgrade it and return it to you. The customer is responsible for shipping the mic to us, and we cover shipping back to the customer. Please allow up to 30 days for turnaround.
WA-87 (original) mod/upgrade
Our latest mod offering is a 'holistic' approach mod to the original WA-87 microphone. This does not pertain to the mk2 version, please do not send that one in. I don't feel that the mk2 needs a mod. This is only for the discontinued WA-87 (silver), WA-87 (black), and WA-Classic. The WA-Classic is, internally, the same exact microphone as the WA-87 original, merely a change to the name and headbasket were applied for European distribution due to ongoing legal issues with Neumann GMBH. The Classic can sometimes be obtained for a really low price on the used market; and many people are now selling the discontinued versions so that they can purchase the new one. This is a great opportunity to get a good mic at a low price, and then have it modified to a performance level that, in our opinion, should stand above either the original or mk2.
We essentially take out all 3 boards and de-populate them, de-solder them, strip away all glue and gunk, strip down and clean the boards with anhydrous alcohol. This gives us a completely clean slate with which to work.
We replace all generic metal film axial resistors with precision carbon film and carbon composite resistors for tonal reasons and for reasons of historical accuracy. The carbon composition resistors are personally measured here for tolerances. We ensure there are no electrolytic capacitors anywhere in the entire mic. Electrolytics are replaced with tantalums, raising the number of tantalums to 5. generic film caps are replaced with either audio grade WIMA or audio grade polystyrene caps, raising the number of polytyrenes from 1 to 9. These, esp. when in the high z section, open up the top end clarity and articulation a gread deal. We rebuild the high-z section using all polystyrenes. The high value radial resistors (meg and gig ohm parts, not related to cost) are replaced with higher wattage rated axial resistors that are far more durable, because we have seen so many of these particular resistors fail in the field due to how they are built. If you've ever had a WA-87 that was intermittent, it was one of these cheap radial resistors. We rebuild everything to be bulletproof and to have the highest sound quality, and give it a much much cleaner build. Lastly we re-terminate the XLR wiring with audiophile grade silver teflon wire and resolder both ends with silver solder. We actually replace any internal wiring also with silver teflon wiring, because the stock wire used in manufacturing these boards is some of the worst quality stuff we've ever seen. Mics in the field have failed just because of this wire. Finally, we add a dedicated chassis ground wire that terminates the chassis to XLR pin 1 and XLR gnd lug, for noise free operation and handling.
The end result is a seriously more articulate, lifelike, cleaner performing mic and, just as importantly, one that is far more reliable in the field. A bulletproof 'best case' WA-87 that will never let you down, and will perform far above its price point and even above its replacement.
We feel that the capsule and transformer in this mic are actually quite good; it is more to do with 'everything inbetween' as well as the build quality and poorer component quality where the ball gets dropped. Once modded, we feel this will equal if not significantly outperform the newer version. Pick up a used WA-Classic or WA-87 on the used market for a song, and then see what this mod can do for you. You'll have a reliable, world class mic for a great price... almost certainly less than the asking price for the newer model mk2!