I was underwhelmed by the U87ai
and the SSL Alpha Channel
had this high mid bump that was freakin' ugly on my voice. The SSL, well... First of all, it looks like cheap gear, and it's sound is too clean for my taste. It's all about taste afterall...Maybe the combination was the key here, but while the u87ai
might sound better through a different mic pre, it's character will not change. It's a no no for me...
If this mic is one of the most popular mics around, we're probably not talking about the ai version (I have never heard older versions but general consensus seems to be that they're "warmer") because I can't see how this mic would fit the bill for an all around mic in a studio. This high mid bump is really nasty! Especially if you have a high pitched voice like me!
But you know, while we're at it, I really don't like the appearance of SSL gear in general, feels cheap. It's not, I know, but it looks so. It matters to me so I guess I'm superficial, but when you have the choice...
On the TLM103,
I have found the TLM 103
to be very bright and nice for THAT kind of acoustic guitars but I would not use it on my voice and on anything really unless I have no choice. (actually, the u87ai
was also nice for acoustic guitars for this reason)
I can understand why it sells though. It's neumann and it's bright, so people who have never played with real high end mics will instantly think their stuff sounds better, especially in this world of extreme stratospheres of high frequencies. BUT. I don't see it as incredibly bad for a first mic, when bought used at reasonable price...