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Gefell m930 vs tlm 103 and m930 ts vs U87
Old 26th March 2016
  #1
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Gefell m930 vs tlm 103 and m930 ts vs U87

I really like the silkiness of the Gefell mics and am seriously considering a 930. I also tend to prefer mics with transformer. The tlm 103 is not my favorite mic and I've heard that people often compare the m903 with the tlm 103. Are they so similar? And how does the m903 ts (with transformer) compares to the U87?
Cheers!
Old 27th March 2016
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by progfreak View Post
I've heard that people often compare the m903 with the tlm 103. Are they so similar?
In my experience they are in the same sonic ballpark but not identical, at least when I did a shoot-out on my own voice.

That's probably the most measured response you'll get on Gearslutz on this topic, but then I'm one of the only people who has anted-up and posted WAVs.

I bought the Gefell M930 as I felt it was indeed a bit smoother with its HF lift, and at the time (15 years ago) it was significantly cheaper. It's much cuter as well, which isn't as glib a statement as it may sound if you're trying to maximise invisibility (say for a script or TV).

I've not tried the transformer version.

My only regret about the M930 - I wish I'd bought 2!
Old 27th March 2016
  #3
We've tried all 4 in the past year and agree with the above poster that the m930 sounds a bit smoother than the 103. This may or may not be what you're looking for. Sometimes there's a bit more character with the 103. The transformer version does add some solid low end that would be usefull in VO work but might not be noticeable in a busy mix.

To our ears, the U87 is a step up from both of the other mics with a bit more versatility from the patterns and an overall bigger sound. Just an opinion. I still wish there was a Mic of Month service available that you could sign up and receive a different mic every month that you are essentially renting or keeping. Listening to a mic in your own place with your own voice is the ultimate decider. Good luck!!
Old 27th March 2016
  #4
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Quote:
The transformer version does add some solid low end that would be usefull in VO work but might not be noticeable in a busy mix.
Interesting. If I had to choose (at gunpoint), I'd pick trannyless for VO and transformer for singing.
Old 27th March 2016
  #5
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I also have the impression that the transformer adds some harmonics that give some attitude and robustness to the vocals and allow them to sit better in the mix in some way, while the transformerless are more of a "hifi/flatter/higher dynamic range" sound to me, of course ymmv. Really like the Gefell sound but I have to consider those facts mentioned above: how well they cut through busy mixes, maybe they are not the best in that department. Would really like to try a m930ts, or at least listen to some comparisons, but it seems that there's none around...
Old 28th March 2016
  #6
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I had a Gefell M930 (transformerless) as a voiceover mic for several years and it seemed to hold its own very well, even sometimes in the context of a busy mix.
Old 28th March 2016
  #7
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being an owner of the 930, 103 & U87 I think everything you'll read comparing the 930 to the 103 seems accurate. but none of the mics in that family are a U87 killer. The T version of the 930 doesn't bring enough of an upgrade to the table for me to give up my pair of 930s for 930T's. Each mic also has the ability to excel depending on what you use it for.
Old 28th March 2016
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by progfreak View Post
Really like the Gefell sound but I have to consider those facts mentioned above: how well they cut through busy mixes, maybe they are not the best in that department.
Colour me sceptical, but the suggestion that vocals recorded with a Gefell M930 - or most other half-decent mics for that matter - somehow won't 'cut through a busy mix' is pure, meaningless, internet hysteria. It's like saying "If I put cinnamon in this cake you won't taste it." It's all in the mix!

If you really can't try before you buy, have you at least found any WAV comparisons of the mics you are considering?
Old 28th March 2016
  #9
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Thanks for shimming in good folk. That's why I love this forum, you get always a lot of different points of view


Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Colour me sceptical, but the suggestion that vocals recorded with a Gefell M930 - or most other half-decent mics for that matter - somehow won't 'cut through a busy mix' is pure, meaningless, internet hysteria. It's like saying "If I put cinnamon in this cake you won't taste it." It's all in the mix!

If you really can't try before you buy, have you at least found any WAV comparisons of the mics you are considering?
I've mixed recently 2 tracks for a female singer song writer whose voice was tracked through a m930, and a 610 into a rme. Loved the silkiness, and how natural it sounded and the fact that all the variations in her expression and breathing sounded very very good, as opposed to many mics that sound good just when the singer sings in a certain way. I know the other mics as well except the 930 ts but would like to have your opinions because my experience with those is limited. When I mean a busy mix I mean a Joe Barresi guitar-wall-of-sound-busy, when you want to keep a good amount of high end in the guitars and have them up front in the mix and still have the voice cutting through without having to eq the hell out of it. Not many condenser mics do this well but the U87 can do it. I know that the 930 is a different beast, but was wondering if the 930 ts by having the transformer could have some U87 type of prominence when compared to the transformerless version 930. The 930 ts I haven't heard and that is why I was wondering. Either way I think I will get me a 930 with or without transformer in a near future.
Old 28th March 2016
  #10
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by progfreak View Post
I also have the impression that the transformer adds some harmonics that give some attitude and robustness to the vocals and allow them to sit better in the mix in some way, while the transformerless are more of a "hifi/flatter/higher dynamic range" sound to me...
I'm very much in this camp. Call it attitude, or robustness, or intelligibility.

An ad agency person put it perfectly when she was giving me notes on a loud, busy mix in which the VO was done (at the VO artist's home studio) on a TLM-something. "The VO's too loud, but I still can't hear it."
Old 28th March 2016
  #11
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

I agree, but what about the Sennheiser 416 which is transformerless and yet known for its cut-through abilities?
Old 28th March 2016
  #12
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VO Guy View Post
I agree, but what about the Sennheiser 416 which is transformerless and yet known for its cut-through abilities?
Good point. I think maybe the 416 cuts through because it just plain isn't very clean. I don't know if what it does could be called "clipping" but if you put one up side by side with, say, a U87 and record a semi-energetic VO, play them back level-matched and listen, I think you'll find the U87 track to sound subjectively cleaner. And if you zoom in and look at the waveforms, the 416 one will be more spiky, jagged and peaky.
Old 31st March 2016
  #13
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Hi man, I did a direct and very thorough mic shootout between the m930, tlm103, Mojave m200 & 301fet recently in my own studio and it seems like everyone else is on the same wavelength as me. The neumann and gefell definitely both have a "similar" sound with the only differences probably inaudible to the average joe, but nonetheless there are differences. For me what sums the comparison up perfectly is that the nice characteristics specific to the Neumann, are even nicer with the Gefell.

As said before the m930 has a real smoothness and silkiness (in stark contrast to the very crisp and clear Mojaves (too sanatised for my liking)), with the tlm having a nice "air" to it, but without quite as much class and silk. The m930 is also fuller especially in the mids - which was more apparent during vocal comparison. I believe this to be the reason some people will say that the Neumann will "cut through the mix" better on vocals - because the higher frequencies are more apparent due to the lack of mids.

The only negative thing i can think of is that due to the size of the gefell (and it is rather miniscule) it sounds a tiiiiiny bit more closed - kind of very slightly more dynamiccy (?!) than the more open tlm. But that is a very pedantic gripe which is far surpassed by the aforementioned benefits. I believe Gefell made the m1030 for this exact reason by building the same mic with a larger body lending to a more open sound, but this mic is like £500 more expensive than the m930 - certainly not worth the extra money in my eyes, and putting it in the same league as the top-top-end mics - a dangerous place to be!

So overall man, i think with the gefell and neumann living in the same price bracket i would never hesitate to plump for the gefell, and this is coming from a guy who is very picky and precise with any equipment purchases and who has tried out many, many mics valuing £900 and under. I'm currently trying to find a second-hand gefell m930 myself but they are currently nowhere to be seen - probably a good sign!

Also i currently have a demo gefell m930ts on the way to have a listen to out of curiosity.

I can post a small wav files of comparison if you really want to listen to the tlm, m930 yourself, let me know.

Josh
Old 31st March 2016
  #14
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I still think the U87 is one of the best choices for VO work. Get a used U87 off EBAY or look into GS classifieds and call it a day. I tried all kinds of mics for VO and the U87 just cuts in a mix so well. You may not really like the sound of it when you listen to yourself SOLO but when it comes to mixing with a music backing track it just works and it takes EQ and compression well.. Well that's just my opinion
Old 1st April 2016
  #15
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What Rick said.
Old 1st April 2016
  #16
Read this review on the Gefell M930. The reviewer has a TLM103 and compares the two in test.

https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan...techgefell.htm
Old 1st April 2016
  #17
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
Read this review on the Gefell M930. The reviewer has a TLM103 and compares the two in test.

https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan...techgefell.htm
The reviewer actually bought a pair of M930 after doing the review.
Old 1st April 2016
  #18
I have heard both and I like both the Gefell and TLM 103.

TLM 103 pros:
1. It has the Neumann name and badge which honestly more people are familiar with and makes you feel a little better.
2. It is a larger mic and looks more impressive.
3. It has a bolder mid sound that is amazing for voice overs.

Gefell M93 Pros:
1. It has a little more even mid sound that might be better with more applications. This provides a slight smoother sound which I really like.
2. Wider area to pick up your voice over the TLM 103.
Old 1st April 2016
  #19
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M1030.

Yes, the price difference is silly.

Mr. Gefell, are you listening?
Old 1st April 2016
  #20
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Dan Popp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
3. It has a bolder mid sound that is amazing for voice overs.
One thing that's very interesting and helpful to do (but which few gearslutz seem to do) is to look at the actual response graphs of the mics. The TLM 103 has, according to the manufacturer, a shelf-like HF boost and not a whole lot else of interest. The m930 has a bell-like or peak-type HF boost. If you're hearing a "bolder mid sound" on a TLM 103, it's not coming from the mic.
Old 1st April 2016
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Popp View Post
One thing that's very interesting and helpful to do (but which few gearslutz seem to do) is to look at the actual response graphs of the mics. The TLM 103 has, according to the manufacturer, a shelf-like HF boost and not a whole lot else of interest. The m930 has a bell-like or peak-type HF boost. If you're hearing a "bolder mid sound" on a TLM 103, it's not coming from the mic.
I don't rely on graph to tell me how are microphone sounds. So many videos on YouTube you hear that full low mid sound of the TLM 103 that you don't get with a lot of microphones. I have compared side-by-side with the Gefell microphone and the 103 has a stronger boost in the low mids. If you disagree that's fine but that's what I hear

In the sound on sound review, there are video clips of both microphones and you even hear the fuller sound in those audio clips
Old 1st April 2016
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Popp View Post
One thing that's very interesting and helpful to do (but which few gearslutz seem to do) is to look at the actual response graphs of the mics. The TLM 103 has, according to the manufacturer, a shelf-like HF boost and not a whole lot else of interest. The m930 has a bell-like or peak-type HF boost. If you're hearing a "bolder mid sound" on a TLM 103, it's not coming from the mic.
The frequency response is highly dependent on the response of the mic to transients and different sources produce different transients with different dynamics. The freq response can give an idea but it is hardly an absolute measure of how the mics sound compared to each other, especially because even their freq response is quite similar.
Old 1st April 2016
  #23
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Dan Popp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
I don't rely on graph to tell me how are microphone sounds.
I didn't say that you aren't hearing what you're hearing. You said that the mic has a mid boost, which you have now qualified as "low mids" (not quite the same thing, especially for v/o). I only said that, if you are hearing that effect from the TLM 103, you may be hearing it from the source, or the room, or anything following the mic in the processing chain. This mic does not have a mid boost, or a low-mid boost, at least by design.

There are internet voiceover gurus who push this mic as "neutral." I show them the graph from Neumann and say, "If your TLM 103 sounds 'neutral,' please return it to the factory; it's broken."
Old 1st April 2016
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProgFree View Post
The freq response can give an idea but it is hardly an absolute measure of how the mics sound compared to each other, especially because even their freq response is quite similar.
Of course this is true. But it doesn't address the issue of how a mic can develop a mid- or low-mid boost that is pronounced enough to make a difference to a user, but subtle enough to escape the marketing department using the graph to sell the mic.

If the TLM 103 did have a low-mid boost, I'd think Neumann would be all over that saying, "See? See? Right here, there's proof that our mic isn't shrill and soulless at all!" And they wouldn't have developed the TLM 102 to respond to those criticisms.
Old 1st April 2016
  #25
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
TLM 103 pros:
1. It has the Neumann name and badge which honestly more people are familiar with and makes you feel a little better.
2. It is a larger mic and looks more impressive.
3. It has a bolder mid sound that is amazing for voice overs.
I guess my take on Number 1 is that it puts you in the position where, if the client doesn't like the sound, the problem can't be the mic -- it a Neumann! -- so the problem must be you. Of course if nobody can hear the difference, we're all good.

As for Number 2, yes it's bigger and has a bit of heft to it and boy does it ever look like it should sound good. They knocked that part out of the park. It's the Porsche 914 of microphones.

Number 3 doesn't square with my experience with the 103 at all. Maybe it's just me.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 2nd April 2016 at 05:46 PM..
Old 1st April 2016
  #26
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Shut up and post some WAVs y'all!

I did a rough'n'ready shoot-out between these two mics on V/O for this Forum 10+ years ago.

I'll repost here:

Microtech Gefell M930 vs Neumann TLM103

No point in keeping it blind as I already posted results, but have a listen anyways if you're interested.
Old 1st April 2016
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProgFree View Post
The frequency response is highly dependent on the response of the mic to transients and different sources produce different transients with different dynamics. The freq response can give an idea but it is hardly an absolute measure of how the mics sound compared to each other, especially because even their freq response is quite similar.
This. ^



U67 anyone?
Old 1st April 2016
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Shut up and post some WAVs y'all!

I did a rough'n'ready shoot-out between these two mics on V/O for this Forum 10+ years ago.

I'll repost here:

Microtech Gefell M930 vs Neumann TLM103

No point in keeping it blind as I already posted results, but have a listen anyways if you're interested.
Thanks so much, finally a great comparison. As stated the m930 is smoother and the 2 mics do sound similar. The TLM103 is bit more sibilant. For VO work the Gefell would get my nod, singing in a busy mix could go either way.
Old 2nd April 2016
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Shut up and post some WAVs y'all!

I did a rough'n'ready shoot-out between these two mics on V/O for this Forum 10+ years ago.

I'll repost here:

Microtech Gefell M930 vs Neumann TLM103

No point in keeping it blind as I already posted results, but have a listen anyways if you're interested.
Great thanks!
Old 8th March 2017
  #30
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Just a tiny bump on the thread after a time that it has as a topic quelled, but what people neglected to mention is the vastly superior off axis response that the Gefell m930 reveals when comparing it to the Neumann 103, exhibiting said when used in a live recording session, a sonic bleed which is blissful and adding an air of excitement and cohesion to a mix. This in and of itself could very well be a reason to decide purchasing one over the other.
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