In the world of music, where the recording voice is one of the salient features which beautify the whole composition, and on top of it, what quality of apparatuses are used matters.
The headquarter is based in Berlin. Neumann microphones undergo a vast amount of testing during manufacturing.
Chances are rare where the recording, whether classical, rock or pop, news broadcast, or radio dialogues, doesn’t feature at least one Neumann microphone.
Now it’s affordable for private customers too for their home studios. Neumann TLM 103 has become the number one choice in studios around the world.
It is now known as a renowned brand when it comes to microphones, headphones, etc.
TLM 103 Tech Specs
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 21mV/Pa
- Signal to Noise Ratio: 87dB-A
- Self Noise: 7dB-A
- Max SPL: 138dB
- Output Impedance: 50 ohms
- Recommended load Impedance: 1000 ohms
- 48v Phantom Power Required: Yes
- Output Type: Balanced XLR
- Diameter: 2.36 in / 60 mm
- Length: 5.2 in / 132 mm
- Acoustical operating principle: Pressure gradient transducer
- Directional pattern: Cardioid
- Supply voltage: 48 V ± 4 V
- Current consumption: 3 mA
- Matching connectors: XLR 3F
- Weight: 1lb / 450 g
Features and Benefits of Neumann TLM 103
- It is a piece of perfect equipment for vocal, and instrumental recording with extremely low self-noise level with 7db-A/17.5db CCIR is so reduced that even the smallest signals are reproduced noise-free.
- It is capable of handling sound pressure levels up to 138 DB without distortion, and Neumann TLM 103 provides a dynamic range of 131 DB, according to DIN/IEC 651.
- Straightforward handling for home recording and professional studios
- The letter TLM stands for “transformerless microphone.” An electronic structure has swapped the common transformer with the help of TLM Technology.
- With a large-diaphragm cardioid microphone
- Pressure gradient transducer with one diaphragm capsule
- Includes swivel mount
- Its price is reasonable with high quality, including all the demanding applications from home recording to professional broadcasting and commercial recording studios.
This microphone Neumann TLM 103 certainly worth its value as it’s very accurate and sounds great in just about any mixed situation.
Its proximity effect is nearly perfect, which gives the extra bass without being overbearing.
This microphone maintains a great impulse response and reproduces details of music and speech without colouration.
Neumann TLM 103 is more sensitive to structure-borne interference and wind noise. The resulting recording sounds as if you were there, listening with your ears.
It produces balanced sound with enhanced presence. The mike provides very good rejection of rearward sound. Powerpack bass is regenerated with TLM 103 despite frequency low situation.
TLM 103 in Details
“Universal cardioid mic” is the name better to define the TLM103 by Neumann. As “cardioid” refers to the directional pattern of the mic, the “heart-shaped” design accepts sound from the front and rejects them at the back.
Neumann TLM103 can grip any recording state as it includes a large-diaphragm condenser mic that stands out in difficult situations. It’s available in satin nickel and matte black finish.
It looks pretty simple yet elegant plastic swivel stand adaptor comes as standard. It acts as a strong foundation to cover the mic as screws work like thread covering the base and has a locking ring that helps adjust the adaptor for the finest angle to give the desired result.
The TLM 103 Design
Neumann has designed its microphone to be a lively doer straight out of the box.
The complete package comes with an SG I metal swivel mount and a wooden jeweler’s chest with a shaped hard foam insert which should afford a good degree of protection for the mic in storage and transit.
It’s very compact also an optional shock mount available. Neumann recommends a pop filter when recording vocals.
There are no compromises in its design which means that its appeal extends across a broad range, from professional broadcasters and recording studios to the more demanding home studios.
Inside the TLM 103
The Neumann TLM 103 addressed from the front, marked with the red Neumann logo on the microphone body.
The K 103 large-diaphragm capsule is based on the K 87, well known for the U 67 / U 87 microphones. About 5kHz, frequency retort the capsule structure has along with flat 4 dB enhancement.
Their capsules undergo over fifty different tests before final assembly, and Neumann prefers to manufacture their microphones through many handicrafts, and you can certainly see and feel this.
There has been significant progress in production and machine technology too.
Sound and quality of Neumann TLM 103
The polar pattern is as accurate as it can be with a large-diaphragm capsule and provides good front-back rejection combined with clean-sounding off-axis pickup.
The large wire mesh headgrille present in the capsule is to prevent plosive sounds and pop noises.
The unbeatable sound quality of Neumann TLM 103 maintains an excellent impulse response and reproduces the finest details of music and speech without coloration, and it’s very useful for fricative singers.
It produces seamless and flawless sound with pristine clarity as it has a transformerless design. To avoid noise, the internal structure is developed with elastic mounts to alleviate any other noise that can bother TLM 103. The idea is to the model perfect with sound clarity.
The frequency range reaches below 20 Hz; even very low bass signals are reproduced without coloration. It has a high SPL of 138 DB, so it can handle even the loudest singers yelling directly into it.
Neumann TLM 103 demands highly acute care, which means that one needs to be concerned with the environment recording.
Ensure that you have a quiet recording ambiance to get the most value from this microphone, as it’s prone to catch the ambient sounds even in a noisy place.
In a variety of large condenser Neumann mics, this one is not that expensive. It is very much economical with a top high brand and lasting sound qualities.
Neumann TLM 103 includes TLM 103 (mt) microphone and EA 1 (mt) elastic suspension. TLM shock-mounted capsule easily catches the footsteps and other vibrations in recording that contact the microphone stand.
For this reason, it is recommended to buy a shock mount for this microphone. There are bundles available that include a shock mount, e.g., TLM 103 Anniversary Edition.
The base edition does not have a shock mount. If anyone wishes, TLM 103 is also accessible in the stereo set. There is also a digital version, the TLM 103 D, which features built-in A/D conversion.
Neumann EAI shock mount and premium aluminum case are exclusively available in a special Anniversary Set.
Pros and Cons
- It possesses a very distinctive and attractive look with a small size and big sound.
- The most inexpensive large diaphragm microphone
- It delivers uncompromised professional sound for the home studio projects with a nice preamp and excellent digital audio converters.
- There is no polar pattern selection pads or filter switches
- Virtually identical to the classic U87
- It is great for acoustic instruments that are supposed to cut through the mix.
- It effectively captures a wide range of recording sources
- It’s a Neumann that makes it an asset!
- Little expensive for home studios
- Only one pick up pattern
- Mesh grille seems a bit fragile
- It does not include an XLR cable
- Should have been supplied with an elastic suspension
My Verdict About The Neumann TLM 103
The Neumann TLM 103 is one of the top brands and high-quality microphones available in the market, and it is one of Neumann’s best-selling microphones.
It’s not only an extremely superior condenser microphone that specializes in vocal and acoustic guitars, pianos, cellos, double basses, and even violins, but that can handle any instruments too.
It is much better at picking up subtle differences and better for quieter settings. This Neumann TLM 103 is highly recommended for studio recording, singing, rapping or talking, public speaking, and live performances. Its bass response is in no way overblown.
It’s very grand in looks and cost-effective, which makes it more accessible to many people.
It sounds warm and big and never thin. It’s a top choice, as its wide frequency range with low self-noise is incomparable.
I prefer satin nickel color as it’s most associated with Neumann microphones, especially its legendary U87. The mesh grille seems a bit fragile, but it is prone to dents.
Its proximity effect relative to other condensers, resulting in a balanced sound even.
Gautam Roy is a recording engineer and a blogger from India. He loves music, writing and travelling. He is also an active investor and a successful entrepreneur.