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Neumann TLM67 headroom
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menestrello
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#1
26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Neumann TLM67 headroom

Hi,
all of us know that U87 vintage has more headroom then U87Ai....what about the new TLM67 headroom?

I'm looking for a mic with nicer and sweeter top end then U87Ai but with the typical Neumann sound and a good headroom.... could TLM67 be the right choice?

Of course I've already tried the vintage U87 but it's a little too "smoke" sound.... in other words too much "vintage sound".. It's not easy to explain that sensation.. I need more details..

Bye,
Mauro
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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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How about looking at the Gefell UMT 70S - it uses the original Georg Neumann M7 capsule.
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27th February 2012
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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menestrello View Post
all of us know that U87 vintage has more headroom then U87Ai
Some of us don't know that at all... any proof to substantiate the statement? While I don't have numbers in front of me I am distinctly under the impression its the other way around. Seeing that I'm too lazy to look, and you made the "absolute" statement - how about backing it up with some science.

Peace
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menestrello
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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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Ok Ok I'm sorry...
it wasn't my intention to say the "absolute" truth... It's my impression...
But that was not the point... I asked mainly for the TLM67..

Bye Mauro
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27th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Some of us don't know that at all... any proof to substantiate the statement? While I don't have numbers in front of me I am distinctly under the impression its the other way around. Seeing that I'm too lazy to look, and you made the "absolute" statement - how about backing it up with some science.

Peace
I'm not on my computer so I don't have all of my bookmarks but I believe that Klaus may be the source for the reference science. I'm pretty sure that on another forum that you are associated with, that Klaus said that the ai has a 10db hotter output from the capsule resulting in less headroom in the mic.

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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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I used one on snare drum, no problems with headroom
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28th February 2012
Old 28th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menestrello View Post
Hi,
all of us know that U87 vintage has more headroom then U87Ai...
Hold on there, Cowboy! You may have been misinformed or drawn the wrong conclusion from partial data here.

Here are the actual facts.
1. The U87ai has a 10db hotter output than the U87
2. Both capsules have the same nominal input ceiling - i.e. headroom
3. The AI can have up to 10db more output than a U87 on the same source material in matching conditions.
4. The AI has a lower noise floor due to the output boost that does not boost inherent noise with it due to design "improvements".
5. The original U87 sounds much better to many many Slutz around here compared to the U87ai. Many can't tell the difference. I feel for those folks.

6. Hearing test results show that the same people who claim to hear a difference also have their hearing in tact up to 16khz.

The TLM67 does have a darker sound than the 87ai. Some say it's flatter, some say less hyped, some of us say darker. Some say it's a smoother silkier high end. toe-may-toes, tah-mah-toes.

The Gefell advice is sound, however, as that M7 capsule is just gorgeous.
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28th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Pike View Post
Hold on there, Cowboy! You may have been misinformed or drawn the wrong conclusion from partial data here.

Here are the actual facts.
1. The U87ai has a 10db hotter output than the U87
2. Both capsules have the same nominal input ceiling - i.e. headroom
3. The AI can have up to 10db more output than a U87 on the same source material in matching conditions.
4. The AI has a lower noise floor due to the output boost that does not boost inherent noise with it due to design "improvements".
5. The original U87 sounds much better to many many Slutz around here compared to the U87ai. Many can't tell the difference. I feel for those folks.


The Gefell advice is sound, however, as that M7 capsule is just gorgeous.
Again borrowing from Klaus Heyne's post on another forum that Fletcher is associated with.

The 87ai capsule has 10 db hotter output however the resulting increase in output will distort the mic amp circuit and results in a 5-6 db REDUCTION in headroom.

From my own use of both the studio's vintage U87 and my U87ai I seem to agree with this.
#10
28th February 2012
Old 28th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McPhaul View Post
The 87ai capsule has 10 db hotter output however the resulting increase in output will distort the mic amp circuit and results in a 5-6 db REDUCTION in headroom.
That is correct. I too was incredulous at first, why an updated U87 would have a significantly lower headroom; after I requested the actual calculation from the technical director of Neumann/USA, he verified: 117 dB @ 0.5% THD.

Then it dawned on me: how could it be any different, given that the same J-FET which barely tolerated 122dB of headroom in the old U87 would be able to handle another 10dB more capsule output in the U87A?
Headroom limitation is on of the (few) shortcomings of a single-FET design, as used in the U87 and U87A.

The work around and solution is what it has been for all headroom-challenged recording devices through the decades: pay attention to loud passages and position the mic accordingly.

As to TLM67 headroom: surprisingly, it's 12 dB lower than a U87A (in cardioid, unattenuated). Despite the fact that similar TLM processing chips used in mics like the TLM103 or TLM170 hover around a robust 140 dB of headroom for 0.5% THD.

The reason: Neumann wanted to "dirty up" its TLM67 (105dB @ 0.5% THD) and TLM49 (110dB @ 05.% THD) vintage emulation mics to make them sound more "tubey".
Artificially limiting headroom in op-amp solid state mics like these, when done in a skilled way, can simulate the clipping behavior of tube mics ("simulate" is the key word here.)
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28th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klaus View Post
As to TLM67 headroom: surprisingly 12 dB less than a U87A (in cardioid, unattenuated). Despite the fact that similar TLM processing chips used in mics like the TLM103 or TLM170 hover around a robust 140 dB of headroom for 0.5% THD.

The reason: Neumann wanted to "dirty up" its TLM67 (105dB @ 0.5% THD) and TLM49 (110dB @ 05.% THD) vintage emulation line to make them sound more "tubey". Artificially limiting headroom in op-amp solid state mics like these, when done in a skilled way, can simulate the clipping behavior of tube mics ("simulate" is the key word here.)
poor Neumann..
well.. why not put a REAL tube for a tubey sound? naaahh, let's go cheap and pile up some cash thanks to the Neumann past, nobody will notice it..

Thanks Klaus for the very detailed and informative description of the facts..

One more reason for buying something from the competitors.. Gefell (which is actually the real modern Neumann IMO) or Brauner...or just about anything else that is made with quality in mind first instead of cheating..

Just my 0.02$,


Bests,

Cheu
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28th February 2012
Old 28th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
poor Neumann..
well.. why not put a REAL tube for a tubey sound? naaahh, let's go cheap and pile up some cash thanks to the Neumann past, nobody will notice it..
Neumann did use real valves (vacuum tubes) in the M149 and 147 - the 67 is just an alternative approach that some people like - if you don't like there is always the 149 and 147.



Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
One more reason for buying something from the competitors.. Gefell
I don't actually see Gefell as "competitors".

Gefell make some superb mics that are different and complimentary to the ones made by Neumann Berlin.

I don't really think any go competitively "head to head" - if you want a Neumann you will buy a Neumann, if you want a Gefell ("original Neumann" according to many) you will get a Gefell.

And if you want a Neumann KM84 instead of a 184, you will get a Gefell M300

There is room for all and I see the two ranges as complimentary, really.
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28th February 2012
Old 28th February 2012
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why not use a Blast Pad?
i mention this because i see a lot of folks chatting about mic craping out under hi SPL levels, and the Blast Pad was designed specifically o help with this?
cheaper the another mic?
i know user that are using them when Gefell mics, and they tell me they can know do close mic like never before.
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#14
29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Neumann did use real valves (vacuum tubes) in the M149 and 147 - the 67 is just an alternative approach that some people like - if you don't like there is always the 149 and 147.


I don't actually see Gefell as "competitors".

Gefell make some superb mics that are different and complimentary to the ones made by Neumann Berlin.

I don't really think any go competitively "head to head" - if you want a Neumann you will buy a Neumann, if you want a Gefell ("original Neumann" according to many) you will get a Gefell.

And if you want a Neumann KM84 instead of a 184, you will get a Gefell M300

There is room for all and I see the two ranges as complimentary, really.
..we are speaking about the tlm67.. and honestly (personal opinion here) I think that is a real shame what they're doing with some of their products..
Saying that is an "alternative" approach is too easy.. Sorry about that.. But that is simply trying to cheat with marketing and being CHEAP.. You want "dirtiness" in a mic? Design it the right way, with a circuit that will reach that goal.. with real tubes and xformers, not emulations.. The results speaks for themselves..

The 149 is not bad, actually could be a nice mic on some sources, but hey, we are in 2012 and for that price you'll find some helluva mics out there.. Brauner, Josephson, Gefell, Violet Design... Etc,etc.. for that money or less they offer outstanting products.. Possibly more "bang for the buck" at any given price range.. Also Beesneez, at least he uses real tubes and xformers when he wants to add "colour" or distortion..
Why I prefer these to the current Neumann? They don't try to cheat with a glorious past..
That said I think that there are few current Neumann mics that should be considered.. Like the km100 (140) series, tlm170, M149 are nice mics.. For some sources might be the right mics..

I know that Neumann has some tube mics (even if I think that in the 147 is used as an output buffer and not in the amplifier stage?..correct me if I'm wrong)..

Gefell IS actually Neumann, because it became Gefell after being Neumann, but IS a Neumann (Harman Kardon) competitor today. The heritage and know how is the same (just because they WERE Neumann), they just developed differently..

I actually own a pair of M300 and they're stunning!





Cheu
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29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
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I know all about the history of Neumann and Gefell - the timeline is actually all on the Gefell website and the Neumann Museum (for both Gefell and Neumann Berlin) is actually in Gefell. And Gefell is still partly owned by the Neumann family, which is not the case for Neumann Berlin.

I just think it seems to be the fashion to bash Neumann Berlin on this forum the TLM 67 was designed for a particular purpose to give the sound and character of a valve mic. whilst retaining the very low noise and distortion characteristics demanded for modern recording.

I think they succeeded and the TLM 67 is loved by many people.

OK - *you* don't like it and it does not suit what you do - that's fine as there are plenty of other mics that would suit what you do.

The TLM 67 is actually a very fine mic. - but it's not for everyone. That does not make it bad, just unsuitable for some.
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29th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
I just think it seems to be the fashion to bash Neumann Berlin on this forum the TLM 67 was designed for a particular purpose to give the sound and character of a valve mic. whilst retaining the very low noise and distortion characteristics demanded for modern recording.

I don't have any monetary interest to bash Neumann or other brands.. actually I don't like bashing companies, but I don't like the marketing hype attidude based on the heritage either (or even worse based on BS, but this is not the case with Neumann), and it's not only Neumann that is doing that.

My point is that even if a company was/is doing a great product, it doesn't mean that in the next one will do the right thing, just because is brand "X"..especially if driven by the money..and a low headroom in a solidstate design is something I'd like to avoid as much as possible.

so you are implying that an old U47/67 ...enter your favorite classic mic here___ .. is not demanded (or not up to) modern recordings?

Btw there are several tube mics made today that retain very low noise specs..
even if they don't go as low as some solid state mics..

If they wanted to reach a tube design, why not going for a real tube?
I highly doubt they didn't put a real tube in there for another reason that is not saving money and have a bigger margin. Sorry, but this is what I think.

I can agree that for some stuff (classic or orchestral work in particular) you might want a "cleaner" low noise path.. so maybe a U47 etc.. might not fit for that, but I'll be more than happy to choose a km100 series or a sennheiser MKH800, or DPA or Shoeps...

I'm sure we'll find something where we agree (maybe on another topic )

Just my 0.02$



Cheu
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29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
I know that Neumann has some tube mics (even if I think that in the 147 is used as an output buffer and not in the amplifier stage?..correct me if I'm wrong)..

The 147 has the same electronics like the 149, except for a resistor added to lower the output level, which was found too hot by some users. Infomation given by Martin Schneider on the Neumann forum.
Both 147 and 149 are true tube microphones. Even klaus Heyne did acknowledge that his initial reluctance about considering the M 149 as such was not justified.
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29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
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I've only been using TLM67 for two months. I can only say that I love it. I noticed it got trashed by the slutz quite a bit, can't understand why. This mic is brilliant, IMO. It does not color your sound. No hype on the bass and the treble, just very truthful reproduction of the source. And yes a VERY smooth top end. What more can you ask for? It's now the swiss army knife in my studio. I guess each to their own, but I hate sibilant mics, such as TLM 149 and a bunch other popular "real tube" mics. Maybe because I don't record to tape therefore I don't need the "grit". Haven't noticed any lack of headroom. If I use it on drums I usually switch on the -15 pad on my pre and I'm good to go. Forget about the specs, it's a great sounding mic. Hope this is helpful.




Quote:
Originally Posted by menestrello View Post
Hi,
all of us know that U87 vintage has more headroom then U87Ai....what about the new TLM67 headroom?

I'm looking for a mic with nicer and sweeter top end then U87Ai but with the typical Neumann sound and a good headroom.... could TLM67 be the right choice?

Of course I've already tried the vintage U87 but it's a little too "smoke" sound.... in other words too much "vintage sound".. It's not easy to explain that sensation.. I need more details..

Bye,
Mauro

Last edited by missswan; 29th February 2012 at 06:07 PM.. Reason: add info.
#19
29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Both 147 and 149 are true tube microphones. Even klaus Heyne did acknowledge that his initial reluctance about considering the M 149 as such was not justified.
Not sure where you got this. A citation would be helpful. What I have said publicly about this mic is that its is a hybrid condenser (tube as "flavoring agent", in front of a solid state op-amp processor embedded in a chip). Neumann freely acknowledges the hybrid character of the M147/149 by mentioning the solid state relevance it in its publications.

So we really should not confuse these models with pure tube mics whose audio processing is NOT done in the solid state domain.
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29th February 2012
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Hi,

another happy TLM67 user here.

I had a MT Gefell UM70S (old one with transformer) and I like the
TLM67 more.

It's a matter of taste, IMHO.....



Cheers
Markus
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29th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klaus View Post
Not sure where you got this. A citation would be helpful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klaus Heyne on Neumann forum
I had written in my forum that the M149 only uses its tube for the front diaphragm's processing (cardioid pattern), whereas the rear capsule side's processing is done entirely in the solid state domain.

After months of research here in the U.S., and endless trans-oceanic conversations with colleagues, I have to retract that statement and apologize for having posted it in the first place: The routing of the signal is not as easy and straight forward as I first thought.

The signal routing in this very sophisticated design seems to be a lot more complicated:

Whereas the front side of the M149's capsule seems to be directly connected with the grid of the tube, the rear side first enters a FET impedance conversion stage, then a solid state processing chip, before it is recycled back to the tube for, what I would call, 'dirtying up' the sound, i.e. to give it some "tubey" character that adds color and distortion which the very clean solid state processing does not provide.

What complicates the matter is the fact that even in cardioid some small portion of rear capsule information is mixed in with the front capsule's signal, in order to widen the narrow cardioid the K49 capsule posesses.
That means, even in cardioid, two differing types of tube/transistor signal processing are at work at all times.

What I should have written is:
The M149's electronic processing for the rear capsule side is primarily a solid state affair, with the tube having more or less an 'after the fact' coloring function, rather than the classic impedance converter/grid pick up function traditionally associated with tube processing in microphones.
(Details here.)


Where did Neumann acknowlege that what you are saying here about the rear capsule processing ('after the fact' coloring function) is right ? I miss that.

Anyway, the statement from cheu78 that the tube is used as an output buffer and not in the amplification stage is clearly incorrect. Moreover in the M 147 only the front capsule is active.

Not so important issue. Whatever is the electronics inside the M 149, it is a great mic.
#22
29th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Where did Neumann acknowlege that what you are saying here about the rear capsule processing ('after the fact' coloring function) is right ? I miss that.
You cannot find a published component-level diagram of any TLM mics, including the M147/149. That's how Neumann prevents technology theft. But after I obtained authoritative information, I retracted my initial assumption about the circuit (see your quote from my forum, above.)

Back to the main issue: No one would question that M147/149 are tube/solid state hybrids. And what is so bad about it, as long as it is publicly acknowledged and clearly separated from pure tube or pure solid state designs, which Neumann does.

From the M149 owner's manual:
Quote:
We have selected a modern tube (triode) and combined its exceptional transmission characteristics with the advantages of our proven transformerless output circuit. The aim was to provide a more controlled environment for the audio signal on its path from the capsule to the output section. The final stage is an integrated amplifier, especially designed for such applications.
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29th February 2012
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We know well that the M 149 and the M 150 are transformerless microphones. This was never hidden by Neumann. If this is the only reason why they would not be actual tube microphones, let us say it clearly. I thought that the debate was closer to the capsule, in the way of how the tube is coupled to it.
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1st March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post

Anyway, the statement from cheu78 that the tube is used as an output buffer and not in the amplification stage is clearly incorrect. Moreover in the M 147 only the front capsule is active.
Thanks for correcting me, that's why I asked to be corrected if I was wrong since I wasn't sure about that but I knew it wasn't only a 100% tube design mic..

All the rest remains IMO..



Cheu
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#25
1st March 2012
Old 1st March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Some of us don't know that at all... any proof to substantiate the statement? While I don't have numbers in front of me I am distinctly under the impression its the other way around. Seeing that I'm too lazy to look, and you made the "absolute" statement - how about backing it up with some science.

Peace
The difference, according to Klause on his forum, is the DC convertor where the battery used to be, which took the phantom power to 60V. He says that the headroom dropped 5 to 6 dB, but the output went up 10dB. Now that would seem logical to me that the higher output would yield higher noise. Klause said that the EQ and sonic signature are the same.

When people compare the original to the A, they will never be able to replicate their findings twice, because of the variances due to aging, use and abuse.

I used to use both and found that I like the A better for some reason. But, I also liked the 193 when it came out, so I could be deaf, ******** or both.
#26
1st March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
We know well that the M 149 and the M 150 are transformerless microphones. This was never hidden by Neumann. If this is the only reason why they would not be actual tube microphones, let us say it clearly. I thought that the debate was closer to the capsule, in the way of how the tube is coupled to it.
The "transformerless" (read: transistorized) output coupling is not the only reason I have trouble with applying the term 'tube mic' to the M149. There is an actual solid state gain stage/op amp processor involved as well.

Regardless of its operating principle, the M149 has found wide acceptance in the recording community as a useful tool.
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1st March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missswan View Post
I've only been using TLM67 for two months. I can only say that I love it. I noticed it got trashed by the slutz quite a bit, can't understand why. This mic is brilliant, IMO. It does not color your sound. No hype on the bass and the treble, just very truthful reproduction of the source.
I owned a TLM 67 for a year or so and while I think it's a really useful mic and not deserving of the abuse it gets here, I would never describe it as "truthful". Sure it's not hyped in the top, but it is far from uncolored IMO. The built in distortion circuit adds a definite "wooliness" (for lack of a better description) in the midrange that really becomes obvious on certain sources. I would use many adjectives to describe it, but "clear" is not one of them...
#28
2nd March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zakco View Post
I owned a TLM 67 for a year or so and while I think it's a really useful mic and not deserving of the abuse it gets here, I would never describe it as "truthful". Sure it's not hyped in the top, but it is far from uncolored IMO. The built in distortion circuit adds a definite "wooliness" (for lack of a better description) in the midrange that really becomes obvious on certain sources. I would use many adjectives to describe it, but "clear" is not one of them...
On what application do you use it the most?
It's not the most uncolored mic, for sure...But I've tried a whole array of cheaper mics before settling down on the 67. It was the most I could spend on a LDC!! Breathy thin vocals really benefit from it...Wish I could hear the U67 and compare.
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4th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missswan View Post
On what application do you use it the most?
It's not the most uncolored mic, for sure...But I've tried a whole array of cheaper mics before settling down on the 67. It was the most I could spend on a LDC!! Breathy thin vocals really benefit from it...Wish I could hear the U67 and compare.
Being the darkest sounding condenser I've ever owned (or heard for that matter) I tended to use it on overly bright or harsh sources like strident female vocals, guitar amps and not surprisingly, banjo where it really shines. I agree it was nice on thin voices. To be honest though, it was usually a problem solving tool and never a "goto" type mic. I sold it after a while because it just seemed to be too much money tied up in a mic that I only used on rare occasions. The price I got for it used, paid for a PAIR of Gefell UM70s, which IMO are much more useful for day to day tasks.
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