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Neumann TLM 103 Condenser Microphones
Old 22nd March 2008
  #31
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New comparison for Voiceover. TLM103 Opinion and Test.
Old 22nd March 2008
  #32
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Nahuel's Avatar
 

want to hear a shootout?

here you go: echochamber

go into "mikrophonetest" on the left menu.
Old 23rd March 2008
  #33
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malgfunk's Avatar
 

TLM-103 is good mic, but it needs help of an EQ to shave the hyped top-end for vocals. It works much better on acoustic guitars. There may be other alternatives in the price range of the TLM-103 that might out work better for you. Also a good mic-pre is important as well.
Old 23rd March 2008
  #34
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heyman's Avatar
"in short, it doesn't sound great. Think about paying 5 times as much but getting a Rode NT1a. Would you do ti if it had a Neumann badge? You will be...!"


Wow, complete diarhea of the mouth..

I owned both at one time. Used each one on several sessions, sometimes in the same application..

You are way off the mark and if you cant hear the diffrence, time to pack it in.

The Rode was dull and lifeless. The Neumann was much better and although its not a great mic it is a few steps up from that Model Rode..

I kept the Neumann and there are other mic's on the market I wish I could own, but for now, it does the job.

To the guy who started the thread. If you can pick up the Neumann for around 600.00, it is a good deal. Best of luck.
Old 23rd March 2008
  #35
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Alécio Costa's Avatar
 

I had a tlm 103 for one month in my studio.
Pretty sibilant.
I decided to buy a TLM 193, which is much better. And without testing.
Old 23rd March 2008
  #36
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkwater View Post
It is a good mic. Not a great mic. And, it certainly is not a high end mic. ?
I think this sums it up well.

The 103 is a good mic. at a reasonable price that brings in Neumann quality at an affordable price.

It doesn't suit everyone - but Neumann also do the TLM 49 and TLM 193 in a similar price range with a different sound.

Though they now do the TLM 103-D digital. heh
Old 23rd March 2008
  #37
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KAJI's Avatar
 

IMO it is nice for acoustic piano (rock, pop, jazz).

Anyone tried out the digital 103s? Opinions? Raves? Rants?

Old 23rd March 2008
  #38
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KAJI View Post
Anyone tried out the digital 103s? Opinions? Raves? Rants?
Seeing as they only launched it at Frankfurt about a week ago............................

But if it's anything like the KM-D it will be the capsule sound and that's it.

The KM-D are magic and I would exect the 103-D to be nothing less.

But it's still a 103, so if it doesn't suit you, wait for the TLM 49-D..........
Old 24th March 2008
  #39
Gear Head
 

How come nobody's said...

"well you know, if your songs suck, and the performance sucks, then the mic is going to sound like crap..."

I thought every thread was supposed to have that.... did I miss it?

Seriously though... The vocals on Imogen Heap's "speak for yourself" were recorded all with a TLM103 and a 737sp. The sound is silky smooth, but gritty at times too and fits perfectly in the mix - very little of that has to do with the mic/pre.

I love this site as the advice that has been given to me is very valuable - but I had to put in the token "the music is more important" post.
Old 24th March 2008
  #40
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What most people who have tried the 103 and obtained poor results, do not realise, is the fact that the 103 does not work at all well at close range. It is a fantastic mic at about 60cm and more, but that means you have to have a good room.

It is my first choice for operatic vocals. My very, very last choice for close-micing an accoustic guitar or similar.
Old 24th March 2008
  #41
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
...the 103 does not work at all well at close range...
I am not too excited about the 103, but I fully agree with this statement. If you back it off a bit, it generally works better. It is OK as a room mic.

Petter
Old 24th March 2008
  #42
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Quote:
To me, it's nowhere near say a u87.

Neither is the price numnuts...

I hate when people compare apples and oranges...
It's a comparison that Neumann themselves make all the time, so I don't think it's an inappropriate comparison to make.

Also, pricewire, considering the extra features that the U87 has, it's not unreasonable to expect similar performance from the TLM103 sonically.

Quote:
It is a good mic. Not a great mic. And, it certainly is not a high end mic. Can we move this thread?
Why is the presence of a relatively inexpensive microphone in this thread so threatening? Although there aren't any real black and white guidelines as to what should and should not be considered "high end" and I have no intention of trying to convince anyone that any particular piece of gear is or isn't "high end" I don't think you can correctly state that this is "certainly" not a high-end mic.
Old 27th March 2008
  #43
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Timur Born's Avatar
 

I am confused about two repeating statements made about the TLM 103 which I'd like to know more about since I'll be fetching my order on one of these today.

1. It needs (heavy) EQing to sit right in the mix?

What does that mean exactly? Some people say that the pronounced high end needs EQ, but then I wonder if it wouldn't make more sense to position the mic at a different angle when recording to make use of the polar pattern instead of EQing the high end?

When testing the mic on my voice I found the low-end to be more pronounced than others I've tested, especially on bassy vocal sounds going through the nose (think of saying "gnostic"). While this sounds very full and round with a solo voice I do wonder if this will end up as mud in the mix?

So what kind of EQing will one usually find with the TLM 103?


2. It doesn't work well at close-range?

Why is that and "what" doesn't work well there? At least on solo vocals it seemed to worked quite well in comparison at a range of less than 30cm (using a popscreen). Is it the proximity effect pronouncing the bass-range too much?


3. It sounds good/great only in a properly treated room?

While accoustic specs/treatment of a room are always crucial I do wonder why this mic would be especially sensitive about this? In fact I bought it because of it's good cardoic polar pattern that doesn't come with the compromisses of a dual-diaphragm mic and in theory should help using the mic in a less than ideal room. So, does it not?


There are some more questions in my mind concerning my setup with the TLM 103:

I plan to complement the TLM 103 with a AT-4050 for versatility and a more neutral sound. I'm also thinking about adding some SM7B or RE-20 for different applications and choise of different sounds. Is that a good combination?

Does anything speak against using the mic-pres of a FF400 and doing low-cut, compression etc. all digital instead of using some dedicated channel-strip, at least for a more inexpensive starting-setup?

What experiences do you have with different popscreens on the TLM 103, does it matter?

Thanks in advance for any answers!
Old 27th March 2008
  #44
jho
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jho's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jho View Post
Repeat, Rinse & Dry....
Old 27th March 2008
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timur View Post
1. It needs (heavy) EQing to sit right in the mix?
The top end is a bit harsh, but I tend to move things around to get the right sound, rather than eq'ing afterwards. Placing the mic further away, reduces the top somewhat, anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timur View Post
2. It doesn't work well at close-range?
It just sounds either thin or 'wrong' at close range. I think there is some phase issue with the basket, but I have never investigated this, as we have other mics, so I use those.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timur View Post
3. It sounds good/great only in a properly treated room?
It is not as directional as others and it needs to be fiurther away for a well-rounded sound, so, if it is vocals you are after, the vocal booth has to be extra 'warm' (lack of top end reflection and a little lower-mid boost).
Old 27th March 2008
  #46
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Timur Born's Avatar
 

Thanks for the comments! thumbsup

Now I need to do my own testing to find out what my own ears hear. Still any further comments are very welcome.
Old 27th March 2008
  #47
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waxx's Avatar
 

The mic is ok, but the price for the mic not. It should be new for sale for 500-600 € cause it even get beaten by some in that pricerange (like AT4047 or an Oktava MK 105). The sound is hyped up and rather thin, wich can work for some applications, but it's defenitly no vocal mic for me. I used one on african percussion with success (a kind of tabla like stuff, but from senegal), on some dark sounding acoustic guitars it also sounded nice, just like on overheads/roommic but that's rather it.
Old 27th March 2008
  #48
Gear Maniac
 

TLM 103 on Drums

The TLM 103 was my first pro mic. For the $450 I spent on it, it served me very very well on many many sources.

Now, it's my go to mic for demos and a mono room mic for drums.

Give it a try as a room mic on a rock drum kit. It adds a great layer to the kit sound when you blend it with the Left & Right overheads.
Old 28th March 2008
  #49
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Timur Born's Avatar
 

Well, mics are very expensive in Germany, I just bought the TLM 103 with the alu case (called Anniversary Edition in the US?) that cost me "inexpensive" 940 Euro after alot of haggling and announcing that I will buy it from the US for "only" 865 Euro including shipping and customs fee. Usual prices for that set are 1200+ Euro! Audio-Technica microphones also cost about double as much here when compared to prices in the US. (That's all including VAT.)

Same goes for the Fireface 400 I just bought, heavy haggling lead to a considerable price-drop, but still it would be cheaper to buy from the US. But now I heard that those are getting more expensive for the US (hopefully not the fault of my haggling
Old 28th March 2008
  #50
i think the TLM103 has its place in any pro mic cabinet.

it's definitely much better then a Rode..

this mic can't be beaten on Pandero and most hand percussion.

I've sold mine about a year ago because i have a pair of old 87's but i miss it for percussion.
Old 29th March 2008
  #51
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Yoda117's Avatar
 

Regardless of whether folks consider it to be high end / low end, on the right voice it sounds good. I know several top VO talent who swear by them.

I'm not a fan of the mic, but the stuff they're doing sounds pretty damn good to me, so it can't be all bad

I don't know where folks are saying that it's got a U87 capsule from. It's based on the U87, but not the same. It doesn't really sound like one either... it's got it's own thing going for it, but still has the Neumann sound going for it.

I'll also recommend comparing the UM930 to the TLM103. They're probably the two most similar mics I can think of to compare against each other. I prefer the 930 over the 103, but it's like painting... different strokes for different folks.
Old 29th March 2008
  #52
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Me_Likey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rusty1 View Post
Here's another place to hear it, on acoustic guitar, male and female vocal

Microphones audio clips | Gear Audition
According to that particular shootout the TLM 103 certainly beats either of the Rode mics.
Old 29th March 2008
  #53
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It can sound terrific but more so than many mics it is very source dependant and can sound pinched /nasally - like s..t.
You really have to try it on your voice or whatever you want it for , in your situation.
Because it says Neumann does not guarantee it's ability in every case.
I would like to try one on snare though.
Cheers, Ross
Old 29th March 2008
  #54
Gear Nut
 

So far I only managed to use it successfully on toms, especially floor tom. Otherwise I find it boring and dry sounding.

chris
Old 30th March 2008
  #55
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Yoda117's Avatar
 

Just listened to the clips.

BACK OFF THE DAMN MIC & RECORD AT A LOWER LEVEL.

That is all, thank you...

I hate to have to say it, but you'll get farther with this mic by not being right up front with it. If you have to get that close with the TLM103, you're either doing something wrong or you're using it for an application which requires a different mic/approach.

That's just my opinion though.

/on the side, you'll do better to keep your recordings on the same chain, with the same source. It makes it easier for folks to determine which is "better". You'd do the same in the studio, so do the same for your site.

//trust me, you'll like the results better

///rock on
Old 30th March 2008
  #56
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I love my TLM103. It's not a mic that will make you wet your pants, but it's a proper, good, solid and nice sounding mic imo. Never had any regrets buying it. It finds its way in virtually every session.
Old 31st March 2008
  #57
Gear Head
 

I have it as a default vocal mic right now.
I use it with a chandler germ pre
and a distressor compressor and my clients love it.

Sounds great on snare in some situations

sounds great on acoustic guitar overhead.

I like it, I like some of my other less expensive mics more though. It DOES however seem to have a very 'potent' boldness that fails to fall apart that i see in other brands (sE, audio Tech.)
Old 31st March 2008
  #58
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malgfunk's Avatar
 

If you make a living recording with a TLM103, then it's a professional mic.
Old 31st March 2008
  #59
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Chaellus's Avatar
hmm ive heard the clips from the 103 vs the 87 and there is hardly a diffrence except to me there is more highs present in the 103 still its not a bad sounding mic form the shootout but not a wonderous mic just like the u87 wasnt for me....i tryed it didnt like it...but oh well....my favorite neuamann mic that ive tryed is the u47
Old 1st April 2008
  #60
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Timur Born's Avatar
 

Here some statements from the Neumann Forum. I tend to believe them and when looking at the polar patterns published in the data sheet of the TLM 103 I find little surprises in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Schneider/Neumann
I have some difficulties with those statements...

1. Positioning a microphone correctly is the one thing one always has to do, and experiment with. The TLM103 does have a well-documented, medium bright top end.

2. Sorry, quite often, when someone does not know what causes what, people are talking about "phase" issues. The grille of the TLM103 is identical to U67 / U87 / TLM170, so it can't be all wrong :-)
I never found the TLM103 thin. At close range you get a whole lot of proximity effect (bass increase). Does the Q/A man say what sound source he was miking? A voice is almost a point source, a guitar not, a double bass is more like a flat moving wall, when close miked.
"thin" and "wrong" and "phasey" are adjectives that really cannot be commented upon without details.

3. "not as directional as others". Which "others"? The TLM103 has a great cardioid pattern, with very good rear attenuation, and that's what the TLM says it is.
"Further away to get a "well-rounded" sound"?
But: Larger distance means = *less* bass + more room reflections, so this does not make sense to me.

The net is great for spending a lot of time in it; but the only way to get a real impression of a sound is to record yourself. Trust only your own set of ears, and not some anonymous other person's using too many "tastey", subjective adjectives.

Best regards,
Martin Schneider / Neumann Mic. Development
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Satz
Timur, the "folklore" to which you refer is simply not well-informed or trustworthy. A statement such as this:

> It is not as directional as others and it needs to be fiurther away for a well-rounded sound ...

... shows a real lack of knowledge about directionality in microphones. It is true that there are microphones with greater directivity than the TLM 103--but the TLM 103 is a cardioid, and a cardioid is not supposed to be "as directional as," say, a supercardioid or a shotgun microphone.

(Actually that is also a fundamental misuse of the word "directional," since a microphone either is directional or it is not, but ...)

Secondly, if any one microphone has lower directivity than another, then the microphone with lower directivity is normally to be placed _closer_ to the sound source, not farther away, so that the desired balance of direct and reflected sound energy can be maintained. Whoever wrote that bit of advice got it exactly backwards.

--best regards
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