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.
Introduced 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.