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Need quick advice on buying a NEUMANN TLM 170

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Need quick advice on buying a NEUMANN TLM 170

Postby Rokas108 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:19 pm

Hey guys.

So i came a cross once in a life time opportunity to get a NEUMANN TLM 170 for 500 bucks. The mic need refurbishment with some XLR input and cosmetics but other wise the capsule seems fine and the mic is sending signal. Would you say its worth the refurbishment?

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Re: Need quick advice on buying a NEUMANN TLM 170

Postby Arpangel » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:53 am

Have you already bought It? Not sure where you are when you say "bucks" but $500 US is near enough £400 here, a very good price if you can get it working.
It's a bit unclear, is it just the output XLR that's at fault? If it is it should be possible to hook the mic up in some way, just so that you can test it properly into a preamp, make sure levels are OK, also check polar patterns.
It's important to check with a few different sources, problems with mics don't always show up on speech for example, so you need to somehow make sure you connect it up reliably to test it.
If you've already bought it and it's only the input XLR that's at fault, that's easily sorted out, but if for any reason it has to go back to Neumann or a specialist then it could get expensive, and bring it up to the price of a good secondhand mic, with good cosmetics too.
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Re: Need quick advice on buying a NEUMANN TLM 170

Postby Wonks » Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:05 am

They are a £2k/$2.5k mic new, and sell from around £1.3k/$1.6k upwards, so if the mic can be refurbished for say another $500, you've got a real bargain. But you're best to have it done by a recognised Neumann repair agent to get best price for it and make it easy to sell if you ever move it on.

But as Arpy says, if possible, you do need to make sure that the rest of the mic is working properly and hasn't got a reduced dynamic range or is prone to humidity noise issues when used for vocals.
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Re: Need quick advice on buying a NEUMANN TLM 170

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:37 am

If something looks too good to be true, it almost always is....

A TLM170 at that price immediately makes me think its stolen...

It's 1/3 of the price it should be, even in the condition you describe... so at the very least I'd get the serial number off the mic and check with Neumann or your local Neumann agent. Do you know the mic's history, the seller's credibility and the reason for sale? No one sells a TLM170 unless they are retiring or in hoc to their drug dealer... :o ;)

My second thought is that anyone who invests in a TLM170 surely knows how to use and look after it, so the idea that it needs some XLR repairs and cosmetic refurbishment also worries me....

I don't think I've ever come across a Neumann with a damaged XLR, and I'm not sure how that could even happen.

You say the mic is sending signal, which suggests you've listened to it and the XLR output is working to some extent. I presume you've checked each of the different polar patterns, the high-pass filter and the pad?

Check that the omni pattern sounds the exactly same front and back. Same with the fig-8 pattern. And check the side-nulls on the Fig-8 pattern, too. Also listen to the self-noise with particular attention to anything spitty or crackly going on.
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