The Neumann TLM 102 microphone looks like a tiny version of the TLM 103. While the latter dominated the scene in 1998, you might wonder exactly what a smaller version has to offer. Well, for one thing, it is a very affordable microphone, retailing around $700. It also features a new capsule designed to be used with many different instruments and at SPLs up to 144 decibels. The 102 has a slight presence peak that begins at six kHz.
The TLM 102 is a very solid microphone. It provides a full, natural sound with just about any instrument, but it can be a little too sensitive—it may pick up structure or wind noise if you’re in a loud location. It can also result in a booming sound if the mic is a little too close to the instrument. For vocals, the mic is just as solid and adds a nice timbre to the voice. A number of engineers report that the mic is a real workhorse and that it handles a variety of instruments well, including piano and drums. When tracking drums (as a room mic), it captures a real full sound.
All in all, the Neumann TLM 102 microphone provides a nice, quite, and clean recording for vocals and a variety of instruments. It doesn’t feature a built-in smile EQ like many recent microphones, and it’s not the best microphone for everything, but it’s still very solid and works quite well for many applications. It offers the top of the line quality that Neumann is known for at a very affordable price.
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Neumann TLM 102 MT Condenser Microphone, Cardioid
List Price: $699.95
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Used From: $1,667.79
The TLM 102 defines a new generation of Neumann studio microphone. It sets a new performance and value standard for microphones at this price. It's reduced overall size contributes to an exceptionally compact appearance, which unites all of the typical design components of a Neumann microphone. The harmonious proportions and gleaming grille ring ensure that even at first glance, the TLM 102 attracts attention. The TLM 102 delivers impressive sound. It's newly developed large-diaphragm capsule (cardioid) clocks a maximum sound pressure level of 144 dB, permiting the recording of percussion, drums, and amps at extremely high output levels. Acoustic instruments benefit from the exceptionally fast transient response of the TLM 102. Where the TLM102 really shines is with vocals and speech. It has a slight boost above 6 kHz providing excellent vocal presence in an overall mix. Up to 6 kHz the frequency response is extremely linear, ensuring minimal coloration and a clearly defined, extended bass range. The capsule has an elastic suspension system reducing handling and structure-borne noise. A pop screen integrated into the grille serves to suppress plosives in vocal and speech recording. Due to its price and flexible field of application, the TLM 102 is ideal for home recording and project studio, as well the broadcasting area, especially when clear lines of sight to the speakers are a priority. The TLM 102 is available in black and nickel; a stand mount is included.