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Selling TLM 103 & ME-1NV... now what?
Old 2nd June 2006
  #1
Gear Head
 

Selling TLM 103 & ME-1NV... now what?

I'm selling my Great River ME-1NV and Neumann TLM 103 combo and would love to hear you 'slutz advice for my purchases. Thanks

I know those 2 topics (pro-sumer preamp & vocal mic) have been discussed to death on this board but hey, I think the specific "combo" angle brings a little spice!

Oh, and I have a modest budget of around 2500$ for the combo.

THE PREAMP (+DI would be nice)

Don't get me wrong, the ME-1NV is a great preamp but I simply can't seem to "dial" transparency on this unit. I've too often experienced what sounds like a distorted signal with it (might be the TLM 103's fault?)

I'm considering (in no particular order):
  • Chandler Germanium
  • Shadow Hills Mono GAMA Mic Pre
  • Earthworks 1021
  • A Designs Audio EM
  • John Hardy Co. M1 Personal Mic Pre
  • Speck MicPre 5.0
  • D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 1

THE MIC (Vocals and acoustic guitar)

I bought the TLM 103 upon sole recommendation of a mixing engineer I was working with at the time but I'm not satisfied with it and from what I have read here I'm not the only one! Hadn't heard about Gefell, Peluso, Coles, Soundelux & co at the time.
  • Peluso 22 47 LE or 22 251
  • Gefell M 930
  • Soundelux U195
  • Pearlman TM 1
Old 2nd June 2006
  #2
Gear Addict
 
sloanfiske's Avatar
 

i wouldn't call the great river or the mic prosumer. they are what they are.

the pre isn't really "transparent" if that's what you're looking for. It's got some color. Apparently very "nevey". If that color and "distortion" drives you nuts, i'd steer clear of the Germainum (although i really like mine paired with a Soundelux U195, it sure ain't straight wire)

You should try a few mics out with the pre first before unloading.

If you want transparent with no color for not a ton of cash...try a sytek. clean gain for days.

as for the mic...some people like them, some don't...i'm sort of indifferent. see if there is a dealer that will offer a return policy.

my 2 cents
Old 2nd June 2006
  #3
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Meriphew's Avatar
 

Ditch the mic, keep the pre.
Old 2nd June 2006
  #4
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A440's Avatar
I'll be really interested to hear what people have to say about your post. I have a TLM 103 and TL Audio C1 compresser/pre...and want a change too. I asked a pro engineer about pre's the other day and he told me the DAV BG1 is a superb clean pre (which is cool seeing as it's a relatively cheap option). I'm looking for a really nice chain (mic, pre-amp, converter) for male vocals (think Neil Young), acoustic guitar, occasional other acoustic instruments. Good sounding bass guitar is important too, so maybe a new tracking/bus compresser (Neve Portico Compresser looks nice)...
Old 2nd June 2006
  #5
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meriphew
Ditch the mic, keep the pre.
Yeah, I'm definitely gonna replace the TLM 103 first.

I actually went for the ME-1NV + RNC1773 (Really Nice Compressor) on none other than our own Fletcher's recommendation.

Keep it coming. It's great to see more than one person can benefit from your advice.
Old 2nd June 2006
  #6
So really, if someone were to come knocking at my door asking me what preamp to buy if they could only afford one high quality all around unit without even stopping to think about it I would tell them to get the ME-1NV. Hands down it is top quality top notch stuff, a real workhorse.

As far as "clean" goes, I have a TG2, Vintech 473 and a rack of 7 SCA A12's when I want clean I reach for my ME-2NV. With the output all the way up and the input down it is a very clean preamp. Is it Millennia clean, no probably not but it is as clean as I would ever need (I like a little grind). I would also say that the ME-2NV is about the most versatile pre that I have as well, when you pin the input and back down the output it can get pretty gritty, the load and impedance buttons make a pretty big difference as well.

All in all I would say that your problem with the sound you are getting is not coming from the Great River (unless there is something wrong with the unit).

One more thing to note..... I would personally never sell out of a bunch of gear and get a bunch of other gear if I were looking for a specific sound. All this stuff plays with each other. I would look at the Gefell or Soundelux mics and try them with the ME-2NV first, it might be just what the Dr. ordered and if not then change out the preamp.

Good luck.
Old 2nd June 2006
  #7
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

I'm not going to even pretend I've tried all these pre's but from what I've read on this Forum and others it seems you ought to be checking out the Grace Designs Model 101 if it's transparency you're after, although as others have pointed out it's rare to see folks unhappy with anything from Great River!

The Gefell M930 is a really nice mic, although I'm not one of those who say it is 'in a different league' to the TLM103 - IMHO you may not experience quite the revelation you're looking for if you switch to the M930, but as always YMMV. Why not maybe keep your Great River Pre and buy a Brauner Valvet and see how you get on with that - that really would be a different flavour.
Old 2nd June 2006
  #8
Jtt
Gear Addict
 
Jtt's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meriphew
Ditch the mic, keep the pre.
Or wind up selling the GR at 100-200 loss, and wind up buying it again later anyway.

heh

-Jtt
Old 2nd June 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Keep the pre. I have all the Chandler pre flavours and they are not clean sounding. (very nice though)


Nick
Old 2nd June 2006
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
So really, if someone were to come knocking at my door asking me what preamp to buy if they could only afford one high quality all around unit without even stopping to think about it I would tell them to get the ME-1NV. Hands down it is top quality top notch stuff, a real workhorse.

(...)

I would look at the Gefell or Soundelux mics and try them with the ME-2NV first, it might be just what the Dr. ordered and if not then change out the preamp.
I agree with you guys.
I just hope it's the TLM 103 that is causing distortion in the signal.

I do get a more transparent sound from the ME-1NV by keeping the Gain knob turned down and the Output Level button up but then dialing the threshold on the RNC isn't easy because level at the gain stage is so low.
Old 2nd June 2006
  #11
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Gregg Sartiano's Avatar
 

What's the A/D conversion on your setup?
Old 3rd June 2006
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Kalite Marka's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by id-rejected
......Don't get me wrong, the ME-1NV is a great preamp but I simply can't seem to "dial" transparency on this unit. I've too often experienced what sounds like a distorted signal with it......
TLM103 is a problematic mic for the most part (at least in my experience); it does weird things to the highs and the mids, maybe that is where you’re getting that distorted sound.
OTOH distortion can come from many other or combination of sources, check all your connections, levels, settings, converters, I/Os etc. one by one and make sure all is ok.

Although you’re looking for transparency many of the pres and mics you’ve listed are on the colored side.
Old 3rd June 2006
  #13
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NoEgo's Avatar
Selling TLM 103 & ME-1NV... now what?

I have to agree with the Grace...I own the Grace Design, and UA 610, Mindprint, Joe Meek, ART, Groove Tube,
The Grace is incredibly transparent.
I think the issue is the mic. I also love the U195 Soundelux., even though a lot of people say it is sibilant. I have not run across this before, but I mainly use it with proximity for a warm sound.
If you want pure, and not harsh, my fav is my AEA R84 Ribbon with the Grace. Like the room. . My opinion. I have found the TLM unit to be too much in the upper mids for most things. Too much of the TLM and my tweeters were screaming.
If you want to unload the GRiver, e-me. It is a great unit.

New on this board today. Like what I have read on these pages. It will be great to share stories.



2track reel to reel, to 4track cassette, to 8track reel to reel, to VS880, to VS1680, to Cubase SX3...25 years and still loving it.
Old 3rd June 2006
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Sartiano
What's the A/D conversion on your setup?
Oh Jeez... straight to MBox2... for now (feeling ashamed). I know A/D conversion on this dongle isn't very good but I can't believe it would distort the signal!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalite Marka
Although you’re looking for transparency many of the pres and mics you’ve listed are on the colored side.
You're right Kalite. Actually I'm not looking for transparency, more for an undistorted signal!
Old 3rd June 2006
  #15
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ScumBum's Avatar
 

I think I know what your talking about ,

I sold my TLM 103 because it is very harsh sounding , kinda sounds like distortion . When I would boost 3K for vocals it would really stand out .

Sell that mic , keep the pre .
Old 3rd June 2006
  #16
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dreamsongs's Avatar
 

Surprised to see that nobody can find some use for the TLM103. I have one too which I've used (strangely enough) with my ME-2NV on acoustic guitar which ended up quite usable.

Since it has a boost in the upper mids and the GR has some coloring it was quite a good match. I also tried it with my 737 for a cleaner version and it wasn't bad at all.

Like it's been said earlier and many posts, it's all about the combination and source to be used. I personally, would never part with my ME-2NV, it is a great pre and very versatile.

You can never have too many good quality pres. Keep the GR and add another one that is a bit more transparent. You will certainly regret selling that unit in the future, it has many uses. As far as the TLM103, it is not awful and maybe has a limited use but as I said, with the right combo it can do well...
Old 3rd June 2006
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

I'd replace the 103 by an M930 and keep the Pre!!

Blind
Old 3rd June 2006
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Hmmm maybe the Mbox could have an influence on the distortion in your chain if you are driving the gain too hard on your pre. I don't think the Mbox has a lot of head room through it's analog section. Maybe try an external AD converter through the Spif of your Mbox or just keep the gain down on your pre.

Nick
Old 4th June 2006
  #19
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NoEgo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aearth
Hmmm maybe the Mbox could have an influence on the distortion in your chain if you are driving the gain too hard on your pre. I don't think the Mbox has a lot of head room though it's analog section. Maybe try an external AD converter through the Spif of your Mbox or just keep the gain down on your pre.

Nick

There could be some truth to this I agree. The 1010LT's pair I own (M Audio) sound really good as far as AD DA but I used to use converters with my VS1680 because the pres on that unit were very brittle.

There is no way it is the Great River unit though, unless it's defective. The thing with Great pres is that they make a good or really good mic sound it's best. They can't make bad in good out. That was advice I received from Mr. Dan Kennedy himself, when I asked him if it will bring life to some cheaper condensors I had. The GR pre is a trooper when hit, and mics without transformers "TL" have more output but don't have the headroom.
I also agree that on acoustic guitar the TLM sounds ok. If it is a fairly dense mix. On it's own though I found it to be sharp sounding. If that is what one needs or wants at the time, then it is right mic for that time.
You should have a collection of sounds anyway. One mic can make for boring mixes.

Why don't you post a few second snippet of what you hear. I am sure someone here can come up with the solution for you. Just a thought.
Old 4th June 2006
  #20
Gear Head
 

Thanks for all your replies guys, I really appreciate.

Yeah, I heard the Gefell M930 is great. My girldfriend is flying off to Germany in a few weeks and I'm wondering if it would be cheaper to buy it there than here in Canada.
Any of you guys know of a good German online store where one can buy Nefell mics?

Doing a little more research here on GS I just read about the hand made Pearlman TM 1. If it really is as good as people say this thing might just be the best < 2K microphone out there at the moment. Oh well...
Old 4th June 2006
  #21
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popmann's Avatar
Quote:
As far as "clean" goes, I have a TG2, Vintech 473 and a rack of 7 SCA A12's when I want clean I reach for my ME-2NV.
That speaks more to your other pres and lack of real perspective on transparent gain. You have a bunch of intentionally colored Neve clones and is the "a" series the old school API clone? Tell you what...plug in a Millenia or Sytek or Avalon or (I'd imagine, thouhg I've not used them) GML. Let me know how "transparent" you think the ME1-nv is.

The Me1NV does some GREAT things. It's almost worth the price of admission for the bassDI...but, certain mics love the thing--and it's a wonderful sound, IMO. Solid as a rock down low---deep but tight. I wouldn't recommend it as an only pre, though--not unless the person was REALLY into 70's rock sounds-or they were primarily a bass player. . Really clean pres are too versatile not to be the "first".

Second...RNC? Is there no way that distortion could come from inexperienced/inappropriate compressor settings--probably right in the middle of the two gain stages of the Great River...or else plugged in line--balanced gear into unbalanced...

I've never used a 103. Can't tell you. I've spent a great deal of time with both the ME1nv and RNC...I can tell you the problem ain't the GR. And if set&patched right, it's not the RNC.
Old 4th June 2006
  #22
Gear Head
 
loranoyd's Avatar
 

In defense of the TLM-103

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamsongs
Surprised to see that nobody can find some use for the TLM103. I have one too which I've used (strangely enough) with my ME-2NV on acoustic guitar which ended up quite usable.

Since it has a boost in the upper mids and the GR has some coloring it was quite a good match. I also tried it with my 737 for a cleaner version and it wasn't bad at all.

Like it's been said earlier and many posts, it's all about the combination and source to be used. I personally, would never part with my ME-2NV, it is a great pre and very versatile.

You can never have too many good quality pres. Keep the GR and add another one that is a bit more transparent. You will certainly regret selling that unit in the future, it has many uses. As far as the TLM103, it is not awful and maybe has a limited use but as I said, with the right combo it can do well...
I've just re-listened to the concert my wife & I recorded on May 21st, and I simply must say how much we love our pair of 103s as outriggers for orchestral recordings. Excellent, excellent response on- and off-axis, across the whole range of orchestral instruments. Our pair of harps in the performance of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique greatly benefitted from the 103 outrigger on stage left, for example. The pair were fed into a RNP, with the gain pots at just under half. The 103s pair really well with this pre. Main pair were Beyerdynamics M160s in Blumlein (running into a pair of John Hardy M1s), but the two 103s really round out the overall sound--giving it a great bottom end. Precise, crisp highs--never harsh or screechy. I really don't understand where all the 103-bashing comes from--it's simply not my experience. But then again, I'm way out of the mainstream conventional wisdom when it comes to classical recording: I like the sound I get using large diameter condensors. (More importantly, the people who buy the recordings really like the sound!) So, put me in the camp of people who really, truly enjoy (and regularly use) the TLM-103!

Lloyd
Old 4th June 2006
  #23
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kurt's Avatar
Are you sure you are using LINE & not Mic Intutt on your M-Box?
Old 4th June 2006
  #24
Gear Head
 
ObnoxiousTyrant's Avatar
 

Go with the Grace 101 and the Perlman!
Old 4th June 2006
  #25
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Can you post a wav of your vocal recording with this chain?

The 103 is not a great sounding mic but it's specs are fantastic. It's very well built and it most definately should not be distorting.

The Great River is a cracking little preamp. No it's not neutral but again it shouldn't be distorting.

The Weak link in your chain, for me, is the MBOX with out doubt.

As I said the TLM 103 is the kind of mic that's not as universal as say the older U87 but it can still yield excellent results. It does have world class spec to it.

I had one for 18mnths and sold it. I wished I hadn't. I have a Brauner VMA and Soundelux E251C yet a singer I recorded reguarly benefited the best from the TLM 103. Now I need to go and get another one.

Look at your AD/DA and even more importantly - analyse your gain structure in the signal path. Nothing should be distorting unless you have a singer who is 6" from the mic belting out and the Pre is at 65db!!!

Paul Blenn
Old 4th June 2006
  #26
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Jeff16years's Avatar
 

if you want clean go with a Sytek and a KSM32. you'll get nothing except for what you hear.

good luck.
-Jeff
Old 4th June 2006
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann
That speaks more to your other pres and lack of real perspective on transparent gain. You have a bunch of intentionally colored Neve clones and is the "a" series the old school API clone? Tell you what...plug in a Millenia or Sytek or Avalon or (I'd imagine, thouhg I've not used them) GML. Let me know how "transparent" you think the ME1-nv is.

The Me1NV does some GREAT things. It's almost worth the price of admission for the bassDI...but, certain mics love the thing--and it's a wonderful sound, IMO. Solid as a rock down low---deep but tight. I wouldn't recommend it as an only pre, though--not unless the person was REALLY into 70's rock sounds-or they were primarily a bass player. . Really clean pres are too versatile not to be the "first".
Hey Popmann.

Just to clarify. In my quote you will see that I put quotations around the word "clean" meaning "of the pres that I own it is about the cleanest." I record rock and roll and I like color preamps not straight wire with gain. I have plenty of experience with Millenia and Avalon units (and I would not call an Avalon pre "clean" either) and they don't fit my taste in a rock and roll preamp.

I never said the Great River was "transparent" in my post did I? And I also VERY specifically said "Is it Millennia clean, no probably not" in my post as well.

I also completely disagree that the ME-2NV is a 70's rock preamp, that is absurd. I record a thrash metal band with a ME-2NV and the recording is going to sound like Led Zep? I don't think so.
Old 4th June 2006
  #28
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popmann's Avatar
Quote:
I also completely disagree that the ME-2NV is a 70's rock preamp, that is absurd. I record a thrash metal band with a ME-2NV and the recording is going to sound like Led Zep? I don't think so.
OK. That didn't mean that everything you run through it all of a sudden sounds like a Fleetwood Mac album...but, if you WANT your record to sound like Rumours, that's a good place to start.

But, then...we also define 70's rock differently too...since I haven't listened to Led Zepplin since I was 14.

I'm just adding another perspective here. Part of the reason I bought an ME1nv as my first boutique pre was all the claims of "transparency and versatility"....for me, I just disagree with that. It's a nice pre for certain things---and built like a TANK!

Anyway...sorry if I offended your sensibility. I think we can agree that if he's hearing "distortion"...there's something wrong. And my guess is still the way the RNC is set and/or patched in.
Old 4th June 2006
  #29
Gear Addict
 

Hmm, Zep was moslty Helios, no?
I suspect clipping the conveters here though.
Old 4th June 2006
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann
OK. That didn't mean that everything you run through it all of a sudden sounds like a Fleetwood Mac album...but, if you WANT your record to sound like Rumours, that's a good place to start.

But, then...we also define 70's rock differently too...since I haven't listened to Led Zepplin since I was 14.

I'm just adding another perspective here. Part of the reason I bought an ME1nv as my first boutique pre was all the claims of "transparency and versatility"....for me, I just disagree with that. It's a nice pre for certain things---and built like a TANK!

Anyway...sorry if I offended your sensibility. I think we can agree that if he's hearing "distortion"...there's something wrong. And my guess is still the way the RNC is set and/or patched in.
No offence taken man.. it's all good.



The point I was making in the origianl post is that the problem is probably not the Great River unit, it is a quality piece of kit (I think we both agree on that).

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