Submitted April 26, 2006
"This has to be the modern classic mic for Neumann. It sounds Beautiful."
I have tried so many mics, and really loved the way the U87 sounded with our vocalists. After hiring the U87 for over 2 years, i decided to try out the TLM 103, and it sounds the same, if not a little quieter. Its a mic for life, and its staying. For under $1000, this is the best and most convincing sounding mic in market. Some say it lacks any character, or it sounds lifeless. Thats becuase they are used to scooped sounding mics like the classic clones, or they have a problem source in the first place.
Dont be fooled by some of the reviews below, they don't even list preamps used, etc. The sound of this mic is just like a classic u87. It has the same characteristics throughout. We put a TLM 103 up against a hired in u87, and used a Summit Tube Preamp, going into the Apogee Rosetta 800 into Logic Pro. For monitoring, we used a pair of high end Adam S3a's.
We recorded a Male RnB Vocalist with a smooth Donell Jones styled voice. The vocals came out like for like on both mics, and neither mic was any better. Both mics had the same classic Neuammn sound, with that unique midrange presence, and both mics cut right through the mixes with vivid detail, with no Eq applied. The sound was full and rounded with slight low midrange warmth, with just about enough air to make the vocals sound natural yet open and defined. We normally use either hire in a u87 (classic) or a AT4060 tube mic. But since we tried out the 103, our vocalists all prefer it, especially over the AT4060, which tends to sound darker than the neumann.
Overall, the TLM 103 sounds so close to the bigger bro, that in a blind vocal test, you wouldnt know which to choose. We ended up buying one after all out tests and looks like we dont need to hire that 87 ever again.
Simplest things are the best. No switches, and its a fixed pattern. A true vocal mic. Its a U87 without the transformer, switches and and the extra patterns.
Ease of Use
How easy can it get, A high quality cable, a decent mic pre, and started recording in pro qaulity.
Build quality is what you would expect from a German company like Neumann. The finish on this mic is Ace, no marks, no cheapness, just solid construction and amazing craft. I also have alot of time for another great brand AKG, but still prefer the Neumann sound overall.
I payed alot for this mic and bought it as a set with its shockmount. If stolen, i would replace it in a heartbeat. Its a million miles better than 'ANY' chinese mic like the SE's and the like. Its only takes a few good listens to see hear the difference in reproduction of sound qaulity and resolution pick up. The chinese mics tend to be harsh, brittle, and lack definition, no matter what the Ad says.
Never needed them.
The Wow Factor
It looks the business, small yet solid, smart and beautifully formed, and has the Neumann brand to look up to. It looks as good as it sounds IMO. The mic has a Pro look and its much better to look at than some of the cheaper bulky mics.
RnB, Rap, Ballads, etc.
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