NeumannTLM 103 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

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Neumann TLM 103

There is nothing more disappointing than listening back to a recording, only to find that it lacks the sparkle and energy of the original performance. To really capture the essence of a performance, every piece of your recording workflow needs to work in harmony—starting with the microphone. And in a world where professional microphones can cost thousands of dollars, you don't want to second guess your tools. So you start researching: what is the best microphone for recording lead vocals? Voiceover? Acoustic guitar? Guitar cabinets? Strings? Piano?

You want to be sure you get the best tool for the job—and that's where Neumann's TLM 103 comes in. With a capsule derived from the legendary U 87 and the same transformerless design as Neumann's other high-end microphones, the TLM 103 has done what was once thought impossible: it has brought truly transparent, world-class large-diaphragm condenser mic performance to the general public. Designed for the clarity and precision required to capture crisp, clean vocals, the TLM 103 is one of the best mics for recording voice...and it's available at a price that that even modest studio budgets can afford.

With a capsule design modeled after some of the best mics of all time, the TLM 103 delivers a flat frequency response up to around 5kHz, where a 4dB presence boost takes over. This adds clarity and sparkle to everything that passes through it, making it not only a spectacular translator for voice, but for acoustic guitar, piano, and any other highly articulate sound sources you need to capture. And if you have two, you suddenly have a spectacular stereo recording rig for drum overheads, ensembles, acoustic guitar, or ambient sound.

The tight cardioid polar pattern provides a focused, direct pickup area, making it easy to capture exactly the sound you're going for without the excessive clutter of environmental sound. As such, the TLM 103 has uncommonly good isolation for such a sensitive microphone—meaning that it can even provide effective results in spaces with suboptimal acoustic treatment, or in recording environments where ambient sound is unavoidable. Moreover, because of this tight polar pattern and surprisingly high SPL handling, the TLM 103 also offers uncommonly good feedback suppression, leading a double life as an effective microphone for live amplification and recording. Frankly, this mic has a place in basically every recording setup: whether you're doing voiceover work, running a podcast, doing location sound recording, tracking in your home project studio, or running a professional studio, it will become an integral part of your workflow.

With an astonishingly low self-noise, clean frequency response, airy presence boost, and transformerless design, the Neumann TLM 103 is much more than your average condenser mic. It maintains and highlights all of the tiniest expressive nuances of your vocals, of your guitar, of your voiceover, of anything that passes through it. If you want the best combination of price and quality for recording voice and acoustic instruments, don't miss out. If you want to guarantee that the spark and energy of your performance will translate in your recordings, don't settle for anything less.

TLM 103 Features

  • Capsule design borrowed from the classic U 87
  • Transformerless circuitry for clear, transparent sound
  • Uniform cardioid pattern
  • Natural response across the full frequency range
  • Presence boost at ~5kHz+, adding sparkle and presence
  • High SPL handling: handles soft and extremely loud sounds equally gracefully
  • Low self-noise—perfect for capturing nuance and clarity
  • Compact
  • Includes storage box and swivel stand mount
  • Available in black or nickel finishes
  • Frequency response: 20Hz–20kHz
  • Dynamic range: 131 dB
  • Requires phantom power (+48V)
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Neumann TLM 103 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Reviews