Heavily featured in some of the most prolific albums in history and still the go-to choice amongst artists across the globe whilst recording, Neumann microphones have been a staple of high-end live and studio equipment due to their impeccable accuracy whilst capturing sound sources.
In this blog, we’ll compare Neumann’s prestigious TLM range of microphones, their key features and which model best suits your needs. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Founded in 1928 in Germany by Georg Neumann, Neumann has set the gold standard in professional audio recording for nearly a century. These microphones capture sound with clarity and authenticity, elevating recordings to an entirely new level.
From the iconic Neumann U87 to the versatile Neumann KM 184, each microphone is a masterpiece, embodying a blend of innovation and tradition. Used in recordings for artists such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan during the recording of his first electric album, The Rolling Stone’s “Exile on Main Street” and much more, it’s hard to dismiss the importance of the audio titan’s presence in music over the decades.
Over the decades, Neumann has branched out into developing their very own premium studio monitors and headphones, which undergo the same meticulous quality process during manufacturing.
The TLM Series offers a more affordable collection of microphones for users with smaller budgets, paying homage to some of the most prominent and highly regarded mics used in the finest studios around the world.
What Does TLM Stand For?
Some of you may be wondering, what does TLM exactly stand for? Well, it stands for transformerless microphones, which means the conventional output transformer is replaced by an electronic circuit.
Like traditional transformers, this innovative approach effectively maintains robust common mode rejection and serves as a barrier against RF interference that could potentially affect the balanced audio signal.
The TLM 102 extends Neumann's renowned quality to compact studio setups. Much like its pricier counterparts, this microphone seamlessly blends technical prowess with a finely balanced sound, ideal for velvety vocals, clear guitars, and impactful drums. Boasting a cardioid pattern and a built-in pop screen, the TLM 102 is a delight to operate, catering to both beginners and seasoned users alike.
Earning its place as a staple of Neumann's success, the TLM 103 is a significant triumph in the brand's history. Modernising the timeless U87, this microphone offers an immaculate, transparent sound. Operating as a transformerless cardioid condenser, the TLM 103 boasts a subtle presence boost, delivering an astonishingly direct sound characterised by exceptional clarity, definition, and remarkably low noise levels.
The TLM 107 stands as a top-tier microphone in its class, delivering astonishingly authentic audio for both vocals and instruments. Offering five polar patterns alongside an adjustable pad and low-cut settings, the TLM 107 showcases remarkable versatility. With an impressive dynamic range of 131 dB, this microphone effortlessly captures everything from subtle whispers to thundering drums, ensuring a distortion-free and noise-free recording experience.
Which Microphone is right for me?
Though all microphones in the TLM offer an exceptional performance that’s sure to take any production to the next level, there are some subtle differences in each model to cater to different scenarios. For instance, the TLM 102’s compact design and its gentle treble lift for silky highs make it more suitable for smaller studio spaces whilst tracking vocals and guitar, whereas the TLM 103 is able to handle loud noise scenarios, making it ideal for tracking pianos and drum overheads. However, the TLM 107’s five onboard polar patterns make it easy to adapt to both capturing vocals and instruments loud and quiet.