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Microphones Reviews

Experimenting with Neumann TLM-103 and U87 Ai Microphones

Neumann microphones are microphones in legends. Used to mic more instruments and voices in the media you’ve consumed than you could possibly imagine – but they’re not exactly accessible to the indie creator. That lack of accessibility doesn’t stop one from wondering… just how do they hold up for content creation use? What if I wanted to use these prestigious mics for voiceover and hosting my videos? Would they impress me?

Specifically, I got to test out the Neumann TLM-103 (~$1300) and the Neumann U87 Ai (~$3000).

The answer is… complicated.

On one hand, I wasn’t impressed at all. I’ve had the privilege of using a wide variety of microphones across many price ranges by this point in my career, and the out-of-box sound wasn’t particularly impressive/noteworthy on first listen. It just… sounded like me.

But on the other hand, that’s very much the point. These microphones are designed to capture authentic sounds in their purest/most pleasing form. And they do. The “boring” feeling I get from them is the selling point.

Through comparisons and further listening, I noticed plenty of instances where subtle sounds or characteristics of my voice were picked up in a very “transparent” way that wouldn’t be noticeable on other microphones. I also noticed not needing to work as hard to “sound like me” with these mics, which was nice.

The U87 Ai definitely rolled off high end and low end sounds a lot more pleasantly, while the TLM-103 sounded a lot more “present” out of the box.

Yes, I know there’s other Neumann mics that might be a bit more appropriate for voiceover use, but these are what I had the opportunity to play with. 

While I mostly think these microphones would be wasted purely being used for content creation, if you want to pick one up and support my work, here’s some affiliate links.

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