Neumann TLM 103
Neumann TLM 103

Neumann TLM 103

3.75 3.75 (44 Reviews)
Fantastic mic, a new classic from Neumann
Neumann TLM 103
More information about Neumann TLM 103

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Published by Reveirg on 4th December 2011
User Review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.5 4.5
Neumann TLM 103

The Neumann TLM-103 is a large-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone suitable for all kinds of work, but especially useful for vocals, acoustic guitar and wind instruments.

I've mostly used it on vocals, and find it to really shine for that use. It has a very nice, sparkly top-end, that doesn't become too harsh if used the right way. I'm a particularly sibilant singer, but simply placing myself a bit off axis from the microphone fixes all sibilance problems with the TLM103. I've used it with a few female singers who were an even better match. I rarely have to EQ at all most of the time, and when I do, I find that the TLM103 is a mic that can be EQed very well.

Nice proximity effect if wanted. I personnally use it with the LA-610 mic-pre/compressor, which is a bit of a dark pre. I find the mic to become a bit too bright when use with my cleaner SSL pre from my Nucleus.

It's also worth noting that this kind of condenser microphone requires to have a nice room, or at least a reflection filter of some kind. I doubt the TLM-103 would sound good in a poorly treated bedroom.

Overall, a fantastic vocal mic that can also shine for many other instruments. Not the cheapest, and not as good as a U-87, but it's definitely a winner for those who can afford it.
  #1  
By Preme Diesel on 4th December 2011
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4 4
Great Mid Level LDC Mic

This was my first "real" mic purchase, stepping up from the Chinese mic market, and has served me very well. I use it primarily on vocals, where it sometimes even beats out a u87 on certain sources that call for a bright tone.

Pros:

Excellent quality for the price.

Bright tone is great for a crisp pop vocal sound.

Takes EQ well.

On some voices, sounds very very similar to u87.

Cons:

It's bright nature can mean sibilance problems for certain voices. But like the first reviewer noted, changing mic position/axis is generally a pretty easy fix.

Not great on many acoustic instruments, including acoustic guitar.

Non switchable polar pattern.


Conclusion:

Started with one, and now we have a stereo pair at the studio, because its affordable and they are great mics. Even with u87's in the house, these still find use. I would recommend anyone starting out their mic collection to consider the TLM103.
  #2  
By gjbass on 6th December 2011
User review
Sound Quality
5 out of 5
5
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
3 out of 5
3
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.5 4.5
Tlm 103

For vocals this mic is exceptional; clean and detailed with plenty of headroom at 138dB max SPL and a dynamic range of 87 dB. The bass frequency response of this mic is focused and clear with no muddiness while the treble end sings brightly without a “ceiling”. This mic can also capture nuances of performances that would be lost on plenty of lesser mics (sensitivity at 1 kHz into 1 kohm - 23 mV/Pa). It is these subtleties that separate recording a person singing & an individual's voice, in my opinion.
The TLM 103 has a great signal-to-noise (87 dB A weighted) ratio too with no self noise at all.
I recently recorded a six part vocal harmony, all delivered by the same artist and although I am lucky to be recording a stellar vocalist the mic needed no eq what so ever. I just cleaned up the edit, panned, and mixed levels. It was a male vocalist in the style of R&B with plenty of falsettos, but this mic has handled loud hard-core rappers with the same ease and clarity while maintaining a clean undistorted sound.
I've used this mic to record room drums, trumpet, flute, and acoustic guitar and it has excelled in all fields with the same brilliant detail I’ve come to expect. I highly recommend this mic for anyone starting their own studio, it provides the level of professional recording Neumann’s reputation has earned, and at around $1000 it is one of the best values. I gave it a 6 for features because it doesn't have multiple polar patterns, or pads and filters however, that's not what this mic was designed for and if you're looking for one good vocal mic this is it.
  #3  
By mikeg09 on 6th December 2011
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 3.75 3.75
I do not own a TLM 103 but I used one in an audio class I took in college last year and I was amazed by the quality. We were doing a project recording a commercial and doing voice over’s for it. We were running pro tools and using monitors. I eqed the mic a little and boosted up some low mids on my voice which is very deep. People say that this mic can be bright but for my voice, it was perfect for that reason. Really put some kind of nice "shine" on my voice. I’m sure it also has a lot to do with the fact that its made by Neumann. The preamp we ran it through was transparent as well. We were using the preamps inside of the Digidesign Mbox 2 for pro tools which is around $550.00. There were no extra features on the mic though. There were no selectable patterns to pick from like most other microphones. I think it comes in the cardioid pattern automatically. It is a very small mic and does not weigh too much but weighs more than what it looks like it does. I would definitely buy one in the future for that clean sound. Very versatile as well.
  #4  
By guitarz on 6th December 2011
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.5 4.5
Bought this mic in 1998 and it came in a nice wooden box with the Neuman Logo and a adapter for the stands. I love these nice details, nothing like a wooden box to impale a sense of greatness to a mic
The only thing I miss is that it didnt include a shock mount, but for the price of this mic its understandable.

I was using at the time an U87 I had as a loan. The TLM 103 was brighter, had more output and way less noise that the U87.
Actually the singer I was recording back then sounded better through the TLM103 that through the U87

By all accounts this is a really incredible mic... if you happen to have one of the early units. I dont have any experience in the newer ones but I have seen several reports about vocals sounding thin and harsh.
The old unit I have sounds bright and forward but not sounding harsh at all. It is really good in my opinion for the modern in your face vocals that you are currently listening in pop/rock productions these days.

What the mics lacks a bit is in the mids specially bass-mid.

But for the price it allows for really pro-sounding recordings with the use of and EQ to compensate a bit for the lack of body.
I have one of the early units from the 90s it sounds great even when compared to much more expensive mics.
  #5  
By mista min on 8th December 2011
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
1 out of 5
1
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 3.25 3.25
Broadcast mic perfection.

Point and shoot! This cardioid mic is a wonderful addition to any radio station or voice over studio's setup! It is great because of it's sweet proximity effect and is as easy to use as any cardioid only solid state mic should be, all you do is add phantom power and turn up the gain!

The TLM-103 is a FET amplified, transformer-less balanced microphone, no fancy tubes or pieces of iron in here! But what you do get is a perfectly designed grill, beautiful body and one of the best capsules manufactured on planet Earth.

The microphone itself is featureless and doesn't have any pad's, filters or extra patterns, but in cardioid you'd be pressed to fine another microphone that sounds so well on voice for the money, regardless whether it's radio, commentators, voice over or even rap. When it comes to the human voice it excels; however, it is not my first choice for a singer. It can be used for that and if it is the only the mic in the locker and can do almost anything, but for singers, there are better mics for less; same goes for most instruments.

However, for drums it can be a great multipurpose tool! Snare, hihat, overheads, front of kick, mono room mic, and toms (boy oh boy toms!) this mic can do it all! I wouldn't necessarily use it for that, just incase the drummer misses and hit the mic, since replacement head cost's about $400 if I'm not mistaken. Still, for toms it is wonderful, floor tom too.

Overall, this mic is a great intro mic to the Neumann brand so as to get clients in studios and wonderful tool. Two thumbs way up!
  #6  
By coffeecup77 on 8th December 2011
User review
Sound Quality
1 out of 5
1
Ease of use
2 out of 5
2
Features
1 out of 5
1
Bang for buck
2 out of 5
2
Overall: 1.5 1.5
Had a TLM-103 since 2004, have used it on 3 albums.

Well ... wish I had had an SM-7 or an RE-20. It's a good entry in the LDC world but I recommend comparing with others of that family or another, before buying. Or better, shoot it out with the 2 mentionned above coupled with a tube pre, you're probably in for a surprise.

Compared it with a Shure KSM 353 (I know it's a ribbon, so what ?), did 6 lead vocal tracks with 3 different preamps, resetting the pres each time at best for the take.
The takes were always the same verse and chorus.

Preamps were Avalon 737, TL Audio Dual Valve Eq and R.Neve Portico II channel strip.

Of course, this is blind listening with the engineer mixing up the tracks, playing (for example) mic 1 into pre A for the verse, then swapping, on the fly, to mic 2 into the same pre A for the chorus, etc ... Also sometimes faking a swap, just to make sure the impressions are real and not influenced by the track change, AND, as much as possible, listening with eyes closed.

Noting process:
Listening for an hour, jotting down our fav list from 1 to 6, taking a long coffee & cig break outside, eating a bit, coming back in for another listen and fav-listing a second time.

My favorite track ? Both times, the 353 in the TLAudio.

Would I buy it again today ? Nope, I would rather buy the 2 dynamics named above and couple those with a great tube pre, and save up a little longer, then buy a real high-end LDC.

Cheers.
Last edited by coffeecup77; 9th December 2011 at 12:02 AM.. Reason: wrong word
  #7  
By bxt403 on 9th December 2011
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
2 out of 5
2
Overall: 3.75 3.75
This mic is a necessary evil in the studio.

This mic is one of those pieces I had to buy in order to get people into the door through brand recognition , since it was my only option for a real Neumann mic (although the TLM102 has been made to fill in the lower price gap/prosumer niche- the 103 still seems to be their budget professional mic). The sound is great- however there is a HUGE luxury tax you're paying for the bragging rights of owning a 103. Yes, it has great sound and is a swiss army knife in the studio- the price is ridiculous if you compare what many other great sounding mics you can get for a fraction of the price of the 103 (new or used).

This mic does become a much better value if you can find it used (I got mine for around $850 CND). I'm a little surprised so many people give it a 10 for bang for the buck, although I suspect that's a justification for them for paying so much for it. Yes it is a Neumann- and much like the luxury tax/bragging rights you get from buying a BMW or Apple computer- you can be 100 percent confident that it is going work as advertised.

This mic is definitely a great value used (although be sure to sterilize the metal grille to get rid of all those nasty germs from the previous owner). If you're buying new- IMHO there are way more mics out there that are a better value. As mentioned before by another reviewer- if you want a professional entry into LDC Neumann mics: for all intents and purposes, this is it.
  #8  
By cronus on 9th December 2011
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4.25 4.25
I love this mic for almost all the vocals I have ever recorded (In fact my vocals were the only ones that I found didn't do it for me). It sounds a little bright on most acoustic guitars I have used it on (with the exception of the martin D-16)

As nice as this mic is on some sources, when it sounds bad on a source it sounds UBER bad.

All in all this is an awesome mic for the money.
  #9  
By piperopigeon on 2nd January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4 4
This is a great mic. Not just for the money, but in general. It has an even tone, with good low-mid definition. I use it primarily on male hip hop vocals; it has a tendency to make them larger and more pronounced in the mix. I also use it as a drum room mic. It takes EQ well and is generally very forgiving.
  #10  
By doug hazelrigg on 11th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
3 out of 5
3
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
3 out of 5
3
Bang for buck
2 out of 5
2
Overall: 3 3
I don't think there's a single piece of gear that's generated more debate than this microphone -- it's either loved or despised.

Let me brief:

PRO'S

>nice on acoustic guitar, there's a natural compression that fits this application



CONS

>on vocal it's problematic to get position/distance right, compared to other LDC's... the mic has a boxy quality at the wrong position

>a bit hyped on the high end
  #11  
By brianellefson on 12th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4 4
TLM 103 Needs a Hug

I've owned this mic for 3 years and use it on my own voice. I don't operate a studio, but I do my own recordings at home and enjoy a nice little career in music (for the time being).

I run this mic through a Universal Audio M610 and sometimes a GAP Pre 73. That vocal chain works the best for my own voice, but there was a trick that really helped it all out ..........

May not suit everyone or every occasion, but I found that addressing the mic from a bit of an angle tweaked things in a really nice way. It seemed to take just a slight edge off of the higher frequencies. I've also used it on acoustic guitars with really good results. Works nicely with the M610 and GAP Pre 73. Works fantastic as a room mic, as well.

For sound samples, you can listen to any of my tracks at Brian Ellefson - all vocals with the exception of the song Girl were recorded with the TLM 103.
  #12  
By KIRKSOUND on 14th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
2 out of 5
2
Ease of use
2 out of 5
2
Features
3 out of 5
3
Bang for buck
1 out of 5
1
Overall: 2 2
I used this mic in the Studio of our local Community College (recording class). This was supposed to be the premier Vocal Mic of our selection. I had not read or heard anything about it, but assumed that with a name like Neumann,

it would of course yield spectacular results. I assumed wrong. Giving the mic the benefit of the doubt, it may do a better job placed a little farther from the vocalist (like at least a foot!) It was like his voice was hitting a concrete wall.

The signal was put through a Presonus ADL 600 Pre, and I used ProTools with a Control 24 Work Station (A chain that offered a good chance for the mic to do well).

I have a $500 Audix LDC mic that beats this thing hands down! There was no time for a do-over (using the Audix..) or I certainly would have. My conclusion, save your money, and get an M-149.
  #13  
By IGive'nTakeInfo on 22nd January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
3 out of 5
3
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4 4
Ok mic

It's nice to have the Neumann name in your mic locker. It also looks the part. It's a bit over priced when you consider other mics in the market that perform very similar. This is a clean sounding mic, perhaps a bit bright. Works well on acoustic guitars. May not sit well with everyones vocal, but will work on most. Bottom line, you can get a cheaper mic to do the job, but it wont say Neumann on it
  #14  
By Haywire on 24th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4 4
This mic is to the studio what sm57 and sm58 is to the stage. Versitility is the strength. I have a pair of these that I have used as room mics and on many different instruments with great results. Try a TLM-103 paired with a KM-184 on accoustic guitar for a sweet sound. It's not for everything but when you don't have the luxury of time for experimentation it's a more likely fit than most.
  #15  
By barforama on 25th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 3.5 3.5
All the Neumann TLM 103's I have owned came in wooden boxes. Some of them came with an Neumann EA1 shockmount, but I believe it is optional these days. The microphone has resemblance to the classic Neumann U87, but the body is shorter. The compact electronics is partly because this, U87's little brother, mic is part of the TLM (Transformer Less Microphone) series from Neumann.
It sounds great as a stereo pair for drum overheads, BUT it is a problem that the mic does not feature a PAD switch. I have been using TLM 103's for this purpose and I have been forced to switch them with a different set because they were clipping.
It is quite good for close micing acoustic guitars. It captures the dynamics of fingerpicking style guitar better than most other budget mics, but it will benefit from a darkish-sounding preamp to tame the high end a bit.
As a vocal mic it can, as many other mics, be the perfect match for the voice, but it tend to be very bright, however, compared to the vast majority of budget mics, it compares favourably! The TLM 103 has VERY good transient response and sounds very good on the right source. The build quality is, as all other Neumann mics, great.

All though this is a indeed a good budget microphone, I think the price tag is a little too high.
  #16  
By S.J.Band on 25th January 2012
User review
Sound Quality
5 out of 5
5
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4.25 4.25
tlm103 review

I owned this piece of Microphone for around 6-7 years, - my experience with it that many unexperienced singers that came to record and sing in my studio had to do lots of re-takes, and I could get frustrated on where I should place the mic or the vocalist to get a good recording.

But I also made some superior recordings with some more Experienced Vocalists.
The TLM103 is great, but beware about the cheaper alternatives, I call it pricey for the performance, but it is made of quality products (Atleast mine still works).
  #17  
By modsoundmind on 1st February 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4.25 4.25
Neumann TLM 103

First, I'll list the basic stats from the Neumann site.
Second, I'll give you my opinion based on 5+ years hands on experience with this mic.
Between the 2 you should be able to make an informed decision regarding this microphone.

BASIC STATS PULLED FROM THE NEUMANN SITE:

" utilizing transformerless circuit found in numerous Neumann microphones, the TLM 103 features yet unattained low self-noise and the highest sound pressure level transmission. The capsule, derived from that used in the U 87, has a cardioid pattern, is acoustically well-balanced and provides extraordinary attenuation of signals from the rear.
Applications *
Due to the universal cardioid pattern, straightforward handling, extremely low self-noise level, the TLM 103 is predestined for all demanding applications from home recording to professional broadcasting and commercial recording studios.
Polar pattern
The TLM 103 is equipped with a large diaphragm capsule with cardioid pattern. By focusing on this pattern – used in most recording situations – the attenuation of unwanted rear sound has been optimized. Off-axis sounds are rendered naturally while isolation is increased. This also leads to a high feedback suppression when the microphone is used in live situations or where loudspeaker playback is a factor.
Acoustic features
The TLM 103 is addressed from the front, marked with the red Neumann logo on the microphone body. The K 103 large diaphragm capsule is based on the K 87, well known from the U 67 / U 87 microphones.The capsule has a flat frequency response up to about 5 kHz, and above that, a wide flat 4 dB presence boost. "
My own opinion and experience with this mic require I call B.S. on this next statement, sorry Neumann.
"The large wire mesh headgrille protects the capsule from plosive sounds and effectively prevents pop noises. These characteristics are achieved without resorting to corrective resonance effects.*Therefore, the microphone maintains an excellent impulse response and reproduces the finest details of music and speech without coloration."

BEGIN HENRYS REVIEW:
Ok, this is pretty much a great all around mic if you don't have say, a U87 or something comparable (like an extra $2000 to spend on mics). Great budget workhorse mic. I would say this mic gets more use at present than all my other mics, except maybe my AKG C 414. (Which, btw, the 103 performs as well as or better than in certain situations.)*
Vocals:*The TLM 103 has given me many great vocal recordings over the years. Particularly male vocals with a bit more resonance of the throat- it tends to lend attention which is complementary to those types of voices. As I stated above in the Neumann stats, even with a well placed pop stopper/pop filter, I still have to roll off below 150 Hz at least 10db in most cases, and especially in hip hop to correct exaggerated b's and p's (plosives). As with most mics of this caliber and above, it picks up a lot of detail- which can be great or a total wake up call to some aspiring singers. Overall this is a great vocal mic for almost any voice.*
Guitar: Now with distorted guitar this mic performs well. given the proper tone from the amp and correct placement it shines and cuts through the mix nicely with a little EQing around 150 Hz and and little dip around 250 Hz it usually sits well. I picked it over my AKG C 414 on metal guitar, as it gave me a more detailed, richer sound, which tends to be a Neumann quality. When tracking acoustic guitars through the TLM 103 i've noticed a bit of exaggeration with the lows but nothing 20 seconds of proper EQ at the pre level won't fix. As for bass guitar, I can't really say much- I've never used it for that as I almost always pull direct from a DI box or from the head/amp.*Saxophone: came out beautifully, in fact the player complimented me on the quality of sound comparing to "much pricier" studios he'd recorded in. (Engineer or mic?) I didn't do much to the final sax track as far as eq and it sat well in the mix. Room mic: The TLM 103 works well as a room mic, I've used it on bongos for a room mic and up close, also as an ambience/audience mic in live situations. In all instances I've had no shortcomings.*
Build quality and overall value: The build quality is great as with most Neumann products I've used. Much to my own horror (instant grey hair or loss thereof) I've dropped the TLM 103 more than once and had no problems whatsoever. If purchased new it's not a total bank robber, used it can be quite a deal.
Overall a good mic for the money: performs well and captures great sound in almost any situation you place it in.
  #18  
By thewailer2003 on 11th February 2012
User review
Sound Quality
5 out of 5
5
Ease of use
2 out of 5
2
Features
1 out of 5
1
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 3.25 3.25
Great, HOT Mic

I have been working with this mic for a couple of years now, and it sounds awesome once you get used to it.

(Not that I do this in normal use)-->

Particularly when working with less-than-pro A/D conversion (or otherwise sensitive inputs, this mic has a very high output and will easily clip. A pad is almost mandatory on your preamp, however once levels are set well, this mic is truly one of the best values I have found ($600 used) anywhere.

The lack of features (pad, rolloff, etc.), I believe becomes not entirely, but somewhat irrelevant once a good familiarity is reached with this particular microphone. Placement, impedance variances (-if you have access-) can tame somewhat the emphasis of sibilance this thing has been criticized for.

When paired with a good pro tube pre, the mic really thickens up and the clarity can really shine once that tube starts sprinkling on those desirable harmonics.

In my opinion, the difference in cost between the TLM 103 and its older, more expensive family members, more than justifies the work required to get results that can come pretty dang close.
  #19  
By glosterva on 11th February 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4.25 4.25
Neumann TLM 103

Prior to getting the TLM 103, I was using a Shure KSM-32 for vocals in my studio, which always produced good results. The TLM is a fair amount more expensive (more than twice), but I was still surprised at how much better it sounded on vocals. Then I got a second TLM 103, and used the two to mic a Yamaha grand piano. The sound quality and detail was truly amazing.

The TLM has a transformerless FET-based circuit. The more legendary Neumann mics (U-87, U-67) have high quality transformers, which undoubtedly add some character to the sound. They also have a second element, which allows the additional omni and figure eight patterns, but the cardioid pattern that the TLM has is what gets the most use, in my studio at least. When I got the chance to compare the TLM to a U-87, there was a difference, but it was much, much smaller than the difference between the KSM-32 and the TLM.

The main thing I notice about using the TLM is the level of detail. You can hear the fine details of an acoustic guitar, or the room when using it as a room mic to a much greater degree than other mics I regularly use. The other mics (less expensive) do a pretty good job of recording the foreground sound, but the background detail seems a little fuzzy or muffled in comparison. As a result, the Neumann provides a clearer recording that sounds more immediate.

If you have a lower end studio with some condenser mics in that $500 range, I think there is little that will do more to improve the quality of what you put out than to sell those mics and buy a TLM 103.
  #20  
By mahasandi on 13th February 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
2 out of 5
2
Overall: 3.5 3.5
This much is supposedly much dislike on gearslutz.

Having used it I must say its a fine microphone.
I like the way it sounds on stringed instruments overheads on a piano or drum set.
I think for the price maybe it has competition but it is not a chinese overly bright poor quality control mic.

In fact it has very low noise and a high spl handling.
If you like other mics more that is understandable, it is not the finest mic I've heard.
In some sense many Neumann modern mics get slammed because sennheiser is not making boutique mics but mass produced ones.

That said this is a good mic that has captured things in a pleasing way with a capsule that has the sound of its lineage.
It does have a bass strong presentation but not to the point of muddiness.
The mids on this mic are excellently voiced on strings.

If you have one or two of these around they will see use unless you could choose a version higherup in the neumann catalog then why not , but you can get along with great results if used on the right sources.
  #21  
By Tim67 on 16th March 2012
User review
Sound Quality
5 out of 5
5
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.75 4.75
neumann tlm 103

Well this mic is really quite special.

As we all know the U87 has been resulting in sublime excellence for years to date and surely will for years to come.

The TLM 103, though, is exceptional for a number of reasons.
It uses the tried and true transformerless circuit found in numerous Neumann microphones and the capsule, derived from that used in the U 87.
As it solely employs the cardioid pattern, the attenuation of unwanted rear signals is excellent.

In such situations it has been considered superior in quality to the greatly more expensive U87.
This microphone provides an extremely true, uncoloured reproduction.
What you record is accurate to the original sound.

There is no roll off switch but so it is worth equalising on record.
To quote from the Nuemann website: "With just 7 dB-A / 17.5 dB CCIR the self-noise level of the TLM 103 is so reduced that even the smallest signals are reproduced basically noise-free. As it is capable of handling sound pressure levels up to 138 dB without distortion, the TLM 103 provides a dynamic range of 131 dB (A-weighted).

The letters TLM stand for "transformerless microphone". With TLM technology the usual output transformer is replaced by an electronic circuit. As with traditional transformers, it ensures good common mode rejection, and prevents RF interference that may influence the balanced audio signal. "

I personally love this mic and have used it both for vocals and harmonica, saxophone and clarinet.

It gives an honest sound and whilst not adding its own colour, due to its amazing sensitivity, it will pick up the room to give some natural re-verb which can be useful with such instruments.

For the price I believe you will be hard pushed to get a a better professional product.
  #22  
By amoryblane on 17th March 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 3.5 3.5
An Underrated Little Brother; A Very Nuanced Mic

Over the last couple of months I've become a huge fan of this mic. For a good long while we would not put anything but ribbons on woodwinds and the like. But when we came across a bass clarinet and we were missing the breathiness that is key in obtaining a warm/sad/gloomy bass clarinet sound we naturally figured it was the ribbons.

The natural go-to condenser after that was, for us, a Gefell MT71s but for kicks we threw on the TLM103. Before this I hadn't had much experience with Neumann other than the 87 and 89, and only with a vocal or as room mics. It kind of blew me out of the water. It crashed and burned when we put it on a trombone but the clarinet was just so amazing we had to shoot it out the placement and pre choice a little bit.

We patched it in to a couple of different pre's to see the difference. It reacted really well to both an SSL and and API (but what doesn't?) with extremely different characters. Doesn't react fantastical to EQ though.

After the session I took a look at the price on these things. It's pretty pricy for what it is and I think that most of that price is just the little red Neumann insignia on the front, but watcha gonna do? The fact is that I will never be able to buy my own and I can live without it. If you have the money, definitely check it out but be sure to shoot it out first. I've only tried it on winds. I'd be interested to know how it'd sound on electric or acoustic guitar.

On a different day we shot it out on some standup bass and it failed miserably to a DPA omni.
  #23  
By Roland Marckwort on 17th March 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
5 out of 5
5
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4.25 4.25
Neumann tlm 103

Another stellar addition to the classic Neumann line of killer mics!
I'm already biased because of their previous products, but they never fail to impress.

Everything you expect is here from a quality studio-condenser; silky smooth
high end without sounding harsh in the mids, and big warm bottom end.

I tried this mic on female vocals thru my Focusrite Saffire pre, and she sounded
wonderful - captured every nuance from belting it out vox, to whisper quiet right up on the pop screen...
Its a winner, go buy it!
  #24  
By Mark_Andrasko on 30th March 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
3 out of 5
3
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 4 4
Neumann TLM 103

The Neumann name is legendary. You're a starving artist and you want to be legendary too so you scrape up your coin for the mic.. is it worth it? Answer. Only if you've got the preamps to back it up!

This mic sounds NO BETTER than an SM57 through crap or average preamps, possibly slightly worse (although my voice does sound pretty decent through an SM57). When I bought the 103 and brought it home I was dismayed by this fact. I kept it around figuring I was doing something wrong and months later when I bought a Daking Mic Pre One microphone preamplifier I was ASTOUNDED at the transformation it gave to my TLM 103.

My vocals were suddenly lush and juicy, my acoustic guitar was popping out of the mix, my drum overheads were full and prominent. The only area where it failed for me, even though Jack White reputedly uses it on electric guitar amp, was close miced electric guitar amp (but there are endless guitar/amp/tonal options where I suppose it might work.. I might need to experiment more).

To sum up: the TLM 103 is a pedigree horse that DEMANDS a skilled rider (preamp). It won't go to work without it. The difference is like a plump, juicy berry compared to a shriveled, maggoty plum. I've truly never heard another microphone behave this way and I'm 99.8% certain this is why the quality of the Neumann TLM 103 is widely debated.
  #25  
By niklasgr on 31st March 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
4 out of 5
4
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 4.5 4.5
Neumann Tlm 103

The Neumann TLM 103 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that features a universal cardioid pattern

Since purchasing my tlm 103, my recordings have reached a hole new level. The search for the all around best home studio mic and a classic sound to an affordable price is finally over. It has extremely low self noise and it's sensitivity is perfect for recording acoustic guitars and vocals, however the sensitivity of the Neumann 103, can be quite a challenge, when used in a humble home studio setup set in a difficult environment, it really takes in a lot of noise from adjacent rooms, computer buzzing etc.*

So far I've only used it with my apogee duet and a UA 610, which is a fine match. However I'm looking forward to test it in different constellations.

cardioid refers to the directional pattern of the mic, the "heart-shaped" pattern that accepts sounds from the front and rejects them at the back.*

As it says on the product site The K 103 large diaphragm capsule is based on the K 87, well known from the U 67 / U 87 microphones. I've never tried out a U 87, so I'm unable to compare the two.*
  #26  
By Bluemukizu on 1st April 2012
User review
Sound Quality
5 out of 5
5
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
5 out of 5
5
Bang for buck
5 out of 5
5
Overall: 5 5
Neumann TlM-103

Neumann TLM-103

This little microphone is incredible! Although this is typically preferred by smaller studios and project studios this microphone is still a popular choice by many professional studios. I began my search looking for a cost-effective yet professional way to create a recording chain; knowing that a microphone is one of the most important elements I placed my emphasis on getting the best I could possibly get for around 1000 dollars.

The Neumann TLM-103 really is a supreme choice with its detailed and natural characteristic. It sounds warm and big and never thin. In terms of finding an incredibly high quality mic in your studio that has the signature of the classic Neumann sound than the TLM- 103 is a great choice. In its price range I think there are many other respected large diaphragm condensers, however I believe that it is incredibly hard for them to compare with the quality of the Neumann TLM-103 and the price of this mic makes it more accessible to many people.

I accompany this microphone with my Universal Audio Solo 610. The combination of these two is really great. If you connect your TLM-103 to high quality pre-amp and high quality a/d converters the mic will pick up all types of detail and nuisances of the voice. If you are considering purchasing a condenser mic then deeply consider the Neumann tlm 103.
  #27  
By soundmark on 2nd April 2012
User review
Sound Quality
2 out of 5
2
Ease of use
5 out of 5
5
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
2 out of 5
2
Overall: 2.75 2.75
Not A Fan

I'm very suprised in retrospec to the see Neumann label on this mic.

I have used 3 heavily (for more than 9 months everyday) with 3 Avalon 737's and got forgetable sounds.

We shot the mic out with the talent and they picked the mic. I will seriously reconsider letting clients have such sway in the choice of hardware because of my choice to buy 3.
  #28  
By Ripple Q on 7th April 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
2 out of 5
2
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 3.5 3.5
Neumann TLM 103

A quality mike which works better with a sE Reflexion filter as it is prone to proximity effect.
I am proud to have it in my collection - like most, it's application depends on the singer, the acoustic enviroment, ... when it is used with the right application, all I want to do is smile - yeah, it is that good.
*features - really, it has a base connection and does what it is supposed to do.
  #29  
By Scott003 on 10th April 2012
User review
Sound Quality
4 out of 5
4
Ease of use
4 out of 5
4
Features
3 out of 5
3
Bang for buck
4 out of 5
4
Overall: 3.75 3.75
very bright Neumann

Pros:
Crisp, bright sound
Neumann pedigree
Small size

Cons:
Very bright sound
No x-former
No HPF or pad

Sounds pretty good, have used it on piano and for stereo-pair applications. I once recorded a college recital with a pair and it was very bright. However, not the pleasant, shimmery Neumann clarity I wanted; they sounded similar to KSM LDC's to my ears. I read something about raising input impedance due to the lack of transformer to alleviate this, but haven't tried it. Similarly, the piano tracks turned out bright and lacked that Neumann magic. I have access to u87's, a u147 tube condenser, and a pair of KM140's, and did not find the TLM 103's to be on quite the same level.
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