Tascam’s new stage mic offers remarkable bang for your buck!
Best known to older readers as the company that kick‑started home recording with their open‑reel four‑track machines and the legendary Portastudio, Tascam now manufacture a wide range of audio products, many aimed at the pro audio market. However, they also make more affordable products for the live music and home recording markets. A good example of that is their TM‑82 dynamic microphone, which is aimed at those on a tight budget who need a cardioid vocal or instrument microphone. Though Tascam are a Japanese company, the microphone is built in China, presumably to maintain a low selling price. It comes in a cardboard box with a US thread mic clip, but no storage pouch.
There’s relatively little technical information available about the TM‑82, though the instruction sheet does include a frequency plot and a few figures, one of which is a frequency response quoted as 50Hz‑20kHz. The frequency response plot suggests that the ‑3dB points are around 80Hz and 16kHz, which is fairly typical of this type of microphone. By 20kHz the response looks to be over 15dB down. What is interesting is that there’s far less of a presence peak than found in many dynamic vocal mics. Instead there’s a gentle lift starting at around 500Hz, reaching a peak at 10kHz and then dropping away above 12kHz, with the degree of lift being only 3‑4 dB above the nominal output level. The sensitivity is quoted as ‑53dB (±3dB) ref 1V/Pa at 1kHz, and the output impedance is approximately 300Ω.
Constructionally the mic looks very tidy in its non‑reflective finish, and the basket unscrews easily to reveal a foam lining that can be removed for cleaning. The shockmount for the capsule feels quite rigid, but the handling noise is pretty typical for this type of microphone and certainly not excessive. There’s no switch on the mic, which is the way I prefer things: vocalists have a habit of accidentally turning them off, leaving me wondering why there’s suddenly no microphone feed!
I ran a comparison of the TM‑82 alongside several other dynamic mics I had available; the output level and tonal balance turned out to be very similar to that of an AKG vocal mic that I use on a regular basis, and which originally cost more than twice what this Tascam microphone costs. On vocals the sound comes over as clear and relatively neutral, with enough low‑end roll‑off to both counter the proximity effect and to minimise popping on those pesky plosives. The cardioid pattern is also relatively well behaved when it comes to acoustic feedback.
I found I needed little or no EQ, and just a touch of reverb to capture a very ‘produced’ sound...
In the studio I also tried using the mic to record my electric guitar amplifier and I was actually rather impressed by the result. Aimed a little way off axis and around 30cm from the speaker, the TM‑82 captures pretty much what I hear in the room when I’m standing slightly to one side of the amplifier. There’s plenty of bite and a decent weight to the sound, but at the same time the highs don’t come over as too glassy‑sounding. I found I needed little or no EQ, and just a touch of reverb to capture a very ‘produced’ sound from my Roland Blues Cube Hot combo. In summary then, the TM‑82 gives a very strong account of itself, belying its budget price tag.
A remarkably affordable microphone that punches well above its weight.