Quantcast
Neumann TLM 103's are everywhere & they sound very good. Is something wrong with me? - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Neumann TLM 103's are everywhere & they sound very good. Is something wrong with me?
Old 24th September 2018
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Neumann TLM 103's are everywhere & they sound very good. Is something wrong with me?

Well, I've been visiting different PRO studios lately, and I've found that, even though they have expensive Telefunkens, Bocks, and Fleas, they like to use the TLM103 sometimes they want a condenser mic, even for expensive productions, specially on vocals and acoustic guitars.

I actually listened to some recordings made with it, and I actually felt a bit stupid to see that a 1000€ mic could perform as good as other mics double or four times the price, specially after readying here in GS so many people saying that the TLM 103 is a "regular" or "entry level" microphone.

I asked the people in these studios why they were using it instead of the more expensive mics they also had, and they told me that the sound was as good as the others, simple as that.

Then they also added that they would color or not the sound with a 1073 or a LA-2A (or other preamps) depending o the source and song, but that the mic itself was good, with low noise, enough quality highs, and enough warmth.

So my question to you gearheads, is something wrong with it? Isn't it relevant that so many pro studios use a TLM103 as a good choice, even when they have some of the best of the best available as well, in order to consider the TLM103 a top quality mic for acoustic sources?

I could consider buying a TLM103 for my home studio, as I have been long debating on which microphone to buy, but have not settled yet (looking at mics double the price up to now), and this could complement the ones I have, specially for acoustic guitars.

Thanks.

P.S. I would appreciate that this thread doesn't become a pro-tlm103 vs anti-tlm103. I am not even really considering buying it as my main workhorse mic, that's not what I ask, I just ask because it surprised me seing it out in a few studios with better mics around, after reading so much bad stuff about them.

Last edited by ttattwa; 6th October 2018 at 09:06 AM.. Reason: added a p.s. to lower the testosterone in the thread as little bit
Old 24th September 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Glenn Bucci's Avatar
 
42 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
There is no wrong or right answer. Sometimes I will use a Blue Blueberry instead of a higher end tube mic. I will run the Blueberry through a Manley mic pre to add some warmth and it sounds fantastic. The big difference with the higher end mics is the top end and smoothness. Many times it's the best for great vocalist while good to average voices can sound just as good on mid level mics especially the TLM 103.You just need to work with the proximity effect to control how much low end you want. I also use a hp filter on vocals as well
Old 24th September 2018 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci ➡️
There is no wrong or right answer. Sometimes I will use a Blue Blueberry instead of a higher end tube mic. I will run the Blueberry through a Manley mic pre to add some warmth and it sounds fantastic. The big difference with the higher end mics is the top end and smoothness. Many times it's the best for great vocalist while good to average voices can sound just as good on mid level mics especially the TLM 103.You just need to work with the proximity effect to control how much low end you want. I also use a hp filter on vocals as well
Yes, the hp filter can be added later on. I have the BAE with the hpf on it and it is really nice so I wouldn't need that switch on the mic itself. I guess that most of the time we don't need 5, 6 or 8 different modes, so the most used one (cardioid) is enough... if that's the case, maybe that's why it sounds so good. (given that the preamps and interface are good, obviously.
Old 24th September 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Exactly which “High End Studios”
TLM 103’s to my ears sound almost Glassy and pinging Bright! Lot of equalisers there to fix numerous TLM-103 brightness!
Just my opinion naturally!
Old 24th September 2018
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttattwa ➡️
So my question to you gearheads, is something wrong with me?
"Wrong?" No, more like "underdeveloped."
Old 24th September 2018
  #6
Gear Head
 
I have both u87 and 103 and use 103 more than 87 for numerous applications.
It has 'that' sound that I'm looking for ..

Of course, this is only my .2c




Old 24th September 2018 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
"Wrong?" No, more like "underdeveloped."
Can you elaborate? I am not sure what you want to say, or if you are trying to make a joke (which I didn't get).
Old 24th September 2018 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLastByte ➡️
Exactly which “High End Studios”
TLM 103’s to my ears sound almost Glassy and pinging Bright! Lot of equalisers there to fix numerous TLM-103 brightness!
Just my opinion naturally!
Sure, thanks! how do you use these various equalisers to fix the TLM103? wouldn't it be enough with a dark comp, or a dark pre, or a bit of high shelf to attenuate that in the box?
Old 24th September 2018 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farabut ➡️
I have both u87 and 103 and use 103 more than 87 for numerous applications.
It has 'that' sound that I'm looking for ..

Of course, this is only my .2c

Thanks. Good to know, I am sure it happens a lot. With all my high end gear, I preffer the high end gear than the "regular" gear. However, I carefully selected it so it is that way. I've tried many more expensive gear for almost every kind of equipment / instrument which I didn't like as much as something cheaper, but usually I buy expensive stuff (music related) because it offers a clear advantage.

The TML 102 is a different story, but the TML 103 seems to be well regarded by every musician and engineer I have met.
Old 24th September 2018 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttattwa ➡️
Can you elaborate? I am not sure what you want to say, or if you are trying to make a joke (which I didn't get).
Not a joke.

In my opinion, the TLM103 quite often behaves very badly on up-close voices, either speaking or singing. Eventually, maybe once you own one and use it every day, you'll start hearing what I'm talking about. But you're not hearing it yet.

I fully realize that by posting my first post I'd be inviting blowback and maybe making you feel insulted. But it's not like you didn't ask.
Old 24th September 2018 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Not a joke.

In my opinion, the TLM103 quite often behaves very badly on up-close voices, either speaking or singing. Eventually, maybe once you own one and use it every day, you'll start hearing what I'm talking about. But you're not hearing it yet.

I fully realize that by posting my first post I'd be inviting blowback and maybe making you feel insulted. But it's not like you didn't ask.
ok, now I know what you mean. The proximity effect must be taken care of, probably.

I am not actually defending the mic, I don't own it. It was actually during a search for a good Elam 251 kind of mic (under 3.000€) that I found that some engineers told me that they were using the TLM103 more, and only then I started looking a bit more into it.

The "what's wrong with me" was a way to express the general sentiment of this forum towards the TLM103 every time it pops up and it should have been a "is something wrong with them?" instead... since it is not well regarded here, in general, but it actually IS once you get outside GS.
Old 28th September 2018
  #12
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
the first things that pops on my mind is, Exactly which High End Studios?
i own a couple 103's and they only get pulled as a last resort.
P.S. i love my first generation Blue Blueberry.
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Ty Ford's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Not a joke.

In my opinion, the TLM103 quite often behaves very badly on up-close voices, either speaking or singing. Eventually, maybe once you own one and use it every day, you'll start hearing what I'm talking about. But you're not hearing it yet.

I fully realize that by posting my first post I'd be inviting blowback and maybe making you feel insulted. But it's not like you didn't ask.
enh, The thing is, the TLM 103 (I'll say it again) is very picky about preamps. Wrong preamp and it sounds thin and plasticky. In the right preamp, bingo!

The Focusrite Red 2 channel preamp is a bad match. The GML and Millennia Media STT-1 are good.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford ➡️
enh, The thing is, the TLM 103 (I'll say it again) is very picky about preamps.
Funny thing about that. With the 103 tracks that people send me, seems like they were all recorded by people who aren't very picky about preamps. But that makes sense, since we already know they aren't very picky about mics.
Old 5th October 2018
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Ty Ford's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Brent, you have a bad sense of humor. Or maybe someone peed in your Wheaties this morning.

There's nothing wrong with a TLM 103 in the right hands. I own two of them.

::SMH::

Regards,

Ty Ford
Old 5th October 2018
  #16
Lives for gear
 
mbvoxx's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
103 is a great mic, despite the nay sayers. paired with a 1073 type amp is really shines.
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Funny thing about that. With the 103 tracks that people send me, seems like they were all recorded by people who aren't very picky about preamps. But that makes sense, since we already know they aren't very picky about mics.
You mean they don’t have the same taste as you. Most people is probably picky about picking up a 1000$ mic, maybe they like it, and maybe they do great music with it. Same with much cheaper microphones (km84, sm57, etc...).

I would probably buy a Peluso 251 instead of the 103 at that price, but I am sure that some instruments can sound better with a 103. It is the best selling microphone at this price range, the whole music world is not stupid, probably.
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttattwa ➡️
You mean they don’t have the same taste as you.
Sure, some things are a matter of personal taste. But listen to this:

Penn State TV spot

The VO starts out with, "You come here thinking..."

You hear that big snap on the beginning of "come?" That sound didn't come out of the young lady's mouth. The microphone made it, all on its own. That's what the TLM 103 does. And what you're hearing there is after my best efforts to soften it and/or chop it out. This one is a blatant and obvious example, but the 103 does it all the time. And once your ear gets attuned to it, you'll never be able to not hear it.

On the other hand, since you may not have the same taste as me, you might dig it.
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Sure, some things are a matter of personal taste. But listen to this:

Penn State TV spot

The VO starts out with, "You come here thinking..."

You hear that big snap on the beginning of "come?" That sound didn't come out of the young lady's mouth. The microphone made it, all on its own. That's what the TLM 103 does. And what you're hearing there is after my best efforts to soften it and/or chop it out. This one is a blatant and obvious example, but the 103 does it all the time. And once your ear gets attuned to it, you'll never be able to not hear it.

On the other hand, since you may not have the same taste as me, you might dig it.
Not only the "come" but the transition from "you" to "come" sounds like the wave has been cut, split into pieces, and then left like this. It sounds bad. However, I have never heard anything so bad in any of the times that I've listened to the 103 life (mostly with acoustic guitars) or in any youtube videos... so I am not sure that the only reason behind that is the mic itself. Maybe the mic has a certain frequency bump that reacts worse in certain scenarios, that's the only explanation that I would give to this... I mean, I am not saying that this mic is excellent, I don't own one, I just say that it is a mic that I had discarded already as an option for anything, but I've seen in some studios and sounding actually good...

Anyways, I have a feeling that it is not as bad as you say, but that's only a feeling. You've probably owned it for a few years from your comments but I haven't.
Old 5th October 2018
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Ty Ford's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Don't hear it here. Not a matter of taste. Could be a matter of hearing though. I've been in sessions where one person hears something and two others (all with equivalently good sound perception) don't. Maybe there was something in her raw track that was masked by the music.

Ty Ford
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford ➡️
There's nothing wrong with a TLM 103 in the right hands. I own two of them.
People who own a certain piece of gear are always its staunchest defenders, it seems.

As for "the right hands," hell, Botox is botulin but it's harmless in the right hands.

And precisely because the 103 is the second-cheapest studio Neumann condenser, it almost never falls into the right hands. A U87 in the wrong hands is way more likely to sound at least okay.

As for my sense of humor, you're right, I'm not funny. Couldn't have had anything to do with the pee in my Wheaties, though. I've got celiac, so I prefer my pee gluten-free.
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford ➡️
Don't hear it here.
There we are; case closed.
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttattwa ➡️
You've probably owned it for a few years from your comments but I haven't.
I lived with a couple for several years at a place I fourwalled, but I've never owned one. When I have to revise something that's been tracked on one, I rent.

"Thank you for calling Audio Rents."

"Hi, it's Brent. I need a 103 again."

"But you hate those."

"Yeah, what can I say. Self-loathing, I guess."

"It'll be ready in an hour."
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
I lived with a couple for several years at a place I fourwalled, but I've never owned one. When I have to revise something that's been tracked on one, I rent.

"Thank you for calling Audio Rents."

"Hi, it's Brent. I need a 103 again."

"But you hate those."

"Yeah, what can I say. Self-loathing, I guess."

"It'll be ready in an hour."
ok. good to know. Just out of curiosity, what mics would you suggest at 1000-2000$ range that are very good, according to you? I put the example of a peluso, but there are telefunkens, avantones, other neumanns, etc...
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Ty Ford's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
"Neumann should buy them all back, bulldoze them into a mass grave, and post a public apology."
Well, at least you're not shy.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttattwa ➡️
ok. good to know. Just out of curiosity, what mics would you suggest at 1000-2000$ range that are very good, according to you?
I don't have a lot of mics.

I have a couple Pearlman TM1's. Tube LDC U47 clones. Very good a lot of the time, not perfect for everything. I have "shared custody" of a U87ai. Not as exciting/bigger than life as the Pearlmans, but almost never bad on anything. When I bought the TM1's I also tried out a TM2 (smaller, less expensive) and if I had it to do over I probably would have bought two of those instead. Nearly identical sound but smaller and lighter and usable on a normal-size stand.

I do rent mics fairly regularly, since it's cheap and easy here in LA, but mostly SDC's and Sennheiser 416's.
Old 5th October 2018
  #27
Gear Guru
 
Brent vs. Ty... Ty score?

I did wonder about 103>1073 type pre, thanks mbvoxx.

When I played the Penn State audio backwards, I distinctly heard "use that 1073 instead" though!

Just kidding, I have great respect for both Ty and Brent's talents.

Chris
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Ty Ford's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Stick almost anything through a Jensen dual 990 and you should be good to go.

As far as the mic, try this: Gefell M900.


GearSlutz has forbidden me to post links to my review site, but if you're handy with google try Ty Ford and Gefell M900

Regards,

Ty Ford
Old 5th October 2018
  #29
Gear Nut
 
I've heard TLM103's on multiple different major records, from black metal vocals to rap vocals. It's a decent microphone for the price, definitely passable for a major release, but I just feel that it lacks a degree of midrange thickness and forwardness that I prefer. Perhaps paired with the right preamp like a thick sounding 1073 it would shine more, like another poster said, but on it's own I think it sounds a bit thin.
Old 5th October 2018 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Sure, some things are a matter of personal taste. But listen to this:

Penn State TV spot

The VO starts out with, "You come here thinking..."

You hear that big snap on the beginning of "come?" That sound didn't come out of the young lady's mouth. The microphone made it, all on its own. That's what the TLM 103 does. And what you're hearing there is after my best efforts to soften it and/or chop it out. This one is a blatant and obvious example, but the 103 does it all the time. And once your ear gets attuned to it, you'll never be able to not hear it.

On the other hand, since you may not have the same taste as me, you might dig it.
If that came from the mic, then why is the sound not on careers, or class or on the K of work. Sounds like a bad edit to me, or some other factor at work. Maybe the upload. I don't think that mic made that noise out of thin air. And I'm not a fan of the TLM 103. I just don't think that's what that caused that sound. Did you record it???

Steve

Last edited by Extreme Mixing; 5th October 2018 at 10:16 PM.. Reason: typo
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 60 views: 20652
Avatar for dibravibra
dibravibra 19th October 2020
replies: 68 views: 24780
Avatar for Glenn Bucci
Glenn Bucci 4th August 2019
replies: 6422 views: 820932
Avatar for phantompower9
phantompower9 4 days ago
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump