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TLM-103. Anyone's fav. vocal mic?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by John Stafford, Oct 9, 2004.

  1. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    HI all,
    I was just wondering if anyone here who REALLY loves this mic, especially for vocals. While it's heavily criticised in some quarters, some people of course are fanatical about it.

    John Stafford
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    It is a good mic. Could even say real good. Like any mic it is not perfect or best all of the time, but I own and use one on many occasions for vocals and other duties. I'm glad I own one.
  3. johnthemiracle

    johnthemiracle Active Member

    yes i LOVE it! i own one (the only mic apart from a sm 57) and i use it for EVERYTHING. obviously...
    i have recorded with a u87 also for a long time and although it has the same capsule the u87 has more presence in the high mids imo. it better cuts through the mix. however you can make up for that easily with some careful eq'ing. this is at the same time a good thing: the tlm 103 is much more versatile than the u87 (which i'd use for tracking vocals mainly) and i put it on everything, regardless what. and so far it always sounded good! i've used it on vocals, guitars, violins, double bass, cello, viola, as main system for an ensemble, percussion, accordeon, flute...
    while i'd prefer schoeps mics on strings the 103 still does a great job. you just have to know that you'll get some additional presence compared to the schoeps and take care of that...
    i think while there may be better mics out there for certain applications you almost can't go wrong with the tlm 103...to me it's a workhorse like the c 414 (which is probably even more versatile due to its switchable characteristics...) hth.
  4. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sounds a little spitty to my ears.
    But, you always have to evaluate a microphone based on the PreAmp you are using.

    A TLM103 through a Mackie sounds pretty bad but, through a Great River or a Chandler it is a totally different story.

    I always thought that Audiotechnica had a good thing going for the $$$. Thier Large Diaphragm mics always sounded sweeter than the TLM103.

    Hope this helps,

  5. Johnjm22

    Johnjm22 Guest

    I would like to hear peoples experiences using a 103 on a gutiar amp, especially with distortion.
  6. djui5

    djui5 Guest

    don't like it....
  7. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Chris has a point... around our joint we use a TLM-103 to do "initial check out" on pre-amps that have been sent in for evaluation. In fact, a TLM-103 (serial #13) is the first thing a new unit sees when it walks through the door.

    The TLM-103 is a pretty harsh and unforgiving microphone so for an "initial testing" kind of thing it is perfect for our purposes. Kinda not that great for most recording applications... but with so many other cool microphones in the TLM-103's price range... I really have no idea why anyone would bother with a 103 except so they could say they "have a Neumann" in their studio... which is really a pretty dumbass reason to buy a mic.

    All things are always interdependent... how different pre's couple with different mics, how different mics couple with different sound sources... it all matters.
  8. Johnjm22

    Johnjm22 Guest

    Well what are the two things clients most often ask for?

    Pro Tools & Nuemann

    I could understand why someone who can' t afford a U87 would want a TLM 103. That way when clients ask if you have Nuemann you could reply "yes." And clients sure as hell don't know the difference between a 103 & 87, they just know you have a Nuemann.

    BTW, what are some good alternatives to the 103 in the same price range?

    I've been looking to buy a nice LD condenser mic and was considering the 103, but I would like to hear some alternatives.
  9. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    We all don't live in Fletcher's world where he has access to just about anything he wants or needs. Fletcher, in all fairness you sure sang a different tune back when you were still selling 103's? In fact it was you that convinced me to take a chance on buying one from you about 9-months after they came out. You also don't seem to like the AT4050 and I find that to be a real workhorse useable mic as well.

    I also agree the 103 has a kind of spity, if that is what you want to call it type of character, but not always or on every source is that a real problem and it can be tammed by other means such as pre amp matching, eq and mic placement.
  10. MistaG

    MistaG Guest

    In that price range you have the AT4060 or the Soundulex U195. Much better choices in my opinion.
  11. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    In 6 years in business I have been asked for PT or Neumann's about 2x. The most common question ( and the absolute most dumbass question to ask) is "What's your rate?" Or calling on Saturday and asking if I have anything open tonight.

    I had a 103 and sold it. It was a decent mic but very limited in application. The KSM44 cost less, comes with a real shock mount not the useless POS that Neumann charges an extra $250 for and is multi-pattern.

    Besides that it sounds better on more things than the TLM103 IMO.
  12. djui5

    djui5 Guest


    Maybe you should look at the good side of it and reconize that you learned something that everyone should know

    Try it before you buy it....
  13. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Well, I can only speak about Australian prices, but the U195 is around $500 dearer than the TLM-103.

    I really like my 103, but note that it's the only "decent" LD mic I have, and I'm still very much a novice AE ;)
    But it does seem to suit our vocalist nicely. And that's what matters in my situation.
    I pair it up with a Buzz Audio SSA1.1
  14. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Another "good"option for the$$$ is the AKG EB414. Not a great mic but one that can be used on many,many sources. (caution, the tiny plasic switches for pattern,roll-off and pad will almost certainly be broken off, have pen/screwdriver handy)

    Here's a cool mic also that I have found mucho uses for: AKG 535
    It's a small diaphragm condenser. I've used it on overs, acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals... you name it. A very under-rated mic in my opinion and very cost effective.

    NBC use to use these for many apps on SNL and still does today I think.

    Check it out.

  15. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Oh man.... I have 4 of those babies! They are an extremely versatile mic. My main use for them is for live stage vocals, but I am ALWAYS finding uses for them in the studio.

    AKG C-535-EB
  16. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Laugh all ya want. I don't regret for one minute owning or using the 103. I also own and use the AT4060 and I wouldn't say it is a better mic absolutely. Rather it is a much, much different sounding mic.
  17. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Yeah I don't know what it is about AT stuff... I just have never been able to wrap around it but there are a whole lot of people who dig those things.

    As far as the TLM-103 and the different tune goes... when they first came out, they were the only reasonably priced lg. diaphragm FET cardioid only condenser on the market other than the TLM-193 [which I have said I thought was a complete piece of $*^t since the minute it was released, and think that now more than ever... but I digress].

    From there, the TLM-103 started to see some competition, namely from the Soundelux U-195 and the Microtech Gefell M-930... so, the price ended up dropping on the TLM-103 to around $700 USD... which in all honesty seems about fair for that mic. From what I understand about the current price structure, the price on the TLM-103 is up around the price on the Soundelux U-195 and the Microtech Gefell M-930... and it ain't half the mic of a 195 nor an M-930.

    I hope that properly clarifies my previous statements.

    [oh... and FWIW... you would have no idea of the utter crap I have to try to wade through in the process of finding "all I want and all I need"... I have some stuff in that we've been trying out... if they attached criminal penalties for designing and building stuff that sounded like utter crap, the dude that put this together would be doing 20 to life with no hope for parole.

    My point is that I have to take the good with the bad on that end of it, it ain't all milk and honey].

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