You are here

Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby shxdohmusic » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:05 pm

Looking for my first neuman mic and stuck between the 102 and 103. I heard that the 102 is a lot more flatter/thicker and wider and that the 103 is more airy and sometimes harsh sounding especially on vocals... aside from the 102 clearly being the smartest option and safest I cant help but feel that giving up the chance on a 103 may be something I later regret. Especially after I keep seeing them in music videos and studios i visit more and more. I never see 102s in studios, only 103s. :yawn: the inbuilt pop filter in the 102 also puts me off a little as it would suggest that the mic isnt exactly made for the studio setting where a mic stand pop filter would be used, almost feels like its more tailored for the youtube podcaster. I’ve also seen people take these out and it helps the sound become a little less muffled but i just dont know if i wanna buy a mic that i need to mod straight away. The 103 doesnt have an inbuilt sheild.

I would be using this mic for vocals only (rap/pop/singers) in a sound treated room . I already have a SE2200 II and a SE Gemini. The se2200 gives me a low end rumble and a more boxy loose bassy although direct sound where as the Gemini gives me a massive wide and clean cut but not exactly a “in your face” vocal for modern rap.

I suppose Im now looking for a condenser that cuts the mix as clean as the Gemini but also comes across a lot more direct in the mix like the SE2200 does without as much editing needed to make it sound imaged, Eq’d and warm sounding within the mid range freq’s.

What is the safe option here? 102 or 103? ...

My typical mastering style for vocal tracks is to get the main vocals soundinf as warm, wide, compressed, clean and in your face as possible. I know both mics would pull this off, wich one is going to give me a better starting point is my question??
User avatar
shxdohmusic
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:45 pm
SE 22000 C II, SE Gemini II , Focusrite 2i2 , KRK RPG 5 G3’s, Protools 
, Logic Pro X, Fl Studio, Akai MPK Mini MK2, Waves Bundles, iMac, Macbook pro.   www.shxdoh.com
 

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby Wonks » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:48 pm

Hi and welcome.

You haven't mentioned the Shure SM7b as a possible mic, but as it seems to be probably the favourite rap/hip hop mic in use today, I thought I'd mention it. Being a dynamic, It hasn't got a high output and so is often used with an in-line signal booster (like a Cloudlifter) to assist the level. Then you don't have to have your pre-amp gain right up. Just a thought.

For the Neumann I'd so with the 103 as it has the stronger output and much lower noise figure. It won't suit every voice, but that's why you have a collection of mics.

On the other hand, you could get a TLM 102 and an SM7b for a similar price as a TLM 103.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10889
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:42 am

shxdohmusic wrote:What is the safe option here? 102 or 103? ...

My typical mastering style for vocal tracks is to get the main vocals soundinf as warm, wide, compressed, clean and in your face as possible. I know both mics would pull this off, wich one is going to give me a better starting point is my question??

The 102 is far less voiced than the 103, which is brighter. If you can, try them out and see if the 103 works for you. If you have to go blind, the 102 is a better shot.

I use both a TLM102 and a U87 and I like the results with both, actually more work with the 87 usually.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5757
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:44 am

You probably need to audition them, both are good mics, it’s a question of which flavour you like. But as has been said the SM7b would make an excellent alternative to what you already have.

Bob
User avatar
Bob Bickerton
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4097
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
http://www.bickerton.co.nz

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby Watchmaker » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:02 am

I have a 102 because I have a decent budget but really modest needs. I wanted to have a selection of very nice vocal mics and decided on three: an AKG C414XLS, an RE20, and a TLM 102. I think I chose wisely and do not regret having any of these mics. They all have a voice and a purpose. I wanted a U87 but just couldn't make the case for the spend. I looked at the 103 but it too was a bit much for the use case.

I love the 102. It's warm but very open, much closer to my experience with U87's than the 103. You can definitely get the upfront compressed mic timbre and it handles people singing up in its grill very well. I use it often for acoustic guitar and hand percussion and find it very versatile. Lovely piece of gear. Oddly enough, I've never used an sm7B.
User avatar
Watchmaker
Frequent Poster
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:00 am
Location: Upstate NY, USA
Take my advice, I'm not using it.

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby Jack Ruston » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:29 am

I'm not sure either is really a great option. These are not what you'd really think of as a 'Neuman' sound. I owned the 103 for several years and found it useable but underwhelming. For that money there are a lot of very good microphones out there.

J
Jack Ruston
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3806
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 1:00 am

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby Mixedup » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:44 am

I'd agree with Jack. I didn't keep my 103 for several years... about one year, in fact, before trading it in. It's a decent quality build, and an OK but (deliberately) quite bright-sounding mic. Sound wise it's nothing particularly special IMO and there are eqially good mics for less money. Though it is one of those that will continue to hold its price if that matters to you...
User avatar
Mixedup
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4411
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:25 pm

Mixedup wrote: Sound wise it's nothing particularly special IMO and there are equally good mics for less money. Though it is one of those that will continue to hold its price if that matters to you...

And that may be an important point... A few years ago I spent decent money on a good mic from a significantly less well-known manufacturer than Neumann. I was very happy with the sound, but eventually it became redundant for me. When I tried to sell it I almost had to (comparably) give it away. No pedigree... whereas a Neumann....
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7332
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby Ariosto » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:29 pm

"the inbuilt pop filter in the 102 also puts me off a little as it would suggest that the mic isnt exactly made for the studio setting where a mic stand pop filter would be used, almost feels like its more tailored for the youtube podcaster. "

I have read somewhere that you can unscrew the grill on the 102 and take out the foam filter - but you need to check this - it might not be correct.
Ariosto
Frequent Poster
Posts: 876
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 12:00 am
Location: LONDON, UK

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby James Perrett » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:55 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:And that may be an important point... A few years ago I spent decent money on a good mic from a significantly less well-known manufacturer than Neumann. I was very happy with the sound, but eventually it became redundant for me. When I tried to sell it I almost had to (comparably) give it away. No pedigree... whereas a Neumann....

As one prospective client recently said to me when he asked me what sort of mic I was planning to use on a session: "That will be fine - you used the 'N' word".
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 9465
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby Darren Lynch » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:48 pm

I own and use the 102. I always describe it as a really, really competent microphone. By this I mean it records sounds with no obvious vices. But since you already have access to other large condenser mics, and vocals are your thing, then I do recommend trying a Shure SM7b.
Darren Lynch
Frequent Poster
Posts: 510
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:22 pm

Jack Ruston wrote:I'm not sure either is really a great option. These are not what you'd really think of as a 'Neuman' sound. I owned the 103 for several years and found it useable but underwhelming. For that money there are a lot of very good microphones out there.

J

No idea of what is a "Neumann sound" but what I love with the 102 is that it seems to work on everything that I throw at it, from voices to instruments. When I've no idea of what I'm gonna get (say a new vocalist recorded on location, or a 100 years old cello which I've never head before) and I don't want to get the expensive mics out of the studio, I pack the 102 and so far it's been a killer.

Mind me, I do think that the AT2020 is a great little mic as well so ymmv :)
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5757
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:49 pm

The AT2020 ~is~ a great mic and surprising so given its price. It's won out in several SOS shootouts too, which is amazing!
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27902
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:52 pm

Good! I mentioned because it's very inexpensive..
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5757
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Neumann TLM102 or TLM103?

Postby Dave B » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:53 pm

I think I'd describe the 2020 as great for the money - it isn't bad per se, but there are better ones out there if you spend a little more. It's not so bright, but it can sound a little hard. Wonks and I did a shoot out many moons ago.

But then with mics and voices, it's horses for courses... having a few options is always good.
User avatar
Dave B
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5527
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Maidenhead
Veni, Vidi, Aesculi (I came, I saw, I conkered)

Next