My Neumann TLM103 and U87 Microphones In The Studio



My TLM103 Microphone Is A Studio Work Horse

The Neumann TLM103 microphone is a popular choice of microphone, for many applications. A large diaphragm condenser microphone, like the TLM103, is often preferred for miking instruments. We can accommodate percussion instruments with our spacious live room at DeMarco’s Recording Studio. The TLM103 is a great choice for miking a hand drum from a distance. Often I will use it as a room microphone on a drum kit. I will at times position it ten feet in front of the drum kit.  Sometimes I leave the TLM103 behind and over the drummers head. This miking technique gives us the drummers perspective and the TLM103 perfectly handles the job.

Neumann Mic UpcloseThe TLM103 Is Great On String Instruments

I get great results using the TLM103 for capturing an acoustic guitar. To achieve a full-bodied tone, I will position the microphone about eight inches from the twelfth fret. Being a condenser microphone, the TLM103 picks up on the nuances of an acoustic instrument. It works well on violins, violas, cellos and small string sections as a room microphone. I had an instance where I miked an upright piano with the TLM103. I had positioned it about eight feet back and four feet high. Typically I would use at least two microphones for this application, but the one TLM103 and the upright piano made it to the final mix.

Using My TLM103 On Wind Instruments

Known for its very low noise floor, the TLM103 is great for mellow instruments.  I had great results with this mic on flute as it pics up on the nuances of subtle tones. It is also amazing that it has a high sound pressure level, making it possible to handle brass instruments. This versatility makes the Neumann TLM103 a great choice for a studio that does not have the budget for countless microphones. At the same time, the TLM103 has that Neumann sound, as its capsule was based on the legendary Neumann U87 microphone.

Neumann TLM103

The TLM103 Is Great On Vocals

I have accounts at DeMarco’s Recording Studio, where we record many vocal auditions for students. I have experienced the TLM103 on male and female vocals, from high sopranos to low baritones. The Neumann TLM 103 serves as a great mic, suitable for all the singer’s auditions. Again with a high sound pressure level, it handled loud metal singers, while it complimented the nuances of a soft female falsetto voice.

The Neumann U87 In The Studio

U87 sets the mark in the microphone industry by which all others are measured. My studio relies on our U87 for our most high-end productions. It has been heard on countless cramming, winning songs and is a favorite of many legendary singers and producers. I go with the U87 on vocals for most of my high-end productions. The U87 has three polar patterns making it useful on all instruments, choirs, orchestras, drum overheads and room microphones.


Using The U87 As A Room Microphone

I like setting the U87 to an Omni polar pattern, where it can pick up sound in every direction. This is great when recording a drum set and sucking in all the room reverb into one microphone. I will heavily compress this signal for a large but aggressive sound to add to the close microphone tracks.


Neumann Mic Upclose 2

Using The U87 Cardioid pattern

I like using it in its cardioid pattern on all acoustic instruments. The U87 has high fidelity characteristic, but with a warm and fuzzy articulation. It has -10db pad, making it great on guitar amps and wind instruments that produce loud sound pressure. I love the U87 for a lead guitar part when I back the microphone off the cabinet about three feet to capture some of the room tones. Cardioid pattern is also a typical setting I will dial in for a saxophone. I will experiment with mike placement in relation to the bell of the sax, depending on the player. The U87 never fails me for a crunchy sax solo, with the habit of compression and

reverb to match.

A True Desert Island Microphone

If I had to live off one microphone, I would pick the U87. In fact, the only thing I never tied it on in the studio was a snare drum. It even worked great as a hi-hat microphone on a funk tune I was working on. My studio contracts voice-over work for commercials and video. The U87 is the microphone I am most comfortable recording the talent with. It responds wonderfully to a speaking voice. I also like it as a one-room mic to capture a simple reference track at a band rehearsal. I simply position it in the middle of the room and set the polar pattern to Omni and it always responds just right to our room performance.

Neumann TLM103


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