Neumann TLM 103 Microphone Review | Studio Recording MIC

Neumann TLM 103The Cheapest Mic by the legendary Brand

You have the Shure SM58 for live performances…

You have other microphones that sound great live better than the TLM103.

But why should you still consider buying it?

It has a reputation for easy breakage and troublesome maintenance.

There’s a huge payoff. Actually, are awesome!

Read more: Microphones for studio Recording


Hardware and inner works

TLM 103 in the boxThe TLM 103 is a fixed-cardioid, large diaphragm FET microphone that is intended for studios.

Neumann considers it its low-budget line but its price is worth $1,000. It uses Neumann’s capsule called the K103, that is well-known from the u-67/u-87 microphones.

With very low noise and high sensitivity, using this for live performances will not make sense.

But as a studio microphone, it is a bit strange considering the mic has no pad or high-pass filter to isolate certain sounds.

The capsule’s assembly allows it to hear “footsteps” and other noises mechanically transmitted through the microphone stand.


Picture of the TLM103The fixed-cardioid, which is shaped like a heart, allows the TLM103 to reject the sounds coming from behind the microphone and accept sounds only from the front.

It may be challenging for first time studio owners to find the right sound because the TLM103 depends heavily on source material, the acoustic environment and the singer. It would be wise not to blame the hardware at this point because it is definitely the singer and environment’s effects on the microphone that could make it work.


o how does this New one Sound?

It is impossible to say that any Neumann microphone would sound bad.

neumann TLM 103I really found the Neumann TLM103 to be the cross of a condenser and dynamic microphone in terms of sound quality.

It relies on phantom power. But if you’ve got that set up right, it can give you a great sound.

I tested it out with different preamp choices. I used an entry-level preamp and got some decent sounds, but it doesn’t sound like $1,000 to be honest.

There is no warmth or proper reflection. It could also mean highly-annoying background sounds getting into your recording.

Testing the Mic!

neumann-TLM-103I borrowed some gear from a friend using a Univesal Audio Solo 610. The high quality pre-amp and high quality a/d converters definitely picked up lots of great detail and voice nuances.

It had a very bright and lifelike sound.

Listening to my acoustic guitar recording, the sound was popping out of the mix. The drum overheads were full and prominent.

Because there is no rolloff, you get tons of sensitivity.

Everything will extremely depend on your listening environment and your source material. Play a wrong note in an acoustic guitar, it’s there. Sing a wrong pitch, it’s there. Bang the glass of the recording studio wall, it’s there.

Despite mounting it on elastic stands to avoid sensitivity, it still manages to pick up vibrations from the stand. I guess some musicians will need discipline working with this little microphone.


Conclusion about this new Design

The Neumann TLM103 is designed not for simple home studios. You will need some good preamps to make it sound proper. These two are investments if you want to gain a lifelike sound from your sources. This is highly advisable for starting studios needing some high quality sound without much trouble!

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