Neumann TLM103 or Rode K2?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by ash5zz5, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. ash5zz5

    ash5zz5 Guest

    This might sound like a silly question (as i know Neumann mics are legendary microphones), but I am looking to buy a new mic for my studio. I have tried the Rode K2 and I really liked the sound of it on vocals, it sounded a much warmer than my SE electronics mic. But I don't know weather i should buy this mic, or save up a bit more and get a Neumann TLM103 (which i haven't tried before, and I'm just relying on the name and reputation). I want a mic that doesn't sound thin, the Rode K2 didn't, but Im not experienced enough to know weather its the valves that do this to the sound or weather its just a better quality mic than mine.

    Basically I don't want to find that I save up and buy a Neumann mic and because its just a condenser (with no valves in it) find that it still has the same similar thin sound as my cheap SE mic.

    I am looking for a mic that sounds good on vocals but also can help give me a good powerful big sound on guitar amps (if that is possible).

    is it a Valve mic i need or would the Neumann achieve what i am looking for?
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    The TLM 103, is a simply fabulous, superhigh output microphones utilizing the same front capsule as a U87. So it is singularly uni-directional. It's big, fat sounding superhigh level output, keeps your microphone gain cranked near its lowest position. Nearly line level output from this beast!

    Not that you wouldn't be pleased with the down under impersonator but this is the real deal. And a nice status symbol showing that you know what to be the finest microphone to serve up.

    I won't put down those other boys on the down under of things. They ain't bad they're just not Neumann's, even if they're wearing their clothes.

    If you get them, you'll never let them go.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. krazykorg

    krazykorg Guest

    I'll drink to that, Remy! I bought mine three years ago and have never once regretted it! More and more people are doing their "homework" when looking for a studio and people seem to be impressed when I mention the TLM-103!
  4. johnthemiracle

    johnthemiracle Active Member

    Jul 26, 2004
    vienna, austria
    Home Page:
    well, i completely agree. but not only that people will be impressed when they hear you have a Neumann (which is good of course), they will also be impressed when they _hear_ the tlm103. i love it, really, i've probably stuck it on any instrument that i've ever recorded and it always sounded great. there might be better choices occasionally, but with the tlm103 you can't go wrong, it's so versatile. my first microphone and still one of the best i own.
  5. JCMastering

    JCMastering Guest

    Rather than say x is better than y , here are my experinces with both mics.

    I bought a TLM 103 when they first came out. I was setting a small studio at home and was working more and more on peoples homes and at times I needed a reliable mic for this.

    Took it to work where I shoot it out against an old U87 and a fairly new M 149. The studio owner and me both agreed that we liked it better than the U87. It did not bit the M 149 but it held it own considering the price difference. Where the M 149 sounded big and 3 dimensional the TLM sounded upfront and clear.

    Many studio owners have asked me to sell it to them. I like that what I record with it rarely needs eq in the mix.

    Two clients of mine have the Rode K2. I have compared my TLM to the K2 at their studios. The K2 was brighter , required less gain to match the TLM , and on loud sources distorted before the TLM. In one studio we preferred the TLM and in the other the K2. The one studio where we liked the K2 better had bad acoustics (the studio sounded like a low pass filter).

    So there. I hope that is useful to you.
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    What kind of studio are you running? If your goal is to attract and satisfy clients that puts a big push in favor of the Neumann. Also, in the long run you'll need a variety of mics to fit the voices and instruments of a lot of people, so you'll end up with both. If the basic goal is to record your own music (and your voice in particular) reputation and reviews don't mean much. A mic that sounds better on 8 out of 10 voices is the "better" mic unless you are one of the two. If you can't try them out in a store its probably worth booking tie in a studio that has both and doing a test. (Throw in a couple more competitors as well.) A side note: if you are going to work with a small collection of mics, the fact that the K2 is multipattern is a big help.
  7. ash5zz5

    ash5zz5 Guest

    Thanks a lot for the advice, I really appreciate it. I think I will go with the Neumann, with their reputation you cant go wrong.

    Is this the best Neumann to go for in this price range? I've just this second found another model on the internet called the Neumann Tlm 193, the Neumann Tlm 103 seems to be more well known from what I've heard.
  8. JCMastering

    JCMastering Guest

    I have not used the Tlm 193 , but I can tell you it came to market a few years before the Tlm 103 and has not been as commercially successful. Also is about $500 more.
  9. ash5zz5

    ash5zz5 Guest

    oh right, Tlm 103 it is then!
    Thanks again for the help!
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    It's these kinds of questions and answers that bother me sometimes.

    First - to the original question -
    It's not a stupid question. However, you simply CANNOT base your purchasing decision on what anyone here says. It would be foolish and absurd.

    Second - I've owned 2 K2s and used the 103 numerous times. I never found a reason to buy the 103 because the sound that I got out of it never found a good home in a mix. Voices recorded on it sounded obtuse and out of place. Guitars recorded on it sounded overly round and non-realistic. Drums recorded on it didn't mix well with the other mics regardless of how little/much compression used.

    As a stereo pair for hand percussion, they work well. That's where I'd put them if I had them.

    The K2 on the other hand sounded and mixed great on vocals, percussion, guitars, overheads, ensembles.

    The 103, IMO, is a status symbol mic. They're designed so that many young engineers can own a Neumann and not have to buy a $3000 variety.

    Again, IMO, the 193 is a FAR superior mic on a similar platform (meaning "flat" general purpose mic). The mic has a smoother, more even sound from top to bottom, a better, more predictable pickup pattern and far better off-axis response. I've used 193s on just about every source known to man and never found one where it didn't work. Sure, some mics may have beaten it on one or more sources, but very few mics work as well as they do on as many sources. If I had to go out on a limb and suggest a mic to anyone without knowing anything about them or their studio, the 193 and the Bock u195 would be at the top of the list.

    Just some thoughts -

    PS -
    If you can, go and try some of these mics. Book some studio time (1 hour or so) with a studio that has them and see what you like.
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    J - did you mean 103 in that last line after extolling the 193?
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA bad.

    I meant the 193 and the Bock u195...
    Perhaps I need a nap after lunch.
  13. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    "on just about every source known to man"

    Including fruit-shaped hand percussion, and a combo of double bass + clarinet (at once)?
  14. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Dec 25, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    I have a TLM103 that I may sell as I don't really need it. It was part of a package purchase that I made not too long ago. Mint condition.

    Hit me up if you're interested.
  15. Cucco

    Cucco Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hell yeah CM! I use it on that ensemble all the time!
  16. JCMastering

    JCMastering Guest

    I see a problem with that in that every space's acoustics are different. Microphone x can sound great on studio y but terrible on studio z. Recording a source you know well in this environments might help mitigate the problem , yet it will still be a guess (it always is anyway). A better option might be renting or buying from a local store with a good return or exchange policy. That way , at least you would be dealing with a lesser amount of unknowns. And there lies the problem with this types of questions. There are to many unknowns and/or variables.
  17. elcubo

    elcubo Active Member

    Jan 5, 2007
    Well...i think we live in diferent worlds...i use to have a TLM103...fairly a good mike, but, man...better than the U87?????? never in this i have an U87 and i think is just other league...presence, midrange, power...not hi fi sounding like those new mikes, but for "me" is the can go on almost anything...i even prefer the K2...but, i think its matter of taste...but referring to the 87...maybe isnt the best mike out there...but is a very "honest" sounding mic...
  18. Cucco

    Cucco Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    True - the acoustics of the space may be different, but it's very easy to discern the quality of a microphone even in a poor acoustic space. However, since most "pro" studios should have some degree of acoustic control, the effects should be minimal. Additionally, recording voice, distorted guitar and a few other instruments aren't highly dependent upon the acoustics of the studio since they're near-field capture.

    Adding to that, many stores (such as GC and Sam Ash) won't let you purchase and return mics. Also, if you're not in NY or LA, there's not a whole lot of places from which to rent mics. Also, I have a good relationship with several retailers. I wouldn't go out on a regular basis and ask them to send me mics that I knew I was going to send back. I wouldn't keep that relationship for very long. On the other hand, I'm not above getting a $300 round trip plane ticket to go to Sweetwater or somewhere to try out a pair of $3000 mics. Of course, I don't think this is the budget we're talking about in this post.

  19. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Is Sweetwater in Vegas or something?
  20. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Close-Indiana is HELL.
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