Neumann TLM 103

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Mucio, Apr 16, 2002.

  1. Mucio

    Mucio Guest

    I am thinking of buying a Neumann TLM 103 condenser,I am very happy with my RøDE NT 1 for vocals but I need something better to get my nylon acoustic guitar (solos,classical stuff,brazillian music etc...) .
    I have a cheepo mic pre(behringer Ultragainer) but it works fine for my bedroom studio:
    733 G4
    Tascam US-428
    This a little home studio situation but I would not mind some upgrading here,so far I am very happy with the stuff I own but I would like to have some sugestions about the Neumann TLM 103 and maybe about another budget mic pre.
    Have fun.
  2. JT916

    JT916 Guest

    take a reading and look into the AKG451B. it is cheaper and maybe what you need.
  3. Mucio

    Mucio Guest

    Thanks ,I`ll keep an eye on the AKG 451B,but I`ll do like to hear more about the Neumann TLM 103 (maybe from people who owns it),what is special in the AKG besides the price??? Is it a better guitar mic??? I can get the Newmann for about 800 bucks here in it worth it??? I do intend to keep the RøDE NT 1 around for is the first condenser I own anyway...I still can learn a lot with it... Hi end Neumanns are very famous here in the studio scene , but are those more affordable models like the TLM 103 good enough for their price range??? should I look for a 800 bucks Audio-Techinica or AKG??

    Boa sorte para todos (good luck everybody...)

  4. You might be happier with a pair of KM 140s if guitar is your main focus for the new mic(s). KM 84s are also very similar (ever so slightly brighter) and a bit less expensive. 103s can sound great on some guitars but the 140 would be more versatile and you can choose to get different patterned capsules in the future if you choose.

    I haven't heard the new 451B but I'd suspect it to be brighter than any of these Neumanns, I know my 460s hardly ever make it out of the closet...

    You might consider picking up a 2ch Millennia, Great River, Grace or Earthworks mic pre for something in the clean, transparent vein. Any of them will serve you admirably for decades.

    Happy hunting!
    Greg Heimbecker
    University of Northern Colorado Recording Studio
  5. The TLM - 103 is a great mic. It does have the upper-mid boost that Neuman is famous for and that makes it not always the best mic for guitars. I keep mine on hand for the occasional voice that it works well for, I rarely pull it out for guitar.

    Also $800 is pretty high for one, you can buy them new in the US for $599. IF you decide to buy one you might want to consider having it shipped from the US. Even with the added costs I'd think it would have to end up for less than your local price.

    I'd also suggest that you try a good small condenser mic given your recording environment. The large diaphram mic will pull in much more of the room and every little noise that you make moving, the refrigerator running down the hallway, even with the doors closed, and will have higher noise.

    If you're set on a large diaphram mic why not check out another Rode ? I've got an NTV and it's a great mic, I bought it for $400. It's more neutral than the 103, that is until you put some serious SPL into it, then it gets a lot warmer.
  6. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Good comments so far. If all you are doing is miking guitar, TLM 103 might not be my first choice either, but if you also need to have a mic for occasional vocal tracks, then I think it would be a wonderful addition that you might end up preferring to the NT1. But since you are mainly guitar-oriented, my best advice is try it out on your own guitar first. Fortunately, the TLM103 is found in most music stores these days - let them set one up and aim it where the neck meets the body of your guitar (not the sound-hole) and check out how it records or sounds through decent headphones. Maybe bring one of your own mics with you for comparison.

    One nice aspect is that it produces a very hot output with low self-noise. But if you are using it on loud sources, you may need to invest in some sort of a pad, since it has no built in pad (nor bass roll-off.) It has a clean sound with a touch of warmth, not nearly as hyped in the upper-mids as some of the BLUE models, to say nothing of a lot of the chinese manufactured brands.

    It's not dissimilar to the older (and more expensive) TLM 193, but with a more open top end, and much hotter output. The compact size also makes it convenient for instrument miking because it can get into small spaces and stay out of the player's way. I find it works very well on acoustic bass, by the way, where the high output is useful in capturing the relatively low-level source.

    By the way, Kirk, if you are reading this... I admit I may not have been paying close attention, but all the prices I've ever seen for the TLM103 have also been in the $800 range. Are the $599 ones grey-market? Where are you seeing those prices?
  7. The TLM 103 is a very popular choice for recording vocals at your level, however, it is not popular at all for acoustic guitars.
    Some popular choices are a pair of Shure SM81's, a pair of Neuman KM-series mics, and the AKG's mentioned above.
    Another option I recommend is ordering a pair of MBHO bodies and a pair of capsules that can be interchanged down the road. Talk to Nathan at and if your on a tighter budget, then talk to Dave at about the THE line of mics.

    Hope this helps,
  8. Mucio

    Mucio Guest

    Ok guys it seems that to record a nylon-string guitar it`s better to have a smaller long-shaped condenser...but...I have been doing some session work (as a guitar player) for about 12 years now and I remember that lots of people used to capture acoustic guitar with two mics one larger condenser next to the guitar`s body and a smaller condenser (like the AKG) next to 12th fret.Nowdays though,when I do the nylon-guitars in those professional studios I do not see enginners using those small condensers anymore(for the guitars) ,they just put one of those hi-end large mic in front of the guitar,not too close and definetelly not next to the sound hole...are the techinics of capturing acoustic guitar changing??? I am a real beginner in the home studio thing although I am learning super fast (the last lession I`ve learn is how more important is to have a decent mic pre amp and the best condenser you money can buy than super expensive computer/program... I still find it kind of difficult to capture decent nylon guitar tones with my RøDE NT 1,although it has been very smooth in the vocals part for while...but I woud not mind having another vocal mic like this more affordable Neumann...
    Thanks for the advice about the price but shipping and specially frontier taxes makes it almost impossible to buy stuff in the US online stores...just to give you an idea, I had those Digidesign free promotional videos sitting for weeks in the customs here before I could grab them...I was lucky enough I did not pay anything in the first place to have them...
    Globalization is still a mirage far away for us the people...
    Au revoir

  9. You could always go into a shop(or a studio even) with your guitar and test different mics thru headphones.
    You're right, it's still common to use both a large dia. mic and a small dia. mic on an acoustic. Also, many engineers feel it un-necessary to run 2 mics and will often only use one. In a dense pop mix, I can understand that train of thought.
    Lastly, Fletcher at will let you try a pair at home and return the one that doesn't do it for you and all you pay for that bit of experience is shipping. So at that rate, you could try the 103 and the 184 and return the one that doesn't suit you.
  10. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    It's supposed to be like the old 451 but with a fixed capsule. Bummer. Anywoo, the 460 is much brighter then a 451. Almost annoyingly so.

    I have a love hate relationship with my 103. Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's just ok to bad on sources just like any mic. I'll probably get another one someday but I really wish it weren't so bright. It gets messy when used as a room mic so I end up rolling off top.
  11. Mucio

    Mucio Guest

    I think the main issue here is about using large or small diaphragm mics (or maybe having to own both...) do we bedroom studio people can live without those small diaphragm mics like the AKG C391B or the Neumann KM 184???specially recording nylon-stringed acoustic guitar.... they are about the same price.or can we pass with only a large diaphragm mic like the TLM 103,and do vocals and the guitar on it so we can save some bucks??? Anyway as I told before I dont see too many professionals using those small diaphragm mics on guitars animore these days...specially on a nylon-string one.
    Yes !! Those brands names like Neumann makes a difference when you want to upgrade and sell those mics...
  12. Masternfool

    Masternfool Active Member

    Dec 3, 2001
    Hi,I own 2 of the 103s and I just recorded a nylon string 2 weeks ago..BUT I did not use them, I used a pair of audio technica 4041's. Much sweeter sounding on the high end. I have also used sm81s. Leave the 103 for vocals and bass and other stuff....Later
  13. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    I use all kinds of mics on acoustic guitars. It's all about what sounds good and having choices. Sure, either one is fine I guess if your looking to save cash. Do you want to be an engineer or a recording musician? The engineer will own lots of gear, the musician will own one or three mics that sound good and make music.
  14. Mucio

    Mucio Guest

    Good question...I think I want to be a musician who understands a bit more of studio gadgets so I can do things better at home and at the professional studios,but I guess I`ll never be a studio Rat (or as we say in Portuguese - Rato de Estudio-),well we`ll never know I love the sun but the studio scene is trully contagious...
  15. Paul Schubert

    Paul Schubert Active Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    The TLM103 is not my first choice for acoustic guitars as well.
    I find it lacking detail in some of the low to midrange frequencies which doesn't relate well to acoustic guitar.
    It can be very useful in other applications though(I've recorded some great saxophone with it).
    I also have successfully used the sm81's for nylon (usually in conjunction with another Neumann[U87]-although, I think I remember using an AT4050 once). I have also heard the KM184's and AT4041's work well.
  16. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Well, get a few good mics then. An SM57, a small diaphragm condensor and a large. Don't skimp on quality. The player (you) will make more of a difference in the sound then the mic you pick.
  17. subspace

    subspace Guest

    I'd get the 103. You clearly want one, and few people would argue with it as your first good multi-purpose mic. Last nylon string I tracked, I used an SM81. We did the vocal overdubs, using a 103, when the guitarist decided to retake his part. We tried the Neumann since it was up, and it sounded much better on his guitar. For small diaphragms, the Audix SCX-1 is one of the nicest acoustic guitar mics I've recorded, usually with the cardioid capsule.
    You might want to check out, a german site that has it for $585 US. They sell for $599 at US dealers now, if you shop around. I think has it for $650 now, and they'll let you return it even for conflicts of taste... HTH
  18. Fenster

    Fenster Guest

    where are you seeing the tlm103 selling for under $600 dollars in the US? Can you post a link or give a few names of retailers?

  19. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    I think that was Kirk who quoted a $599 price. I asked the same question a while back - still waiting.
  20. I must have missed the first question littledog, sorry. Alto music in New York is your source for the best prices on TLM-103s. I understand that cost on the Mic has gone up, but I did buy one at $599 from them last December.

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