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Microphone Month

Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel Reviews

4.5 stars based on 21 customer reviews
Questions about the Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel?

Questions about the Neumann TLM 102 - Nickel?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

  • from New York June 23, 2016Music Background:
    Voice Over

    In Love

    I went through a rigorous search for a new mic for Voice Over. Tried out in local retail stores about a dozen for what would sound best and give me the most range. This mic took the cake by far. Huge upgrade from your entry level to mid tier mics, and quality of higher tier mics. I liked the sound of this mic better than the TLM 103 for my voice. Massive range for this mic it has been working well for high energy car dealership type commercials to more toned documentary type reads and soothing relaxation reads as well. I love it.

  • from Colfax, CA March 24, 2016Music Background:
    Voice Actor

    Neumann TLM 102 Love It

    At first, I was leaning towards the TLM 103 until I tried one and found that it didn't work for my voice despite the fact it seems to be the industry standard for voice over. Just a little too bright for me. After trying the TLM102 I was really impressed with how warm this mic is and easy to work with. I paired this mic up with the Warm Audio WA12 and am very satisfied with what I'm hearing as far as audio quality. Top notch gear for the money.

  • from Wilmington, North Carolina February 6, 2016Music Background:
    44 years as a recording engineer, 54 years pro musician.

    Not From Lilliput

    This baby is an absolute SONIC GIANT in an unbelievably small package.
    Pristin clarity, Versatile, Silky smooth. No noisy transformer. I am in love.
    Mark Magdich at Sweetwater has always been honest with me over many years. Though we have never met face to face, he has become one of my best friends.

  • from Detroit, MI April 21, 2015

    Love It!

    I bought this recently & was pleasantly syrprised. This is by far the best recorded sound I've gotten so far on my saxophone. I'm running this through a Chameleon Labs 7602 Mkii (w/X mod) & couldn't be happier! The sound is up front, clean & warm. Very little eq'ing on the 7602 & I've never sounded better. I haven't tried to sing anything through it yet (not really a singer, but I can carry a tune). This is more than worth the price just for the sound I'm getting on my saxes. Great little mic! Don't let the size fool you...

  • from Reynoldsburg ohio January 15, 2015Music Background:
    Producer, mixer, full time musician.

    TLM 102 Radio ready sound

    Put up the 102 and immediately got great vocal. Smooth sound. Closer to radio ready sound right out of the box. Run it through the Neve 1073 and prepare for magic!

  • from utah December 13, 2014Music Background:
    recording engineer, student, musician, singer songwriter

    love it

    When I first used the mic on my voice I was not too pleased. However, I decided to keep it knowing that at my recording studio it could very well come in handy with my other clients. Few days later I decided to pull it out and try it on an electric guitar track that was needing to blend more in the mix without getting lost. Holy cow, this mic did just that plus more. The electric guitar had a polish to it I wasnt expecting. I know that most folks record themselves now days and only want mics they for sure know will sound good for them no matter what. However in a recording studio with lots of clients, I have come to believe that there is no such thing as a crappy mic. Each mic has its own time to shine, and on loud bass and electric guitar this mic sure shined.

  • from Cleveland, TN February 27, 2012Music Background:
    Music Producer and Musician

    It's A Neumann!

    This is the smoothest mic that I have bought - I loved my blue microphones before but this has a silky smooth tone. Warm for very great vocals. This mic makes a difference. I have better equipment now but the mic sits and everyone asks - is that a neumann. That makes a difference in a commercial studio in addition to the sound that you are getting from it.

  • from Silver Spring, MD September 27, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician/Producer

    Neumann TKM 102

    As a sax player, this is a great mic for under the $1000 range. It gives that warm sound I've been looking for.

  • from June 19, 2011

    Little mic with a big heart

    I own a fair amount of good quality mics, many costing more, many costing less. I've used far more than I own. So I'd like to consider myself a good judge of microphones. I take everything into account; application, cost, ease of use, etc. So I put this up against my Rode K2, which I've always loved and still would recommend to anyone. Its also the same price as the TLM102. The 102 is noticeably smoother. There's something about it that just makes you want to keep listening to it. The K2 I believe was designed to sound just like a U47, don't believe me? Go compare their response charts. There is definitely more presence in the K2 than the 102. But the lack of "crisp" in the mic is not a deficiency IMHO, I would just call it pleasingly "mello". Like a piano with the lid shut, its a different experience, doesn't make it bad. I know a lot of people love it on acoustic guitars, but I wasn't a fan, but thats completely my preference, I like to have "crisp" acoustics. But on vocals... unbelievable. If all you want to use this for is vocals... its well, well worth it. I can't even describe how much better this is on every voice I tried (admittedly only males at this point) than any other mic in my locker. If I could choose two mics to use on voice for the rest of my life, it'd be this and my SM7. Id be totally fine with that. Now I wouldn't be a very good judge of mics if I didn't tell you what I thought wasn't so great about so... its rejection is awful. Absolutely awful. I would not want to use this in a large room with multiple musicians. And this would not be a good mic for an untreated home studio that has lots of bird or traffic noise. Its a must to have this in a good booth IMHO. But it would probably make an excellent room mic. My drum and piano session are very rare these days, and I only have one of these so I cannot confess one way or the other there.

  • from So Cal January 3, 2011Music Background:
    Song writer, Singer, home/project studio recorder

    Wonderful Entry level Neuman Maic

    I absolutely love how this mic sounds. I bought this mic a week ago from Sweetwater because I wanted a step up in my recording chain. I was hoping this would live up to the reviews I had read along with my previous experience recording acoustic guitars with my Neuman KM 184.
    I just did a little test recording a some vocal takes simultaneously mic'd with the TLM 102 and an SM7B through the same pre's into an ART Pro VLA II level matched with the same compression settings on each channel.
    I used to think the vocal, SM7B + Pro VLA seemed to just fit into the overall mix (and it is still pretty sweet) until I heard back the vocals through the same chain with the TLM 102. Wow! It just sounds like a record. While it's not a U87, it still has that nice Neuman vibe that we are all so used to hearing on so many records. I really don't think I'll be reaching for a whole lot of EQ using this mic.
    I also tried it as a mid distance mic paired with my KM 184 closer mic'd on an acoustic guitar and it sounds very nice here too.
    If you’re looking to get that Neuman vocal sound that people will recognize, at a more home/project studio price, this one is a total winner

  • from Sherrill, AR February 25, 2010Music Background:
    singer, songwriter, and composer

    Tiny Littel Baby Neu, Neu!!!

    I bought this mic 2 weeks ago. I had been wanting a Neumann mic forever except I didn't have enough cabbage. Then finally I stumbled across the baby neumann tlm 102 on Sweetwaters website. It was love a first sight and I just had to have it right away. I just decided yesterday to give my tlm 102 to a test run on a tradition gospel song and I was so impressed. The mid range presence was wonderful and it sound fantastic on my vocals. At first I was a little concern about the sound quality due to its price, but once I heared how great the thing sound my worries melted away like ice. This is one of my greatest investments and I thank God for my new baby!!!

  • from Dallas, TX February 24, 2010Music Background:

    Great Mic

    Let me preface, I expected this to be good, I own a TLM 103 and U87 A, I just didn't expect it to be GREAT. Every bit of the clarity that I'm used to from Neumann without the price tag. It is small, my immediate statement was "LOOK! A baby Neumann!", but the sound quality is great. No complaints here.

  • from Dallas, TX January 7, 2015Music Background:
    Studio Ow w

    It DOES stack up.

    As a studio owner, career engineer/producer I'd like to give you my .02 on the use these mics get in my studio day in and day out: In doing so I'd like to clear up some blatant misinformation offered by a prior review.

    First off, as I said, I'm a career engineer/producer. I deal mostly In film score and audio for video, but I do record my share of music. My wife and I recently packed up our things and moved our family from San Antonio to Dallas, Texas to open our very own commercial studio. As part of our initial investment of studio equipment for our new facility, I bought a pair of TLM102's. I first used these as overheads for a folk rock album when my go-to U87's and 414's weren't available as my LDC of choice for this task. This microphone is great in its own right: if you buy this mic expecting it to be a U87, you probably have no business making recommendations to others about which mics they should buy (especially when recommending the screechy cartoonish presence bump harshness that is entry level ADK/Rode NT1A mediocrity trying to emulate the Germano-Austrian Hi-mid curve as found in Neumann, Telefunken, AKG, etc. For starters, the TLM102 has an edge terminating large diaphragm capsule, unlike the U47, U67, U87 and modern TLM103, TLM49 models which all have center terminating capsules. The result is smoother, yet still detailed and crisp response.

    People who own U87's (the modern U87ai version more so) don't like to hear this, but I can blind fold the most golden eared engineer you know, and he'd be hard pressed to tell a U87 in cardioid from a TLM103 on most vocal sources. Most can't. Given that the U87 is 3x as expensive as the 103, does the average recordist who rarely uses the Omni and Fig 8 patterns benefit from the extra cash spent? You tell me. I guess the PAD function is nice to have, but I don't know if it's $2000 nicer. I digress...

    The TLM102 pair was a knockout on drum overheads, and acoustic guitars during the first session I ever used them. I knew I'd buy my own pair some day. Between the mics I owned before hand and our investment in the new facility, we have mics ranging from $50 CADs to a $10k AKG C12 so I've really reached what I believe to be considerable objectivity. The 102 is always near the top of the heap for Drums (Great on snare too), Acoustic Guitar (when you don't want piercing hi's) It's positively killer on brass and woodwinds, it's relatively smooth response also works well for strings/orchestral purposes. I quite like them on vocals for certain styles as well, and any brightness you're lacking from the typical U87 up front pop/rock sounds can easily be made up for as these mics take EQ quite well also.

    In addition to the rarely used locker treasure we pamper a bit to much (U67) the other neumanns we have in our locker include: a pair of KM84's, a pair of KM184iMT's, a KM86, two TLM103's, Two U87's (1970's purple badge/pre Ai) and an M149. I want to make it clear that the 102s hold their own and have uses which I prefer them over all the others I've mentioned. They're not sub-par in any for or fashion. The edge terminating capsule is a predecessor to their recent digital mics and their new TLM107. I think it's got a great and unique voicing. Don't be swayed by the misinformation of a guy who has "used 87's before and they sounded amazing". If the 102 really didn't work for him, my first instinct would be to blame the carpenter,and not the tool. I'd also LOVE to know what "QUALITY" preamp he paired it with, being that he seriously recommended a NT1a over the 102... Paying for a beautiful German mic and plugging it into cheap pres and converters on board budget interfaces is an easy way to bottleneck all the goodness and nuance that finer mic brings to the table.

    These mics are more like 4.75 stars to me, and ONLY got .5 stars taken away because the lack of a PAD/HPF switch is a small bummer, but is a minor and easily overlooked infraction in my book. A proprietary shockmount included would be nice, because it fits into the same shockmount as it's big brother, the 103, and looks a little funny all swallowed up in it, making it difficult to close mic guitar cabs (another use for which I love the 102 - in tandem with a Royer 101 or 121, they're my "go to's" for guitar amps).

    All in all, it's authentic German made Neumann quality and sound for a price that makes it possible for engineers with lesser budgets to join the red badge club.

    If you're a serious home recordist, buy one or a pair and never look back! Pair them with a good preamp, good converters, and never look back. I highly recommend the Warm Audio WA12 as a great partner for a quality home studio vocal chain (don't forget good converters!).

    Don't let the size fool you, it's a serious performer. It's compact size helps more than it hurts. It easily fits into all those tight spaces you always WISHED you could fit a LDC!

    Best of luck!

  • from Hawaii February 9, 2012Music Background:
    Producer, engineer, musician

    Great Mic

    This is a great piece of equipment. I was hovering in the $200-$250 dollar price point. Even though some consider this mic as "entry level", it was a definite upgrade for my home studio. The mic is very warm. Admittedly, for more "out in front" vocals, I chose my Rode NT1. However, I prefer the tube preamp/analog emulation plug-in sound for my compositions. This mic truly enhances that pathyway/approach and excells in that capacity. Buy it.

  • from Rapid City, SD USA December 21, 2011

    NEUMANN TLM 102 Great for New Musicians

    This is a great microphone for a home studio. It has a nice sound as well as a nice affordable price for starting artists.

  • from New York October 30, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Artist & Engineer

    A RUNNER UP to The Higher ups

    Love this mic with the right preamp you will love this mic .. Only problem it can be a bit muddy on some male vocals .. But still and all its a 4.5 .. A super deal for its price . A must Buy !

  • from Abuja Nigeria July 27, 2011Music Background:
    Live Sound Engineer

    Great choice if you dont have a big budget

    Smaller than it looks in the picture but incredible value for the money.

    Exactly what I was looking for in a low budget microphone.A great mic for both vocals and instruments. Not very far from the U87

  • from Gatineau, Qc., Canada May 26, 2010Music Background:
    Pianist, Keyboardist, Composer, Arranger, Engineer

    Clearly a great little mic.

    Clear. Very full sounding mic, with a clear upper grab. Not bright at all, in the Presence frequencies per say, but clear in a nicer way. What I like is that the mid frequencies are all well represented and therefore, it is easier to boost or cut with E.Q. This mic captures evenly, and gets a clear signal with vocals with a very nice and smooth articulation. Low noise, low price, very smooth sound ... and the Neumann name ... Well worth it!

  • from Albuquerque - Santa Fe, New Mexico January 8, 2016

    A Great Voice Over Mic

    This little guy has a lack of sound. Perhaps that's why not everyone warms up to it. I do voice over work and broadcast from a home studio. When my work airs next to another studio's microphone, the TLM 102 really stands out in a good way. This is NOT the U 87 but it is an affordable solution to a competitive voice over operation. I used to love some other brands, both dynamic and condenser, but I've settled into using the TLM 102 for ninety nine percent of the product coming from this studio. It's not for everyone. But I like it. And this one I can afford.

  • from Walpole, MA June 21, 2012Music Background:
    Studio Owner/Producer

    smoothness +

    The Neumann TLM-102 is very much... a lot of bang for your buck!
    I've used it along side 2 industry standards for voice over recording and it's better sounding in every way. Clean, no little digital artifacts and very transparent. Great close up and no coloration. Smooth is the best way to describe this mic.
    A perfect way to get Neumann quality at a great price point. Love it.

  • from Massachusetts August 20, 2013Music Background:
    washed up ex pro, glory days long behind me.

    Sorry, I don't buy the hype.

    It's a Neuman, because it has the name on it. I have recorded in a studio with U87s and they are truly awesome. This cheaper version is just that a cheap version with the name on it. I bought into it and bought this mic. I have tried really hard to like it. It just doesn't stack up. I have an ADK S51 that was $199 and it blows the Neuman away in my home studio. It doesn't matter what we do, acoustic guitar, vocals the ADK smokes the Neuman. My simple suggestion would be if you can't spend the money to get a U87 for just shy of 4k, get yourself an ADK or a RODE NT1. Save your hard earned cash. This Neuman isn't in the category of other Neuman mics. Buyer be ware. good luck.

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