When I started recording voice demos full time, I knew I needed to step up from my much loved Rode K2 and Rode NT1-A. I loved these microphones, but I felt I needed to keep up with industry standards and buy one of the classic voice over microphones. My choice was between the Neumann TLM 103 and the Sennheiser MKH 416 (I now have both!).
I chose the Neumann because I knew it would be so versatile. I was used to working with large condenser microphones and had researched a great deal about the clarity and precision of the Neumann, as well as the extremely low self noise (the noise a microphone makes when recording, which is especially important for voice over).
I’m so glad I purchased this microphone and wanted to list some of the reasons why it’s a great microphone for voice over work.
Why the Neumann TLM 103 is Great for Voice Over
#1 Self Noise
The mic has very low self-noise, and is very sensitive, making it ideal for voice over. It’s self noise is 7 dB-A. This is one of the quietest microphones on the market. It’s even quieter than the world famous Neumann U87 or the industry standard Sennheiser MKH 416. This low self noise means you can record long stretches of narration without any low hum or hiss that is more prevalent in microphones like the Rode K2 or other cheaper microphones.
Neumann are famous for their build quality. They are a premium brand and typically only make much more expensive microphones. This microphone is made in Germany, and just holding it you can feel the quality.
The TLM 103 is a cute little microphone. It has a bit of weight, around 450g, but it’s very compact. It also doesn’t require any external power so you can simply plug in and you’re good to go. (Assuming you have phantom power)
This microphone is well known for its clarity. It has a broad 4db presence boost around 5k (as you can see below). Some audio producer don’t like the microphone for this reason, calling it “too bright”. However, for voice over this clarity really helps. It also doesn’t compromise the low frequencies which are fantastic and full bodied on this microphone.
When you’re working in voice over, people recognise names. If you are starting a home studio and looking to impress on your gear list, a TLM 103 is a solid choice. If you look at the profiles of most home voice over studios online (especially on Voices.com) you will see just how common this microphone is.
It’s also used by Bill Dewees, and Booth Junkie, two very well known voice over artists.
The Neumann TLM 103 is a beautiful microphone. It’s not cheap, and probably a bit out of the range of most home enthusiasts, but if you are keen to take your voice over to the next level it’s definitely a great purchase. If you are just starting out I would look at the Rode NT1 as a fantastic budget option.
Learn more about the TLM 103