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I have experienced overload on my TLM 103 while recording vocals. I'm going to an Apogee Mini-Me with a soft limit curve on. However it seems the only solution is having the singer move a few steps back. I believe this is due to capsule overload, even though its overload capability is somewhere near 138 dB SPL. What should I do to prevent this? I know this model has no pad switch. Any thoughts?


Rodrigo Montfort
igloo studio
Monterrey, MX

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AudioGaff Fri, 12/26/2003 - 22:59

Your problem is not likely that the mic is overloading, although it is possible when using for very close vocals that some freq may distort more than others. Your problem appears to be that the output of the mic is so hot (or loud) that is overloading the input to the preamp. If you have a hi-pass filter (low cut switch) try using that as it may help reduce the overload caused by the proximity effect.

Many newer mics have a very hot output and need to be padded in level. If your preamp has an input pad switch, then use that. If not, then obtain an in-inline pad. I have several made from Shure Brothers that are switchable (-15, -20, -25) but others are available that are fixed at a specific level.

There is nothing wrong with having to take a few steps back from the mic as this is another way to get a different sound character as well as preventing overload. Many times this is the better and prefered method to capture vocals.

sdevino Sat, 12/27/2003 - 04:51

Almost any mic will overload with the right vocalist including the TLM103. They will typically overload only on certain notes which means they are actually resonating (kind of mechanical feedback).

Move the singer away during the overload notes, have them turn their head slightly, or change the angle of the mic.

FYI: singers can be much louder than drums and guitar amps close up.


anonymous Sun, 12/28/2003 - 10:42

to me it also sounds like a hot output pre input overload, the TLM is a hot output mic with a sensitivity of 21mv/pa which is enogh to overload any preamp without an attenuation pad set before the input, when I get a little loud (I can belt but thats not the point) in close proximity (about 3 to 6 inches away) my BLUE dragonfly which has a sensitivity of 22mv/pa easily overloads the input of my M-610, I have a grace 201 that would overload to givin its minimum setting of 18db's of boost, I have to ingage the -20db pad on the grace to prevent this, same goes with my 2108 but I need to have a loud vocalist to achive overloading, as Audiograff recomended I got a Shure inline pad that got rid of my problem with padless hot mics. And just to add off the top of my head the M-610 can handle a max of +3.5dbu on the mic in, and the 2108 +8dbu on the mic in.