Neumann has long been one of the go to microphone brands for studios around the world. Typically making high-end studio quality products, their wares can be heard on anything from the Beatles to Beyonce. Hailing from Berlin, Neumann has produced more than their fair share of classic mics with the U87, U47, KM184 and M149 - although these mics command quite a hefty price. Whilst not a budget mic, the TLM102 isn’t too expensive and comes as an affordable piece of Neumann kit – is it worth it?
Small in size, the TLM102 is a seriously compact offering from Neumann. A large diaphragm studio mic, it has a fixed cardioid polar pattern and no transformer - making it sleek and light. As one of the cheapest mics in the Neumann range, it does have fewer features than some of their flagship models, but it still oozes class in looks and is built with high quality components. Designed as a vocal mic the TLM102 can handle loud instruments up to 144dB, meaning it could also work on brass, drums and amps. Perhaps helping with the reduced cost is the simple packaging incorporating just a funky tough-foam lined cardboard with just a stand mount included.
As a vocal mic you get a well balanced spectrum that has a lift around 6kHz, which can add some presence without skewing your fundamental tone completely. The TLM102 won’t over impart its own character on the sound, instead aiming for a clear representation of what you’re hearing. Thanks to the high SPL capabilities, drums, horns, acoustic guitar and even amps aren’t out of the realms of possibility. That’s where the thinking of a good quality, home studio semi-all rounder starts coming in, giving you some Neumann flavours in your arsenal at well under the price of some of their bigger guns. Low noise and a clear response mean getting a good sound at home is easy too. Pair this little Neumann condenser with some nice pres and/or plugins and you’re well on your way. Although it’s still not a ‘budget’ mic, it puts them in a range that will be considered affordable for one of the most revered mic companies in the world. A cool addition to the Neumann line.
Hits and Misses
Neumann sound and quality at a much-reduced price
Quite flexibile and able to handle a range of levels
Not as many bells and whistles as some competitors in this price range
• Operating principle: Pressure gradient
• Transducer: Cardioid
• Frequency Range: 20hz to 20khz
• Impedence: 50 ohms
• Weight: 210g