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Upgrade from TLM 103 to Brauner Phantom Condenser Microphones
Old 25th September 2008
  #1
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

Upgrade from TLM 103 to Brauner Phantom

Hi,

I've searched the threads exhaustively but still no definitive answer

on whether the Brauner Phantom C would represent a definite improvement over the TLM 103 for voiceover.

Here's a sample of my voice on the TLM 103

PBS Response To Intervention Rob Ellis.mp3

It's not that I'm unhappy with the 103, but you know how gearsluts are.

And whether I'm a cheapskate or a rebel or contrarian or all of the above, part of me bristles at the thought of upgrading to a U 87.

Thanks!

Last edited by VO Guy; 25th September 2008 at 08:35 PM.. Reason: spell check
Old 25th September 2008
  #2
Gear Nut
 
phil's Avatar
 

I´m not a big fan of the Brauner...didn´t like the Highs.
I´d go for a 87, can´t go wrong with it


just my 2cents
Old 25th September 2008
  #3
Quote:
And whether I'm a cheapskate or a rebel or contrarian or all of the above, part of me bristles at the thought of upgrading to a U 87.
Don't worry Rob...the U87 is mostly ALL hype and sometimes is WORSE than the TLM for voice over work. I think its extremely honky sounding in the mid range, and band limited..Its like this new Westernized Company's philosophy is "louder and brighter is better, so we sell more microphones"....

Its pushed sounding and not very natural. I can understand that working for some vocal applications, which it does, and certainly some VO artists appreciate its response, but I think more neutral depth is the goal for most VO artists....
Old 25th September 2008
  #4
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

BTW Adam thanks for your response to my e-mail.

You mentioned the Gefell UMT 71 and M930...which do you think would be better based on the audio I provided you?
Old 26th September 2008
  #5
I think its best to try them both in your room, with your other gear selection and send back whichever mic [or both] that doesn't make the cut on your voice in your room. I'll say I very much enjoy the character of the M930 and what it does, when you compare it to the the TLM. I think, these are better studio quality transformer-less designs....bottom line. Its smoother from extreme top to extreme bottom, more balanced throughout the middle. It has WAY more headroom when you're close to the capsule being "authoritative".

Its also pretty interesting to compare these choices being discussed;

The UM70s [Same Mic as the MT71 [Card Only], its just multi-pattern] to the U87.....They are very different...yes [in capsule/amplifier design and so forth] I think there is a picture that is painted of the U87, that it can be placed anywhere, used on any vocal, with any application; and to me: the UM70s really is that microphone. It works everywhere on anything because it tells no lies. Similarly...In my experience, there is no better direct replacement for the TLM 103 than the M930. It makes sense to me, but you guys tell me..

So, with that said, with the M930, I hear more "silk" and flattering bottom "love" for voice and acoustic applications. If you look at the Frequency Response Chart, the extension on the M930 is RULER flat, while with the MT71/UM70s, there is less forward bottom and a greater rise before 50K with Cardioid pattern. The UM70s/MT71 are shockingly real microphones, which can sometimes be, not-as flattering as the M930's fullness, but I think they are microphone's that offer zero harshness and incredibly fast attack. This may or may not be what is needed for texture/tone/character you'll want for your voice, but I would think the M930 would give you better results based on the clips I heard of your voice.

Hope this helps
Old 26th September 2008
  #6
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Adam , FWIW if I'd posted that question and got that kind of response I would appreciate it a lot - great reply.
Cheers, Ross
Old 26th September 2008
  #7
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Yoda117's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
Don't worry Rob...the U87 is mostly ALL hype and sometimes is WORSE than the TLM for voice over work. I think its extremely honky sounding in the mid range, and band limited...
Hmmnn... I'm a white guy, and I like a honky mic.

guess we honkys got to stick together
Old 26th September 2008
  #8
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

Quote:
if I'd posted that question and got that kind of response I would appreciate it a lot
I do appreciate that Adam steered me toward the less-expensive Gefell.

But I gotta be honest, looking hard at the Lawson L47/L251 FETs or Air as well.....
Old 26th September 2008
  #9
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Tube World's Avatar
First off the Brauner Panthera I like a lot better than the Phantom. The Phantom has too much high end, and it lacks character. It's a real black and white type of mic which is what most people agree with. The Panthera is not a silabant and has a little more character.

There are a group of people who don't like the U87ai mid range saying it's honky. That's fine, but I just love my voice on that mic more than any other. You have the classic Neumann low mid character that so many love, and there is a nice top end that gives a nice air to your voice. But everyone's voice is different so one mic that is great on one will not sound great on another. That's why you really need to try them both out. Hence the reason why many pro studios have a lot of high end mic's...to find the one that best suites yours.
Old 26th September 2008
  #10
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I haven't completely ruled out a U 87 just because part of me wonders if it might be the price of admission for certain studios when doing ISDN sessions from home.

That would be what would most likely tip me in that direction. I still think it's a good mic but if it weren't for that possible factor, I would prob spend less and get something a little more.....individualistic.....kind of like if I were buying a luxury car I'd get an Acura instead of a Mercedes, unless the Mercedes represented a clear business advantage in some way....
Old 26th September 2008
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elwood View Post
I haven't completely ruled out a U 87 just because part of me wonders if it might be the price of admission for certain studios when doing ISDN sessions from home.
It doesn't. The only folks who will really look for the names on the gear are those who really don't know anything about the gear to begin with. Providing a sample of your work when necessary and getting to know the folks at the studios in your home market will take care of that problem very quickly.

When you can deliver the goods, nobody really cares what is in your cabinet. I'm putting up my voiceover website (finally) and, yeah I'm listing some of the gear I have. I'm only doing that to allay some people's initial trepitation, but more importantly, my reputation and image as a voice talent in my home market is that I own and use a lot of top shelf stuff, and that I have spent a lot of time learning how to use it well in order to best serve my agents and my clients. It's part of who I am, and one of the things that everyone I know or talks to equates me with... it's part of my brand.

I've gone insane with gear (for a voice actor), and I know it. I love recording, and voiceover and I've no problem with letting people know just how crazy I really am when it comes to this stuff.

Do not let the label influence your gear selection. You will regret it.

Quote:
That would be what would most likely tip me in that direction. I still think it's a good mic but if it weren't for that possible factor, I would prob spend less and get something a little more.....individualistic.....kind of like if I were buying a luxury car I'd get an Acura instead of a Mercedes, unless the Mercedes represented a clear business advantage in some way....
Mics are like paintbrushes. It's an individual choice. Adam isn't a fan of the U87 for voiceover (at least not without an innertube modification, which is definitely a nice thing for this mic). For my voice, I love it because it really brings out the youth in my voice. Since a lot of the stuff I get cast for are younger roles, the mic works nicely for me (especially when used with an LMNOPre, a preamp which Adam and I both love), kind of makes sense for me to use one. Otherwise, I'm using a Horch RM2J for my work (again, Adam and I both love the sound of those). The Horch is definitely colored, but that can be tamed a bit, and for the VO work I do with it, works perfectly with my voice.

Now here's where the smart play is. When the opportunity came, I visited a few studios and tried out their stuff. Adam, Fletcher, and the guys at Mercenary Audio were really cool and literally lined up a dozen mics for me to play with all day and determine which one fit me best. No pressure to buy, just a learning experience for me. After torturing them for a while, I walked out of there with a Horch and a new preamp to add to my collection. I've never had a moment's regret either.

BTW: I didn't purchase a U87 without having some experience with it either... frankly, I don't recommend it to most people using it for home VO because either their recording space isn't properly treated or they aren't at a point in their VO career where their voice, when recorded through a U87 won't reveal all of the mistakes they make. The U87 might not be the most accurate mic ever made, but it's damn sensitive, and any problems with your room or your voice seem to come out 10 fold IMO.

If you want a new mic for voiceover (or any other gear for that matter), you really need to either get the stuff into your studio and try it out. If not, then chat with your local studios and see what can be arranged. If you're serious and somewhat known to the local community, they'll go out of their way to help you out.

Adam's given some great advice in this thread, but in the end it's your voice, so you need to test as much gear as you can to find what works best for you and the type of VO which you do.

Rock on
Old 26th September 2008
  #12
The phantom C is very defined and has an extended top end. I've found in a busy mix it cuts through well, but it is very bright! Although the high end does sound classy, not like some cheaper condensors.
Old 26th September 2008
  #13
Lives for gear
 

I'd second the Phantera suggestion. It's very 'neumanny' in charachter but MUCH nicer than an 87 AI. It's a really good mic.

J
Old 26th September 2008
  #14
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FULL-DUPLEX's Avatar
 

Neumann U89 would be a good purchase.

Neumann U87 (yes the good old p48 revision) won't give you bad results, too...
Old 26th September 2008
  #15
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

Okay Adam,

What about the Phantera vs. the Gefells?

Which do you think would be better to leap to from the 103.

With the understanding of course that this is all subjective

and there is no perfect answer....
Old 27th September 2008
  #16
Here for the gear
 

+1 U89
Totally worth checking out if you can get your hands on one.
Old 28th September 2008
  #17
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StevenGurg's Avatar
 

another 2 cents worth...

I agree with Adam. I tried them both and Adam is right on. And the comments about the mic being like a paint brush is a nice analogy. Different brushes for different strokes; and with sound we use something that lets us 'paint' with vibrations.
After some fairly exhaustive searching and trials, I find that it is nice to have a few mics to give yourself variety. In my mic closet I have a Lawson L47MP, AEA R84DJV, EV RE20, and several less expensive mics that don't get much use anymore. Give some thought to selecting a good condenser with lots of flexibility... like the Lawson L47MP (or the combo set Gene Lawson offers), a ribbon mic (Royer, AEA), and a dynamic mic.
just my dos centavos...
SG
Old 28th September 2008
  #18
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

FYI my other mic is a Sennheiser 416....

Leaning towards the Brauner Phantera if I go new, BUT

gotta admit if I could get a U 87ai for the right price (under 2 grand) I would probably go with it.

I'm a little skiddish about getting a tube mic, especially since it would be my main mic for the foreseeable future for long-form projects.
Old 28th September 2008
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by elwood View Post
Okay Adam,

What about the Phantera vs. the Gefells?

Which do you think would be better to leap to from the 103.

With the understanding of course that this is all subjective

and there is no perfect answer....
I've found the Phanthera to be of my favorite Brauner offerings for voice work, and I can easily compare it to the results found in these microphones, however it is different, and offers a different kind of body and top end character. It really shines for VO work due to its "size" in the lower midrange and round clear top end. It's way better than the Phantom for voice/acoustic recoding, as it is more flattering in the top and significantly larger on the X and the Y. I will tell you the first time I heard the microphone I had to run out of the control room to make sure I was hearing a F.E.T microphone, and not a tube microphone. It has a very inviting and dense feeling with all the air and weight you would expect from higher quality Brauner tube mic's.

It has a wider card pattern and seems to have much greater proximity effect then the M930 or the UM7/71. It also flatters the bottom, bringing it up even at a foot from the microphone, and it has a more forward upper midrange, but its SOLID upper-midrange, not a brash harsh spitty sound at all. It might be considered a little aggressive for certain musical applications where the singer is "apparent" in that specific band, as it will cut through very nicely without any compression or EQ, which is what I would mostly reach for with an 87. I DO think the Phanthera compares more to the 87 in the fact that its a bit more specific to what it will subjectively work on.

Anyone of these choices will rid you of the 5-8k "spit", and harsh transient response, so that problem will be solved, its just a matter of what will achieve the most wanted character and tone, when coupling it with more than your equipment...your application; in essence, the passages being recorded and emotion desired for the end product. I think its more than likely a better idea to hear the "entirety" of your voice and room with the M930 and decide if there may be something else specific needed on your voice to please your clients and your sense of aesthetic.

Hope this helps
Old 28th September 2008
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elwood View Post
Hi,

I've searched the threads exhaustively but still no definitive answer

on whether the Brauner Phantom C would represent a definite improvement over the TLM 103 for voiceover.

Here's a sample of my voice on the TLM 103

PBS Response To Intervention Rob Ellis.mp3

It's not that I'm unhappy with the 103, but you know how gearsluts are.

And whether I'm a cheapskate or a rebel or contrarian or all of the above, part of me bristles at the thought of upgrading to a U 87.

Thanks!

get a UMT70s, sounds better than an 87ai for 1000 bucks less.
Old 29th September 2008
  #21
JMc
Gear Addict
 
JMc's Avatar
 

Stop torturing yourself and buy a Pearlman TM-1 to try.
Old 29th September 2008
  #22
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

I was looking hard at the TM-1 and have heard great things about it.

I've also been warned not to make a tube your main mic for VO since some engineers will take issue with not being able to "un-do" the tube distortion (or whatever it is that tubes do).

I'm not dissing tube mics, understand. But based on the above, adding a tube would seem to be the next step after settling on the solid state "workhorse" mic.

But I am always open to alternative viewpoints on this!
Old 29th September 2008
  #23
JMc
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That's nonsense. I don't know who warned you, but they don't know what they're talking about. I've been using my TM-1 as my exclusive VO mic since February and do VO on a daily basis doing network promos, commercials, theatrical trailers and narration. Not a single editor has complained or taken issue with my audio. I have at least 5 sessions every weekday. But far be in from me to try and convince you. If you don't want to consider a tube mic based solely on the misinformation you've been given, then so be it. I own a TLM-103, which is a fine back up mic, a EV RE-20 the RCA 77D pictured in the avatar and a Sennheiser 416. The VO legendary "workhorse" 416 has been used primarily as an implement to hang my headphones on in recent months. I don't even have it connected at present.
Old 29th September 2008
  #24
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

Jeff,

Thanks for your input, that puts a new perspective on it.

I apologize if I offended you or any other tube mic owners with what I said. Having not had a lot of experience working with engineers in ISDN sessions at some of the "bigger" studios, I had nothing else to go on except what had been previously told to me regarding this potential issue.

Hearing what I heard made me take pause and become perhaps overly cautious.

But your input certainly has opened my mind regarding tube mics as a viable option.
Old 29th September 2008
  #25
JMc
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Oh! No offense taken and sorry if my little myth busting adventure sounded more dour than encouraging.

I just wanted to help separate the fact from the fiction.

The TLM-103 is a fine mic for VO, so if you're leaning in that direction, go for it. I think it sounds wonderful paired with the Avalon 737sp, which doesn't get much use, since it is my backup, or secondary audio chain.
Old 29th September 2008
  #26
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RKrizman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elwood View Post
Hi,

I've searched the threads exhaustively but still no definitive answer

on whether the Brauner Phantom C would represent a definite improvement over the TLM 103 for voiceover.

Here's a sample of my voice on the TLM 103

PBS Response To Intervention Rob Ellis.mp3

It's not that I'm unhappy with the 103, but you know how gearsluts are.

And whether I'm a cheapskate or a rebel or contrarian or all of the above, part of me bristles at the thought of upgrading to a U 87.

Thanks!

It's a sideways move, I think.

-R
Old 29th September 2008
  #27
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Yoda117's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMc View Post

The TLM-103 is a fine mic for VO, so if you're leaning in that direction, go for it. I think it sounds wonderful paired with the Avalon 737sp, which doesn't get much use, since it is my backup, or secondary audio chain.
Just wanted to add a comment as to the usage of a TLM103 with the Avalon 737sp. There are a veritable ton of voiceover talent who are using a chain similar to this (though insert the mic of your choice in here). It's been rather successful... if the TLM103 works well for you, that is.

FWIW
Old 29th September 2008
  #28
I would just like to point out the Rob is using a TLM 103 currently,

Perhaps he thinks its not the right choice for his voice and the work that he is doing, which is maybe the reason he is asking about other options to try.
Old 30th September 2008
  #29
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I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm still aware of that. Don't blame him either (103 never worked for me... but that's a personal choice)

Crazy thought Adam, what about one of the Crowley & Tripp ribbons?

Have any results/experience for spoken word using one of those?

This is for my own edification as well... I liked the El Diablo I tried out at AES. Seemed like a nice "clean" mic but with a touch of color to it, and I heard it get all funky when used in different applications.

/it's on the short list for my next VO mic... want to have more fun with ribbons
Old 30th September 2008
  #30
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

I'd say right now if I buy new it will be probably a Gefell or maybe a Pearlman TM-1.

Anything over $2000(like the ribbon you mentioned yoda) is just pinching a little too much right now.

I actually think the 103 is a pretty good mic. But not my ultimate main mic.

I'm getting the impression that the M930 would be most like the 103, only better in some/all respects and that the UMT 71 would be more in a clearly different direction compared to the 103...???
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