Neumann TLM-102 microphone review: great features, affordable price

You’ve probably heard generally very good reviews from specialists and clients about this small wonder microphone and now I will tell you why. The Neumann TLM- 102 captured musician’s attention in positive ways, mostly due to the magnificent speech reproduction in comparison to its small size, and great performances compared to its price. These are the reasons why Neumann TLM-102 is one of my favorite choices from the Neumann product range.

The TLM-102 made quite a few waves on the audio equipment market firstly because of its extremely small dimensions, measuring 4,5 inches in height, being almost half as the size of other products in its range. However, don’t let this detail fool you. This compact size microphone, built with a newly engineered large-diaphragm capsule, could easily become the first mic for anyone who owns a small studio or who wants to start a professional audio career using quality equipment. Even more, it was launched at a starting price of only $699, almost pocket change if you think Neumann’s other mics range from $1500 and go up to $2800 for the U87 microphone. Still not convinced? Read the followings and you will learn more details about it:

Neumann TLM 102

What’s in The Box?

Don’t get surprised if you receive a smaller box than you expected after ordering the TLM-102. The mic itself weights only about 9 ounces (or 260g) and is 116mm in length (a little under 4.5 inches) and 52mm (2 inches) in diameter.  It doesn’t come with many accessories included in the kit (only the mount stand) which can be one of the drawbacks as you will probably need to buy other additional pieces like a counterweight to put under it (because it is very… very lightweight). However, Neumann TLM-102 does come in two colors: satin nickel and black. See images here.

The body

Throwing a quick look at TLM-102, we noticed the same traditional quality and engineering one would expect from a trusted company like Neumann. On closer inspection, we found that the shock mount is actually placed inside on this mic and the shock filter is also incorporated internally. Another good aspect about the TLM-102 is its newly designed, not just rebuilt, capsule. It is also one of the few Neumann mics that has a foam lined grille specially created to automatically decrease plosives and sibilance on vocal recordings.

Neumann TLM 102

The performance


The TLM-102 is a large diaphragm cardioid condenser mic with a sound pressure level that easily reaches up to 144 dB, providing a clear recording of loud instruments like percussion, amps or drums. Even sound sources that are not that loud can be picked up without the addition of extensive color due to the mic’s very fast transient response, which is a big plus for this mic. Being so sensitive to sounds and so articulate, you could worry that it might catch lots of background noise but it doesn’t, offering, in the opinion of music specialists and sound engineers, a great sound with smooth low ends and not overly accentuated high ends.  The TLM-102 strikes a self-noise rating of 12dBA and sensitivity of 11mV/Pa. It has a presence peak in the high end around 4-6 kHz, the small boost offering an amazing vocal presence to the overall mix. While most articulation bumps are closer to 2 kHz, on this microphone it’s pushed out to about 6 kHz, making the compact TLM-102 an impressive device in terms of sound quality.

The Price
TLM 102 can be found between the price range of $650 and $700 on Amazon.

Conclusion
The overall performances, the impressive versatility and the recording quality of TLM 102 makes it perfect for a wide range of applications. This affordable professional microphone is perfect for beginners who dreamt about having a Neumann microphone, but couldn’t afford it so far since they are usually priced over $3,000. Neumann’s attempt at a cheaper, more accessible microphone did not come with a cut back on quality, nor did it disappoint from the performance point of view, making this tiny device highly wanted by professionals and upcomers alike and also one of Neumann’s top-selling products.

Check prices and more details on TLM-102

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  1. Pingback: 2013 Best Microphones for a Home Studio Project

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