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TLM 49 or U87ai for vocals *only* Condenser Microphones
Old 18th August 2007
  #1
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musicl's Avatar
 

TLM 49 or U87ai for vocals *only*

OK aside from the searching the forum which i did and comments to try the two mics, could any experienced people who have used both or done tests pass on some advice?

Here is the scenario:
- i want a main workhorse vocal mic only for my vocals.
- I'm only going to record male vocals which are quite 'mufflly' / deep.
- I'd like a large deep, intimate sound ala Peter Murphy / Charlie Sexton with play on the proximity effect (can you play with the 49's proximity effect well?)
- I have a tlm 103
- i'll be matching it with an API A2D pre/converter (based on the 312 pre)
- Dilemma of getting another tlm.. vs the u87 whereas my103 has the same characteristics (loosely speaking) as the u87
- the 49 is made for vocals...*but* is it better than the u87 for them?..

Any opinions on what to go for? Are the two mics drastically different in flavour? What flavour?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Old 18th August 2007
  #2
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insomnio's Avatar
 

The 103 doesn't get much love arround here. The 87 is a classic.
When I shootout mics ouside the mix the 87 loses mostly, but...in the mix...is another story. The same hapens with the sm57 in guitars cabs. I would be happy with those two mics and nothing else.
Old 18th August 2007
  #3
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espen askelad's Avatar
I spent some time with a TLM49 and was completely unenthused with it. I don't know how to describe it - remember being a little kid and using construction paper, how it had that weird dusty feeling on your hands? That's how it sounded to me. I've never personally used the 87 but a friend records with one and on him it always brings out the nasally frequencies. I guess if you've got a voice that naturally stays above or below that funky midrange hump it'd sound great, but it's something to be aware of based on how much it exaggerates that quality of his voice.
Old 18th August 2007
  #4
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man..the was fool when I first saw this mic from a looking through a control room window. The artist said they paid $1500 for it brand new. I was like "WTF???? from where?" Thinking it was a M150...LOLheh But as I walked up closer....my EBAY RE-SELLING idea faded into the darkness.

I didnt compare it directly to the U87....But the TLM49 seem to produce good vocal tones within the mix.
Old 18th August 2007
  #5
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oceantracks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nukmusic View Post
man..the was fool when I first saw this mic from a looking through a control room window. The artist said they paid $1500 for it brand new. I was like "WTF???? from where?" Thinking it was a M150...LOLheh But as I walked up closer....my EBAY RE-SELLING idea faded into the darkness.

I didnt compare it directly to the U87....But the TLM49 seem to produce good vocal tones within the mix.
And can be had for far less than 1500

TH
Old 18th August 2007
  #6
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musicl's Avatar
 

From reading around these parts, the TLM49 is either getting some major love or 'it's just that usual tlm sound'. I hear though the 49 'just sits' in the mix without much work..can anyone comment on that? Who has been to the mountain held the balls of both these mics and can comment on them?

Thanks for the opinions, keep them coming!
Old 18th August 2007
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

For me, the TLM49 works very well on rather thin sounding male vocals, such as my own. I rarely have to EQ it all and still get a good forward sound.

I don't particularly like it on any other sources I've tried (female vox, acoustic guitar), so in my studio it's a one trick pony, but it does that one trick very well indeed.

Haven't used an 87 though so can't compare.
Old 18th August 2007
  #8
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musicl's Avatar
 

mfender, thanks for the input. - I am after a one trick pony!

Any users of both mics care to give any advice to a peasant like me?
Old 18th August 2007
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

The 103, 87 and tlm 49 is all in the same vein of hard sounding, voice-over like sounding mics. Like all newer Neumanns, with the possible exeption of TLM 170.
Old 18th August 2007
  #10
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I've used both, and prefer the TLM49 over the U87ai for vocals. My current vocal mic path is TLM49 -> Great River MP500-NV -> Apogee Mini-Me. Sounds magnificent.
Old 18th August 2007
  #11
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musicl's Avatar
 

daddykev, thanks for your input! good to read someone who has tried both. why do you prefer it? I know buzz words are pretty overused but what are the differences in characteristics that you find win out comparing the mics?
Old 18th August 2007
  #12
djp
Gear Maniac
 

I agree with Daddykev's assessment.

I've had both the tlm49 and u87ai here. On my voice, I thought that the 49 sounded better,
without that mid-range bite that sort of makes you either love or hate the 87.

I think at about $1200 street, the 49 is a great mic.

Others that I would consider in that price range are the Gefell m930 and the 71.
The gefell mics that I've heard are superb. But don't let that discourage you
from trying the tlm49. It might be just what you are looking for.

dj
Old 18th August 2007
  #13
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musicl's Avatar
 

Thanks djp, that's what i'm looking for - mid range bite in the 87 eh?. Noted.
Old 18th August 2007
  #14
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daddykev's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicl View Post
daddykev, thanks for your input! good to read someone who has tried both. why do you prefer it? I know buzz words are pretty overused but what are the differences in characteristics that you find win out comparing the mics?
It seems easier for vocalists to find the "sweet spot" on the TLM49 vs. the U87ai. Also, the TLM49 has a "finished" sound, whereas the U87ai seemed to need a little EQ in the mix.

That said, the U87ai is a better all-round mic for use on a variety of different instruments (acoustic guitar, drum overheads, etc.). I don't think the TLM49 is nearly as versatile. But if vocals are your main concern, it's hard to go wrong with the TLM49, especially if you have a nice mic pre. Speaking of, I would highly recommend a mic pre with a nice transformer in it (like a Neve or Great River). Seems to bring out the best qualities of the TLM49.
Old 18th August 2007
  #15
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That really helps daddykev, thank you. I've got a API A2D coming into me which was actually invaluably pointed out recommenced by the members of this board. I would have passed that one by otherwise! You can drive the pre well on the A2D so it should all sound spiffing

I love this board
Old 18th August 2007
  #16
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HIGHENDONLY's Avatar
 

i'm checking out a tlm49 this week. I wonder how a avalon 737 or m5 will sound with it? The 737 seems to match well with the other 2 mics u87 and tlm 103.
Old 18th August 2007
  #17
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insomnio's Avatar
 

Something is for sure: some companies are making very nice mics in a friendlier price. That includes Peluso, Telefunken USA and Neumann. It might be the huge competition with the chinese and rusian companies. Also there are the ADKs, BLUEs, etc. in the game too.

Is odd that the U87Ai, which is a cheaper version of the original, stays in the $3000 range.
Old 18th August 2007
  #18
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espen askelad's Avatar
Do try the 49 first, though. It was 100% incompatible with my voice, which I'd describe as being a little "muffly" (to use your word) itself in a good part of the range. Your choice of preamp is going to be important, too - I was using my Phoenix DRS at the time, which is just tremendously smooth sounding with a pretty healthy low end presence - a more neutral pre may have worked better. Most of my pres are pretty colored, none particularly bright, and I tend to favor more neutral/slightly bright mics with them. Though utterly unsexy, the Shure KSM44 is in the 49 price range and is really a solid vocal microphone and great on drums to boot. I greatly preferred it to the 49 for my voice.
Old 18th August 2007
  #19
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Yea your right about the pre being a big factor. That's why i'm really thinking the 737 prob sounds great with that tlm49. I'm totally just guessing, but hearing the 737 with a u87 and tlm103, the 737 seems to be a good possible fit for the tlm49. I guess i'll find out this week.
Old 18th August 2007
  #20
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Both mics are great ,depends on the preamp match up.
Old 18th August 2007
  #21
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macgee's Avatar
i bought a TLM49 and a LA610 and i used it on a female vocalist today and had to change the preamp. i just brought out all the irritating freq in her voice so i then changed to my Onyx 800r and it was much better though the freq were still there they just weren't as irritating. i must say that i love the 800r, great pre for an awesome price.

TLM49 & Onyx 800r - female vocalist
i had to dip the eq at 800hz & 2k by a couple db and then it sat better for this vocalist
Old 18th August 2007
  #22
Gear Head
 

I recorded this with a tlm49, using the fireface 400 pre:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mp3-u...-opinions.html

Its my second recording, so sure i could've done a lot of things better, but hope you can use it as reference.

Question to the experts: Would a Great River pre do a great difference?
Old 18th August 2007
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HIGHENDONLY View Post
Yea your right about the pre being a big factor. That's why i'm really thinking the 737 prob sounds great with that tlm49. I'm totally just guessing, but hearing the 737 with a u87 and tlm103, the 737 seems to be a good possible fit for the tlm49. I guess i'll find out this week.
a whole era of hit records/albums been made w/ the 737/u87 combo and then some. that combo is used to this day for the instant record ready sound.

Internet says nay but I have yet to see any of the other mics mentioned as u87 replacements in any pro studio i have been to in the usa or europe.

u87 tends to work well on a variety of voices and just sits right in the mix.
Old 19th August 2007
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

It wasn't exactly the greatest era, was it?

I gotta just say for the record, that amongst all my mics, the U87 get used the least, especially for vocals.

It wasn't a conciuos decision.

It has just evolved that way.
It's just too harsh and sibliant, impossible to make it sit in a mix.

SM7, MD441, RE20, Coles, Royer, KM84, D19's.
Old 414EB's

They are all cheaper, even mostly non-condenser mics. But they are all, imvho, better all round and vocal mics than the U87.

The 737, I already sold years ago. If you want hard, mid-forward, and "clean", any Mackie does a better job.
Old 6th May 2016
  #25
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Tlm49 is my main Mic and i like it on avalon V737sp mostly but i still find dipping at around 800 and 2k is a must on every vocal
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