Neumann Microphone Comparison – Part Four (Public Vote Round up)


Firstly, allow us to apologise. When we originally posted our Neumann Microphone Comparisons 1-3 we promised to bring you Part 4 in August, we definitely didn’t mean October 2019 at the time but here we are! We are pleased to (finally) bring you Part 4 – The Public Vote Round up.

Welcome to Part 4 of our Neumann Microphone Comparison – in Parts 1 and 2 resident reviewer, Mike Aiton, introduced us to the selection of microphones he would be reviewing over the coming weeks and we gave you the opportunity to listen and vote for your favourite during the Cello, Male Voice Over, Female Vocal, Acoustic and Electric Guitar Recording Tests. In Part 3, Mike along with his expert listeners gave you his overall, in-depth summary of this family of microphones, and finally announced what he thought to be the overall winner.

‘The Family’ of German Studio Microphones – Part Four

Neumann TLM 102, 103, 107 & U87AI Studio Set

Now in Part 4, we reveal which microphones were used during which recordings and see how the public vote compares or differs to that of our experts.

For all of the comparisons it was decided we would use a consistent pattern, unbeknown to our readers, so for all of the recordings these were as follows:

Mic 2: TLM 102

Mic 3: TLM 103

Mic 4: TLM 107

Mic 5: U87

(Mic 6: u87 with pad – for electric guitar recording only)

Here are the results for each recording:

Cello Recording
  1. TLM 103
  2. TLM 107
  3. U87
  4. TLM 102

On this occasion its worth noting the TLM 103 won by a long way.

Our expert listeners also voted the TLM 103 their favourite during this recording, including the Cellist himself.

Male Voice Over Recording
  1. TLM 103
  2. TLM 107
  3. TLM 102
  4. U87

The expert listeners were more drawn towards the AKG 414 (our reference mic) but also liked the U87 & TLM 107 with the 107 slightly taking the lead.

Female Vocal Recording
  1. U87
  2. TLM 103
  3. TLM 107
  4. TLM 102

Our female singer from the test said she preferred the TLM 107, with the TLM 103 being her least favourite on this occasion but she did enjoy performing to the U87. Our other experts agreed that although the U87 was the brightest and best of the bunch for the top end air there appeared to be noise in the background in top frequencies.

Acoustic Guitar Recording
  1. TLM 102
  2. TLM 103
  3. TLM 107
  4. U87

On this occasion its worth noting the TLM 102 won by a long way.

Our experts agreed that even though the AKG 414 was just for reference on this test this mic was the worst for this application. They agreed with our public with the TLM 102 and 103 coming out top.

Electric Guitar Recording
  1. TLM 103
  2. TLM 102
  3. TLM 107
  4. U87
  5. U87 with Pad

Once again our experts agreed with the public. The TLM 103 was the favourite during this recording with the U87 coming out bottom due to it being unable to handle to SPL of the valve amp with blatant high levels of mic distortion.

So in conclusion the public have voted the TLM 103 as the overall winner, which is very similar to how the experts voted also. The TLM 103 is definitely an all rounder microphone and in the words of David Hamilton-Smith “…the Neumann TLM 103 was the best sounding microphone we tested and the bonus is that it is great value for money. No need for pads! This takes it all in its stride.” The Neumann TLM 103 Studio Condenser Microphone offers the world-renowned classic Neumann sound at an affordable price and would be the perfect addition to your recording studio.

However its not always as simple as picking a mic, and using for any scenario. Its worth noting that in the conclusion it was mentioned that perhaps the TLM 102 was better during the female voice recording due to its smoothness and natural sound. Our resident reviewer, Mike Aiton, summed up his review by stating that the U87 excelled at acoustic but wasn’t quite as good when it came to ultra quiet sounds. The TLM 103 would be his ideal choice for voice overs but he felt the TLM 107 was a great choice as it has a bit of everything and is almost a hybrid between the 102 and U87. All in the all some of the differences between the Neumann mics were so tiny and by the time you add in a plug-in to your sound this difference was barely noticeable at all!

Obviously everyone has their own individual opinion on these; why not head back to Parts 1 and 2 to remind yourself which one you thought sounded best or take a read of Part 3 again to see, more in depth, what the experts had to say.

And we finish up with Mike Aiton;

These mics are all really great and good results are achievable with all of them. There is a consistency to the excellence of their sound. If you buy Neumann, you are buying into a family of great sounding mics, you get a very long guarantee, and should anything untoward happen, spares and repairs available for what seems like almost ever. I think a Neumann microphone is a friend for life and a friendship that you wont ever regret making. Class indeed.’

Thank you to everyone who entered our competition to win a pair of Sennheiser 280 Pro Headphones, all of the winners have been contacted. And thank you again for taking the time to read and interact with our blog. We hope you have found this review useful and please pass onto your friends and colleagues who may also be interested.

We have the entire Neumann range available on our website. ESV offer next working day delivery* FREE over £249!

If you require further information or assistance you can do so, either through our ‘chat’ function, email: [email protected] or by phone: 0203 137 2901; we’re always here and happy to help.

Neumann TLM 103 MT Condenser Microphone Studio Set (Black)

Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Studio Set with suspension mount (Black) 

Also available in Nickel.

The Neumann TLM 103 Studio Condenser Microphone offers the world-renowned classic Neumann sound at an affordable price and would be the perfect addition to your recording studio.  The Studio Set option comes with a single Neumann TLM 103 Microphone and Neumann’s EA 1 Elastic Suspension mount – £799

Neumann TLM 107 BK Condenser Microphone Studio Set (Black)

Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone with EA4 Elastic Suspension Mount (Black) 

Also available in Nickel.

Multi-faceted versatility, no-compromise sound and innovative operation: With five directional characteristics and a novel operating concept, the TLM 107 provides sound without any colouration. Featuring equally impressive level handling and low self-noise, it captures everything from the softest whisper to thundering drums – £1229

Neumann U 87 Ai MT Condenser Microphone Studio Set (Black)

Stereo Set Variable Pattern Studio Condenser Microphone Set 

Also available in Nickel.

The U 87 Ai condenser microphone is a large diaphragm microphone with three polar patterns and a unique frequency and transient response characteristic. Users recognize the microphone immediately by its distinctive design. It is a good choice for most general purpose applications in studios, for broadcasting, film and television. The U 87 Ai is used as a main microphone for orchestra recordings, as a spot mic for single instruments, and extensively as a vocal microphone for all types of music and speech – £2099

Neumann TLM 102 BK Condenser Microphone Studio Set (Black)

Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Studio Set (Black) 

Also available in Nickel.

Due to its price and flexible field of application, the TLM 102 is ideal for the home recording and project studio sector, as well as for the broadcasting area, especially when clear lines of sight to the speakers are a priority – £499

ESV are an approved certified Neumann reseller who are committed to carrying a large amount of stock available on a free, next working day delivery service – you can purchase all of the featured microphones from our website.

Price MatchESV will not be beaten on price and to ensure this we offer a Price Match Guarantee*.

HireESV also offer an extensive range of Neumann microphones for rental just drop us a line for more info: 0203 137 2901 / [email protected]

*Terms and Conditions Apply

Prices correct at time of publishing.

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