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Neumann TLM 102

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel

4.2 4.2 out of 5, based on 19 Reviews

A great little mic with a big mic sound.


8th December 2011

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by daez

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Neumann TLM 102

Grabbed this mic mostly because it was affordable and I heard great demos of it in action. When I first removed it from the box I was seriously stunned at how small it is. Had to be the smallest mic I have ever seen. My first thought was how can this tiny thing be any good.There's no way this mic will compete with other mic's three times its size with tubes and what not.I proceed to plug it into my chandler germ pre and do a little speaking into it.
sounds good has some zing in the top you would expect from a neumann but not as bright as its big brother the tlm103 and in a good way. A bit later a singer friend of mine came by so I show him the little guy. He chuckles at it's appearance so he does a quick acoustic guitar and vocal take and we both smile at each other on playback. it really sounds great well balanced not too much of anything and with no noticeable scoop in the frequency range. A few weeks later I got the shock mount to go with and that alleviated the only problem I had with this mic (structural born resonance).As of now I have been using this mic for months and it has only gotten better to me. It has a very tight radio like sound in a good way and is very clean. Overall the tlm102 is really good for the money and size . I would rate it a solid 8 and recommend it to small studios for that neumann sound and reliability or to bigger studios that need some little mic's to fit in tight places like around the drum kit where i'm sure it would be equally at home.

  • 2
31st January 2012

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by .:On The Rock:.

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Neumann TLM 102

I bought the TLM 102 on pure impulse, hoping I wouldn't regret it. I certainly didn't. I haven't had an opportunity to try it out on multiple sources, but it sure saved my ass when a quick overdub was needed to match what I suspect was either a TLM 170, or 149. It did with flying colours, and I only needed to EQ a little to match close enough. This mic worked well on a male tenor and rapper.

There's little features to the TLM 102; you just plug in and go for it. No pad, no roll off and no polarity switch. It does have good plosive protection though; a pop filter is rarely needed. This mic's small size and lightness makes it great for tight spaces where any other LDC wouldn't fit.

The sound from the TLM 102 can only be described as smooth, like a condenser should be. There is a noticeably clean response from top to bottom, which would make this a great mic for any acoustic instrument. This mic sounded fantastic on a nylon guitar miced not so close.

Don't let Neumann's least expensive mic fool you, the TLM 102 can roll with the big boys any day - a tiny mic with a big sound.

Scott

  • 1
5th February 2012

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by Ward Pike

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Neumann TLM 102

Perhaps the biggest surprise I have ever received in a microphone purchase. The TLM-102 is what I would refer to as Neumann's "sleeper" microphone.

The value in this microphone is second to none on the planet. If you were to just own one microphone, for the money, this is the one to have.

It excels on female vocals, higher male backing vocals, acoustic instruments and percussion. It's clarity, low distortion and low noise characteristics make it a must have for any studio. I would recommend owning several for multiple purposes.

The size may be small but the sound is full bodied like any other LDC but without the noise. It's compact noise makes it very convenient for placing in tight situations.

  • 1
13th August 2013

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by petesguitar1

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Neumann TLM 102

I had used Rode (NT1000,NT1A) microphones for my vocal and acoustic guitar recordings for about 5 years and was reasonably happy with them. My home studio is moderately treated and I use either a Motu 8pre or RME FF400 as my interface.

I had started to mix multiple tracks and found it harder and harder to get my vocal to sit in a mix and for a long time I believed this was my mixing. I decided to take the plunge and buy my first Neumann mic.

The packaging could have been a little more stylish (cardboard box / foam) but you can'y expect that much for the price. It comes with a stand mount that I find to be more than sufficient with a great locking mechanism.

The first thing you notice when you open the box is the size. Such a small mic it seems almost like a toy. It does however feel solid in my hand. It has no switches / filters / pads etc, just plug and play.

On vocals this mic is surprisingly smooth and articulate with none of the harsh sibilance that I had when layering other LDC microphones.
On acoustic guitar it has a pleasing warmth and good tone across the frquency range. The TLM102 paired with an SM81 mad a really nice spaced pair with the Neumann doing the bulk of the work at the 12th fret and the Shure picking up some of the body of a Maton BG808.

I have also used this mic on combo style guitar amplifiers as both a pair (with an e906) and on it's own. It is very detailed and in my small amp room possibly a bit to detailed (picks up a bit too much room - definitely not a problem in a good room!)

All in all I think this is a great little microphone that punches well above it's weight.

16th September 2013

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by proche3

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Neumann TLM 102

The Neumann TLM 102 is my first Neumann as the maker’s designed it to be. The microphone comes in a cardboard box with molded foam inside and a basic screw type stand mount, but no shock mount. I would highly recommend getting a shock mount though, I use a MXL 2003A shock mount for it (much cheaper than the Neumann) and it fits great and eliminates any possible inadvertent handling noise. The Neumann Shockmount looks cooler though and provides a little cutout for the front since it’s so small. The mic has no switchable frequency response or polar pattern, you’re stuck with a fixed cardioid polar pattern so it picks up just what’s in front of it and from what I’ve tested has pretty good off axis sound rejection. This mic actually has a little “pop filter” built into the grille of the basket if you look closely that helps eliminate plosives, although you still need to use a pop filter!

I’ve used the AT4040 and SM7B for vocals in my home studio before making this purchase. Obviously every vocalist should test out mics to find the one that best fits their voice but so far I have AB’d about 5 different vocalists with this and the other 2 mentioned mics and found this to be the better choice on each for clear articulate and accurate sounding vocals as they sound in the room.

This mic is a workhorse. I did A LOT of researching before making this purchase and I’m so happy I made the right decision. This works on everything. It can handle sound pressures of greater than 140dB, so no issues sticking it right against a guitar amp, kick drum, cymbals, horns or against a jet engine, you know… whatever you need. It fits anywhere, it’s accurate and has a little top end rise in frequency at about 6K that really helps vocals stick out in a mix. I’d really like to buy 2 of them and use for overhead drum mics. For how versatile and great it sounds I would recommend saving up and passing on the crap you’re probably tempted to buy and instead get a pair of these. I highly doubt you will be disappointed. When listening to sound tests and reading reviews, etc. I was torn between this and the TLM 103 but I was swayed to spend a little less and I think I made the right decision for an all purpose microphone that was also my go to vocal mic for my home studio. Everything I’ve used this on comes out sounding better than any of the thousands of dollars in other crap mics I have or any combo of crap mics.

Just do it, you need a good mic in your locker. But check out Ebay or somewhere they sell used because I was surprised to see people selling them for like $500 new in the box… Surprise yourself with your first Neumann. Only problem is Now I want moreeeeeeee!!

24th September 2013

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by Ward Pike

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Neumann TLM 102

I have reviewed this microphone before, in a way, as I have spoken highly about it in every thread on it here.

I cannot say enough good about this little Neumann. It is the best new microphone Neumann has made in 20 years or more!!

It's a beautiful sounding microphone, bright and crisp but not shrill. Ideal for femvox, backing vocals, percussion, ride and hi hats as well as acoustic instruments. And it's a gem on hand percussion!

Every microphone locker should have at least 2 of them!

14th October 2013

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by Dysanfel

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Neumann TLM 102

I bought a 102 because my Rodes NT2 is almost 15 years old and I never was 100% happy with the way it sounded on my voice. On other things like acoustic guitar the Rodes was great, but I wanted more out if my voice. Now, I admit, I bought this mic solely because it is a Neumann without trying it out before hand. I am not disappointed. The mic breaks up in a very smooth and sonically pleasing way. It seems more up front and articulation seems more pronounced. I find myself using Melodyne less now because I can better hear the subtleties within the takes that I did not hear before.

I am really not much of a mic aficionado. When I worked in a studio we used a few different mics and the only other "expensive" mic I have used on my voice is a AKG414, which I hated. I am sure there are much better mics than my 102. But, I immediately got compliments from collaborators hearing new tracks with this mic that said they could understand my lyrics better than before within a mix. They wanted to know if I changed mic pres. It was the 102. I really like this mic, and for the price it seems like it should be in any budget studio.

  • 1
14th October 2013

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by Dutch Dave

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Neumann TLM 102

I use it a lot on rap vocals and find it surprisingly good. Bright and clear but not harsh. When I tested it, I liked it better than the more expensive Neumann TLM 103, suprisingly enough.

I just wish it was bigger because it looks a bit unimpressive.

28th November 2013

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by ctrlshft

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Neumann TLM 102

I picked this up as I was looking for something a little brighter than my baby bottle, and this mic really surprised me. One of the affordable Neumann's and it sounds fantastic, particularly the detailing in the smooth mid-highs and silky upper highs. I would say the only thing really missing is the the low end side feels a little thin compared to others, but if you find yourself cutting a lot of that junk out frequently, you probably won't mind so much. It's a great vocal mic and I'm using it currently an all my mixes.

7th September 2014

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by McWreckinBall

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Neumann TLM 102

The TLM102:
This mic has been out for a few years now. By and large reviews are positive. Most negative reviews out there seem to be from a "guilty by association" negative connotation of looking like a smaller version of a TLM103. These reviews however are unfounded as the TLM102 and TLM103 have nothing in common in terms of sound. The capsules are completely different. And with a transformerless microphone, the capsule is pretty much everything.

Features:
The TLM102 has a glued diaphragm that is designed to respond very fast, which translates in to very good transient detail. Its technically a Large Diaphragm but it is on the smaller side of the scale. This mic has a fairly high SPL rating, which makes it useful for spot miking. For the home/project studio engineer, this is wonderful because it allows you to get close to the source and negate most of the effects of a not-so-good sounding room. The mic's head basket can be unscrewed easily so that the user can remove the inner foam lining, which was designed as a popfilter. This will allow more top end to be captured for a more open and airy sound. The TLM102 has a somewhat flat response up to 6K, where it gently lifts. I think the gentle lift being up that high is fantastic, seems like most mics these days start their lifts much lower, 2-3K often. This makes the mic have plenty of top end sheen without having any hype or nasty harsh nasally tone.

And that's really all there is to the microphone. I downgraded the features to a 4 because the shockmount is not included and rather pricey considering the midrange budget this mic fits into. Id also say this mic really deserves a good shockmount, its fairly sensitive to handling noise and extraneous movements.

Sound:
While working on a recent album, I was not happy with the acoustic guitar sound I was getting from the mics I was using. I called in a few favors and rounded up every mic I thought might work from a few fellow engineer friends. I did an extensive shootout of the following mics: (I did not have pairs of everything, nor enough channels to do a stereo shootout, so I did one position at a time)

-TLM102
-Miktek C5
-AKG C451 (Anniversary Reissue)
-AKG C214
-AEA N22
-Kel HM7u
-Kel HM3c
-Rode NT55
-Studio Projects C4
-Audio Technica ATM450

Due to the large channel count I broke the shootout up into 3's. Everything running through an Apollo Quad. Stock preamps, no emulations. I used two guitars, a Taylor 314e, and a Martin OMCPA4R. Clearly not very high end guitars. Both solid wood, good construction, and reliable. This makes the task of getting a great recording a bit more difficult because these guitars sound good, but not great.

My impressions of all the mics:
The TLM102 out performed every single mic in that list. The Miktek C5's sounded good, but like most pencils, it exhibited a somewhat "scooped" sound. Sometimes this is desirable, as that type of capture can cut through a mix without getting in the way of much. The C451 sounded like a harsher version of the C5. I wish I had a vintage one but this is the real world, nothing ideal here. The 214 sounded a little bit too boomy and did not have very good detail in comparison to the TLM102. The N22 was nice, and usually my go-to for acoustics. The N22 is very sensitive to movement however, and you really have to work the mic to keep things consistent. It can be somewhat tedious. In other words, it thins out really quickly with a 1-2" movement. And knowing this mic really well, its tricky to find the perfect placement for it on many sources. The HM7u sounded fine but nothing I'd write home about. It didn't handle pick attack and finger noises very well. I assume its do to a presence peak somewhere in that 2-3k range. The HM3c might have been the worst performer of the bunch. DARK. Not smooth ribbon dark, but "hey is the tweeter in the speaker blown out?" kind of dark. What top end it did capture was very harsh. I believe these would only be usable at a considerable distance. The NT55 actually sounded so close to the 451 that I at one point forgot which one I was listening to. The C4 was favorable on one of the positions, maybe got lucky and hit a good sweet spot. It still did not out match the TLM102. And every other position it was less than stellar. The ATM450 sounded aggressive and I could see maybe wanting to use it for some things, but by and large it was pretty tinny sounding.

My thoughts on the TLM102:
I was so impressed by the 102's. They were open, airy, warm, articulate, realistic. All the good terms you'd want to associate with a microphone. I would sum it all up with one word: "Balanced". It has everything you want, in the right propotions. Mic placement was easy. It worked EVERYWHERE I put it. That's a pretty amazing feat when it comes to acoustic. I always find it the most difficult instrument to mic, I can spend 20+ minutes finding the right placement. Drives me nutty sometimes. So the fact that the TLM102 sounded great at every position I put it pretty much sold me instantly. The small size makes them really easy to adjust and place where you need it. I recorded about 7 tracks that weekend. I returned what mics I borrowed and offered my friend to buy his TLM102s. He didn't go for it. This was two weeks ago. I'm currently putting money aside for a pair of these. I'm also listing a few of my mics that were in that shootout on ebay.

The reason I'm writing this review is because there aren't any detailed reviews regarding this particular application with these mics. I think if people knew how good they performed, they'd be an industry standard for guitar.

  • 2
26th December 2014

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by Spectromatix

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Neumann TLM 102

Just got one of these for Xmas. Just a quick review.

Tested on vocals:

It's very clear and smooth with a lovely warmth, seems to be clearer
in the highs than a TLM 103 (it's definitely less harsh), it's less fizzy than the Manley Ref Gold, which can have a slightly harsh top end.
The bottom end is good with no obvious muddiness.

Incredible bang for the buck.

31st December 2014

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by Crimson Merry

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Neumann TLM 102

Bought it just bcs someone sell it used for a low price, about $400. First time i saw the size of this mic i thought i'm gonna regret the deal, and won't compete with my studio's U87 in the mic locker. Put them both side-by-side to do the comparison, do some singing test, and the money spent for this mic suddenly worth the sound. I've been fooled by it's size. later i test it on another source like reamping things, acc guitar, clean guitar amp, a drum room, and none of the results dissapoints me. One day I open the mic apart just to see what's inside, and i think i like what i see. A tiny great mic with a big sound.

30th January 2016

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by Jackash

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Neumann TLM 102

I recently added the TLM 102 to my collection after doing a shootout with several other mics (U87, U67, TLM 103, AT4060, etc...). I was looking for a mic specifically for my voice and it beat the others hands down (the 67 came 2nd). It does a fantastic job replicating my voice the way it sounds with out a harsh high end or muddy lows. Since I got it specifically for my voice I was happy that it did this job well, but was thrilled when I tried it on acoustic guitar and found it delivered a nice balanced sound. It's also worked well on other singers I've recorded. I've found it can work well on tenors and some low female voices. It's not my first choice on bass voices, but can work on some baritones.

It has a surprisingly good off axis sound so I have used it on overheads a few times. I found it good on jazz sessions but it's not my first choice for rock. I've also tested it out on electric guitar amps and it's ok but unless I suddenly run out of SM57s or my royer I doubt it'll get much use there. It also is fantastic on Dobro and banjo (which surprised me).

All in all I love this mic. I got it a SM7, a AT4047, a Royer 121 and a KM187 pair all at the same time and this mic is a standout (the Royer is awesome, but everyone knows that).

I know this mic get some criticism and it might deserve it, but it (like most good mics) is made to do certain jobs. It's great at those jobs and not so great at others.

I do have complaint that it doesn't come with a shock mount and that the one made for it is slightly expensive.

All in all a great mic which I would't hesitate to buy again.

1st February 2016

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by PassionFlower

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Neumann TLM 102

I've had this microphone for a year and a half now and I've been nothing but pleased with it.

The Neumann TLM series seems to get a lot of bad rap from people and I have a hard time understanding why. To me they represent a great value for money. Well built and versatile line of microphones, and the 102 is no exception despite being the cheapest and smallest of them all.

This microphone seems to be aimed at the home studio market since it's affordable enough for regular folks and has a frequency response which is rather flat which makes it a great allrounder. But it's a great tool for the pro studio as well.

Personally I use it mainly for vocals and plucked string instruments in my home studio, but I use it for other instruments as well on occasion. It works great on vocals and has none of that harsh cheap top end that you find on cheaper microphones, but it does have the high-end sizzle that you either love or hate.

I've so far tried it on male and female vocals, acoustic guitars, mandolin, cello, upright bass, saxophone, oboe, violin and various percussions. It doesn't sound exceptional on everything, but I have not found a case where it didn't do the job. Where it really shines is on acoustic guitars and saxophone. Where it didn't do as good of a job was on mandolin and upright bass. But it was still a very usable recording.

It also doesn't seem to be that picky on placement which is great for a self recording artist because moving around mics can be a bit of a pain when you're the instrumentalist.

If you're only going to buy one mic for the home studio I don't think you can go wrong with this one. There are plenty of good sounding mics for a bit less money, but for something that you'll probably keep around for decades it's worth spending a bit more. And for the prices these are going for on the used market they are a bargain really.
For the pro studio I'd recommend to keep a pair of these in the locker. They are super handy since they are so small and versatile.

Another brand I would recommend in this price range is Lewitt. Their entire range is top notch and one of those would be a good partner to the TLM102.

  • 1
13th March 2016

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by Fenderbender83

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Neumann TLM 102

I upgraded from a Rode NT-2A to this mic two weeks ago. I was never entirely happy with the Rode. I always had problems with the high frequencies and my audio often came out shrill and thin sounding. Especially on vocals. I could spend hours EQing the vocals and was pretty fed up with that, so I decided to go with the TLM102, and I have not regretted it.

I was deciding between Neumanns TLM102 and the slightly bigger 103, but sceptical of the bigger high freqency bump of the 103s I decided to go for the 102. It has been working like a charm. Really tight, clear and forward sounding mic. It has great prescence in vocals but none of that thin metallic top end which was driving me nuts with the Rode. Dont get me wrong the 102 has plenty of top end, but it's controlled and musical. Aside from hi pass filtering and sometimes shelf boosting the 16k "air bands" I rarely EQ vocals on this mic. Now I can finally use all of my vocal plugins creatively without worrying about the top end agitated and causing trouble.

Today I finally got the chance to use the 102 to record a female talent I am working regularly with. Her voice is really strong and bright, and I could never get a good sound with her on the Rode. I just had to smile when I was listening through afterwards. Again, no EQ needed I found.

Also, I particularly love the 102 on acoustic guitar. Alone - or in combination with a SCD mic (I use the SE electronics SE5). The result is just absolutely incredible.. I point the 102 towards the 12th fret slightly tilted towards the bottom of the body (where the cutaway would be), and the SE5 on either the neck or over my shoulder aimed where i strum the strings. The 102 supplies the meat and the SE5 the sparkle.

Anyway, I would strongly recommend you try the TLM102, especially if you are upgrading from budget mics. For me it has aleeady saved me hours of mixing time, and is just a very, very good mic in general. At a price point which does not blow your budget.

  • 2
12th May 2016

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by Nhaddad95

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 1 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.25
Neumann TLM 102

Great mic, great quality, small size. This mic is actually surprisingly small perfect for tight spaces. Sound wise this mic has that detail neumanns are known for, you can hear every bit of detail in words so perfect for voiceover or spoken word, but when it comes to recording full blown lead vocals in a very busy pop or hip hop mix this mic won't shine through in way the a pop lead is supposed to. A darker mic, with a little sheen at the top with a dip at 5k makes this a perfect mic for voiceover or spoken word. If going for pop or hip hop its older brother the 103 is better fit for the job, but as always said here on slutz YMMV!

  • 2
16th January 2017

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by rimbaudsleg

  • Sound Quality 3 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.25
Neumann TLM 102

I have used this mic on vocals since I bought it a few months back and now can offer a review based on extended real time use.

In retrospect there are better microphones I could have/should have bought. This mic is far too picky about the room and let us face the fact that people who buy a microphone like this are doing so because they can't afford to pay any more (like me) and are trying to get the best quality vocal sound they can for their money. They can't afford to spend thousands $ on acoustic treatment and a perfect recording environment.

The bump in the top end really is bumpy. There is a whole area of the top end that is in deficit between the mids and the very top end. There is a trough enough there for sheep to come and quench their thirst. It is severely lacking a signal and that shows in ANY vocal, male or female, that is recorded with the mic. Then comes this very artificial sounding high end bump that is not very sweet. It sounds harsh with too much of a cut off and like something an SM57 could achieve with eq and pre amp.

The low end is booming, far too muddy and a bit cheap sounding to be honest. There is something very hollow in the low end, no substance and it does not handle acoustic treatment very well up close. If you have a closed in vocal booth this mic is far too boomy and will make the signal sound like a blooming duvet, muddy and muffled.

In my experience the low end of microphones is never so much a worry. There is no real difference between the SM57 low end and the TLM 102, may be a slightly lower range on the TLM 102, but I always carve that out any way with high pass as it messes with the bass drum and the bass far too much.

All I want is a sweet top end signal that has some versatility. Is there an affordable microphone out there that can make the "s" and "th" sounds clearly and sweetly enough? Is that too much to ask for? It seems like it is.

I don't want those horrid gritty, boomy, bumpy, cut off microphones with a lisp. They sound HORRIBLE and CHEAP and would make even Michael Jackson sound amateur. I want the microphones to take elocution lessons and speak with eloquence and clarity.

I was saving for a Neumann U87, but once bitten then twice shy. I shall be going American on my next microphone if possible. Is technology still such an infant that it can't produce a reasonably priced sweet high end signal? Is all this deliberately manipulated to make us fools spend all our money to have what could quite easily be achieved for a much more down to earth and affordable price?

The system doesn't give us enough money. We want to make good music. We have had enough of elitism and gear that only millionaires can afford. I will not tolerate elitism and will just turn a deaf ear to music and artists when I am not allowed access to resources; it is mighty unfair and unjust when I love music so much and am so wanting to make my art. I am being stopped just because of elitism. I don't want all the cash and riches. I like MY life, but I do want a reasonably priced sweet sounding top end microphone.

Is there a rescuer out there who can help me? Me and thousands of other people have $600 to give you if you can give us that. It could make you a multi millionaire if you can give us smoothness and sweetness on a budget.

Sorry to be so honest, but when dealing with egg shells that are very hard to crack you have to bang them hard against the work top.

  • 2
24th March 2018

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by shockakahn

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Neumann TLM 102

My first review on Gearslutz....I am a rank amateur vocalist...working on technique and recording tracks on my computer with a UAD interface. I have been looking for a good studio condenser mic to go along with my Neumann KMS 105 handheld condenser (which is a great handheld mic!).

The quality of the KMS 105 is so good that I wanted to stick with the Neumann brand...but my price range is under 1K. I simply do not want to spend more than that for my hobby...so I bought a used TLM 103 from eBay. I tried it for a week and initially was blown away by the sound but noticed it got too sharp at times, especially on certain songs. Then I did more research and this is a big problem for the 103 unless you have the equipment and expertise to tame it...which don't. So I sold it, at no loss thankfully.

I really wanted a U87 but that is clearly out of my price range....even used. So I read about the U87 clones...and decided to try out the Warm Audio WA-87 clone. Well, it simply did not have the clarity that I was looking for, and was not really better than my handheld Neumann, at least for me. It sounded like there was a veil compared to the 103. I returned it....

Then I had my sights set on the Stam Audio SA-87 and actually paid for it on eBay...but it never came even after two months so I canceled. You can do a search on issues with Stam Audio but the fact is, that I was in limbo for two months wondering when this thing would ship or if I would get any communication. Thankfully Ebay has protection for this.

So...then I remembered that many folks on the 103 threads were saying good things about the 102, that it is not as harsh but still gives you that clarity in will sit in the mix well....and so I bought one on Ebay with the credit I received back for the SA87. Except the 102 is only $699 new! And they threw in a free 15 foot premium Mogami cable!

As others have said, it is quite small. But it is solid and feels good in your hand. No switches, no nuthin.

But the sound....the sound! It has the clarity of the tlm 103 without the harshness, is how I can best describe it. It just sounds perfect and makes it easy to sing while monitoring. works well on all kinds of songs. I don't have a lot of acoustic treatment so I have tested the Alctron foam ball thingy which is a clone of the Kaotica ball...

the 102 is simply a spectacular mic, and I am extremely happy with it after trying a few other highly regarded (and more expensive mics)...for my rather simple needs, I doubt I will get much more if I spent thousands of dollars. This mic is just fantastic for vocals!! Highly recommended!

3rd November 2018

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel by RichC

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Neumann TLM 102

The Neumann TLM 102 is a superb little Mic. Neumann's answer to the lucrative market for serious amateur/affordable pro studios. I'm a professional voiceover with home studio, so fall in to the latter category.
Don't be deceived by it's diminutive size - it has a big, rich sound. It's a tough little cookie too. I personally have found it more robust to the daily rigours than my u87ai.
It has a rich proximity effect giving it beefy lows, and a crisp, clear high end presence. Really nice on male spoken word. Smooth. Some describe it as having a 'pre-EQ'd' sound, which is a fair assessment. But I don't consider it excessively coloured - just nicely tailored for voice. I think the term 'Radio Ready' is apt.
It can take a high SPL, which is helpful considering it has no pad switches. The only thing personally I think it lacks is an HPF. But if you have one on your preamp/interface you won't miss that anyway.
Can't comment for TLM 102's performance on instruments and sung vocals, but on speech it's great.

 
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