The TLM 103 has quickly become one of the biggest successes in Neumann’s history. Its pristine, clear sound is a modern update on the classic U87. The TLM 103 is a transformerless cardioid condenser microphone with a gentle presence boost for a stunningly direct sound with breathtaking definition and ultra low noise.
in 1997 as an affordable alternative to the venerable U 87, the TLM 103 has since become a modern classic in its own right. Today, the TLM 103 defines the standard by which contemporary studio microphones are measured. Its classic tapered headgrille design gives the TLM 103 a distinct Neumann look.
The TLM 103 is a cardioid microphone with a large diaphragm condenser capsule derived from the classic K67/87 capsule of the legendary Neumann U 87. However, the TLM 103 has a slightly more modern voicing with a wide presence boost for frequencies above 5 kHz. Its very direct yet refined sound is perfect for vocals, and solo instruments that pop out of the mix without effort. Of course, the TLM 103 also has the famous authoritative midrange that has become the hallmark of Neumann microphones and made them the number one choice in studios around the world. A unique feature of the TLM 103 is its impressively deep yet controlled low end, perfect for sonorous voices and powerful bass instruments.
The TLM 103 has set new standards for technical performance, too. With an incredibly low self-noise of only 7 dB-A , it is among the quietest microphones available. And its high sensitivity of 23 mV/Pa, ensures ultra low noise even with budget preamps and audio interfaces or vintage tube equipment. At the same time, the TLM 103 can handle enormous sound pressure levels of up to 138 dB without the need for preattenuation. Its vast dynamic range of 131 dB makes the TLM 103 a very easy to use studio microphone as it will capture anything from a soft whisper to a thunderous bass drum without adding noise or distortion.
As a member of Neumann’s TLM series, the TLM 103 works with a transformerless output stage, which minimizes transmission losses and ensures a very immediate, uncolored sound, true to the original, as well as a clear, powerful bass response, even at highest signal levels.
The TLM 103 was primarily designed for project studios and broadcast use, but due to its outstanding performance was soon embraced by renowned studios as a more modern sounding alternative to the U87 e.g. for speech, vocals, drums, guitar amps, and piano. The TLM 103 is also often used as a spot mic in classical recordings e.g. for cello and double bass.
|Acoustical operating principle||Pressure gradient transducer|
|Frequency Range||20 Hz ... 20 kHz|
|Sensitivity at 1 kHz into 1 kohm||23 mV/Pa = –32.5 dBV ± 1 dB|
|Rated Impedance||50 ohms|
|Rated load impedance||1 kohms|
|Equivalent noise level, CCIR¹⁾||17.5 dB|
|Equivalent noise level, A-weighted¹⁾||7 dB-A|
|Maximum SPL for THD 0.5%²⁾||138 dB|
|Signal-to-noise ratio, CCIR (re. 94 dB SPL)¹⁾||76.5 dB|
|Signal-to-noise ratio, A-weighted (re. 94 dB SPL)¹⁾||87 dB|
|Maximum output voltage||13 dBu|
|Supply voltage (P48, IEC 61938)||48 V ± 4 V|
|Current consumption (P48, IEC 61938)||3 mA|
|Matching connector||XLR 3 F|
|Weight||approx. 450 g|
1) according to IEC 60268-1; CCIR-weighting acccording to CCIR 468-3, quasi peak; A-weighting according to IEC 61672-1, RMS
2) measured as equivalent el. input signal
CAT. NO. 008509
CAT. NO. 008501
CAT. NO. 008502
" ... I never felt I was using a ´budget´ microphone."
"Neumann sound for less than US$ 1.000. May be this will shake up the on-air microphone business after all these years."
Radio World 7/1998
"Der Klang der Hauptstadt" - TLM 103 review
" ... sounds excellent, with the flawless workmanship that is typical of Neumann." (German download)
"You can be sure that any noise you hear through this mic is either coming from the source or your mic pre."
"The Neumann TLM 103 sounded great on both male and female vocals ... smooth, full, tight warm in the mids and accurate - but with a characteristically bright. Neumann ´sheen´ on the high end ..." "This is a premium microphone characterized by an open, articulate, very natural sound ..."
"This mic has a self-noise level so low that you can almost hear the grass grow." "Whether or not to recommend a microphone of this type is not the issue. Rather, the real question is whether it wouldn´t be better to buy two right away ..." (German download)
" ... the typical Neumann sound is always there. Silky highs and balanced mids, supported by a rich bass foundation."
The Incident Takes Delivery of a TLM 103Download PDF
The Late Show with David LettermanDownload PDF
"For the first time in 10 years I heard the organ as it is supposed to sound.."Download PDF
The TLM 103: A Desert Island MicrophoneDownload PDF
Soul Days: Dobie Gray and the TLM 103Download PDF
Awardwinning New Age group RASA uses Neumann micsDownload PDF
John Wheeler and the TLM 103 as PartnerDownload PDF
George Manney from Geo Sound uses NeumannDownload PDF
Turning a Love of Vintage Microphones into a Burgeoning Recording BusinessDownload PDF
The New Classic - an Oxymoron?Download PDF
Beth Waters and the Neumann KMS 105Download PDF
"... the TLM 103 is a phenomenal microphone..."Download PDF
TEC AWARD 1998
Keys Leser Award 2013
Studio Sound Award 1999
PAR Excellence Award 1997
Radio World Cool Stuff Award 1998
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