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Hi Everyone,
I recently bought Neumann TLM-103 mic but I am wondering what is your opinion of it and more importantly how it compares to RODE NTK mike. I initially wanted to buy NTK but they didn't have one in stock so I got the Neumann. Should I return it and get NTK (they still don't have it in stock yet!)

Any help will be highly appreciated.



P.S. I forgot to say that it will be used ONLY for vocals (mostly female)
I also have Audio-Technica AT4033a and Neumann sounds 5 times better IMHO.


Doublehelix Thu, 03/20/2003 - 03:32

I'm a Rode fan, as anyone who has read my posts will agree to! (I have the NTK, NT2 and an NT5 pair)

I am amazed at the sound you can get out of the NTK! It is really warm and smooth with a great feel. I do a lot of female vocal recording, and up until the NTK, I had a lot of problems getting the sound not to be too brittle (The NT2 is horrible on female vox without some serious high-end EQ'ing).

The NTK also really shines on male rock vocals, and also have to admit that it sounds pretty fantastic on acoustic guitar.

The TLM103 is a fine mic, but it is in the budget range for a Neumann mic, and although it supposedly has the same capsule as a U87, it obviously has quite a different sound. Fats calls my Rode mics "disposable" with no real resale value, and he is probably right! The Neumann has the "wow factor" with your clients, and will ceratinly hold its value much better than the Rodes will.

The NTK really rocks, the Neumann is more of an investment.

Bobby Loux Thu, 03/20/2003 - 08:27


I'm a vocalist myself and have a lot of expereince with both mics, on my voice, female and instruments.. here's my take:

The NTK has more color/character/upper sheen, sizzle than the 103. this makes it real cool for vocals as it adds a "uniquness" to your tracks. its definetley a particular sound that you have to be in to. so if your looking for that type of a vocal mic, its real cool!.....I'm a male tenor so i do like the frequency it kinda puts me in during the actual performance under the headphones. (its sizzle seems to be in the perfect vocal spot for my voice) making me push less when singing.

the TLM103 is very similar but it does have less of that upper high sizzle/brassy sheen. however I must say, for female vocals, majority of male vocals, and (mono)accoustic guitars, the 103 is super...its upper sheen sound is more silky, less harsh, and smoother than the NTK...i just recorded a female singer last week (her voice type is sultry, lazy/jazzy smooth, Joni Mitchellish medium range)the 103 was rediculously awesome.

In the studio the 103 seemes to always be the first choice on the different singers that come in. it just seems to be very versitle for most of them.

In closing:

I believe the NTK is a unique sound, with a cool vibe, that adds that certain something to my vocal tracks. I'd use the NTK for my voice straight away, but seem to use the 103 on most male, female vocals and just about anything else...also the NTK is a bit too harsh for accoustics IMO

to answer your question (FINALLY!) I would keep the 103. you will find its much more versitle of a mic (forget the name) especially if its gonna be used primarily for female vocals..BTW I own a 4033 as well and still find uses for it.

hope this helped, its just my opinion.
good luck


3dchris Fri, 03/21/2003 - 04:23

Thank You very, very much guys! I am not sure that I will be able to try them both side by side because I already paid for 103. However the store feels somehow "guilty" that they didn't have NTK in stock at the time and they may give it to me for a day or so if it comes (still didn't!).
Now about 103...the more I use it the more floored I am with it's quality...and by quality I mean the way the voice sits in the mix right away without any eq. My 103 goes straight to Avalon 737sp and straight to RME-8DS converters. I record in logic 5.10. I'm working on a project with 2 female singers. What I noticed is that 103 has a lot of midrange (which 4033a lacks to my ears). That midrange is probably what makes the voice cut through the mix, yet I find 103 to be very very flat sounding. I don't think 103 boosts midrange..I think 4033 looses it. How would you describe NTK? Does it sit well in the mix without eq? 103 is very upfront sounding mike. The voice is right in your face and that's what I like. Does NTK sound similar?
And I don't care about reselling value of the mike...I don't care about the name or value at all. If I found $10.00 Radio Shack mike that I would like I would be glad :)
BTW. 103 was on sale when I bought it. I live in Toronto, Canada and I paid $1099.00 CAD for it. Regural price was $1399.00 CAD.
NTK costs $760.00 CAD. It's a cheaper mike but I don't care. I want my job to be done right!